Roots exhibit honors late artist of Pike County

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Opening Reception for The Roots Exhibit: Late Artists of Pike County will be from 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday and will feature performances by the Troy University musical group, frequency. The public is invited.

The artwork that will hang at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy through Dec. 28 is a sampling of the work done by 24 deceased Pike County artists. The Messenger will feature each of the artists in the coming days and give a glimpse into the personal lives of these Pike Countians who continue to enhance the quality of life in Pike County community through their art.

Jane Jernigan Brantley was born and raised in Troy. She was the daughter of Fred and Dixie Jernigan. She grew up on Brundidge Street and showed an early interest in art.

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Brantley’s father saw her doing drawings from photos in the newspaper and let her take drawing and china painting lessons from Miss Willette McMillan. Later, she took art from Miss Martha Jane Ballard of Troy State College.

Brantley transferred to Brenau College in Georgia where she majored in history and minored in art.

While at Brenau, Brantley studied art under John Weygandt, who was a student of William Merritt Chase and a graduate of The Pennsylvania Academy of Art. At Brenau, Brantley’s artistic abilities increased and her art became stronger.

After college, Brantley took time off to raise her five children. In the 1960s, she began to paint again and, in 1965, she took watercolor lessons from Alice Thornton, a Troy State professor.

As Brantley continued to paint, she developed an interest in primitive or naïve art and her paintings began to pick up those influences.

One of the unique things about Jane Brantley’s art is that she began as a conventionally trained artist and then moved to a somewhat primitive style.

One of her personal interests was in doing paintings of landmark buildings of Troy and painting scenes from her childhood. She said that she wanted to paint Troy “before they tear it all down.”

She also designed the trumpet logo that has been used by the Troy Arts Council since the early 1970s.

Jane Jernigan Brantley loved to paint in watercolor and unusually included pen and ink with the medium. She was a trained artist but developed a personal style that was unique to her.