Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Women Painters decorate Medical Center


A new influx of paintings by the Tuscaloosa and University Women Painters will adorn the otherwise plain walls of the University Medical Center beginning today at 11:30 a.m.

The Painters, who swap out their old paintings at the Medical Center with new ones four times a year, have been doing these seasonal exhibits for longer than many of the group members can remember.

“I’m not sure when we started doing it, but we do it every year. It’s our way of giving back to the community,” said Dottye Lind, one of the newer members of the group. “Even though our paintings are often for sale, they’re not at the Medical Center. They are there simply to decorate the walls.”

For each season’s exhibit, the painters are asked to include at least two current works per artist. Although they sometimes choose works that they created at their own individual studio spaces, they often choose to display works that were created during their weekly meetings.

Deborah Hughes, who has been meeting with the painters off-and-on for the last 20 to 25 years, now regularly attends meetings after retiring from the University 10 years ago.

“That’s really what defines our group,” Hughes said. “We’re a group of artists that meets together on a regular basis. We paint together, even when the weather is bad.”

Despite the fact that they paint together, they don’t paint like each other.

“We usually paint at an outdoor location, and no one ever sees or paints the same way,” Hughes said. “Someone may sit at the bottom of a hill while someone else sits underneath a tree. Some of us paint with bright colors and are very expressive. Others paint in a more realistic style. We paint whatever is meaningful to us at that time.”

Hughes said her style varies depending on her mood and audience. She often paints  “en plein air,” meaning outdoors and from observation. Other times, she does more abstract works, like the ones she will display at the Medical Center.

Anne Stickney, another group member and owner of the Renaissance Gallery in downtown Northport, said she typically paints landscapes “en plein air” but has recently become interested in figural drawing.

“I’m getting sick of trees,” she said. “I’ve painted hundreds of them.”

Dottye Lind will display paintings of butterflies and thunderstorms at the Medical Center in order to reflect the season.

This versatility of style among the painters is also reflected in the group’s history. Although originally a branch of the University Women’s Club, the Painters no longer solely affiliate themselves with the University. They invite any member of the Tuscaloosa community interested in painting and art to join.

Some of the Painters are active in other areas of art, including photography, quilting and jewelry-making. Some are even professional artists.

Other group members, like Stickney, began painting after they retired. One of the members is a retired nurse. Two are retired teachers. One is a woman who does house painting and renovations with her husband. Another used to work at the University in the computer and technology field. What unites all of them is their love for painting.

“You’re meeting with your tribe,” Stickney said. “We painters like to spend time with other painters. We share what we know about art, and we learn from each other. It’s important to remember that painting is a lot like golf — you can never master it. You’re always learning. And the best way to learn is to spend time with other artists.”

The University Women Painters’ Medical Center show will run through mid-December, at which point they will again swap out old paintings for new ones and start the process all over again.

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