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Mississippi Scapes: A Reflection


I just wanted to pop on here to reflect on my latest series, Mississippi Scapes!

Creating the Series

This was the first time I have worked in a series, and by that I mean, created a body of related work about one topic.

I absolutely could not do this when I was in college during my painting courses. I would start with one subject at the beginning of every course and change three times before the end. I would get so frustrated and instead of working through the problem, I would start over with an entirely new problem area.

When I started this series, I was so nervous I was going repeat what I had always done. I was afraid I would want to quit and start something new before I completely saw this series through. But this time it was different. I didn't have the pressure of creating to make a grade, which I think was a huge factor for me. I also felt so connected with this series. This was my series and it could be whatever I wanted it be.

The Power of Thumbnails

For those of you who don't know, a thumbnail is basically a small little painting or sketch that you can refer make to when you make painting. I make my thumbnails en plein air (outside looking and responding the landscape around me!)

I not only use my thumbnails as final works in my series, but I also get more paintings out of that one little painting! This was a huge deal for me! Instead of reinventing the wheel on every single painting, I could use that one idea and vary it a couple different ways and get multiple paintings from it. This was something my painting professor in college always talked about,but it just now clicked in my brain what she meant!

A few people that came to my show actually caught on to what I was doing, but thought it was interesting to see the subtle differences between the paintings!

Here are some examples of how a small thumbnail can translate in multiple paintings..

The Show

After the series was completed I knew I had to have a space to show these pieces where people could come view them in person.

I rented the Little Building in downtown Hattiesburg, and it was beyond perfect! The price to rent was super reasonable, and the space seriously is so cute and versatile! Not to mention, the owner of the venue, Miranda Grieder, was so nice and awesome to work with! I highly recommend this venue!

The pop-show was a huge success. My older brother played guitar throughout the night at show, and my family cooked some yummy appetizers. I sold some paintings and scarves! So many of my friends and family came out to support me. I also got to meet some new faces, which is always fun!

One person in particular I would like to mention is Ashlyn Levins! She writes a lovely blog called "By Grace." Her latest blog is titled "My Mississippi: Home without Walls," where she talks about the meaning of home and features a video of some photos from the night of the pop-up and reads my story behind the Mississippi Scapes series. Anyways, she is so sweet and her blog is awesome!

Here is the link to the blog:

Instagram: @bygrace.eph

Photos from the Show


I've learned so much throughout all the stages of this painting series! Looking back on my Mississippi Spaces series, it makes me excited to continue to work on my newest series Autumn Breeze. Set to release October 18th!

Thanks for reading! :)

Shelby Leigh Gilliland

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