Dawna Scripps doesn’t see things the same way most people see them.
Take one of her paintings featuring Lexington’s old courthouse. She says, “The courthouse is not really turquoise, but it is in my head. I paint farmers market, and 21c and stuff like that, and it doesn’t really look like my paintings when you go and stand on the corner. But a lot of the times when I start painting, I paint how it feels to me, and to me it looks like a celebration.”
Paint Happy! is Scripps’ exhibit at the Artists’ Attic gallery, on the fourth floor of The Square, which will be part of Friday’s Gallery Hop. Scripps’ paintings include a lot of cityscapes from around downtown Lexington, and some depictions of nature and a colorfully painted 100-year-old couch.
Inspired by Van Gogh, Scripps has a very impressionistic style. For cityscapes, she likes to look for places that have interesting architecture, and she accentuates the interesting aspects of the buildings.
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Scripps includes a lot of swirls and lines in her paintings of festivals. “To me, all these swirls stand for music and conversation,” she says.
Besides swirls, the festivities are shown in bright colors.
“I’m self-taught, and I’ve always been drawn to things that are brightly colored,” she says. “When I first started out, I’d find something I really liked and I’d try to copy it to see if it turned out remotely similar. Eventually, you start to paint without looking at it, and then you start developing your own style and figuring out what you like to do and work with.”
When she starts a painting, Scripps says, “I don’t try to make it unique. I just do what’s in my head. I get really bogged down when I try to think about how others are going to perceive it, and then if I come back and do it from my heart and paint for myself, it almost always turns out to be something that I’m really happy with.”
The name Paint Happy! seems to fit Scripps’ exhibit perfectly. Not only are the paintings full of color and feelings of celebration, but she puts a lot of thought and joy into the works while she’s making them.
“This is kind of my dream job,” Scripps says. “I’m a flight attendant, so I like having this job where I can connect with other people and hang out here and paint, and bring my dog if I want to.”
She connects with a lot of people by going into places and painting there.
“I went to the Barrel House Distillery yesterday and started painting my first bottle of liquor,” Scripps says. “It’s a bottle of the dark moonshine that they sell there. I’ll go out and bring fliers with me to help promote the show and get to know people while I paint. Sometimes I’ll go downstairs in front of the building and paint.”
Call it sharing the joy.
If you go
What: More than 50 galleries open to the public in and around downtown Lexington
When: 5-8 p.m. May 20
▪ Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, paintings by Mary Neely, Clay Lancaster’s Kentucky: Architectural Photographs of a Preservation Pioneer, and art by Bob Sandford, Dan McGrath and Cissy Hamilton
▪ First Presbyterian Church, 174 N. Mill St., What Makes Art Sacred?, Medicine Buddha and Lotus Sutra (Japanese Calligraphy) made with acrylics and mixed media by Theresa Anne Beaumont.
▪ Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third St. The Artist’s Eye, art from the center’s spring break student intensive.
▪ M.S. Rezny Studio/Gallery, 903 Manchester St., Suite 17. Pencil & Paper with Lucinda A. Chapman, Ed Franklin, Mike Goodlett, Hui Chi Lee, Marco Logsdon and Karen Spears
▪ New Editions Gallery, 500 W. Short St., For the Love of Color!, by sculptors Dave Caudill, Bob Lockhart and Russ Vogt, and Debbie Westerfield, whose hand carved ceramic panels will be featured.