The art exhibit, “The Last Picture Show” will feature two Franklin Parish artists displaying their works at Old Post Office Museum beginning with an opening reception Aug. 29 at 5 p.m.
Margaret M. Ellerman and John Bailey Martin will be the featured artists.
Ellerman, a former junior high and high school art teacher locally, will feature her oil, cold wax and mixed mediums, and Martin will feature his light sculptures.
Ellerman, whose work features Louisiana landscapes and animals, started drawing at an early age when her mother took her and her sisters and friends to an art instructor in Monroe.
Her love of art and creating carried over into her college years as she received her bachelor’s in art from Louisiana Tech and her master’s from Louisiana State University.
Learning and studying art has been a lifelong pursuit for Ellerman.
“When I paint I literally learn something new everyday,” she said. “Whether it is about the color or the technique I use.”
During the summers months, Ellerman, her mother and sister’s mother-in-law travelled to New Mexico and studied oil painting for two weeks.
Additionally, during the summer months she attended Louisiana Tech to obtain 30 hours of art history and her last six hours from University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Ellerman continues to teach and learn art at her home studio.
“I especially like to teach children and teenagers,” Ellerman said. “I also learn some things from the students.”
Ellerman’s painting comes from photos she takes of Louisiana landscapes and animals. She credits Cooper French for teaching her this method. French, from Meridian, Miss, has been featured at the Old Post Office Museum.
She is inspired by the many colors she sees around her.
During “The Last Picture Show” exhibit, Ellerman will teach her method to those in attendance.
“This is going to be a teaching exhibit,” she said. “I am going to show all my photos that I took pictures of and show the process.”
The pictures will be laid out on the table at the exhibit, so attendees will be able to see her painting process.
John Bailey Martin
Martin gives credit to his grandfather and uncle for “inspiring” his artwork.
The duo were known to bring back “100’s of things” from auctions. Many of the items purchased at various auctions would find a place in a warehouse where they would sit for decades.
In one case, Martin discovered 100’s of two-gallon milk cans and numerous 1950s telephone insulators they purchased at a warehouse.
“When I found them, I though, ‘Man, I ought to do something with these,” Martin said. “I started playing around with them, and I figured out how to put them together. I thought, ‘That was pretty cool looking.’”
Martin soon rigged up a light bulb inside the can and built a few for himself and his mother.
“I started getting a lot of responses for these,” Martin said. “It just took off.”
In another example, Martin took an old three-level luggage cart from the Winnsboro Train Depot and created tables with rebar legs.
One of the tables will hold drinks and refreshments during the exhibit.
Inspiration to build art from old items comes from his “fiddling” spirit and the desire to save the items.
“I always have to be doing something,” Martin said. “Inspiration is hard to quantify. It just kind of happened. It just took a life of its own.”
Martin added, “I call what I do ‘parish-made.’ I believe the things I do is important to keep them coming out of Franklin Parish. Winnsboro has its own style coming out. It is important to recycle these things.”
Martin believes if these items would not have been taken and reused they would have “sat in a barn or warehouse and rotted away and never been seen by anybody. I think it is cool to dig this stuff out and repurpose it and give it a function.”
Martin would like to see his craft grow to where people will call him with other older items that needs repurposing.
“I hope people will start to think back about what they have stored in maybe a barn and warehouse,” Martin said.