Preserving Landmarks through Art
There are people in this world who seem to be talented in almost everything they do. Cotton Ketchie is one of those people. Even with his amazing talent as an artist, photographer and author, Cotton is very down-to-earth and approachable, appreciative of his talents and the blessings bestowed on him for a purpose.
Having the desire to preserve landmarks through his watercolors, he named his gallery in Mooresville, NC, the Landmark Galleries. Meeting him for the first time in January, although it was cold outside, the warmth I felt from Cotton and his wife, Vickie, made the wintry day seem a little less cold.
In between assisting customers, Cotton began to tell me a little about himself and how he started to draw. He said as a child, he always had his pencil sharpened and loved sketching, but even so, never really thought of himself as an artist. Wanting to improve his technique, he enrolled in a class at a local college in 1975. After about the fourth or fifth night, a breakthrough came when Cotton grasped the concept of shading. Along with that breakthrough, his confidence soared when the teacher took notice, asking him to help other students.
Encouraged by friends and admirers to try watercolors, Cotton wanted to, but couldn’t afford the materials. It was only after the owner of a craft store loaned him brushes and paper that he gave it a try. His first painting sold for $35.00. Loving the medium more and more, he began to buy brushes and materials as he could afford them. Never having a lesson in watercolors, it just seemed to be a natural gift.
Always desiring a place of his own, in 1987 Cotton borrowed the money and started Landmark Galleries. Loving to paint watercolors of landscapes, he’s traveled across the country taking photographs, with some of his favorite spots being in his home state of North Carolina. His lighthouse prints, especially popular, sell in National Park outlets along the Outer Banks there.
Although Cotton has always taken photographs to use in his sketches as he’s traveled, he didn’t become a professional photographer until 2006. Continuing his quest to preserve landmarks, he’s now able to reach that goal not only through his watercolors, but through his photography as well, with photography a large part of his business today.
Having many distinguished honors including featured artist at the NC Governor’s Conference on Tourism in 2004, as well as recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, Cotton is not only a state treasure, but a national one as well. Preserving history visually and through the written word in novels, poetry and Facebook postings, Cotton has ensured future generations will have a better idea of the way things were during the old days.
To read more about Cotton Ketchie and his work, check out the Salisbury Post link here. You can also follow him on Facebook, his website at http://landmark-galleries.com/ or visit the Landmark Galleries at 212 N. Main Street in Mooresville.
While it’s true Cotton is talented as an author, I chose him as my favorite person this week because of the difference he is making in preserving landmarks through his watercolors and photography. Do you know someone who is making a difference in the world through their chosen profession? Leave a comment, message on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.