Michael Geddings gave dignity to the Midlands’ downtrodden with his depiction of a man who has lost his path– but perhaps not his faith.
Geddings, who paints in Lexington, fulfills a steady demand for commission work, so he rarely has time to paint something out of his own imagination. That changed with “Hopeful Soul,” the large-scaled acrylic on canvas piece that won Best of Show at last fall’s South Carolina State Fair.
Geddings said he conjured up the figure for the 40” x 30” work entitled “Hopeful Soul; “I did not work with a live model.” The way Geddings “saw” the subject: “He looks disheveled, as though he’s had a rough time in life, but the viewer gets to interpret personally what’s up with this guy. He’s got this stare and he’s holding onto a cross, which I’ve been told by some who’ve seen the piece, symbolizes that he’s managed to hold onto his faith, in spite of whatever else he’s been up against. That’s more than a lot can say. And that’s really what I wanted the piece to convey.”
Geddings achieved the stark drama of the piece in few colors, mostly black and white. “There is a little color in his eyes – and on the cross.”
Geddings has been making art since he was barely able to hold pencils and crayons. “I’ve been painting professionally for at least 25 years, and the majority of my work is commissions – I am best known as a portrait artist. My preferred style is hyper-realism and I use pencils and charcoal, primarily. I produce probably 250 pieces a year and, within all that, it is rare I find time to do something for myself, something that comes straight from my heart – as this piece did.”
Feature Photo: Artist Michael Geddings with his Best of Show, SC State Fair painting, “Hopeful Soul.”