A Louisiana artist who moved to Greenville barely a month ago is celebrating her new studio’s opening with paintings of iconic downtown locations.
Contemporary artist Meredith Piper, whose newest subjects include the Liberty Bridge and the pedestrian bridge across the Reedy River by the Peace Center, just moved into the Art Crossing at 300 River St., Ste. 104. Those who attend the studio opening on Oct. 7, 5-9 p.m., during the monthly First Fridays Gallery Crawl, will be entered to win one of the new Greenville bridge paintings.
Piper’s specialties are oil and acrylic paintings using pastel hues on wooden panels and what she calls “encased weavings” – loom-woven textile pieces she frames out in wood.
Much of her work while in Louisiana was of iconic desert images – cacti, other desert vegetation and rock formations – because of her proximity to Texas.
She’s been working on new pieces in both mediums in preparation for the opening.
Piper’s husband, Douglas, is a JL Mann High School graduate who grew up in Greenville, so after six years of visiting his family and enjoying the city, they decided to relocate from Shreveport, La., where she had a studio in the Artist Collective Studio + Gallery.
“We are now natives for a month and I feel like we haven’t stopped moving,” Piper says. “There is so much to do here and there are so many great destinations also in driving distance.”
Piper and her husband both enjoy being outdoors, which is where she draws much of her inspiration.
“That’s another thing that’s stood out – we can bike the Swamp Rabbit, run our dogs downtown and bring them into so many places,” she says. “We are loving all the breweries. Even got to bring our pups to Brewery 85 yappy hour.”
Having her studio downtown is a major perk, she says.
“It’s like manna from heaven, so bountiful, with all different types of people, amazing food, and, again, fun pets that stroll by,” she says. “The exposure and conversations I have daily with so many people is pretty amazing. I get to share my craft. People get to watch me work.”
Piper says she has always considered herself and artist
She remembers from her childhood that her dad would sketch a Barbie doll figure on paper and then she would design and draw clothes on top of it.
She continued her love of art through college, earning a bachelor’s degree in studio art and psychology from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La. After college she says she had a moment while working at a local studio that helped her realize she could incorporate art into her profession even if it wasn’t directly making and selling her own work.
Then two years ago she started painting live at events and that extra work made it possible for her to make and sell her own work rather than remain a hobbyist.
“I realized I could do art full time,” Piper says.
For a live-painting assignment, Piper attends a special event, such as a wedding, sets up her easel and supplies hours before it begins in the location with the best vantage point and sketches out the empty room. Then, over the course of several hours, as décor appears and people enter the scene, she paints them in. The final result is the equivalent of a staged photograph, but with a contemporary stylized look.
Piper eventually opened her own studio in Shreveport where she also taught regular art classes. She also participated in more than a dozen art shows along the East Coast.
To view a time-lapse video of Piper live painting, visit MeredithPiper.com.