Thursday, July 7, 2016

Artist Len Heatherly preserves the art of the South in oils

Award-winning artist Len Heatherly began painting watercolors just before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Since then, he has switched to oils as his primary medium and he uses them to bring the hidden beauty of everyday scenes to life. His paintings are rich in the detail of living and the world around us.

Originally from Birmingham, Heatherly’s Alabama roots show in his touching images of southern life. He doesn’t limit himself on subject matter. Although he acknowledges landscape work is his favorite, he moves from landscapes to people with ease. From the buttercups gracing the Bonnet Carré spillway to dancers celebrating in the street or churchgoers, Heatherly calls on his own travels and experiences for artistic content.

Working on canvases he makes himself allows him to work on a variety of sizes. He’ll often create a smaller canvas for a study of the subject prior to beginning the larger piece. The study may become a valuable piece on its own.

His business philosophy is based on “connection,” allowing his art to make a connection with a potential buyer. When someone asks him how he sells his art, he has a ready answer.

“The word ‘sales’ never comes up until there’s a connection,” he notes. Once a connection is made, then he will discuss the selling details. “People may go away and not come back for a month to buy it,” he adds, but he allows them the time to come to the decision on their own. His art does the selling for him.

He belongs to art groups in several areas, including the Mississippi Gulf Coast and south Louisiana. With each organization averaging two shows a year, he has plenty of venues for displaying and offering his work. By his calculations, he appears in eight or ten shows a year.

In addition, his work hangs in Artists’ Galleries de Juneau in Slidell and another gallery in Covington. He also participates in local art fairs.

Heatherly and wife Wylene have lived in a quiet subdivision on the water in Slidell since 2000.

Originally appeared 11/05/2015 at

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