To many people, the Mississippi Delta seems to connote a somewhat sullen, mysterious stillness. Artist Gary Walters’ interpretation couldn’t be more different.
The Delta that inspires his watercolor landscape collection, “Delta Dreamin’,” explodes with vibrant color and dynamic movement. Broad skies resonate with sunlight at its rising, setting and midday. Clouds and shadows cast depth and contrast as well as visual respite from Walters’ exuberant palette.
With few exceptions, Walters maintains a horizontal format — a natural choice for a land distinguished by its flatness. Against broad, distant horizons, he plays a contrapunto of intersecting planes and complementary shapes in luminous colors and tones.
Here, Walters’ works are rarely overtly linear. It’s as if he’d rather shout in color-shapes and whisper in lines. Even the preliminary sketch marks often evident in watercolor paintings are absent. This may contribute to the sense of deliberate strength Walter’s works exude, despite the inherent fluidity of the media.
Published by Mississippi’s Quail Ridge Press, “Delta Dreamin’” is the second in a planned series showcasing Mississippi artists painting Mississippi scenes (Miriam Weems’ “Mostly Mississippi” was published last year). Handsomely produced, each page features one painting and includes the title, size and location of subject. The latter is particularly important because, with the exception of unmistakable places such as Doe’s and Dockery Farms, Deltans will swear each painting depicts their immediate community.
Sam Gore, renown artist and retired chairman of the Mississippi College Art Department , contributes the forward.
“Delta Dreamin’” is a celebration of not only the unique beauty of the Delta and its landmarks, but the art of watercolor. How fortunate for us that Gary Walters chose our home for inspiration.
—Mary Dale McCormick, McCormick Book Inn, Greenville
Gary Walters; Delta Dreamin’
Forward by Samuel Marshal Gore
(Quail Ridge Press)
Hardback — $39.95