Artist James Redding stands alongside a couple of his paintings at the Savory Spice Shop during Friday night’s Franklin Art Scene. // Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
There’s the charm of Franklin, the history of Franklin and, for those considering it as a place to live, the absolute lure of Franklin.
That was the case, at least, for artist James Redding and his wife, Mary, when they were looking for a home in the Nashville area a few years ago. They checked out other cities and counties in the Midstate, but none had the magnetism of Franklin and Williamson.
“There was just something about this place that really attracted us,” Redding said Friday night from the spot in the Savory Spice Shop where his paintings were on display for February’s Franklin Art Scene. “It’s like we were just pulled here.”
Not unlike, say, the effect that Redding’s nature paintings have on an observer. One titled “Nature’s Red Carpet,” which he had displayed among several others Friday, pulls viewers in and makes them want to set off down the leaf-laden trail to see where it leads.
Downtown Franklin was filled with patrons enjoying the slightly warmer temperatures and no winter rains for the second Art Scene of the year. Ten shops participated, but there were crowds in the restaurants and other stores as well.
The Reddings moved to Franklin in 2015 from Bucks County in Pennsylvania to be near their daughter, who lives in Nashville. Redding has been a professional artist for more than 30 years, and Mary helps with the administrative tasks for the business.
“My hometown, Newtown in Bucks County, is full of Revolutionary War history,” Redding said. … “Franklin, on the other hand, is full of Civil War history. Since I have been in Franklin I have painted a few of the historical treasures — “The Soldier on The Square,” “The Witness Tree at Carnton Plantation,” and “The Carnton Plantation Gardens.”
Redding, who is self-taught, works with a variety of subjects, whether they’re pathways through the woods, flower gardens or historic sites.
“My art style is realism, and I am known for the fine detail in my pieces,” he said. “Many of my subjects when in Bucks County were well known historical buildings.
“I have found my art customers to be very regional, very much about local history. I feel my success in many ways has been to be able to capture that in my subjects. The same holds true here in Franklin.”
The Reddings own James Redding Studio in Franklin.
The next Art Scene will be March 1.