Late Bloomer’s Paintings Featured at Library’s January Exhibit

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Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer

Milly Honeycutt’s business card accurately conveys her

Milly Honeycutt painted this from a snapshot she took in Alaska.

interests – “Milly’s Creations: All Kinds of Arts and Crafts.” Honeycutt, featured artist this month ini the Meeting Room East in the Macon County Public Library, considers herself more of a crafty creator than an artist. Since childhood, she has gravitated from one creative process to another. She did not land on painting until age 70. She is now 83. 

Milly Honeycutt paints some portraits, such as famed writer Walt Whitman (above).

Honeycutt’s library exhibit features mostly 20 by 16 size oils and some acrylics, of landscapes, animals, people, birds, and flowers – her favorite subject. Even though she knows how to paint, she sits in weekly, from 12:30 until 4 p.m., on classes by Artist Jon Houglum, who teaches at Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center. “There’s no place to paint at my home, and the lighting is good there. Plus, I still like to learn from him and to be around other people.” She quipped, “Jon only lets me paint flowers about every fourth or fifth painting or so.” 

Honeycutt said she never will, nor ever intends to, make a living in arts and crafts. 

“I just like to do something all the time. It calms me. I embroider before I go to bed. And someone recently gave me 50 pieces of slate from a 100-year-old home that I have been painting on and giving away. I’m kind of a hyper person, so I don’t want to stop.” 

Honeycutt, who has lived in Macon County since 1992, also makes ceramics and has painted on china and porcelain. In her home, she has a room full of porcelain dolls she made. Currently though, her main enjoyment is painting. She says the process of actually painting comes more naturally than drawing, which is a greater challenge. And the layering of colors was learned during a focus on china painting. “I like using a lot of color.”

Ideas for new paintings emerge from a single photograph or a combination of elements in a few different photos. She also paints from memory. It takes her about three weeks to complete a painting. 

“I love the outdoors and I love animals,” said Honeycutt, “and I especially enjoy painting eagles.” Her favorite painting hangs over her fireplace; it is of an eagle flying in a canyon with a mate soaring nearby. “And the Western North Carolina Mountains provide endless ideas,” she added.

She has also painted pet portraits, recently completing her daughter’s cat. Her two grown children have several of her paintings in their homes, and she expects her three grandchildren and two great grandchildren to eventually acquire much of her work as well. 

Each Honeycutt painting includes a locally hand-made Jim White frame. “He gets my work,” said Honeycutt. “I want the framing to mostly be rustic. Some are fancier, and some have color, but I leave it up to Jim because he knows what complements the painting.” 

Honeycutt’s library exhibited paintings are for sale; most sell for around $200 and up. This is her second showing at the Macon County Library. 

Library assistant Kristina Moe  said the Macon County Library was built 12 years ago with artists in mind. Meeting Room East, in fact, has fabric walls to easily accommodate works. Her husband, artist Justin Moe, has exhibited paintings and photography a few different times at the library, and she said there is never a shortage of local artistic talent. 

“Already, we have several months filled for 2019, and I am always on the lookout for new artists to show in that room,” said Moe. 

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