If you have done a double take when you drove past the show windows at the former Marting’s building in downtown Portsmouth, taking a second look at the beautiful paintings there, it may be your first introduction to the works of Don Blevins who says his endeavor is motivated by the desire to cultivate an awareness and participation in the arts in our Community and the Portsmouth Region. As one of the Founding Members of the Boneyfiddle Arts Center, Blevins says it is his wish to continue that Mission.
Blevins didn’t start out as a local, but he is evolving into a solid Scioto County citizen.
“In 1995 I began coming from Seattle, Washington to the Portsmouth area at my brother Bill’s farm near Minford to stay winters with my parents who were getting quite along in years. In 2004 I decided to move here on a permanent basis. A 2005 visit into downtown Portsmouth with the idea of finding a venue like an art gallery or something similar for exhibiting my Artwork proved unsuccessful. I found none,” Blevins said.
Then, in 2006, he responded to an article in the Daily Times by DeLynn Coppoletti, director of the Portsmouth Area Arts Council ( PAAC), requesting artists to exhibit artwork in a one-day show called ” Phantom Art Gallery” at Court and Second Streets. Blevins exhibited three Paintings. With DeLynn’s sponsorship, he and other Artists then began showing on weekends in various business establishments in and around the Boneyfiddle District. Still later he began to show some Artworks at the shop called Peacocks and he exhibited his artworks through that summer in a vacant shop next door to Peacocks.
“Sometime around 2007/8 I joined with several local artists who had formed a group named Scioto Valley Artists Guild (SVAG) which, after a period of showing our artworks in various venues in the Boneyfiddle District, eventually began exhibiting and selling out of the newly formed establishment – ‘Artaffects Gallery’ – on Chillicothe Street,” Blevins said. “This carried on through part of 2009 and most of 2010. During the year 2010, the Artists group (SVAG) evolved into what became the Boneyfiddle Arts Center (BAC), which held its grand opening at Court and Second streets in December 2010. The Artists exhibited and sold their Artworks here through the next four years until that establishment’s closing in December, 2014.”
Blevins said he started painting as part of the curriculum towards a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now known as Virginia Tech) at Blacksburg, Virginia. After receiving his degree in 1961, he moved to Seattle, Washington where he continued to paint while also completing an apprenticeship and obtaining registration as a licensed Architect. For about the next 20 years, Blevins interspersed working as an architect with periods of painting full-time, mostly painting and he had several exhibitions there over that interval, including two or three In-studio Shows.
“Currently, I am working in the style that would probably be termed abstract painting: however, I continue to paint in representational style: such as still life, figure, and landscape,” Blevins said. “My ongoing pursuit is to meld representational with abstract style, as I believe, in actuality, all painting is abstract; it’s still a separate entity … it’s not the real thing, no matter how realistic it may be rendered … it’s an abstraction.”
What are his plans for new paintings to replace the current ones paintings on display?
“The current display will remain in place at least through the first week of March,” Blevins said. “Then the new display will run through the rest of March and at least the first week of April.”
Anyone wishing to purchase any of Blevins’ paintings may contact him by cell phone: 740-357-9493 and e-mail: [email protected] The sale of a couple of the Paintings in the current display may be handled through the Museum, since they were recently included in an Exhibition there.
“It is one of my firm beliefs that the well-being of any community, and its people, is enhanced and sustained when arts organizations, arts patrons, and business, government, and community leaders all work together to provide for cultural development along with economic development in that community,” Blevins said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.