Serena Hall

Hear Me Roar

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Artist Extraordinaire
From: Dothan, AL
Lives in: Darien, GA

I love living in Darien and McIntosh County because... I like its people, the weather is warm and welcoming. I am amazed at the marshes, rivers, and mossy oak trees spreading romantically throughout the county, confirming our environmental treasure. There are historical, scenic, natural, and recreational areas for bird watching, fishing, crabbing, boating, kayaking and biking. Here, I can eat at the best fresh seafood restaurants. If I desire, I can take a ferry to Sapelo Island for a tour or picnic at one of their beautiful natural beaches. The picturesque scene of shrimp boats on Darien’s charming waterfront is also an enjoyable place to listen to the Darien and McIntosh Shouters. On a critter note, McIntosh squirrels are intelligent! I think they go to school because they peep into windows to see if you are looking before they proudly steal your nuts.

I moved here after a 38-year federal civilian career… to do part-time mediation. I was a specialist, team leader, and manager in all areas of Human Resources. One of my most challenging experiences was working with counselors, lawyers, employees and managers in employee/management relations dealing with problems; employee grievances, discrimination complaints and resolution. Later, I learned that civil mediation cases were few in this area.  Divine intervention eventually coasted me into a creative place in my life.

And, I admire people who: can take the ball and roll; those who are positive and intelligent and share their wisdom to help others to grow spiritually, mentally, physically, financially, and socially.

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Who are the muses in your art and how do you create your “Ladies”? I was inspired by a friend who showed me her beautiful paintings.A year later, Dwight, my husband, said - ‘since you love art, take a class’. (I always visited galleries while working as a civilian in Germany) In 2009, I started a class at McIntosh Art at the Old Jail Art Center. I knew I was terrible at painting—imagining the thoughts of my classmates and instructor. Artists there inspired me with their incredible seascapes and landscapes, but I had to search for my own subject. Later, I was introduced to the Gullah Geechee culture learning about their heritage and history. Their food staples of red peas and rice, and their dwellings of tabby ruins seemed fitting to culturally celebrate with art. One of my former career roles was to inspire women to reach their potential. With that in mind, I started painting ladies on canvas and wood using mixed media: paint, mold, red peas and rice, or tiny seashells from Sapelo Island beaches for their bodice, and prints, solids or burlap for their fabric skirts. This idea would not only depict the Gullah Geechee lifestyle of positive ladies but of ladies everywhere. My ladies are faceless, colorful, and happy, with sassy moving expressions. Many call them Gullah, Red Peas and Rice, Tabby, Coastal, or Sassy Ladies

Three colors I’m drawn to are: Yellow for my canvas, blue for skies, and black for an eloquent dress.

How do you display and sell your artworks? Our Cultural Expressions art group for Black History Month exhibited at Glynn Visual Arts, former Carly Hardy Studio in Darien, Peachtree City public library, and in 2015, at Brunswick’s Historic Ritz Theatre.  After the Ritz exhibit, the National Endowment of the Arts honored us with an artist works art blog. Each February I exhibit at the world’s largest juried presentation of Gullah Heritage Art on Hilton Head Island, SC at the Walter Greer Art Center of Coastal Carolina. I exhibit at colleges, cultural days, festivals, reunions, galleries, and schools.  My art can be found at Red Piano Too Art Gallery, St. Helena, SC; in Darien at the Old Jail Art Center, Sapelo’s Hog Hammock Public Library, and Peachtree City Public Library.

What other creative outlets bring you great joy? I love the outdoors and planting flowers is therapeutic for me. It brings a smile to my face when I see them blossom, like people. Obtaining donated crepe myrtles and saga palms, I helped plant our city’s historic Upper Mill Cemetery. It’s enjoyable to help plant flowers for Habitat for Humanity homes and in neighborhoods for Keep McIntosh Beautiful.

Why do you name your flowers? People give me their flowers because they know I’ll love them and take care of them. I also name the flowers for them: Arlene, Cindy, Almetta, Eunice and Johnnie—after all, they thought about me. How wonderful is that?

I’m a sucker for... Fabric. I love fabric and cannot resist buying more even when I know have enough for my art ladies.   

Next, I want to: Take more art classes.

I’m always ROARING about: Our beautiful Georgia coastline with its fiery, beautiful sunsets and rainbows with cascading colors. It is a place where I live and love. It is art just right for a canvas.

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