- Beverly Buchanan (American, 1940-2015)
Beverly Buchanan was a southern woman to her core: vibrant and welcoming. She was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, but left the South for a time to pursue a degree in health education in the 1960s. She took a course at the Art Students’ League in 1971 and this started her down a new path. She befriended artists Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden and began to tell her stories with visual art. Using her childhood as a source, Buchanan began to bring to life the stories, people and architecture of the Rural Southern landscape. These varied viewpoints are united in a series of works based around the indigenous Southern Architecture known as the “shotgun shack.” These little houses vary in color, media, and scale. By the 1980’s Buchanan was back in the south and living in the greater Atlanta area as a successful working artist when Wayne Kline, leader of the Atlanta-based Rolling Stone Printing Press, approached her – but she was hesitant to collaborate. In an interview with Catherine Fox from The Atlanta Journal/The Atlanta Constitution in 1987, Buchanan tells the story about her experience with Rolling Stone Press:
“Wayne started talking about making a print about a year ago, but I wasn’t interested,” she recalls. “I had studied with Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden, and they were so against prints. Wayne really had to convince me. I thought I’d lose control of my work, that someone else would be in charge. I was intimidated by the stone.” The experience, however, “was wonderful,” she says. “I always felt in control, and Wayne was there when I needed him… First, I did a trial print to get the feel of what it’s like to draw on the stone and see what it looked like printed. It’s different than drawing or painting…” Working with color was different, too, because in printmaking each color is printed separately. “It’s like seeing things in a puzzle and imagining it together,” she says. “After the trial print, I got excited. Then, I got obsessed. Now I want to do another one.”
Happy Shack was the result of this collaboration.