An amazing portrait by Willard Gayheart. Featured is a Coal Minor in action with shovel. Signed and dated along the bottom left (1992).
From a childhood of Appalachian poverty, Willard Gayheart has drawn from his memories to capture the very things that have given mountain people the strength to endure any adversity. His pencil drawings reflect not only the likeness of his subjects but the fabric of the mountain spirit as well. There is a detail to each of his drawings that upon first glance, one would attribute only to photography. However, closer inspection reveals an essence that camera and film cannot reproduce. His drawing of Phipps Bourne, the Mabry Mill blacksmith known to thousands as “Festus,” creates an atmosphere for the beholder where the ring of the hammer on the anvil and the smell of the smoke from the forge are as vivid and real as “Festus” himself.
Willard was born June 5, 1932 in the rough and tumble area outside Hazard, Kentucky, in the isolated community of Cordia. There, on Lotts Creek, a love of mountain people and their ways was instilled in him and has never wavered.
Excerpt from Bob Heafner's Biography Titled Willard Gayheart, Pencil Artist - A Remarkable Gift
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