Meg Tannehill Justice – In Her Own Words
I was born in Georgia and grew up in the South. I spent my high school years in Scottsboro, Alabama, and love this area so much, with joyous memories of the river and the mountains. I’ve lived all over the U.S. but, in 2010, decided to come back to north Alabama to stay. My husband and I share a passion for the mountains and we have property in Mentone where we hope to live full-time one day.
I’ve created art as long as I can remember…from digging in mud and making clay animals when I was very young, to drawing endless horses in class. I was always creating. I graduated from Auburn University with a BFA and a major in illustration.
In terms of inspiration, I’m influenced by all things from nature and strong emotional memories of my past and the countryside where I live. I’m an avid gardener and at my happiest with handfuls of dirt and plants. Nearly all my art is connected to these things in some way. My favorite subjects to draw include animals, plants, mysteries of nature and the stories they tell.
When people ask me, “Did I always want to be an artist?” I think to myself, “I always was an artist…it was such a part of my being that I never thought about wanting to be one. When I was little I really wanted to be a veterinarian (lol) but the art was always a part of me, a go-to place for peace and enjoyment.
In art school at Auburn, we touched on printmaking (I loved it) but most of my art career has been centered around painting. The printmaking satisfies a lot of desires. I’m an Illustrator and love telling a story through art. With block printing it’s all hands on and original from beginning to the finished piece. No digital imaging, nothing done on the computer – it’s all by hand.
Since each piece is inked and pulled by hand, no two are alike. I really enjoy the texture of each piece also; you can run your fingers over the ink and feel the raised image (more proof that it’s handmade and not digital) and I also like the different looks you can achieve with different types of paper.
I sketch outside in the garden or take photos on hikes, etc. to come up with inspirations for drawing. I use a sketch book and jot down ideas as they come, so I’ll remember later. Ideas for art come so suddenly and randomly, I have to get something down or I’ll forget!
Once a drawing is complete it gets transferred to a linoleum block. I then use gouge tools to carve the image in the linoleum. When that design is fully carved into the block, a thick tacky ink is applied to the block with a soft rubber roller called a Brayer. You then take paper, lay it on the inked surface of the block and gently rub the back of the paper with a baren (for me, that’s the back of a wooden spoon). I then pull the paper of the block and the print is hung up in the studio to dry.
Inspiration is all around me but I’m also inspired by many of the great masters…Monet, Matisse and many of the Fauvist painters. I love their style and use of color, but most of all I love the detail of carving in the linoleum with only the black and white.
I fall in love with nearly all my pieces and have a hard time letting go of my paintings because of that. This is where the beauty of the hand-pulled print comes in…I can share my originals this way!
I’m married to a wonderful man, Jerry, who’s a talented carpenter. We have a dog named Jack and six hens who give us lots of fresh eggs and comic relief.