Light, Shadow & Color: Complementary works by 2 artists highlight showcase

On exhibit at "Light, Shadow & Color" are the paintings of artist David Swanagin.

Living and playing music in Nashville for almost a decade has provided drummer David Swanagin a couple of opportunities to further his other passion and vocation -- painting.

Traveling with musicians like Billy Joe Royal allowed Swanagin to see the world, and many of the places he visited ended up in his paintings.

His drumming also introduced his drum-head paintings to some of the biggest stars in the business, and his work can be seen on the front of the kick drum for the bands of Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Brooks & Dunn and Keith Urban.


* What: "Light Shadow & Color," featuring works by Loy Allen and David Swanagin. * When: Through Jan. 31. * Where: River Gallery, 400 E. Second St. * Admission: Free. * Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5; Sun 1-5 and by appointment. * Phone: 265-5033, ext. 5.

"I did a drum head for Micky Dolenz of The Monkees," he notes.

But it is his oil-based landscapes that are part of the "Light, Shadow & Color" exhibition this month at River Gallery in the Bluff View Art District. The 20 or so pieces he has brought to town are scenes that can be found in this part of the country.

photo On exhibit at "Light, Shadow & Color" are glass art pieces like this one by Loy Allen.

"All of the scenes are all places I've been and not imaginary scenes," he says. "I did a show in Augusta, Ga., where I'm from and those was coastal or low country scenes.

"I have to go to that place to capture the feeling. I don't just create a field or stream or mountains."

Swanagin is a self-taught painter who says he makes artseven days a week. He had the opportunity to attend art school, but chose instead to pursue a musical career.

Also showing her work at River Gallery will be glass artist Loy Allen.

"My inspiration comes from the natural world, the hills and plains of Dakota," she says. "My natural forms are meant to be expressive without being strictly realistic. I hope my work evokes the mystery and power of nature in a feminine, celebratory voice."

Mary Portera, director of the River Gallery, says the two artists complement each other, and their works, which feature lots of color, contrast the bleak winter months.

"You also have the realism of David's work against the impressionism of Loy's works," she says. "You can also get up close with Loy's pieces to see the detail, and with David's you need to step back to take it all in."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-75-6354.