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Todd Suttles' "Tennessee Barn" is a photo of a countryside barn. His father, Bill Suttles, interpreted the scene into a pastel painting, adding his son and a dog and naming the piece for the dog, "And Moxy." (Contributed Photos)
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Todd Suttles' "Tennessee Barn" is a photo of a countryside barn. His father, Bill Suttles, interpreted the scene into a pastel painting, adding his son and a dog and naming the piece for the dog, "And Moxy." (Contributed Photos)

For most of the first 10 years of his life, Todd Suttles was fascinated by his dad's photography. Bill Suttles had been a photographer during the Korean War and had a darkroom in the family's home.

"At 10, I wanted to a be photographer," Todd remembers.

But life has a way of introducing change. Bill ended up becoming a painter, and Todd eventually owned and operated hair salons. Now 63, Todd downscaled his business and took up photography in earnest at age 55.

When his mother, Pat Suttles, a professional potter, became ill, he began spending more time at his parents' mountain home in Blairsville, Ga. When she died in 2012, the visits became even more regular and the devotion to photography increased even more. He would eventually take over marketing his father's works as well.

The two have spent hours traveling the countryside in this area, often photographing the same scenes, though the elder artist would use his pictures as inspiration for paintings.

f you go

* What: Works by Bill Suttles (pastel, oil and watercolor paintings) and Todd Suttles (photography).

* When: Through Jan. 31. Gallery open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday and by appointment.

* Where: River Gallery, 400 E. Second St.

* Phone: 423-265-5033, ext. 5.

* Website: www.river-gallery.com.

 

Works by both men are on display this month at River Gallery in the Bluff View Art District.

"This is the first time we've shown together," Todd says. "I think it's pretty cool."

Among the 30 or so pieces the two submitted are a painting and a photograph of the same image.

"It's a landscape, and it's kind of cliche, but it was a barn in the countryside," Bill says. "I think they are kind of similar in that we approached it from the same angle."

Todd remembers the light was "magnificent."

"He doesn't drive," Todd says of his father, "so we get in the car and just drive around all through the mountains and hills and shoot and take pictures. This barn had a car beside it. He painted me and my dog, who wasn't with us, into it. He called it "And Moxy,' my dog."

The younger artist says he didn't formally study under either of his parents, but he watched them work and "saw every piece either of them did."

"I think if I learned anything from him, it would be color balance and form. Those are two things I was able to absorb."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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