Alex Powers

36 Alex Powers, My Favorite Subject Is People #10, carbon pencil and pastel, 11″x60″

*taken from Alex Powers: inquiries

born 1940

death 2020

Appalachian mountains of Virginia


worked in father’s coal mines

one mine was

just above knee-high

miners worked bent over all day

which prompted me to consider

what my life’s work might be


elementary school art class

an oil painting of the tv dog lassie

taking the painting home

on the school bus

students on the bus said

how good it was

i was embarrassed

the teacher had painted most of it

art and authenticity


loved high school

played sports

very little studying

lots of fun

reverse of goethe’s faust

carefree early life and then

yearned for a more

intellectually stimulating

adult life


not ready for college

it was the opposite of high school

for me


bachelor’s degree in mathematics

i chose math because

there was less reading

math teacher

in non-graded high school

near cape kennedy

9th grade son of a cape kennedy

rocket scientist

submitted papers of mathematical

proof of a 4th dimension

of space, etc.

i didn’t understand any of it

returning his paper was

very embarrassing

i’m glad there was no

at the time


my mathematics degree led to

computer programming

at cape kennedy

there were no computer classes

in 1966

on-job-training only

i once spent 3 days looking for

an out-of-place comma

drove me to more humane

field of study – art


country boy introduced

to cultural world


jilted first love

she did introduce me to the arts


writing poetry and local classes in

ceramics, drawing, painting

painting and drawing art schools in

florida, new york,

massachusetts, connecticut


(10-foot-wide painting titled ‘an

    autobiography’ is in the



took art teaching job

at an all-black greensboro, nc

junior high school

i would ask a student or teacher to

pose after school for a portrait

propped the portrait on a table

in the teachers’ lounge

the next day

school principal thought

i possessed some kind of magic

since i could capture a likeness

myrtle beach, sc 1969

$4 charcoal portraits

on the sidewalk

4 summers

noon to midnight

7 days a week


local art teaching in my studio


biggest joys

1 self-employment

2 educating myself

3 making paintings

of what i learned



what does life offer

we are all philosophers in the way

we live our lives


I don’t want to be a cultural rube


baseball fan as entertainment

i dropped it when i first

became interested in art

thinking it was silly

later realized that i really enjoyed it

– silly or not


artist andrew wyeth


new york city art trips


i luckily had excellent art mentors

they don’t want

their names mentioned

because they generously claim

they are colleagues

rather than mentors

expanded my aesthetic with

the help of my mentors


i still remember standing in the

middle of my studio

‘i will take the prettiness out of my

paintings and see if there is any

art left’


traveling and teaching workshops

teaching just as difficult to learn

as painting

national juried exhibitions

best-of-show awards including

american watercolor society,

new york, ny, 1997

san diego watercolor society

international juried

exhibition, 2002

articles in art magazines

wrote an art book,

    painting people in watercolor:

    a design approach,

which was in print for 17 years


an artist friend mused:

‘most artists are angry early and

mellow later in life

alex is just the opposite’

i didn’t know enough of the world

when i was young

to see its fallacies


Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.