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Art Tour of Homes expands into Madison with Estes and Overcash houses

MADISON – Arts Huntsville is expanding an annual event. The “Art Tour of Homes – Western Edition” has added artistic designs in two Madison homes.

Joe and Sallie Estes and Tommy and Debbie Overcash will open their homes. The tour demonstrates ways that artwork merges with living spaces. Tour-goers can learn ways that anyone on any budget can incorporate artwork.

JOE AND SALLIE ESTES

For Joe and Sallie Estes, art is adventure. Whether looking for an exact piece or just browsing, they enjoy the sport of shopping anywhere – from a store’s gallery, quaint shops and even yard sales.

“In elementary school, we didn’t have art teachers. I wasn’t exposed to anything about art,” Sallie said. However, as an adult, she returned to school at Jacksonville State University. Her jobs have included art teacher at a private high school in Anniston.

“When I moved to Huntsville in 1967, I really got interested in art and realized I had a knack for it,” Sallie said.

CALHOUN COLORS

For the past 20 years, Sallie has visited Calhoun Community College to paint in an ‘open’ classroom. “You can paint all that you want to. There’s no teacher. People from all walks of life come to paint. It’s a lot of fun to meet new people,” she said.

“I paint from nature . . . trees and water. I use my imagination. I start my paintings in an abstract way with color. I get some color (on the canvas), and then I’ll see. I don’t copy anything; I just think it up,” Sallie said.

Sallie is experienced with watercolor as a medium. She likes to use yupo paper, slick to touch to add a ‘runny’ texture to paintings.

Joe and Sallie’s living room has two of her abstract paintings. “One is like a sunset; the other one grabs attention. I like to have a lot of dark to show the light,” she said.

About a dozen artists are represented in the Estes home. “We have a small house with just a living room, no den. We have artwork hanging everywhere,” Sallie said.

In one bedroom, Joe and Sallie placed small paintings from residents of Huntsville’s 305 Eighth St., a faith-based, non-profit organization serving adults with diverse disabilities ranging from autism to brain injury.

Joe and Sallie appreciate metal sculpture by Charlie Lucas who finds scrap metal in trash piles. The White House invited Lucas to show his handiwork.

“We have some priceless items that we love,” she said. They’re especially fond of work by the late Jerry Brown. “Jerry would look at a picture and sketch the form on a large sheet. Most of his art resembles a kaleidoscope.”

Two large pieces by Brown hang in their living room: a child and a huge pot with geranium blooms spilling over.

Joe and Sallie treasure folk artists, especially in the art community of Austin, Texas. They bought a design of a bus with people looking out of windows. “The bus was priced at $1,000. We paid $35,” she said.

LEGACY OF MOSE T

The art of the late Moses Ernest Tolliver, known as ‘Mose T,’ started after a factory accident in the 1960s. Both of Mose T’s legs were crushed. “He painted in bed and used house paint on junk wood and metal pieces. U.S. senators brought visitors to his house,” Sallie said. (invaluable.com)

In addition, Joe and Sallie are proud of paintings by their daughter, Suzanne Estes.

Sallie has worked as HAL Director and currently has a HAL booth at Lowe Mill.

TOMMY AND DEBBIE OVERCASH

Tommy and Debbie Overcash enjoy art of all kinds, especially paintings in oil and watercolor, both abstract and traditional, along with pottery.

“When we first married in 1980, my grandmother gifted us our first piece of McCarty Pottery . . . that collection has and will continue to grow, but that first piece will always be the most special. McCarty Pottery started in a mule barn in Merigold, Miss., an extraordinary story of Pup and Lee McCarty,” Debbie said.

The Overcashes also collect another Mississippi potter, Good Earth Pottery in their hometown of Starkville. Debbie collects the Mockingbird pattern, now only available through collectors.

Debbie credits her mother with nurturing a love of great style. “My mother is a very talented interior designer. Growing up (and now) my parents’ home has always been a showcase of her exquisite taste.”

Neither Debbie nor Tommy paint, but he enjoys sketching. “Twenty-five years ago, Tommy ‘sketched’ a catfish and gridded, outlined, not painted, not finished, not even close. The framed catfish is in our den,” Debbie said. “Tommy says, ‘It shows intent.’”

Q-TIP PAINTING

However, their sons – Cameron, Chandler and Mason — are quite artistic as are Tommy and Debbie’s six grandchildren. “Our eldest grandson, Weston, was raising money for a project, and I purchased a colorful fish painting he created using Q-Tips. It’s framed in the hallway,” Debbie said.

“While not an artist, I do enjoy finding creative ways of hanging and displaying art in our home and our cabin on Lake Wheeler. Of course, art at the cabin is a bit more primitive and earthy and reflects our love of the outdoors and that beautiful lake,” Debbie said.

Instead of hard-and-fast style, Tommy and Debbie are open. “If we see a piece and it speaks to us, it comes home with us. Our home is more classic, so we do tend to be drawn more toward classic pieces,” she said.

“Mixed in with classic in every room is a bit of fun. For many years, I’ve admired and collected artwork of Florence, Ala. artist Tommy Mathis. Framed pictures of family and friends are everywhere in our home; I love seeing faces of loved ones every day,” Debbie said.

“Our home is full to the brim with art that represents such a wide variety from French watercolor to family portraits, sketches, abstracts, landscapes and again, cherished pottery. Too, too many to count and dust,” she said.

A BOLL STATEMENT

Their dining room has a bookcase with a favorite piece — a framed thank-you note “from my Daddy after his retirement,” Debbie said. “It’s a fold-over card with an embossed cotton boll on the front. It’s a very special memory from a very special man; I will always treasure it.”

“Secondly, my maternal grandmother, who I dearly loved, was a wonderful cook and hostess. Not wanting to lose any recipes she knew by heart, I asked her to write them down,” Debbie said.

“She wrote many, many recipes in her beautiful cursive handwriting for me and sent a cover note, saying she hoped they made sense and I enjoyed them. That sweet note is framed above my oven; I smile every time I prepare one of her delicious recipes for family or friends,” Debbie said.

Overall, Debbie most cherishes the oil portrait of Tommy above the Rec room’s fireplace. “Painted by a very talented artist, our son Mason. Tommy’s favorite is our Boy Scout Wall in that same room. Young people work for years to achieve the rank of BSA Eagle Scout. I wasn’t prepared to stash all of Cameron, Chandler and Mason’s years of hard work away in a box in the attic.”

Debbie’s solution was a tall wall to showcase their sons’ portraits in their Eagle uniforms, merit badges in shadow boxes, Tommy’s merit badges (including Eagle) and her Daddy’s merit badges (including Eagle).

“Three generations of Eagle Scouts in our family, truly a wall of great pride. Oh, and some funky art in the middle. At Kentuck in Tuscaloosa, I found a framed Boy Scout shirt made entirely of paper mache from old Scout handbooks. It’s perfect for our Scout wall,” Debbie said.

“Tommy and I are thrilled to be included in the first annual Arts Huntsville’s Art Tour of Homes — Western Edition. We welcome old friends and new friends to our home!” Debbie said.

The Art Tour of Homes – Western Edition on Aug. 20 will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $20, available in advance online, during the event or with TicketSpice.

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