Bud Ogle was one of the early Smoky Mountains settlers and founder of what is now known as Gatlinburg, TN.  Visitors can drive up the Historic Motor Nature Trail and find his cabin still standing.  Hearty settlers faced hardships and difficulties that we in our modern world are not really able to comprehend. As you look at the glow from the cabin window in the painting “Light From the Past” by Mark Keathley you can imagine the hardships of a family eking out a living from the rocky soil and trying to keep warm by burning wood that was cut off the land.

Mark Keathley was born in 1963 and grew up on the family cattle farm in East Texas. He loved romping through the woods and across open fields. He spent most of his spare time outside chasing lizards, and trying to catch that illusive grand-daddy largemouth bass. It was here in this environment, where he first spied his mother's oil painting box in the attic of his country home. He had drawn pictures voraciously since age five, but the paints offered a new challenge that he thought he was up for at age eleven. He struggled at first but didn’t give up. He continued trying and as a teen often painted well into the night. He later attended a small one man show put on for a friend in his college art class and saw, for the first time, someone selling artwork.

That was all it took. His interest in painting and determination to learn more, kept him busy twelve to fourteen hours a day, six days a week, and within a year found that many folks were beginning to collect his work. "You're so young!" they would say, for he was twenty or so, and his career had begun. Mark has won several awards for his paintings and his paintings hang in many homes around the world. He has been recognized for his work related to the conservation of wild life and preserving the heritage of hunting.

Mark once said “I want my paintings to inspire people to be still, to listen to that quiet voice, and then rise up assured that they are a part of something bigger than their schedule." Mark's paintings do just that. He is able to capture that perfect moment that you might experience on a hike through the mountains when a majestic elk appeared. Mark’s paintings encourage us to understand and trust that we are an important part of and have responsibilities within our environment. Mark’s life story is inspirational because he experienced and overcame disappointment by hard work and study so that he could express himself in a very meaningful and powerful way through his art.

The above narrative is based on information found at http://www.infinityfineart.com/MarkKeathleyBiography.php

I make no claim to be at the same artistic skill and quality level as Mr. Keathley but I’ve included a photo below of his painting on the left and one of mine on the right. I hope the side by side paintings show the influence he and others have had on my efforts.