Hope’s work includes several thought-provoking series, each incorporating a variety of media, processes, and techniques and each distinctive in its own right. On any given day you might find the smell of melted wax permeating her studio, while she is working on an encaustic painting, or you may see her sitting at a table meticulously cutting paper for one of her works in the “Alternate Endings” series. You might even see Hope in the yard ankle deep in a baby pool as she gains inspiration for her “Waterscapes” series. When not in the act of creating you will most likely find her engrossed in the research of symbols and stories. Her work, whether concrete, traditional, abstract or psychological, includes broad symbolism, memories, stories, and mythology that she finds relevant.
Declining several science scholarships from prominent northeastern schools, Hope chose to follow her passion for visual art. She attended Huntingdon College and earned her undergraduate degree in fine art form Auburn University at Montgomery. Shortly thereafter, she joined the faculty of a local college preparatory school. Although she intended to teach for only one year, her commitment to teaching art, in the school system, mushroomed into a 21-year experience. During that time, she obtained a Masters of Education Degree with an emphasis in art from Troy University, became a wife, raised a daughter, and developed her career as a nationally recognized artist. Throughout her career as a working artist, she has curated shows, presented workshops, lectured, and taught students of all ages, ranging from kindergarten through adults. She has been represented by several galleries and has participated in both solo and group exhibitions. Hope has also been honored with national, state, and local awards and has been featured in a number of collections and publications.
Although the majority of Hope’s creations may be abstract in nature, her love of the southern landscape is more than apparent in some of her more traditional works. Having grown up along the banks of the Coosa River in Wetumpka, Alabama, a former Creek Indian village, once filled with British soldiers and French traders, Hope attributes much of her creativity and sense of freedom to the history and folklore she was exposed to as a child.
While growing up, she also learned about the practical side of creating through the adults in her life. Along side her parents, she learned the fine art of weeding their lush vegetable and flower gardens and how to create beautiful and tasty jars of canned vegetables. Evident in some of her work, is her knowledge and love of sewing and quilt making, gained as a child. However, left to her own devices, many steamy summer days were full of adventures exploring the mysteries of nature in rocks, leaves, and giant sponge beds of moss while wading in the creek. Other favorite pastimes included, sketching birds and building architectural wonders such as, miniature stone houses, earth shelters for frogs, and giant fortresses cut from bamboo thickets.
One of Hope’s passionate hobbies, gardening, is apparent when you visit her 1906 bungalow she shares with her husband Jimmy. Over the years they have renovated and updated their downtown Wetumpka home, which was on occasion visited by President Dwight Eisenhower while on fishing excursions with Lonnie Palmer on the Coosa River. If you are lucky enough to visit on a day when her husband Jimmy is grilling, you might be treated to his famous LBJ ribs, a favorite Texan recipe of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. ■