A working man’s artist

artists 002By Michael Williams

When Dan Arwood retired from his job 12 years ago, his children encouraged him to take up a hobby. Little did they realize the hobby he picked up would become a passion that would reap profits while making a contribution to the world of art.

Arwood could be classified as the working man’s artist. Unlike other artists that sell their works in their own private galleries and shops,  Arwood sells his paintings at the Dunn’s Market Flea Market. Without the overhead of maintaining a gallery, Arwood can sell his work at prices most can afford. Many of his paintings are priced between $40 to $100. His strategy for marketing his work has proven successful.

“I am different from most folks,” said Arwood. “I believe God gives us talents to share and if you are going to share your talent, then why not share it with everybody which includes middle income folks to people with a lot of money. I believe everybody should have a painting in their house and they should be able to afford it. It worked well for me. I have eight stores in Pigeon Forge that sells my paintings. I sell them as fast as I can create them.

Originally from Dyer, Tennessee,  Arwood moved to Sevierville in 1980. He began painting as a child but never got serious about his work until after he retired from Sevier Fire and Safety. For the past 38 years he sang with several local gospel groups including the Foothills Quartet in Maryville and the Good News Quartet in Sevierville in which he sand as lead singer for nine years.

Inspired by Robert Tino, Thomas Kincaid and Bob Ross, Arwood paints cabins and landscapes. His most popular works depict the homes of John Oliver and his son Elijah Oliver who were among the first settlers in Cades Cove. John Oliver worked as the post man in Cades Cove carrying mail along the route on horseback.

Arwood’s paintings depict a bucolic setting of cabins nestled in the Smokies. He frames his work with handmade frames made from old barn wood or drift wood which lends a rustic quality to his work. His most popular pieces are framed with second cut wood which is flat on both sides. Using a scroll saw he cuts out the center of the board and mounts his painting on the frame.

It was cherished childhood memories that inspired the subjects of his art. One particular painting depicts the home of his grandmother with great detail. Arwood went as far as painting the mud puddles in the yards and the reflections of the home in the puddles.

“I like to paint paintings of scenes that takes me back like my grandmother’s house,” said Arwood. “When I painted her home several of my relatives asked me to paint one for them as well.

Another painting depicts a cabin with snow billowing from the chimney set against a back drop of the snow-capped mountains. The painting is the first established Church of God which formed in 1896 in Cherokee County N.C.  The church began with six people and eventually grew to include millions of parishioners worldwide.

The rustic design of his work has made his work popular with local cabin owners who frequently buy his works to accentuate the backwoods décor of the homes.

The demand for Arwood’s work has been significant among area residents and tourists. Fortunately, Arwood’s speed and precision and dedication to his craft has enabled him to keep pace with demand.

“When most people are asleep I am painting,” said Arwood. “That’s the best time to paint. I can complete a painting in two hours.”

Arwood and his wife Carolyn have six children one of which serves as pastor at the Family Chapel Church in Sevierville. Arwood displays his work at Dunn’s Market Flea Market. For more information about his work call 865-719-7858.

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