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An artist’s rebirth: Meet Guffey at Yancey’s in Nov

Guffey at work in his studio.

Jennifer Moonsong

Central Division

General Manager

Jobe Publishing, Inc.


It could be said that Cumberland County visual artist Bill Guffey has rediscovered his original passion.

As a child growing up in a rural community, there was not a lot in the way of entertainment, but young Bill soon found his niche in making art.

“I turned to drawing and painting. With no art teachers in the vicinity, I took it upon myself to learn what I could through the use of television, books, and magazines,” said Bill.

He says that Van Gogh and abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn were early influences.

At the age of 12, feeling self-assured and ready to showcase his art, he set up a booth at the local Arts and Crafts Fair.

“I found a couple of those drawings recently. They aren’t bad for a kid, but they weren’t great,” he said reminiscing.

“I can’t believe I sat up a booth to sell them.”

Perhaps though it was his naive enthusiasm and unfettered interest that kept him going, and finally, during his senior year, the high school offered its first art class.

“I was thrilled,” he said.

As a young adult, Bill sketched and painted, but much of his attention turned to discovering life outside of Kentucky, and he adventured to places far, far away.

He spent a good deal of his adulthood in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Caribbean. Eventually, he drifted back home to the Kentucky hills and settled in his home town of Burkesville with his wife.

Over the years, time devoted to art was little and he seldom picked up a brush or pen. Then eleven years ago, his wife commented on a piece of art in Hobby Lobby and just like that, Bill rekindled his childhood love of art.

“That was about a thousand paintings ago,” Bill said.

Since that time his work has not only been prolific but also diverse. His range of subject matter and styles could fill many a gallery wall and masquerade as the work of multiple artists.

Pastoral scenes, Kentucky landscapes, architectural paintings, figurative works, abstract works, and contour drawings are all included in his catalog.

When asked what Bill attributes the diversity to he replied, “I get bored easily.”

“I will go from a representative pastoral scene, straight to an abstract. But all of my paintings start out as abstract and I feel like each time I do that it brings me a little closer on the shapes and colors. My landscape start is abstract drawings and blocks of color.”

Over the past decade, in addition to being busy with painting, he has been busy with the art of inspiring others. He has taught classes, and at one point in time hosted a virtual paint-out via Facebook and a blog, which artists around the globe participated in.

For the virtual paint out he employed Google earth to go to the particular coordinates around the world to paint street scenes.

“I did that for eight or nine years straight, and I had over 7,000 submissions from as far away as Asia, Europe, and Russia,” said Bill.

He went so far as contacting Google to be certain that he and other artists do not somehow infringing on copyright laws.

As a result, a CEO bought several paintings, and they made it a rule that artists could use the App’s images without fear of backlash.

With Bill’s immense talent and time dedicated to art, one might think it’s his full-time job, but it is not. He is also the graphic designer for the Cumberland County News, and for the past two years he has been the Mayor of Burkesville.

Bill’s art has gained attention near and far, and he has been honored with awards and other accolades.

For art lovers interested in seeing his work, the opportunity is just around the corner.

Bill Guffey and a multitude of his paintings will be at Yancey’s Gastro Pub on the square in Glasgow for a gallery session/meet the artist event on Sunday, November 15 from Noon ‘til 2 pm.

Guffey’s range of work is prolific.


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