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Wildlife artist James “Jay” Perkins stands beside his original oil painting of a red fox in a snow-covered scene on display in the art exhibit.

Landscape artist David Coffey is exhibiting this oil and acrylic painting of Mill Springs, as seen in the 1930s, called “Below the Mill,” in the art exhibit.

View more than 40 oil and acrylic paintings in the exhibit

The Center for Rural Development’s newest visual art exhibit features a collection of wildlife and landscape paintings from two Wayne County artists.

The exhibit includes more than 40 oil and acrylic paintings from wildlife artist James “Jay” Perkins and landscape artist David Coffey. Both are self-taught artists and the best of friends.

Perkins, a native of McCreary County and now living in Monticello, has been painting since the age of 3. Coffey, who lives in the Frazer community of Wayne County, started painting landscapes about 10-12 years ago.

Some of their favorite pieces of art are on display in the lobby outside the North and South Exhibit Halls and on the second floor of The Center.

“We are excited to have Jay and David as our featured artists and to display their work at The Center,” said Laura Glover, Managing Director of Marketing and Events. “They both paint with passion and creativity and a deep love for nature and wildlife.”

Art exhibit hours 

The exhibit is free and will be on display through March 31. The public is invited to stop by The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset, to view the exhibit from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during extended evening and weekend hours when the facility is open for events.

All paintings are available for sale upon request 

If interested in purchasing one of the paintings in the exhibit, please call Debra Hines at 606-677-6000.

Perkins’ oil painting of a red fox squirrel

Meet wildlife artist James “Jay” Perkins

Perkins typically spends hours, and in some cases months, on a single oil painting perfecting every detail, down to the last leaf or grain of sand, and making sure the wildlife captured in his work is portrayed in its natural habitat.

“When I paint wildlife, the whole world is my canvas,” said Perkins. “I strive for accuracy and details in each of my paintings.”

However, he admits his work cannot compete with the Master’s creation, “No one’s art can compare to His. All work is simply a very feeble attempt to portray what God has already created.”

Perkins’ oil painting of a tiger swallowtail butterfly, on display in the exhibit, is an example of his attention to details. He painstakingly painted each grain of sand in the painting, which took three months to complete.

Coffey’s oil and acrylic painting of the historic Brown-Lanier House in Monticello

Meet landscape artist David Coffey

Coffey prefers to paint a piece of art usually in a single setting, often drawing on his emotion at the time to influence his work.

“I have always felt a painting is like a photograph only done by hand,” said Coffey. “With either a paintbrush or camera lens, the artist is making the same feeble effort to capture God’s mastery that surrounds us.”

Coffey is exhibiting an oil and acrylic painting of the historic Mill Springs, as seen in the 1930s, and a complementary piece of the historic Brown-Lanier House in Monticello. Other pieces in the exhibit include landscapes in Pulaski County and throughout the Bluegrass.

Both Perkins and Coffey have exhibited at art shows in and outside Kentucky and are juried members of the Little Mountain Guild of Artists and Craftsmen in Monticello, Sheltowee Artisans, and Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.