"These are the days we will remember in the dark afternoons of December, inching our way home to the beat of windshield wipers," writes Gallatin resident Bill Puryear in an essay on September, in his new book, An Artist's Almanac.
Puryear's fifth book has received immediate acclaim by those who have followed his online blog for many years and those who are familiar with his paintings and watercolors. He has expanded his discussions, organized around seasonal themes, to include topics such as the artist's reverence for light, the mysteries and beauty of the Middle Tennessee landscape even in its harshest moments, and the interactions of man and nature over generations.
Puryear describes the theme of his book: "This is a love story, about my love for Middle Tennessee." The book is a hardcover, full-color edition, with 288 pages that include paintings and photographs by the author and others he has selected to illustrate the various themes from the text. Photographs by local photographers Allen Haynes, of Castalian Springs and Rick Murray, of Hendersonville are also featured.
"The essays are various," Puryear said, "and tend to cluster around art and the environment, as the title suggests. Yet the widely varied contents, arranged as a series of monthly articles, deal also with time, tornadoes, pioneer trails, celebrations, vacations, sleep, roses, fields of corn, and General Patrick Cleburne at Franklin. Faith, beauty, love, and family create the canvas underlying all of these essays."
In addition to being an author and painter, Puryear is a veteran of the Korean War and retired recently as a successful businessman, having also become an entrepreneur, educator, philanthropist, and poet. His community service includes many years as Chairman of the Memorial Foundation, headquartered in Hendersonville; as one of the founders of three schools in Sumner County, Pope John Paul II, Saint John Vianney Catholic School, and Sumner Academy; and as an officer and /or member of the board of several civic, educational, and professional organizations.
He and friend Jack Masters co-authored a three-volume trilogy about the Cumberland Settlements of Middle Tennessee. The first volume, The Founding of the Cumberland Settlements, was awarded the Book of the Year by the Tennessee Historical Commission and has become, as each volume in the trilogy, a much-sought-after collector's item in the secondary book market.
Puryear's fourth nonfiction book, also completed and published within the last year, is a tribute to a love that endured the complexities of separation, including his overseas service in the Korean War. What began as a teenage romance with Claudia Owen of West Tennessee, after several years of separation grew into a marriage that lasted for more than sixty years. The primary text of the book is a collection of his letters to his love and future bride and is appropriately entitled Letters to Claudia. Highly personal and reflective, this book provides an intimate insight into a generation that came into maturity soon after World War II, but who themselves had to fight their own war.
For more information about Puryear's books and paintings, visit BillPuryear.com.