Lining the walls of my parents’ house are paintings by my great grandfather, Gayle J. Surface. He was a local artist that had, and still has, a good following throughout Appalachia. His early work was very romantic, of seaports and lush pastel landscapes, but later he found his voice in primitive and stylized Appalachian scenes with his unique aesthetic. This piece is one of those later works. It is a self-portrait with a dog. I can remember visiting his home when I was a kid. He would always have on an unfurled hairpiece with a stub-nosed revolver within arms reach. He was a great, fascinating man with whom I wish I could have had more time.

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