Sylvia Follis faces her fears through art
By By Elizabeth Hall / special to the Star
July 21, 2002
For Sylvia Follis, art began as a way for her parents to keep her busy.
About 15 years later, she began taking art seriously.
When she received an oil paint kit from her husband one Christmas, she felt the need to begin taking lessons. Eventually, Follis obtained a master's degree in art from Mississippi College.
After teaching art at Lamar High School for eight years, Follis turned her garage into a studio and began teaching privately.
She also has taught classes at the Meridian Museum of Art for 16 years and is a member of the Artist Group there.
Follis enjoys working with all media and especially egg tempera, which consists of an egg yolk, vinegar and natural pigments. She uses that in iconography, one of her current passions.
She stressed that iconography has a complex theology behind it and can only be complete when the artist is willing to study the under workings.
Follis, who holds a master's in religious education in addition to her art degree, said she is up to the challenge.
She is also fond of collages. One of her own, "The Rose of Britain," recently received first place for the mixed media/collages division in the People's Choice Art Competition.
The collage consists of hundreds of rose cut-outs, which, when viewed from a distance, reveal the face of the late Princess Diana.
Though she has many artistic influences, Follis counts Rembrandt, Georgia O'Keefe, John Singer Sargent and Leonardo da Vinci as prime sources of inspiration.
And, while her style is difficult to pinpoint, she tends to be more realistic than abstract.
She also likes to make use of high contrast in her work, she said, "something really dark against something really bright."
But the bottom line, she said, is facing your demons.