Work by Roane State alumna Darlene Parks was exhibited in the O’Brien Art Gallery at the college’s main campus. Parks earned an associate's degree in computer art and design from Roane State in 2009 while she was in her 40s
March 15, 2019
By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer
When Roane State alumna Darlene Parks sits down with pen and an assortment of colorful inks, she gets lost in her art.
It'll be hours later – as many as 13 hours can pass – before she completes her vision.
That's why for Parks, her passion for making imaginative swirls, hundreds of precise free-style, fine black strokes, and looping folds is contemplative.
It's also why her show of hand-drawn pen-and-ink creations is titled "Meditative Abstractions."
"There's a lot going on in the world that we can't control," said Parks, who obtained an associate's degree in computer art and design from Roane State in 2009 while she was in her 40s. "My artwork lets my brain relax, and the problems go away."
A reception for Parks and her creations was held March 12 in the Roane State Gallery in the O'Brien Building on the Roane State campus. The artwork will remain on display through most of March. Appointments to view the drawing can be made by contacting Professor Bryan Wilkerson, firstname.lastname@example.org or (865) 354-3000 ext. 4748.
The show is the first ever for Parks, whose creations were originally in black and white designs. She later decided to incorporate various colored inks in her artwork. "The colors make it 'pop,'" she said.
It's also the first time a Roane State alumni has had their creations showcased in the gallery, located across from the O'Brien Theatre.
Parks said the show is her initial foray into offering her art for sale other than in 2007, where her drawings were auctioned off to help pay for her trip to Paris, France, with a group of other Roane State students.
Now a home health nurse, Parks said she hopes the show "will open up some doorways" that ultimately could lead to other opportunities.
Parks said when her children were nearly grown, she was convinced to enroll in Roane State by student Stephen Brown. Attending the community college was a wonderful experience, she said.
Among the instructors she fondly remembers: Art Professors Wilkerson and Stacy Jacobs.
A Rockwood native, Parks and her husband, Lewis Hawkins, now live in Greeneville, Tenn. She said her husband has his own view of what's art: "He says if it's not by Thomas Kinkade, he doesn't like it."
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