BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. – Linda Johnson knew there could be no better
welcome gift to the new Blue Mountain College president than a painting
by Bill Dowdy, the school’s long-time art professor.
wasn’t sure what the subject matter should be, so she left that decision
entirely to Dowdy and Dr. Barbara Childers McMillin, who in August
became BMC’s eighth president. After a conversation with the president
the professor went to work.
“This is just incredible,” Johnson, a
BMC alumna, said at the recent unveiling of the acrylic painting
portraying a trio of brilliantly white magnolia blossoms in full bloom
on a limb thick with deep green leaves.
Dr. McMillin agreed.
“This is really beautiful,” she said. “It is very special when you
consider the subject matter and the artist. Bill Dowdy is a wonderful
artist, and Larry and I are honored to have one of his paintings in our
home. I hope it’s the first of many.”
Johnson, a member of the BMC
Board of Trustees and past president of its alumni association, said
she knew she wanted a Dowdy painting but she wanted it to be
personal. “When James (her husband) and I were talking about
what to do, we just decided to commission Bill and let the two of them
work it out. I knew he would do a good job, and this is beautiful.”
The Johnsons have several pieces of Dowdy’s work in their home in Germantown, Tenn.
is an excellent artist with any subject matter in just about any
medium,” she said. “What better way to welcome the new president than
with a piece of artwork by Bill Dowdy?”
The painting is also
symbolic. Eight of the magnolia trees on the BMC campus are designated
as “presidential magnolias,” with plaques naming each one. McMillin’s
was planted in November.