Johnson County’s Jim Ford is the greatest Kentucky songwriter you’ve probably never heard of; injured animals get their best chance for recovery at Second Chances Wildlife Center in Bullitt County, and Centre College’s Sheldon Tapley paints luminous landscapes and still lifes.
Songwriter Jim Ford
“He wrote straight-up country songs. He wrote straight-up soul songs that other people could cover. But his own stuff was really a combination of all those things.”
That’s how writer Travis Kitchens describes Jim Ford, a native of Johnson County, Kentucky, who was a uniquely talented songwriter of the 1960s and 70s.
“He was sort of an outsider artist,” says Kitchens. “He had an idea of what his music should sound like, and he never moved from that.”
Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
In Bullitt County, wild animals ranging from baby squirrels to armadillos find care and kindness at Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
“We take in injured and orphaned wildlife that’s native to Kentucky,” says founder and director Brigette Brouillard. “Our goal is always to try to release them out into the wild and those that are not quite healthy enough to survive become our education ambassadors.”
Artist Sheldon Tapley
For Danville-based artist Sheldon Tapley, the landscapes around his Kentucky home are as inspiring as anywhere in the world.
“When I moved to Danville in 1983, I had just come here from graduate school to start teaching at Centre College and landscape art was something that I really wanted to pursue,” says Tapley. “I couldn’t have come to a better place than Kentucky, and being in Danville it was very easy to get out into the countryside and to resume my work as a landscapist. The lushness, the rolling hills, the marvelous skies, reinforce for me the importance of the motifs I was finding when I went out to paint.”
Tapley says that by painting Kentucky’s landscape, he feels like he’s truly lived in the region.
“One of the things about not working directly from a photograph is that my sense of color, my imagination, which includes my inventiveness with color, can come into play more freely than if I’m simply working from a photographic reference,” he says.
In addition to landscapes, Tapley paints still life.
“I was looking at still life and I wanted to find the stories, the implicit connections, conjunctions that people would find when they looked at them,” he says. “And we use objects in ways that are part of modern life. And everything we use connects to the human body and the human story.
“Everywhere you look, there’s a gathering of objects, and they say something about the people that made them,” he adds. “All I can really do is make a painting as best I can, so that the feeling, the structure, the thought that goes into it, offer something substantial, I hope.”