As a teenager growing up in Chattanooga during the 1960s, Frank Edwards dreamed of becoming a professional artist.
He thrived in his high school art classes, won top prizes in art shows and even sold his first few paintings. He further pursued his passion in college at Tennessee Tech University, serving as the artist for English department’s literary magazine, Homespun.
“I loved it, but I soon realized you can’t make much of a living as an artist,” said Edwards, who now lives in Gallatin. Edward’s career path changed course when he joined the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer in 1967. He spent the last 20 years of his service as an Army psychologist after receiving his Ph.D from the University of Georgia. In all, he spent nearly 28 years in the military, retiring with the rank of colonel in 1994.
Though he occasionally picked up a brush, his art was on hold for much of his military career, Edwards said.
“It was always something that I found relaxing – good for the blood pressure. I could always lose myself for hours and hours while painting.”
Edwards jumped back in after retirement, taking lessons from local artists Jill Baker and Frank Gee.
Edwards paints primarily with oils but has done work with acrylics and water colors. His pieces most often depict scenes with people he has met or places he traveled to with his wife, Joyce.
“I think art should say something new to you every day,” Edwards said. “It’s a great thing to me when someone likes something I’ve painted enough to hang in their house; It’s such an honor.”
When he’s not painting, Edwards continues a part-time practice as a consulting psychologist in Nashville. He serves as a lay Eucharistic minister at Our Saviour Episcopal Church in Gallatin, and previously served as president of the Tennessee Psychological Association and Sumner Chapter, Military Officers Association.
His work is on display at Worthington Galleries, 1181 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.