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Other side of the white coat artistic

Dr. Burgess Mauldin submitted three paintings to the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit, all inspired from places she has been before. The exhibit is open at the Albany Museum of Art through Dec. 30.

Dr. Burgess Mauldin submitted three paintings to the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit, all inspired from places she has been before. The exhibit is open at the Albany Museum of Art through Dec. 30.

ALBANY, Ga. — Being a physician, Dr. Burgess Mauldin does not have a lot of spare time on her hands. But the time she does have to herself is put to good use.

Mauldin, who recently submitted some of her works to the Albany Museum of Art as part of the “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit, has maintained art as a hobby from childhood — having drawings from as far back as the second grade.

She’s even working on a painting now.

“I enjoy the act of painting. It is very relaxing,” she said. “I’ve always been a drawer, even when I was little.”

She submitted three paintings for the exhibit, all of them inspired by places she’s been.

“Each picture is somewhere I’ve been before,” Mauldin said. “The most interesting was a view from my sister’s house in the Caribbean. For that, I took a photo of it and painted it.”

One of the other scenes was of a set of canoes on a river in Dominica, which is where she went to medical school.

“They have 365 rivers there, one for every day of the year,” Mauldin said. “Canoes are really big in that area.”

The other painting is of a running trail in West Virginia, which is where her she did her internship.

Mauldin uses various media ranging from oil pastels to charcoal to watercolors for the purpose of capturing outdoor scenes she comes across in nature.

An art exhibit that includes works from physicians ought to be an eye-opening experience for the public, effectively adding a different perspective of the person in the white coat, she added.

“I think it’s interesting to see a person’s other side,” Maudlin said. “It makes you know people better.”

Dr. Jefferson Davis, a plastic surgeon, is of a similar mindset. Some of his works have been inspired by a few experiences from his childhood in North Carolina.

That’s something that can be seen not only from his submissions to the exhibit, but also throughout his office building — which displays such works as a painting of his grandfather’s farm that he created from memory.

The three watercolor paintings he submitted, of shells and a crab, were the result of experimentation with different techniques.

“A lot of the pictures I have done are because of a creative urge,” Davis said.

Like the other physicians involved with the exhibit, he decided to participate after receiving a call from Lacy Lee, co-chair of the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Centennial Committee.

His reasoning to agree to it was similar to Mauldin’s.

“The concept of featuring physicians as multifaceted is probably beneficial to the public,” Davis said. “It’s something they might not know about their doctor.

“Physicians come from different backgrounds, but people tend to think of them as a white coat with no artistic talents.”

Born in Elizabeth City, N.C., Davis has roots in Southwest Georgia through his maternal bloodline. His father had family in the Outer Banks area.

There, the Davises had a family home on one of the area’s barrier islands. “Before the coastal development, that’s where I spent most of my time,” he said.

Consequently, he was exposed to some aspects of marine life — and had an aunt who taught him a lot of what he knows about what lies under the sea, particularly shells.

One day not long after a hurricane, he found two different kinds of shells on different areas of the beach. He collected them, and painted them from the actual specimens — which are now kept in his office.

Aside from the natural beauty of things, and parents who were supportive of his hobby — who did what they could to provide whatever art supplies they found — there are other things that have fueled his interest in art, such as poetry.

“Visual art is very much like poetry, it invokes an emotional response,” Davis said. “My hope is that (my works in the exhibit) elicit a similar response, and remind people of happy times at the beach.

“That’s why I like art. Paintings invoke that kind of response.”

The urge to create something, at least in Davis’ case, is often spontaneous and comes out of what he calls “appreciation for God’s handiwork.”

While he uses a number of different techniques, watercolor seems to be the one Davis relates to most.

“When you are painting with oils, you can overpaint — but with watercolors, you can’t take it back,” he explained. “It’s very much like surgery. When you choose to make an incision, you can’t reconsider it once it’s done.

“It requires forethought.”

Davis got into oil paintings in his early teen years, switching to watercolor during his surgery residency.

“I prefer watercolor because it is portable,” he said. “I can paint in the field, and it can be done quickly and in a small space.

“I can get it out quickly and put it away quickly. I also like it because of the richness of the pigments.”

Beyond the joy of doing it, and the fact that it pleases the people seeing it, a creative urge should be the primary motivator for creating art, Davis said.

“In everyone, there is a creative urge,” he said. “God is a creative God, and He created us in an image. That means we can be creative. It glorifies God, and brings joy to someone’s life. That is the most important point to me.”

“It’s interesting to see that urge in children. My mother captured that, and I am grateful to her for seeing it. Those sparks can really grow into something.”

The “Art of Health and Healing” exhibit is open through Dec. 30.