Beth Meadows


Self-Rising Opening this Friday

Beth MeadowsComment

This Friday is the opening of Self-Rising, an exhibition of paintings by Sarah McFalls inspired by vintage flour sacks, originally created for The International Biscuit Festival (IBF). The opening will be from 5-7pm at the With Bear Hands Gallery located at Magpies, 846 N Central St in Knoxville. The show will last through the end of April.

I've known Sarah for several years now and have admired her work even longer. She typically makes more conceptual work, but she humored the IBF Art Committee, which I serve on, when we asked her to create paintings with a biscuit theme for the festival.

Sarah is the Collections Manager at the University of Tennessee's Ewing Gallery, which also means she does a great deal to put on the shows at UT's Downtown Gallery on Gay Street. And when I say a "great deal," that's an understatement. That crew works like crazy to put those exhibitions on, mentally and physically. Please shake their hands and thank them frequently.

Sarah and I have been studiomates at 17th Street Studios as well as the Salvage Shop. We both share a deep affinity for cats. Most importantly, we are both from Memphis, which means she probably knows me better than most people in Knoxville by default, considering I've been displaced from there for so long. I do love Knoxville (I willingly chose to reside here after all), but Memphis is forever my home. It's got a soul and grit like no other city in Tennessee, and I miss it a lot if I think too much about it, which I try not to. I'm thankful to know that Sarah knows how I feel about this without having to explain it.

Just so you know, the With Bear Hands Gallery is a space that Peg, the owner of Magpies has generously given to me as a token of her support. I'm beginning to feature some of my favorite artists there every three months. My hope is to have one First Friday opening there with each artist and to eventually showcase multiple artists at a time. It would be a tiny step toward having a space dedicated to some artists that don't really have a gallery setting at the moment in Knoxville that fits them too well, myself included.

I always have artwork there, as well as a vast array of fine art prints of my work. Right now, I have the Cats and Tennessee Wooden Cut Outs and the Dusk Love screenprint series featured there. I am also using the space to showcase a lot of older work, to help clear out my studio in what I have been calling the WBH Studio Purge

I hope you'll come out this First Friday for free cupcakes, to meet Sarah and me, to buy some work OR you can visit the Gallery anytime Magpies is open. Their hours are:

Sunday    Closed
Monday    10AM–4PM
Tuesday    10AM–5:30PM

Wednesday    10AM–5:30PM
Thursday    10AM–5:30PM
Friday    10AM–5:30PM
Saturday    10AM–4PM

All artwork may be purchased at the Magpies sales counter and on First Friday, you can find me or the featured artist if you need assistance.

Please let me know if you ever have any questions about the work there. You can contact me through this site or at

See you Friday!

About the Painting: Their Sadness Overwhelmed Them

Beth MeadowsComment

Title: Their Sadness Overwhelmed Them

Dimensions: 34 x 28"

Medium: acrylic, varnish, and food packaging collaged on canvas

Artist: (Me!) Beth Meadows

Painted In: I started this painting several years ago (maybe 2010??) and completed it this year, at the beginning of July.

Influences (Below is a window to my often hidden soul. Be warned.) and Process:

  • There was a time I was pretty sad. So most of my 20s, and before then, as a child up until high school... so, a long time. After college, almost every day for at least two years, I'd cry- at home, at work, in my car, and all other places in between. It was exhausting, terrible, addictive, and in moments of clarity, baffling and- not funny haha- but funny how I couldn't find my way out of it when I was in it. A few years out of the worst of it, I decided to make a painting that mocked depression's stupidity, and that painting is this painting. 
  • The space is based on the kitchen in my studio apartment in Maplehurst, the charming neighborhood in Knoxville I lived in right after college. (You could see the Sunsphere from the kitchen window.) It really was a magical place, full of musicians and free-spirited people. We all lived frugally but were creative enough to have a lot of fun adventures. Magical, chaotic, irresponsible- good words to describe that time. (Sidenote: If I had known how badly being irresponsible suited me, I would have known this was such a large part of my discontentment. But it took me ten more years to figure that one out, like only a month ago did I realize this. I bought (and maybe sometimes still buy) into the inaccurate theory that being an artist means living a care-free, chaotic, tethered to nothing life, but I've learned I am much more content being a responsible human being, a twist to my life I didn't expect nor have easily accepted.)
  • The cat: So you may have heard. I have a cat named Juicy, and she came with this very apartment in Maplehurst. No lie. The girl I sublet from left her there so I could have her. While I was not in great mental shape at this time, it was during those two years I started down the long road to recovery, and it was Juicy that first helped me. Well, God, and then Juicy. I have, and seriously had back then, a difficult time accepting love from others into my life, which I believe is the cause of a lot of my pain and searching. My sadness was too unbearable at that time, so I left Juicy for five weeks to go to L'abri in Switzerland to see if my depression could be dealt with there (It was and I love that place for this reason). I don't know if it was God, but what may have been God, told me to return to Knoxville and "Accept All Amounts of Real Love" specifically, let that cat's love into my life. And so it was Juicy's presence that started me down a better path. I was still terribly sad, but when I'd come home to that cat rolling and meowing in dirt at the sight of me, I'd pick up her soft fleshy body and relish in all of her warmth and purring love. It's a vulnerable thing to admit, but it is the reason I painted this, and it's the reason I love that little angel cat dearly.
  • At the not great advice of a peer who critiqued the painting many years ago, I got stuck on how to complete it, so I didn't touch it for several years. I also realized it had a striking and unintentional "Alice in Wonderland" quality, which also caused me to hesitate. In the end, I just embraced that quality. I watched that movie a lot when I was younger, so it was bound to show up sooner or later.
  • 2016 starts. This year has been a little nuts in terms of transition. I cancelled my one art show scheduled. A week later, Sarah, the former manager at Old City Java, asked if I would hang artwork there within two weeks. I said yes because I like OCJ but knew I had to complete some unfinished work in order to have enough to show. So I picked up this panting again.
  • I refined the girl and added in more objects swirling around. I added the food packaging as a shout out to the series I created in 2014 of supermodels with food packaging as their clothing. I am currently making another similar series.
  • I also went ahead with my original plan- the one I previously got stuck on- to tint varnish blue and paint over the acrylic to insinuate water. I wasn't sure how it would work, but it went over pretty smoothly.
  • The tears were the last touch and my favorite thing about this painting! When I was a kid, my family went to the circus. We were pretty far away from the circular stage but still able to see this one clown's tears shooting from his eyes when he'd get hurt. I loved it so much!! I added these in to talk about how ridiculous depression is, like drowning and no one can throw you a life line. Except for maybe the sweetest and most empathetic cat, loving you one day at a time. 

It is for sale, and you can find it by clicking Shop above. 


Sweet Treats: About

Beth MeadowsComment

Early this year, I began making wooden cut-outs of cats inspired by my much beloved cat Juicy. These cats were an extension of the mason jar artwork I've been creating for several years now. Both share a folk art style and are painted or printed on wood. These qualities come from my deep interest in East Tennessee craft and an affinity toward painted wooden toys and signs found in the South.

This past July, I created a series of 15 cats that were displayed together salon-style at Old City Java. Sweet Treats is a more systematic approach of that same idea which incorporates pattern, color, and negative space and allows each piece to work together as a whole. It also was a way to introduce food into this series, a subject I hope to continue. 

Other inspirations for this piece include textile patterns found in women's fashion. 

Sweet Treats is currently for sale as a whole until December 1 at a 25% discount. After December 1, each piece may be purchased separately.

Sweet Treats: Opening Reception Nov 7

Beth MeadowsComment

At the moment, I'm busy making work for this show. It's a spin off of the cats cut out of wood I hung at Old City Java in July. A re-mix, if you will. 

Please stop by during the opening on First Friday. I'll be doing a stamp carving demo and will have mason jar and fine art prints available for sale.

If you can't make it November 7, stop by later in November during regular business hours. Sweet Treats will be up until December 1.