Though he’s always loved to draw, Greg Paulson never wanted to be a “starving artist.” That’s why he went to culinary school. Now, the program director and instructor of culinary arts at Georgia Northwestern Technical College will share the results of his life-long hobby with the community at his first-ever art show. On October 26 from 3 to 6 p.m., visitors to Farrell’s Frame and Design will be able to see 30 of Paulson’s pencil drawings on display, as well as purchase prints and enjoy hors d’oeuvres prepared by the artist himself.

The 30 pieces on display at Paulson’s show form three separate series. The first, “Parliament of Wisdom,” features 10 drawings of owls, each 12 inches by 12 inches. “Big Cats, Little Cats” includes 10 more 12-by-12 drawings, this time of various cats such as a panther, a leopard, and a tiger. The final and most recent set, “Endangered,” includes 10 drawings in a variety of sizes, each featuring an endangered species. He chose these animal subjects because he saw the potential to capture a range of emotions and contrast in his drawings.

"You look at a dinner plate the same as you would a canvas or drawing paper.” – Greg Paulson

Graphite pencil allows Paulson to display the depth and underlying emotion of his subjects, details which he says color distracts from. He has dabbled in several mediums, but his favorite is pencil drawing. 

“I like the cleanliness,” he says. “When I use a pencil, versus painting and oils, I think I have more control. I like the black and white and the variety of tones, going from the deepest, richest blacks to the lightest of grays.”

Paulson says he got back into drawing about five years ago as a retirement project. He has always liked to draw, and though he took some classes in high school, he is primarily a self-taught artist. He researches and reads up on the craft to continue learning more, but says that the process of doing it over and over is really the best way to improve.

Chef Greg Paulson

Some of the artists Paulson admires show immense attention to detail in their work, a quality for which Paulson strives. He aspires to create works like those of American artist Chuck Close and German artist Dirk Dzimirsky, both of whom create works described as photorealist or even hyperrealist.

Paulson may not be a professional artist, but he sees a lot of similarities between visual art and his work as a chef.

“You look at a dinner plate the same as you would a canvas or drawing paper,” Paulson says. “It deals with balance, positive and negative space, balance of colors, and composition.”

Thinking about his upcoming art show, Paulson says he is very excited and a little nervous.

“I’m really looking forward to doing the art expo because… I don’t think 90 percent of the people who know me know that I even draw,” Paulson says. “It’ll be nice to kind of show that off and see what people think.”

As for the future of his artistic endeavors, Paulson hopes to continue drawing and perhaps do another show in the future. His favorite subjects in high school were rock and roll musicians, and he hopes to do a series of drawings representing members of British Invasion bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and The Who.