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For one Jonesborough artist, her love of nature is really TAKING ROOT

As a child, Jonesborough artist Peggy Root wanted to be a forest ranger or park naturalist. But she quickly discovered her passion wasn’t in talking about the natural world — it was in painting it.
Root grew up in South Florida, so when the opportunity to attend the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota came her way, she went, but she didn’t take it seriously at first.
“I come from an artistic family. My father is a painter,” Root said. “I didn’t want to follow his profession, but when I got in school and began to work in the various mediums, it felt right to me.”
Root is conscious of the place she is painting, especially since some of those places are hard to reach, very cold and sometimes rugged. But during successive two-hour sessions, that place begins to take shape under her brush, almost as a meditation, and she works quickly to capture the light and the experience of a moment on her canvas.
“I have always painted outside,” Root said. “I can’t get enough of being out with nature. Every day it is so different, and I want the viewer of my paintings to relate to the mood of what I have seen.”
When Root is working outside, she said she is constantly thinking about “the artistic elements of what I am committing to the canvas.”
“Those things are very specific, but if I am painting a Beech tree, the shape of that tree should reflect its natural form as well as what my eye sees,” she said.
Root has spent the past 30 years painting the landscape of the Eastern United States. Her artwork hangs in museums, businesses and homes all over America. For the last 17 years, she and her husband, artist Tom Root, have lived and painted in Jonesborough.
One of their collaborative efforts is the mural of Historic Jonesborough that hangs at the Historic Visitors Center.
“When I was pregnant with my son, my husband Tom and I painted the mural behind the counter,” she said. “He did the technical drawing and perspective, and when he was done, I filled it in. Together, we added the details that give it the special feeling that is Jonesborough.”
Peggy Root’s paintings of Jonesborough and the area surrounding including Telford, and Bowmanton/Leesburg, are on exhibit at the Johnson City Area Arts Council Gallery through Feb. 26. At Home, as the exhibit is called, represents some of Root’s ongoing experiments in open-air painting and showcases her ability to work in oil directly from life on location.
“The paintings represent my daily wanderings in and around our beautiful region,” Root said. “I am blessed to be able do this work. It is my refuge.”
Root will give a talk on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at the JC Area Arts Council gallery, which is located at 300 E. Main Street in downtown Johnson City. There, she will discuss the works on display and show additional pieces from her collections.
Her work can also be viewed online at
For more information, contact the JC Area Arts Council at (423) 928-9229 or visit its website at