Speck, a local educator and leader of musical initiatives in the Dyer County community, is also an award-winning artist. His current exhibit features watercolors never before shown together in Dyersburg. While the locations are taken from photographs from Speck's own travels, the finished paintings feature a universal theme that sparks personal memories for each individual.
"These are all places that I have been," said Speck. "They are all a real location, but the thing is, they could each be anywhere. Somebody can look at it and relate it to something they (remember). They are not really as much a location as an idea. The portraits are the same way. I was not interested in making it look like somebody. It is more about what they are doing."
Nine watercolor paintings, framed with white mats and black frames, cover the back wall of the library. The simple frames allow the painting to take center stage. Speck's technique and attention to detail pull the audience into the work.
"I dabbled a little growing up," said Speck, who seriously considered an art major in college before choosing to follow his love of music. "It was a toss-up between art and music and the music won out. I started this 'for real' in the late '80s. I had a friend who did watercolors and we went camping with my wife's family and we did some paintings together. (My wife), Nancy gave me a set of watercolors for Christmas and I was hooked."
Speck excelled in this new passion, winning awards in juried competitions throughout the region and earning a spot in the 1999 publication "Best of Watercolor, Volume 3. Shedding a Little Light on the Subject."
His work has been featured in one-man exhibits from Dyersburg to Starkville, Miss. and from Jackson, Tenn. to Blytheville, Ark.
"We are delighted that he agreed to do this," said McIver's Grant Public Library Board member Penny Hearn Law. "(The paintings) are so indicative of our area -- except for the ones from Hilton Head, and everyone should see Hilton Head. The frames really show off the work. I've already had comments about how beautiful (this exhibit) is."
"I think having the art wall down here is great," said Speck. "I'm really glad (the library board) thought to do this when they built the new building. I've been down here to see several other artists and enjoyed all of them. It is a beautiful space."
Speck's exhibit will run through July 31.
"These pieces are for sale," said Law. "The book is the price guide and he's got his name and contact information available."
For a sample of art featured in the Speck exhibit at McIver's Grant Public Library, visit the photo gallery at www.stategazette.com.