By KATIE STEWART
A retired military man, a police dispatcher and an artist—not just anybody can boast about being all three, but Kevin Webster does with great pride.
Originally from Gardendale, Webster now dispatches for the Homewood Police Department and displays his artwork in Monty Stabler Galleries in downtown Homewood.
During his Army career, he painted military-themed pieces, but now his subjects are dogs, horses and other wildlife. He considers himself a contemporary realist and paints with oils.
“I love painting ordinary things,” Webster said. “Sometimes objects will strike me, and I just have to paint them. It’s hard to explain. The way the light hits it, the look in an animal’s eyes, the shadow…something in the image stirs me and I have to paint it. There isn’t any political or religious reason why I do it; I have no agenda. I paint because I love to create.”
Webster finds inspiration from the Homewood area. He said that the night view of Homewood provides a small-town feel not readily available in most of Birmingham.
“I knew once I retired from my previous job that I wanted to work in Homewood,” Webster said. “I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have to settle, and now here I am absolutely loving my job and its location.”
Before his job as a dispatcher, Webster spent four years in the Marine Corps. After high school, Webster was offered an art scholarship, but he turned it down to join the Marines. Little did he know he would find art in that job as well.
“I fell in love with the military after high school, but I found out the Army was a better fit than the Marines,” Webster said. “However, what is so great about the military and what I didn’t realize at the time, was that they had an art program. I originally didn’t think I could make a career out of painting, so it was a great outlet.”
Webster was able to paint for military headquarters, museums and the Pentagon. He even painted an image of the 101st Airborne Division at one of the battles in Iraq at the request of General David Petraeus. However, it wasn’t until he retired that Webster had time to paint leisurely.
“My job now is stressful, but not on the same level as when I was in the military,” Webster said. “As a police dispatcher, once I leave my job at the end of the day, I’m done. I can go home and actually have the time to paint.”
Webster’s work was on display at the Monty Stabler Galleries in Homewood in the fall. The exhibit consisted of paintings of dogs, horses, wildlife and panel paintings of some of Birmingham’s landmarks.
“The collection had a good mix of paintings,” Webster said. “My favorite is by far one of the panel paintings. It is the one of a black water tower that is located on the north side of Birmingham. In the back you can see power lines with birds perched on them. What is so fantastic is that the painting is basically black, white and blue. The simplicity of using these colors makes for a very interesting piece.”
For more information on Kevin Webster’s art, find him on Facebook or contact Monty Stabler Galleries, 1811 29th Ave. S., at 879-9888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.