Artist gives city painting of historic Zachary landmark _lowres

Advocate staff photo STACY GILL -- Local artist Merriann Hornsby presented Zachary Mayor David Amrhein and the city with an original painting of the town's historical train depot March 17 at City Hall. Councilman Ben Cavin, from left, Hornsby, Amrhein and Councilman Brandon Noel attended the presentation.

Merriann Hornsby, who many may know as the wife of the Rev. Scott Hornsby, the 2004 founder of Fellowship Church in Zachary, is an accomplished artist.

As the creator of the Mississippi River Preacher series that chronicles the life of the late George West, Hornsby’s paintings of the African-American preacher are presently on display at the Ascension Parish Library.

The paintings of West, an Ascension Parish native, feature the preacher in his long, flowing white robe and with tall white crosses.

He began preaching up and down the Mississippi River in 1941, but in his later years, he returned to the area and could be found, almost daily, at the ferry landing between Baton Rouge and Port Allen, preaching the gospel and baptizing people, according to a library news release.

In 2014, Hornsby was featured as an artist of the month at the East Feliciana Parish Clerk of Court’s Office in Clinton, and she is a regularly featured artist at Zachary’s annual Fall Art Crawl.

It was at the Art Crawl in October that one of her paintings caught the eye of Zachary Mayor David Amrhein.

The acrylic of Zachary’s historic train depot includes bold, vivid colors.

“I sold out of about 30 smaller handpainted reproductions that same night,” Hornsby said.

As a ‘thank you’ to Amrhein and Zachary, Hornsby presented the train depot painting to Amrhein on March 17 for display at City Hall.

“The Zachary community has been very good to my family and our church over the years,” Hornsby said.

Hornsby has been married more than 40 years and has three grown children — Buck, Mary Jane and Starr — and 10 grandchildren.

Hornsby’s work is influenced by her travels to Amsterdam, Australia and Germany, and some of her paintings are inspired by the work of artist Vincent Van Gogh.

Hornsby owns a studio in Oak Bluff in East Feliciana Parish. She teaches private painting lessons in the Felicianas and has taught art at Silliman Institute.

Her artwork has caught the attention of churches, decorators, libraries, museums and private collectors.