Keener (My Father), passed away on September 6, 2003.
In this site you will find many of the precious memories that George
left for us to remember him by. A gallery
of many of his beautiful paintings, a few press
releases, links to some of his favorite
artists sites, and an online
store where you may purchase his Paintings and Prints. Our
online store also contains a collection of Gospel CD's by George
and Dottie Keener.
This site is dedicated to my dad and his work here on earth. There
is no doubt in my mind that according to II Timothy 4:7-8
(quoted below), that my father has his crown of righteousness
and is now in his heavenly mansion where I too will join him someday.
George Keener was truly "God's Mountain Man" and I miss
July 5, 1926 – September 6, 2003
George Keener was the son of the late George and Callie Russell
Keener of Franklin, North Carolina. He was raised in North Carolina
in the little town of Walnut Creek. He went to grade school at Pine
Grove and then to high school at Franklin High. George’s mother,
Callie, first noticed his artistic abilities when he began to draw
and sketch on her clean white tablecloths. “I was about seven
or eight years old,” George said, “old enough to know
better.” His mother had a love of art and taught him to appreciate
the beauty of nature. She wanted to encourage him but did not push
him into pursuing his artistic talents until he was well into his
adult years. Years later, George became a certified auto mechanic.
One day, while George was at work as an auto mechanic, a representative
from the Famous Artists Correspondence School stopped by to see
him about enrolling in the art school. “I didn’t know
why he came,” George explained, “but he came out while
I was working on cars. I got so excited I never asked him who sent
him out there.” It wasn’t until five or six years later
that George learned his mother had written a letter to the school
asking that someone contact him about enrolling in the course. George
took the three-year Famous Artists Correspondence Course and received
his degree in Art. He learned many techniques and styles, but he
preferred painting with oils and his favorite subject was nature.
Many of George’s paintings are scenes of the mountainous North
Carolina area where he was born and raised.
George served our country in the U.S. Army and received an honorable
discharge. He married Dorothy (Dottie) Owens on October 2, 1948,
and they were blessed with two sons -- Bruce, Senior Program Manager
with INPO Nuclear Power Facility in Marietta, Georgia; and David,
an Information Technology Area Manager with BellSouth in Tucker,
Georgia. Wife Dottie has been employed for nineteen years in the
Nutrition Department at the Berkley Lake Elementary School in Duluth,
Georgia. George was employed for eight years as an auto mechanic
for Camp Chevrolet in Chamblee, Georgia; then as a transmission
mechanic at Golden’s Auto Service in Norcross, Georgia, for
32 years until he retired in 1988 at the age of 62. After retiring,
George became the Manager of the Norcross Art Gallery and Studio
where he sometimes conducted art classes.
Every week for 28 years George and Dottie could be heard ministering
for the Lord and singing Southern gospel songs on their weekly radio
show on the old WLAW radio station in Lawrenceville, Georgia. During
this time they recorded four gospel albums including “George
& Dottie Sing Country Gospel.” For more than 30 years
they ministered the gospel to many churches and prisons in Georgia,
Tennessee and North Carolina. They felt especially blessed for having
the opportunity to sing monthly at the Gwinnett County Correctional
Institute for 12 years. George and Dottie also sang at local hospitals
and nursing homes. George played in a number of gospel groups, including
the Mulkey Family, the Treble-ettes, the Trebelaires, Joe Parr,
and the Harmonettes.
George was blessed with many talents that included a unique ability
as an artist. He considered his talent a gift from God and believed
that if he didn’t use his talent it would be taken from him.
He felt that “to whom much is given much is required.”
His painting was deeply connected to his work in the ministry and
he wanted people to see God’s glory in creation. He was amazed
at his ability to paint nature in such fine detail, and George gave
God the credit for every painting he sold and, indeed, for everything
he did and every success he had.
George was a mountain man at heart. He loved trout fishing and he
enjoyed attending major art events with his son, David. They spent
many happy hours together driving through the mountains, along the
Blue Ridge Parkway, just being together and looking for scenes to
paint. George and David often attended the Annual National Park
Academy of the Arts Contest in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. George’s
paintings placed in the contest’s “Top 100” a
number of times. In the first year of competition, 1987, one of
George’s paintings placed in the “Top 100” in
the nation out of 2,000 entrants. This painting was displayed in
the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. In 1994, George had
two paintings that placed in the “Top 100” and two more
of his paintings placed in the “Top 100” in 1996. These
nationally recognized works have toured our nation. Two of his “Top
100” paintings are included in a coffee table book entitled
“Art From the Parks – 74 Artists Celebrate North America’s
National Parks” edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf.
George was a perfectionist in whatever he did. He was an excellent
mechanic and was a gifted musician and an accomplished guitar player.
George taught himself to play when he was five years old and many
liken his guitar playing to that of the late Chet Atkins and Merle
Travis. George made his profession of faith in 1949 and had been
serving the Lord at the time of his death as a member of Holly Springs
Baptist Church in Loganville, Georgia, where he served as the Adult
Sunday School Teacher. He also acted as Song Leader and provided
specials for the church services along with Dottie, his wife of
nearly 55 years.
George had suffered from leukemia for several years. He had been
treated with chemotherapy during the past year, but he did not neglect
his ministry and continued to paint during this time even though
he had to use a cane to steady his hand. George is buried in the
cemetery of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Rabun County, Georgia,
just south of Highlands, North Carolina.
II Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good
fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth
there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord,
the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only,
but unto all them also that love his appearing.”