Photo: Ralph Beach Lawrenceville artist Ralph Beach presents his art exhibit at the Grayson Branch Library of evangelical preachers, including Joel Osteen shown.
GRAYSON -- For the next month, evangelical preachers can be found in a new place besides on your television set. Until Aug. 11, the Grayson Branch Library has eight well-known religious speakers on display in an art gallery called "If I Be Lifted Up" created by Lawrenceville resident Ralph Beach.
The exhibit showcases Beach's work with pencil on Stonehenge paper (a traditional fine art paper with a smooth, flawless surface that resembles vellum) in a large scale.
"I am a blessed man," Beach said. "I asked God, 'Why don't I paint religious pictures?' You see, I paint homeless people collecting bottles and trash, the elderly with hundreds of wrinkles ... he told me, "You are glorifying me by painting those people.' (I decided on evangelicals) because when you click on the TV and you'll see at least one of them."
When Beach first moved to Gwinnett two years ago, he lived across the street from the library and would frequent the location to search for jobs online.
"I asked them why they didn't have any artwork on the walls," he said. "I've always shown my art at libraries and they didn't actually know why (nothing was displayed). Then they called a year later to tell me they were finally putting up art. Although I had to wait in line to put up my art, I told them I loved to do it."
When Beach isn't sketching preachers, he also uses watercolor to paint children and abstract pieces. He loves working with oil, but doesn't want to get the carpets dirty in his house.
"I'd like to stay married," he said with a laugh.
Along with the exhibit, Beach created a spiritual scavenger hunt that attendees are allowed to participate in when they pick up his bio at the library. When people win, they receive a discount on his pieces.
All of the drawings are for sale. Grayson Branch Library is located at 700 Grayson Parkway in Grayson.