A former Snellville police officer who spent 23 years in law enforcement will show off her hidden talent with a reception at Snellville City Hall Art Gallery this weekend.

Linda Nixon, who is now an art instructor, will be accompanied by watercolor artist and instructor John R. Duke at the reception. It will take place Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at Snellville City Hall, located at 2342 Oak Road.

Nixon said that by the time she was 12 she was painting with oils on canvas, and during her senior year of high school she enrolled in commercial art and advertising at a local technical college.

Although she said she knew she wanted a future in art, she also knew she had bills to pay. So, after graduation, she started working in the art department of a printing company and later worked for several advertising agencies. Finally, she started her career in law enforcement in 1993.

“Throughout my working years I had to put most of my artwork on hold,” Nixon said. “During this time, I took a lot of photos of everything I wanted to draw or paint one day. After a few lessons I was painting with ink-based watercolors, and I’m still exploring their brilliant color and contrast. You will see in my paintings that I have a love for nature and Southern relics.”

Duke, on the other hand, said he now has a new perspective on life and his art after being on dialysis and having a kidney transplant in 2005. He is a 1981 graduate of the Atlanta College of Art.

“I hope it shows in the way I paint and teach others to see the world’s natural beauty, portraying it through bright, transparent, flowing colors,” he said.

Although Duke has created artwork in many different mediums throughout the years, he now primarily works in watercolors, as well as does commission works in oil, acrylic and graphite.

Nixon and Duke are members of the Southern Heartland Art Guild. Nixon is also a Master Gardner extension volunteer at the University of Georgia.

Duke teaches watercolor Tuesday through Thursday at Cobble Creek Studios Art Academy in Snellville and on Saturday mornings at Expressions Fire Art Gallery & Studios in Lawrenceville. He has won numerous awards in art shows and festivals and is a member of the North Georgia Arts Guild and North Gwinnett Arts Association.

The Snellville City Hall Art Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Chamian is a reporter with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Appalachian State University, as well as a graduate of Gwinnett County Schools. She previously covered politics and education in North Georgia.

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