In Rutherford's case, she was honored with an Award of Distinction in recognition of her research and creation of original "Spirit Paintings," which capture the cultural history of the Great Smoky Mountain area. Most notable to the award are a series of four unique oil paintings that were created to record the ancestral residents associated with the Headrick Chapel in Wears Valley, Tenn. She also donated a portion of each reproduction print sale to the Friends of Headrick Chapel Restoration Fund to support the chapel's preservation.
"I am incredibly surprised and deeply honored to be recognized for my fine art and efforts to raise funds to preserve East Tennessee history," commented Rutherford. "As a portrait and restoration artist at the Heirloom Art Studio, it is always my hope that my work will bring joy and fulfillment to my clients and create heirlooms for the future. The Headrick Chapel Spirit Paintings have not only allowed me to capture a moment in time, but often put the faces of Wears Valley ancestors into the hands of descendants throughout the United States who, only through the purchase of my paintings, were able to view their ancestors for the first time."
These Spirit Paintings are just one of Rutherford's many specialties, combining the stories and histories of ordinary lives into one-of-kind, original fine art. Family members, historical figures, and people long gone are depicted as transparent ghosts forever captured as unique heirlooms that "bring back memories of another time," as Rutherford's website says.
Rutherford has been a PPA member since about 1986 and has earned her Master Artist and Photographic Craftsman degrees. She specializes in providing high-end photographic and fine art restoration, original portraits and paintings in oil and watercolor, photographic retouching, and original digital fine art to other pro photographers and specialty clients in 17 countries throughout the world. Rutherford holds a long list of prestigious awards from PPA and others, including Eastman Kodak Co. She was also awarded the Fuji Masterpiece Award for the invention of a process that captures and restores the images on blackened tintypes.
More of Rutherford's work can be viewed at www.heirloomartstudio.com.