Local artist Steve Garst is hard at work on a 30-by-42-inch oil on canvas painting for the Dixie Art Colony Foundation.

The painting will depict members of the Dixie Art Colony, including co-founders John Kelly Fitzpatrick and Warree LeBron.

Garst was commissioned by Dixie Art Colony Foundation founder and director Mark Harris to create his interpretation of a historical photograph from the DAC Foundation Archives onto canvas.

"When completed, this 30x42-inch oil on canvas will help us preserve this iconic image featuring Dixie Art Colony co-founders John Kelly Fitzpatrick and Warree LeBron for generations to come," Harris said.

When he's done with the painting, Garst said it will seem as if the viewer is standing right in front of the people looking at them.

"I couldn't tell you how many hours I've spent on the drawing alone," Garst said. "The coolest part to me is that when you draw a person, you touch every part of their face with the pencil. By the time I'm done I'll feel like I've met these people and like I know them."

Garst said it will take several months to complete the painting.

Other well-known Central Alabama artists participating in the DAC Foundation: A New Generation project include Iain Stewart, Carol Barksdale, Barbara Binford Davis, Shirley Esco, and Aimee Harbin.

Garst is a 1969 graduate of Wetumpka High School that later graduated with honors from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

According to Harris, one of the factors in selecting Garst for this task was his 37-year career as a professional illustrator, serving 20 years as a senior illustrator and art director in the publishing industry.

In addition to being a participant in the DAC Foundation's A New Generation project, Garst is a signature member of the Watercolor Society of Alabama, Georgia Watercolor Society, Southern Watercolor Society, and the International Society of Acrylic Painters.