Rose Lane Leavell is a third-generation Twiggs County tree farmer, an accomplished artist, mother and grandmother, and the wife of acclaimed keyboard player, Chuck Leavell. They reside in Dry Branch, GA, where they own over 2000 acres of land and their home Charlane Plantation.
Leavell was commissioned to design the plate and pin for Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival 2011. As a tree farmer who lives in an “enchanted forest”, her inspiration was the Yoshino cherry tree.
As stated on her website, rosieworld.com, “Rose Lane is a native of Twiggs County, Georgia She inherited her original tract of land from her grandparents Julia Faulk White and Alton Vestal White in l981. Love of the land was very dear to her paternal and fraternal family. Her forefathers and mothers have all been working the land in Twiggs County since 1792.”
The website goes on to explain that Leavell “is very committed to historic preservation and sits on the board of many organizations. She is currently working with Georgia Women of Achievement to recognize the women who have an important place in state history.
This year she is working on The Georgia Council For The Humanities Smithsonian Exhibit “New Harmonies” which will tour Georgia in 2012. Also, she has been asked to sit on the Board of Trustees of “Ties To The Land”.
The Ties to the Land Initiative was established to provide family forest owners throughout the United States with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources needed to successfully plan for the future of their land.”
Originally from Bullard, GA, she moved to Macon during the late sixties, early seventies and worked at Phil Walden’s Capricorn Records, “When Chuck moved to Macon, I always say, the first thing he saw when he opened the door at Capricorn was me, and that changed his life,” said Rose Lane.
Leavell has a studio on the upper level of their barn, full of art, music and family memorabilia. She always enjoyed drawing. In 3rd grade she won an art contest for a poster that sparked her interest for art, and kept doing lots of projects and drawings all through high school. Leavell went to the University of Georgia and took some art classes to further her career as a fashion stylist ending up running a clothing store in Macon for twenty years.
“During that period of time, I sort of lost out on the art, and then my epiphany at forty was that, oh my gosh, I didn’t really pursue my art career,” Leavell said. She decided to go back to college and take art classes at Wesleyan.
She then studied with Houser Smith in his private studio for about five years and branched out to other artists while staying focused on drawing and painting plein air and portraiture.
Rose Lane loves painting outdoors and Charlane Plantation provides the perfect inspiration for her art.
She has mixed her art into some of her husband’s music, by painting the cover and back cover of his album Southscape, “an allegorical painting of Southscape as we understand it here, with our horses, our dogs, our pine trees, the sunsets, the piano and the magnolia trees and that kind of thing” said Leavell.
She has also done paintings for some of Chuck’s books. There’s a weaving of nature, art, and music that they all understand. The beauty of all the arts together blended in with a love story, a love story that goes back a long way.
Leavell said that the lifestyle of rock has been challenging, raising their two daughters, being married to the keyboard player of the Rolling Stones, Chuck is gone for long periods of time, but they have bridged those gaps and are still together after almost 39 years, enjoying their grown-up children and grandchildren.
Leavell is currently involved with many organizations promoting the arts in Georgia. “One of the projects that I’m doing now is working with the Georgia Humanities Council and we are doing an exhibition through Georgia called New Harmonies, and it’s the American music history of how our culture mixed with the Indian culture and the African culture came up with roots, blues, jazz, hip hop, all the forms of American music, the whole melting pot that came from the South” said Rose Lane.
“This is going to be a little bit of a party that we’re going to take to twelve cities around twenty-thousand people, so they can have a little street party when the festival comes to town. It’s very awesome for Georgia, it starts in 2012 and runs through 2013 so it’s quite a long project” added Rose Lane.
Another recent project for Rose Lane is Governor Deal has asked her to join the Authority of The Georgia Music Hall of Fame. “Obviously, because my husband has been inducted in the Hall of Fame, and I have also worked in the music industry I am very interested in keeping the Hall of Fame in Macon, GA. I understand the challenges that it faces and I hope that I will be able to make a difference,” said Leavell.
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