In My Dreams I Ride Wild Horses
by Jean A. Curran
Stratton Press

"There is almost always a deeper meaning in Roper’s paintings. His symbols set the mood of a piece, they remind the observer of poetic or scriptural passages, or nostalgic memories, and deliver sermons about life itself."

At age forty-two, Billy Roper, a carpenter in northern Georgia, decided to stop building cabinets and dedicate his life to art. Knowing deep in his heart that this was his life's calling, he decided to devote all his energies to painting, sculpting, and carving. Writing, too, would be part of his creative expression. Whether poetry or illuminating notes on the backside of his paintings, these efforts became well-known among buyers of his art.

Twelve years later, Roper has become a successful folk artist who, as biographer Curran writes, "sells almost everything he creates." His dedicated group of collectors has bought work from all over the U.S. and internationally. Roper's story has been featured more than once in Southern Living magazine. "From his childhood to his present place in the artistic culture of his region," writes Curran, "Billy Roper has been larger than life."

Throughout the biography, readers learn of Roper's artistic vision, often humorous storytelling, philosophy, and rich storehouse of mountain crafts and lore. Curran's book takes its time in exploring Roper's storied life and work. His artistic drive and strong-held personal convictions are made evident, as are colorful anecdotes of his somewhat unusual life account as he discovers success in the heady world of art. The author expertly balances the narrative of the subject's life with full-color installments of the artist's gorgeous, bold, graceful, and sometimes haunting paintings. Curran provides a fascinating glance into Roper's life and art, which has resonated with and intrigued enthusiasts throughout North Georgia and beyond.

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