Irene Tison
We couldn't be happier about bringing you the art of Irene Tison! She is a true child of the Carolina low country and it seems she may have left her heart there after moving to Charlotte. Irene grew up immersed in the Gullah culture of the area along the coastline of South Carolina. The Gullah and the Geechee people are descendants of Africans that were captured and brought to the Atlantic coast to work as slaves on Southern rice plantations. From slavery to today, these relatively isolated communities have nurtured and maintained a distinct cultural identity.
Irene Tison had a happy childhood as the youngest in a large hard-working family. Her parents gave all the children a strong and loving family foundation. As a young girl, Irene developed a deep and lasting bond with her mother, who played an integral part in her love of art. She watched her mother draw pictures after the day's work was done, and soon she was doing the same. Although resources were scarce, Irene's mother always did what she could to support Irene's artistic interests. You can see the results of that love and encouragement in Irene's beautiful paintings.
Irene's brightly colored work is filled with memories of life in the Gullah culture. Some of the scenes are her own personal memories, and some are memories that her mother and father shared with her in their stories. The paintings transport us directly to the heart of the low country. This is a place where the blinding heat of the sun and the steamy sweat of hard work give way to the cool wisteria-sweetened  breeze of a shady path. Here the joyful parade of hats and dresses catches its breath in the moist air of a song-filled church. We are reminded of the warm touch and fresh smell of line-dried sheets, the excitement of spring, and the exhaustion of summer.
There is a story of growing up in the South in every one of Irene Tison’s paintings. As she shares her stories, she hopes that you will feel the joy she finds in her heritage, and the love she holds for her family.
Irene's sister Rosemary on a special night
CHOOSE AN ARTIST
FROM THE LIST
Charlotte, NC
THE BANJO PLAYER
16" x 20"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
PROM NIGHT
20" x 16"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
SPRING ON THE MARSH
16" x 12"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
END OF SUMMER
16" x 12"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
I RULE HERE
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
SUMMER SHEETS
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
HOUSE OF FLOWERS
20" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
SUNDAY MORNING IN SPRING
28" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
PAPA FEEDING TIME
28" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
ME AND SQUEAKY
24" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
OUT FOR A FISH DAY
30" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
GRANPA AND GRANMA TISON
24" x 36"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
BACK OF THE COTTON FIELD
36" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
PASTOR RICHARDSON AND CHILDREN
36" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
JOY BEGINS HERE
16" x 20"
acrylic on canvas
*check availability*
As a girl, Irene had a pet pig who lived in the house. Squeaky lived a long and happy life and was buried in the yard.
The rooster that attacked from under the front steps was hated by all. No one was sad when he ended up in the stew pot.
The paintings on this page were painted on pre-stretched canvas. They are unframed.
To learn more about Gullah Geechee culture, try these links:

Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was designated a National Heritage Area in 2006. This is the Corridor’s official website.

Gullah Net
A website for students, teachers, and parents, created by South Carolina ETV.

Gullah/Geechee Nation
News and events blog for the Gullah Geechee community and those interested in Gullah Geechee culture.

“Being Gullah or Geechee, Once Looked Down On, Now a Treasured Heritage”
An article by Ken Otterbourg for National Geographic, October 2014
MAMA AND IRENE
16" x 12"
acrylic on canvas
$525
OLD MRS BETSY
IN THE COLD
16" x 12"
acrylic on canvas
$525
MR PEARSON
EARLY MORNING
16" x 12"
acrylic on canvas
$525
MORNING TALK
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
ISLAND BREEZE
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
SUNRISE FISHING
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
MARYBELL'S CHICKENS
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
GOLDEN HARVEST
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
ROSEMARY
20" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
$1750
HARVESTING
THE GOLD
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
SUSIE HAT SHOP
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
FAMILY WORK DAY
24" x 18"
acrylic on canvas
$1350
We thought you would enjoy seeing the paintings below.
They were included in our 2015 show "Gullah Memories: Folk Art by Irene Tison"
We no longer have them on hand, but we would be glad to check their availability for you.
This is how workers in the fields caught up on the daily news.
A portrait of Irene's sister Rosemary
Women gathering sweetgrass to weave into baskets
Shopping for hats in downtown Savannah
In those days,
women and girls always wore dresses and hats.
Flowers to sell in the Charleston Market
more by Irene Tison...
Questions about an item or an artist?...ready to buy?...