Aurora Bull: A lifetime of creating and teaching

Susan EspirituFountain City, Union

Aurora Harrison Bull has blended multiple journeys into one lifetime and is still influencing the lives of others with her artistic talents.

Aurora was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but was raised in central Florida, growing up in a harness race track area with horses of her own. In fact, Aurora’s earliest recollection of her interest in art is one of sitting on a fence at a motel when she was 8, drawing the Arabian horses corralled there, although she has a drawing of her church choir saved by her mother with the inscription on the back “drawn by Aurora at age 8.”

Aurora worked for a veterinarian for 12 years and combined with her love for horses, she was drawn to paint equine portraits early in her career. This led to her earning a certificate with the American Academy of Equine Art.

She also has been commissioned to paint many other pet portraits of cats, dogs, cattle and even an iguana and macaw.

Aurora has painted multiple murals for personal clients and businesses, most notably all the rooms for a local ChildHelpUSA building. Her paintings hang in numerous corporate and private collections in the United States and abroad. She has works in Japan, Israel, Argentina, Germany and Pakistan to name a few.

Saying she is now too old to climb scaffolding to paint murals, Aurora continues to pass her talents on to other artists who attend workshops in her home studio, the Oak Ridge Art Center and St. Paul United Methodist Church. She taught at the Fountain City Art Center for 18 years.

“I receive so much gratification teaching others. I learn a lot from teaching. They inspire me as much as I hope to inspire them. It’s exciting to see someone else developing the same passion that I have for painting. I love helping someone else get through all those hurdles that I had to work through. I am so proud when a student of mine wins an award or makes a sale or just tells me how therapeutic and happy it makes them feel.”

The talented artist has amassed numerous recognitions and experiences. She was the featured artist for the Tennessee Valley Fair both in 1994 and 1995, featured in NorthLight Art magazine for her animal art, and spent three weeks painting in Italy while staying in an agritouristo (farm) with three other artist friends. “What an experience getting up each day and heading out to Plein air paint the countryside.” Aurora used to travel from New Mexico to the Carolinas and from Florida to Michigan doing as many as 14 juried art festivals a year.

A most memorable recollection happened in Durango, Colorado, during an exhibition. A man was in her booth who was obviously a cowboy dressed in rugged boots, jeans but a nice white shirt. As he was studying her western ranch scenes, he stood there for a long while before turning to her with a handshake, tears running down his cheeks. He thanked her for bringing back fond memories of when he once worked as a ranch hand and could no longer do it. Aurora said the occasion evoking a feeling like that with her art was the best compliment she could have asked for and that it was better than a sale or an award.

Aurora and her husband, Earl, live on a 400-acre farm in Maynardville where they raise Angus cattle and of course, horses, along with other livestock and a large vegetable garden so they grow and can most all of what they eat.

Aurora has always believed that her greatest teacher is the Creator Himself, from whom she has received both her ability and her inspiration: Aurora’s Website.

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