Colorful Creations

McTaggart's Vision Comes to Life on Canvas


With a father in the Navy, Gluckstadt visual artist Sarah McTaggart Adcock moved around a lot in her younger years.

She lived in several spots in the Mississippi Delta and in places like Bruce, Philadelphia, Rolling Fork, Nola, Byram and Madison. They moved around just as much after he left the service and started a second career as a warehouser. 

Wherever she went, she always had her art.

“That’s the beautiful thing about art,” Adcock explains. “It’s the one thing I’ve always had. I’m never alone because no matter where I’ve lived and where I’ve gone, I’ve always been able to paint and meet people and work, and it’s been a great way to build relationships and make friends.”

For years, she treated her painting like a hobby. Painting out of her home, mostly for herself but also for friends and family. She painted murals around the Delta for a while — something she still enjoys — then expanded her scope to canvases big and small.

These days, Adcock has her own studio, a comfy but functional space in a building behind her Gluckstadt home. The front of the building houses her studio and storage. The back houses a couple of her and her husband Mike Adcock’s five boys.

Adcock has been utilizing that space for the past four years, and although her old hobby had already become her vocation, she’s been able to take her painting to the next level.

Her contemporaries describe Adcock as an artist that can do everything, and with good reason.

A quick glance around the studio shows the range and depth of her ability. There’s landscapes, pet portraits, human portraits, abstracts, oil paintings and acrylic paintings. Some are finished with matte varnish, others with glossier substances. There’s some mixed-media as well.

On one wall, next to the giant window that pours natural light into the room, hangs the original of Adcock’s most celebrated painting, “Praise Lady.” Adcock said the painting, which features a feminine figure looking to the sky, hands aloft, was inspired by her creator.

“I was going through a rough patch and I just felt this feeling washing over me while I was painting it,” she remembers. “It felt like I was being inspired by God, that he was working through me and through that, I was being redeemed.”

The original is eight years old now, but it remains her best-selling work through prints and painted copies. 

There’s baubles adorning the tables and walls as well — Christmas ornaments, cupcakes and other knick knacks she’s learned to craft over the years.

As Jackson Street Art Gallery owner Paula Jackson explains, that’s what makes Adcock so unique as an artist.

“A lot of artists, you can immediately spot their work because it’s the same subject matter and style,” Jackson says. “She can do everything, and she does. You really have to look for her name to know it’s hers because she has such a wide range.”

Jackson has six of Adcock’s bigger works on the walls of her gallery, plus 20 smaller pieces of work Jackson refers to as “pick-up pieces” that are perfect for gifts.

“She uses lots of fun colors,” Jackson says. “Her landscapes are very pretty. They are inviting and really draw you into the painting. But she does fun, happy things too. The cupcakes and stuff like that are whimsical, but she can also be serious with her abstracts.”

Adcock is not the kind of artist who holes up in her studio, either.

She’s painted at Jackson Street a couple of times, which has allowed patrons to come out and watch her work. She also teaches small classes of five or six students at a time. She swaps out her teacher’s hat for a student’s and takes classes herself, too.

“I love meeting other artists and sort of picking their brains,” Adcock says. “You may pick up one little thing here from one artist, and then another little technique from another. It think it makes you better as an artist.”

And that’s a good thing, because as Adcock pointed out, the Jackson Metro Area has a deep roster of solid artists.

About once a month, Adcock meets up with some fellow Madison County artists she’s become friends with over the years. That group includes amazing landscape artists like Christie Farese, Beth Dean, Peyton Hutchinson and Mandy Ellard.

Each month, or as often as it can, the group bonds over their passion for the art and exchanges ideas, techniques and, most importantly, their work.

“This profession can be lonely and you can sometimes feel isolated if you are cooped up in your studio all day,” Adcock says. “But there’s a special art scene in and around Jackson, and the artists right here have formed our own little community.”

Adcock has been painting professionally for 28 years. For years, she funded what was then her side-gig by doing faux finishes on doors and walls in homes and businesses. She still refers to this period as her “work in construction.”

It was rewarding, but tough work. The best thing to come out of it was her introduction to her husband. Mark Adcock is the owner of Executive Landscaping, so he and his future bride always showed up at the same time to put the finishing touches on a newly-built houses.

Together, the couple have five boys — Lance, 25, Lane, 23, Hunter, 20, Harrison, 17 and Hayes, 15. Six men in the house sounds like a lot, but Sarah Adcock says she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“I think Mark’s my biggest fan,” she explains. “He is so supportive and always insists there’s just nothing I can’t do, and he helped me to feel like I can, too. 

“The boys definitely don’t have any interest in painting, but my artistic skills have come in handy on a couple of school projects over the years.”

Spending time with the boys is important, because depending on art for your income can be demoralizing at times. Adcock, like most creative types, says she struggles with the business aspect of her craft. 

She says the right side of her brain - the side that fuels creativity and imagination - works overtime. The left side - the math, logic and analytic thought engine - not as much.

“I’ve been very blessed,” she says. “My sister-in-law Lacy Nowell has helped me get organized and is helping with the business-side of it. It frees me up to focus on the commissioned work, but also my personal pet projects.”

To see more of Adcock’s work, visit Jackson Street Gallery in Ridgeland, catch her at Madison Marketplace in Madison or follow her on Instagram (@mctaggartfineart).