In Flint Hill and beyond, art tour veterans await your visit

Candace Clough, a guest artist and frequent teacher at the Mullanys' Studio School in Flint Hill, works on her "Cat Couch," a life-sized mosaic she hopes to have finished by the Nov. 7-8 artists' tour weekend.Courtesy photo
Candace Clough, a guest artist and frequent teacher at the Mullanys’ Studio School in Flint Hill, works on her “Cat Couch,” a life-sized mosaic she hopes to have finished by the Nov. 7-8 artists’ tour weekend.

In addition to the new artists on the Nov. 7-8 Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour, visitors will have a chance to see the new work of six artists in Rappahannock County’s northern half who are returning to the tour this year.

You won’t want to miss the fun at the farmhouse of Ruth Anna Stolk in Huntly. Three guest artists, Merrill Strange, Susan Sharpe and Molly Dodge, will gather for an “art party,” complete with chef! Stolk has traveled the world in her work with the Smithsonian Institution, always with a sketchbook in hand. These sketches, plus those she’s made of Rappahannock, form the foundation of her work. She overlays the pen and ink drawings with shockingly brilliant watercolors. “I am addicted to bold colors . . . and thrill with the impact and play of different colors,” says Stolk.

This passion for color is echoed by neighbor Benita Rauda Gowen. She and Nancy Keyser were two of the original artists who helped start tour, now in its 11th year. Gowen’s sun-filled studio is tucked in a meadow near her home. This year she will show recent abstract work made with a variety of materials — fabric, yarn and multi-hued paper as well as her popular watercolors of nature. Gowen says: “My paintings begin with the inspiration of color, the desire to see certain colors together, and the dynamic that they create.”

Meanwhile, the Studio School on the edge of Flint Hill of will be a hub of activity. Artists Thomas and Kerrie Mullany have expanded their studio and will show their students’ work, as well as that of frequent instructors Charles Flickinger and Candace Clough. Flickinger is a classical sculptor and former Rappahannock resident; Clough is a mosaic artist.

Clough will be debuting her newest work: a large mosaic entitled “Cat Couch,” with five mosaic cats embedded into a life-sized couch. The work is aptly named since the Studio School shares the building with the RappCats Adoption Center — which itself has a new mural created by a team of young artists.

The 8- to 12-year-olds worked under the tutelage of Kerrie Mullany and Darien Reece, another artist on the tour. The project received a Claudia Mitchell Fund grant from the Rappahannock Association of Arts and Community (RAAC), the sponsor of the tour. Monies received during the annual art tour go to fund this program, which encourages new and young artists. (Another grant recipient, poet/photographer KC Bosch, will debut his work at the Flint Hill studio of art book maker Michael J. Dennis.)

Tiger Valley artists' tour veteran Nancy Keyser poses with one of her favorite equestrian scenes. Courtesy photo
Tiger Valley artists’ tour veteran Nancy Keyser poses with one of her favorite equestrian scenes.

Outside of town, watercolorist Nancy Keyser will show her own recent work and that of her students, as well as the woven art of guests Sandra and Wence Martinez. The couple are a collaborative team selected for the prestigious Smithsonian Institution Craft Show. Artist Sandra creates the images which Wence, a master weaver, turns into fabric art. Martinez is originally from Oxaca, Mexico, an area famous for its weaving. Asked about her own work, Keyser says she “paints what she loves,” which includes equestrian scenes, farm animals and buildings, and the beautiful Tiger Valley views of fields, mountains and hay bales outside her floor-to-ceiling windows.

Two neighboring artists, Ruthie Windsor-Mann and Nedra Smith, will add the aspect of oil to the watercolors of other artist. Both artists work in this medium, with Windsor-Mann adding oil to pen and ink and watercolor washes to create dimension and depth. She will also show larger watercolors.

Nedra Smith’s charming Gatehouse Studio will feature her work in a broad array of genre: plein air, figural, portrait, still life and studio. Smith, who only began painting seriously eight years ago after a 22-year career in design, is a prolific artist who says she paints every day. She will have more than 75 works for the show, many from her recent travels to the American West.

Nedra Smith, shown here painting at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota earlier this fall, will have more than 75 works on display at her studio, many from her recent travels to the American West.Courtesy photo
Nedra Smith, shown here painting at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota earlier this fall, will have more than 75 works on display at her studio, many from her recent travels to the American West.

Smith credits the development of her exceptional talent in such a short time to the workshops she has had with some of the best artists in the country (Kevin Macpherson, Scott Christensen, William Schneider, Carolyn Anderson, Roger Dale Brown, Anthony Ryder and William Woodward).

(The three new artists on the tour from this area of the county have been profiled earlier reports for the Rappahannock News: art book maker Michael J. Dennis and painters Pam Pittinger and Phyllis Northup.)

For more about the artists and the tour, visit raac.org.

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