By Bob Hurley
Philip Ward, Linda Croxson and Carolyn Roth are three of the exciting and distinctive new artists who will be opening their new studios for the 12th annual Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour.
Down a wooded hollow along the Hazel River, Philip and Linda built their unique home and studio, “Hatbrim,” over an eight-year period. Skilled professionals in art restoration and the preservation of historical buildings, both have a passion for producing abstract art — Philip in watercolors, Linda in oils. Over the years they moved from figurative painting to abstracts. “Figurative art usually reminds the viewer of someone or something,” says Linda. “Our style encourages people to view our paintings with an open mind.”
Their art is deeply influenced by their observations and visual experience with color and form. They don’t paint a specific object or landscape, leaving viewers free to personally interpret the work. “This opens a line of communication without conveying a particular message,” says Philip. Although their styles and techniques differ greatly, they serve as each other’s best critics. Why the name “Hatbrim?” Linda’s hint: First date in London.
Across the county in Flint Hill, you’ll find Carolyn Roth’s newly finished studio she shares with her two black labs, Scooter and Grace. A Rappahannock weekender for 20 years, she moved to the county full time last year. Carolyn, who says, “I can’t do anything simple,” produces works in oils and mixed media, with her current focus being a specialized multi-layer process that combines both intaglio and relief printing.
Working with three pieces of paper simultaneously, she is able to achieve striking color combinations and deep contrasts in her prints. A world traveler, including trips to Nepal and Bhutan, Carolyn’s journeys have inspired her art creations. “Most recently the mutable images available through monotypes called me to explore variations on spiritual scenes from the images I brought back from the East,” she says.
Her work is found in many private collections and has been exhibited in galleries and art shows in the DC area. When she is not working in her studio, she travels to Montgomery County where she helps children with learning disabilities.
This year’s Art Tour will be the biggest ever, with more than 85 artists exhibiting in 21 studios and nine galleries around the county. Sponsored by the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC), the event is 10 to 5 Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6. Tickets ($10 per person, good for both days) are available at the Washington School (tour headquarters and main gallery) at 567 Mount Salem Ave. Visit raac.org or facebook.com/studioandgallerytour for more.