Meet the Artists: Hammer blows, brush strokes, sculptor’s hands create art

Meet the Artists

This is the fourth in a weekly series of articles on the artists you can visit during this year’s Artists of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour on Nov. 6-7, sponsored by the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC). This week we visit four more artists.

Artists: Chris Goodine, Linda Tarry, Nancy Keyser and Cory Caulfield.

Tour dates: Nov. 6-7

Tickets/info: 540-675-3193 or

It started with a simple anvil and hammer. Well, perhaps not so simple for veteran gold/silversmith Chris Goodine. The anvil was hand-made by Goodine from a birch tree log and he found the hammer in Boston’s “Jeweler’s Building” many moons ago.

One bang of that hammer led to a paradigm shift in Goodine’s life, for it had curved his silver wire perfectly. Soon two curves created his “wave,” a simple “s” form from which many things Goodine has derived.

Born in Plymouth, N.H., Goodine moved south in 1985 and he settled into his current Washington abode and studio in 1991.
Goodine began his craft after observing a friend work in metal. In 1971 his art was juried by the renowned League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, which gave him a spot in all 10 of their craft stores.

Working only in silver and gold, Goodine said he does “no casting, just fabricating” of fine jewelry made from scratch, using different gauge wires and sheets of the precious metals.

Chris Goodine fabricates silver and gold into fine jewelry. Photo by Megan S. Smith.

Goodwin devised a “Ka-chunka” wave-creation machine, replacing “100 hammer blows” to a silver wire with “one motion of the arm.”

In Goodine’s Main Street showroom, assistant Kaitlynn Mullan proudly presents what Goodine has designed from his wave links, from the simpler “Rappahannock” and “Infinity” to the more complicated “Crosscurrent Mandala,” the latter contained in the shop’s signage.

Goodine said that his design should remind us that “everything [in life] goes in waves, in cycles.” And in Goodine’s shop, it truly does.

Linda Tarry scrounges items from flea markets and refuse sites to use in her art. Photo by Megan S. Smith.

Linda Tarry of Washington doesn’t actually recycle materials in her mosaic-based sculptures, she “reuses them,” she said.

Residing in Rappahannock since 1985, Tarry views herself as “giving things a second life,” using items found in locales like flea markets and the Flatwood Refuse site along with tidbits given to her by friends.

Kansas-raised Tarry received a bachelor’s degree in art education and taught art technique for several years afterward. She eventually took up stained glass work and created one mosaic tabletop, she said, but soon “got tired of the flatness” of these art forms. Using tile left over from bathroom renovations, she began creating “mosaics in 3-D” with bottles, vases, and even large doll heads acting as base structures.

What provides inspiration for her artwork? Tarry said, “Sometimes it’s the material themselves.” She likes “putting strange things together … using stuff we’re surrounded by.” After seeing so many Barbie dolls piling up at the neighborhood dump site, she developed an affinity for plastic. Indeed, many of her unique sculptures contain a doll appendage or two.

Whether people chuckle at one of her lighthearted pieces or grimace at another more shocking, she’s pleased “as long as [they’re] reacting.”

Tarry has been exhibiting in the Middle Street Gallery for about four years and more recently founded the Six Pack Gallery with artists Janet Brome, Jeanne Drevas, Steven Kenny, Ann Georgia McCaffray and Chris Stephens. Both galleries are located in the town of Washington.

Nancy Keyser will exhibit her own work and that of her students during the art tour. Photo by Megan S. Smith.

After many years of art lessons, professional watercolorist Nancy Keyser gives back through teaching. In fact, the artist’s living and dining rooms double as a studio for her and a gathering place for students.

Wisconsin-raised Keyser graduated from Mary Washington University and lived in Clifton, Va., for 33 years before finally living her dream of moving to Rappahannock permanently. While she visited the county regularly since her college days, she said she finally committed to the move because she loved its “ruralness.”

Keyser still travels every summer to Door County, Wisc., to fine-tune her painting skills at the Peninsula Art School with its Chicago Art Institute-trained instructors. But for the past three years, she has taught her own skills to local students. Inside her garage, Keyser will display her seven students’ work along alongside her own during the upcoming November tour.

Keyser said she “paints what she loves,” including equestrian scenes, animals, mountain streams and the beautiful views outside her floor-to-ceiling living room windows.

After raising her children and receiving a degree in architectural technology, Keyser gradually phased in working as a professional artist. A bad back keeps her from painting more on location, she said, but she finds enough subject matter through photos she takes and her looking-glass windows.

The University Club in D.C. has shown Keyser’s work three times in the past. Currently, she is exhibited at Flint Hill’s 24 Crows café, the Linden Winery, and a gallery in Wisconsin. Her painting “Knappweed in Bloom” was published in a collection of works in the book “Celebrating Door Country’s Wild Places.”

Cory Caulfield finds her inspiration in Rappahannock County where she grew up. Photo by Betty Thomas.

Cory Caulfield found her artist talent early in life. “When other people were playing with dolls, I was playing with crayons and markers,” says Caulfield, who sold her first painting at age 16.

Today, she is a recognized still-life and landscape artist. Magazines such as Elan, Virginia Living, and the Piedmont Virginian feature her works. Much of her work is privately commissioned.

Unlike many artists who are drawn to Rappahannock late in their career, Caulfield is a “local girl” who grew up in the county. “My inspirations come from the environment I grew up in,” says Caulfield, whose watercolor and oil works of botanicals clearly illustrate her love of nature.

Primarily self-taught, she studied privately in the United States, Scandinavia and Europe. She honed her talent by studying the works of the Dutch and Flemish masters, and the American watercolorist Winslow Homer. “I am especially inspired by the life-like detail and the deep philosophical issues these great artists raise about art and its relationship to nature and life,” she said.

She expanded her vision in 2007 to start C. Caulfield Gallery.

“I started my gallery with the artist in mind. As an artist myself, I understand the business of art from both sides of the coin,” said Caulfield.

Her gallery as well as that of her neighbor, Middle Street Gallery, will have special exhibits during the Nov. 6 and 7 tour. Middle Street is noteworthy because it is operated as a non-profit artist cooperative. Its 20 members are chosen on the basis of artistic excellence.