Sperryville column for July 17

Kevin Adams makes his mark

Kevin Adams is an artist, a poet with a prodigious palate. His works are world renowned, his passion for Rappahannock obvious in his richly painted landscapes and architecture. He has temporarily moved his studio from the soon-to-be-renovated packing shed in Washington to a sunlight-filled gallery on Main Street in Sperryville. He awaits an opportunity to bring his artwork back to his beloved little town, close to the Gay Street Inn formerly owned by him (and partner Jay Brown) and their current home in the nearby mountainside.

Artist Kevin Adams in the studio, surrounded by many of his works.
Artist Kevin Adams in the studio, surrounded by many of his works. Chris Green | Rappahannock News

Kevin’s work is breathtaking, vivid and bold in its expression. His ability to capture light — nuances of the sun’s gleaming strands cast upon a simple bale of hay, a puffy white cumulous cloud, shadowed gray and framed by the soft pastel blues of a Rappahannock sky — is remarkable. “My goal,” he says, “is to suggest or capture the vibration of color as the sun and shadows shift, and how distance grays the colors and softens its edges.”

No wonder he’s been commissioned by the Department of the Interior, painting scenes from remote areas of the Grand Canyon, Glacier National Parks and the Shenandoah National Park. Through the “Art in Embassies” program, his works are displayed in various embassies throughout the world.

Across the states he’s included in solo and juried group exhibitions, and in both private and public collections. His accomplishments and awards include being honored by Mikhail Gorbachev, and an invitation to travel and present a solo exhibition. While an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Kevin was awarded the title of combat artist.

He is a plein-air painter, meaning most of his work is done on location, whether in Ireland, Cape Cod or his beloved Rappahannock — to name just a few. Most of his paintings are landscapes and cityscapes. “The sounds and smells and the connection with a particular place make plein-air painting very special to me,” he adds.

Detail of one of artist Kevin Adams plein-air paintings.
Detail of one of artist Kevin Adams plein-air paintings. Chris Green | Rappahannock News

Kevin was bitten by the artistic bug as a young boy; his great-grandmother was an artist. He opens a dust-laden drawer in his studio and shows me drawings from when he was a child, etchings laced on the pages of a discolored, faded notepad. Filigree-penciled drawings of waterfowl, egrets and cranes are depicted, inspired by his boyhood Eastern Shore home. He studied in southern France at the Institute of American Universities and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

“What art teachers tried to instill, I now know, and feel that I trust making my own mark — a Kevin Adams mark,” Kevin tells me. “I feel good that there’s always some level of appreciation. I feel I have something to share that is unique. I hope to capture the moment, capture where I am and show a place of truth and honesty.”

You have indeed made your mark in the world, Kevin. Your work is spectacular.

Chris Green
About Chris Green 164 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.