Washington column for Sept. 24 |

Meet artist Nedra Smith

On a beautiful Thursday morning, artist Nedra Smith of Washington paints the RAAC Community Theatre.
On a beautiful Thursday morning, artist Nedra Smith of Washington paints the RAAC Community Theatre.

Last week as I was taking some copies of the Rappahannock News over to Tula’s, a lady painting in front of The Theatre caught my eye. She was painting a lovely portrait of the RAAC Community Theatre across the street. I went over and introduced myself and found out, surprisingly, that she lives in Washington, and she is artist Nedra Smith.

In Nedra’s words: “As a student at George Washington University, my chosen field was design, but my heart belonged to the fine art classes. After my career as a graphic designer and art director, I finally found the time to learn and concentrate on painting. My first serious foray into oil painting was when I spent six weeks in China and Tibet studying figure painting with a friend and accomplished artist who teaches at Sichuan University . . .  and I was hooked!

“For the past five years I’ve studied plein-air-landscape with Kevin Macpherson, figure and plein-air-landscape with Melinda Morrison, portrait and still life with Henry Wingate and most recently landscape with Scott Christensen. All are wonderfully accomplished painters and have made my painting endeavor a delight. With guidance and patience on their part, and a lot of work on my part, I am pleased with the skills I am developing: plein-air-landscape, portrait, figurative and still life . . . they are all wonderful challenges.”

Her husband, Hugh, doesn’t paint but he loves to go on painting trips with her. He takes his guitar and plenty to read and, according to Nedra, he is a happy camper. They got back from Ecuador a week ago from a two-week painting trip — it was great, she said, even with the volcano Cotopaxi spewing ash on everything.

Last spring they were in the Adirondacks for two weeks at the Plein-air Magazine Invitational, and did a memorable 10-day, 250-mile painting trip down the Grand Canyon by raft a couple of years ago.

A member of the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, Loudoun County Sketch Club, the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community and the Castleton Festival board, Nedra will be part of the annual Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour Nov. 7-8, which starts at the Washington School and costs $10 per person for both days. There’s more about Nedra at nedrasmith.com.

4-H Super Sitters

Members of the 4-H Super Sitters (from left) include club leader and Extension Agent Becky Sheffield, Olivia Scheulen, Madison Haines, CCLC Program Director Lisa Pendleton and Maggie Taylor.
Members of the 4-H Super Sitters (from left) include club leader and Extension Agent Becky Sheffield, Olivia Scheulen, Madison Haines, CCLC Program Director Lisa Pendleton and Maggie Taylor. Jenny Kapsa

Members of the 4-H Super Sitters’ Club held their first meeting Sept. 9 at the Child Care and Learning Center (CCLC). Club members will design lesson plans and work with children of all ages during these monthly meetings. Members will learn skills to help them become good babysitters as well as how to market themselves to the community. All fifth- through ninth-graders are invited to join the 4-H Super Sitters, which meets 3:30 to 5 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at CCLC. With an approval note from a parent or guardian, kids will be taken from the high school and elementary school to CCLC. To join the 4-H Super Sitters, please call the Extension office at 540-675-3619.

It’s fall in Rappahannock

Fall found its way here on this Wednesday. It is my favorite season. To me, it means Dunkin’ Donuts will be making their pumpkin lattes and pumpkin donuts. Mmmm.

It’s also apple-butter season, so be sure to stop by the 211 Quicke Mart starting this Saturday (Sept. 26) and chat with the  friendly guys in the yellow and blue caps for that annual autumn ritual – stocking up on Rappahannock Lions Club’s apple butter. Lions Club members are selling the delicious, dark, rich spread in pint jars for $6 each or two for $10 starting at 8 a.m. Saturday and again on Sunday. The Lions planned to cut and cook 45 cases of apples this week; proceeds of the sales will benefit various Rappahannock County causes. For more information, contact Larry Grove at 540-987-8612.

Let’s not forget another sure sign of fall, the annual Trinity Dried Flower Sale and House Tour. Hundreds of visitors will flock to Rappahannock County for the 59th annual Floral Art Sale and House Tour, sponsored by the Trinity Episcopal Church Women and scheduled for Oct 17-18. See Helen Williams’ article on page B1 for all the details.

When fall arrives, it’s hard not to regret the passing of all the summer blooms, but never fear — fall’s mums are always near. Williams Tree Service & Landscaping has beautiful mums for sale now. I really can run up a bill fast at Williams’ place in Ben Venue for those beautiful mums. Be sure and stop and browse around.

So don’t get too excited now for those cool days and nights; we will still have some summer days left. But it’s always great when that first nip is in the air.

Ham and oyster dinner

It’s that time again. Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue’s annual fall all-you-can-eat Ham and Oyster Dinner is 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at their station. Come out and enjoy fried oysters, oyster stew, raw oysters, country ham, Virginia baked ham and numerous sides and desserts. Cost is $25 ($12 for ages 4 to 10). For more information, call 540-675-3615.


Condolences go out to Ida Louise McClaugherty Adkins’ family. Ida Louise, 76, of Washington, passed away on Sept. 12 after a lengthy illness.

She counted her blessings daily, demonstrating her benevolence through her avid support of varied churches, Christian organizations and ministries sharing God’s word and aiding those in need. Her recent favorites were Jerusalem Prayer Team, Wounded Warriors and the Native American Heritage Association.   

A memorial service is 2 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 27) at Washington Baptist Church. A second service is set in Louise’s hometown area for 2 p.m. Oct. 3 at Peterstown Christian Church in Peterstown, West Virginia.


Birthday wishes go out to Jay Brown of Washington, who will celebrate his special day this Saturday (Sept. 26). Happy birthday, Jay!

Enjoy the cool temperatures this week!