The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

Category: Art, Artists, and Galleries (page 2 of 24)

Our spring issue is out-and it’s a good one!

Subscribers should have theirs already, and I am in the process of delivering to newsstands.

pea soup for webThis issue features a section of beautiful Piedmont home profiles, an article with about veterans who return from service and take up farming by Marian Burros, and a photo essay by Doug Graham, photographer from Capitol Hill who found joy in photography again in photographing the local area around his home in Bluemont.

Also featured are the Poetry of Perry Epes about restoring a historical house in Loudoun County by our new writer, Morgan Hensley. Adopting ducklings and homesteading, native flowers, and helpful gardening gadgets by Carla Hogue are also explored. For wildlife, we have an article by Glenda Booth about the Snakehead fish which is spreading through Piedmont rivers, and our food section covers local spring foods, with recipes from Brian Lichorowic and Laurie Beth Gills. Our vineyard this issue is Glen Manor Vineyards by Kit Johnston. And for art, we have delicate handmade lace by the Piedmont Lace Guild.

And two articles from Walter Nicklin, founder of the Piedmont Virginian, round out the issue: “Where Have All the Hitchhikers Gone?” previously published online, and his regular Letter from Amissville, a reflection on our love for the Piedmont, especially in the springtime!

Oh….and our photo contest is coming up again…details coming soon on

We are now hard at work on the summer issue, which I am very excited about. We will have a large section on Farm to Table in the Piedmont, a photo essay on rivers in the Piedmont (perfect for summer!), some history about Suffragists and a memorial going up in Prince William to honor them, a profile of Larry Keel, Piedmont bluegrass musician, by Eric Wallace, and, of course, all our regular writers featuring poetry, art, the environment, recipes….covering everything that is special in our Piedmont.

You can pick up a copy at one of our local newsstands (see or subscribe online for either our print or digital editions at

Of course, as always, we thank all our advertisers, readers, subscribers, newsstands, writers and everyone else who supports our magazine!

Photo: Purple Podded Heirloom Pea Soup by Laurie Beth Gills


Looking at Art in a New Way with Online Galleries

In The Same Boat, 24 x 30, Oil.

In The Same Boat, 24 x 30, Oil.

By Nancy Wallace

Technology is always changing; it seems like whatever skill I’ve acquired becomes obsolete by the time I get proficient at it. For example, blogs like this one are replacing websites as the go to place for up to date information.

Galleries are changing too. Artists can now easily take excellent photos of their work, post the images immediately, and even put their work into auctions on sites such as eBay,, and

The movement towards selling art online has picked up speed in the last ten years. In 2004, a fellow from Richmond, VA,  Duane Keiser, started posting a new painting every day on eBay with a few words about his process.  His success was contagious, and many other artists joined the “painting a day” challenge, posting on their blogs and sending  their work out for the world to see.

Beach Conversation, 14 x 18, Oil

Beach Conversation, 14 x 18, Oil

A benefit of galleries in cyberspace is that artists are able to keep their prices lower without the burden of steep gallery commissions. Because daily paintings are usually small (under 8 x 10 inches), many collectors will buy more than one painting.

For the buyer, a visit to any of these sites provides an array of work to choose from with easy to use built in filters to narrow the search. Looking for landcapes of a certain area, in a given price range? Click and browse. No obligation and lots of time to think it over.   For collectors, it can be entertaining and enlightening to read the blog post that provides a few sentences of information about making a particular painting. And it’s more personal; visiting an artist’s blog every day reveals who is behind the art.

I recently signed on to the the “painting a day” challenge and created a blog, (they’re free!) to go with it.  Visit my blog and my website.  Browse the online gallery daily at paintworks, and check out Charlottesville artist Paul Charlton.

Zen and the Art of Needlework

By Pam Kamphuis

While organizing a photo essay on the “Lace Ladies” that will appear in the forthcoming spring issue, I found myself musing and pondering the role of arts and crafts in everyday life.

Years ago, I read an article about the return of the popularity of the “Needle Arts” after September 11, 2001. I cannot find it or credit it, but the main points stuck with me. The terrorist attacks shook women to the core. It awakened needs in them that had been buried in womankind for decades, maybe even close to centuries. The need to connect with other women, of past, present, and future as well as the need to produce something tangible and handmade, even to the point of feeling that you are leaving something of yourself on this earth– something to be treasured by future generations. Needle Arts, as implied, pretty much covers anything made with a needle and/or with textiles. So knitting, sewing, crocheting, beading, embroidery, weaving, would all apply. Along with lace-making. Which I will get to.

I am, perhaps, like many women today; I am busy, constantly thinking and planning, constantly moving (even if it’s just at a computer keyboard), and never doing less than 3 things at once. I am aware, of course, that I should do a number of things differently. . . exercising, relaxing more, deep breathing exercises, meditation, etc. But I have such a hard time doing those things… all I can think about is all the things I have to do when I finish my “relaxation”  It’s not terribly relaxing.

But a few years ago, I took up beading-I used the tiny seed beads and did what was called bead weaving. Basically a needle, thread, and picking up a bead after each stitch. It was a very repetitive process, but quite soothing. Once you get going, you develop a rhythm, and soon your breathing matches it and your mind empties a little. In a good way, I mean. Although purists would perhaps not agree, I believe it had the qualities of meditation. Except you were also producing something while you were at it. Which was perfect for people like me who feel they must be productive at all times.

I met Anita Barry, president of the Piedmont Lace Guild, briefly for coffee DSC_0305when I picked up the examples of lace she had to be photographed for an upcoming article, and while we sat, she tatted, which is making lace by knotting thread with a shuttle. She showed me the basic knots she was using, and the importance of keeping the correct tension on certain areas of the thread. So the similarities struck me, as I watched her tat, knotting and shuttling back and forth, the thread working through her fingers steadily and evenly. It is not a simple thing, by any means-I’m sure it takes quite a while to learn. But I couldn’t help thinking as I watched her, as she knotted automatically, subconsciously, while she talked, that I should have taken this up instead of beading. After mastering the basic knots, I could have churned out MILES of this stuff as I sat at baseball and soccer games when the kids were growing up. So small and handy, just a small shuttle and thread. No annoying little beads that roll all over the place!

There are many things you cannot do while working with beads, or lace, or any needle art: watching tv, surfing the internet, answering emails, texting, cooking dinner, etc. As far as I can tell, there are only 2 things you can do while needle-art-ing. DSC_0317You can listen to music, and it gives you the opportunity to really listen, not just having it in the background all day. But the most important thing you can do is: to talk. Really talk to people. The feel of the thread or yarn or fibers or beads sliding through your hands, the soothing, repetitive motion, the calming of the mind, can actually make for some thoughtful and real conversations. Think back to colonial times, with quilting bees and the like. Community, friendships, gossip, real interaction between women, binding them together while accomplishing tasks that needed to be done anyway. We don’t do that any more. Teleconferences have taken over.

But anyway, this post serves as a sort of wayward introduction to our “Art Gallery” coming up in the spring issue. It will be a photo-essay/article showcasing the lace, hand made locally by the Piedmont Lace Guild in Remington. You will be amazed at the difficulty, intricacy, and beauty of these pieces.

Many thanks to Jordan Koepke at for the print and web photography.

Acting on the Small Town Arts

By Peter Wood

mbailey-140422-0206-3327548025-o (1)It has been a tough winter to walk the streets of our small Piedmont towns. Snow and ice piled up on the sidewalks of Middleburg, yet many art lovers braved the wind and weather to enjoy gallery openings, artist talks and painting demonstrations. Now it is March and it’s time to act on the arts!

Middleburg will once again be home to Shakespeare in the ‘Burg, an amazing weekend festival that brings performances by the internationally acclaimed American Shakespeare Center. The festival is set for March 27-29, 2015, and kicks off with “movie night.” This year, the organizers have selected “West Side Story,” based on the Shakespeare play, “Romeo and Juliet.” It will be a fun night to enjoy hors d’oeuvres  and a glass of wine or two before seeing the movie in the wonderful Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center at the Hill School, located on the edge of town.

The weekend continues with workshops on stagecraft and two plays, Hamlet on Saturday, and Much Ado About Nothing on Sunday. Another highlight is the midday performance by local actors of the one act play from the play writing completion. While that might be enough for an exciting afternoon, there is also a performance by the Crooked Angles, a husband and wife music duo. Find out more at

That is just one weekend! Throughout the spring, summer and fall, you will hear music in the air! Starting in April, the new 4th Friday night concert series, “Open Late” will be hosted by the National Sporting Library & Museum. Several more concerts are planned by the Middleburg Community Center on their front steps. Music will also play a role during the local summer art fairs – Art in the Pink Box Park, and at the town-wide arts celebration Art in the Burg, on June 20th.

There is more art outside Middleburg too. Traveling west you will find Millwood, VA, where the Duvall Designs Gallery reopens, featuring Winslow McCagg on March 14th. Don’t forget to stop at the historic Locke Store for lunch or to pick up a bottle of wine. Down the road from Middleburg you will find fresh works in The Plains at Live An Artful Life Gallery and Zig-Zag Gallery. So much variety of arts in our small towns.

The Piedmont region is home to so many talented artists – authors, musicians, visual artists and performers. You can find all the art events on Come enjoy the arts with us!

Peter Wood is a local metal sculptor, founder of the Middleburg Arts Project and Chair of the Middleburg Arts Council. More about his art: Learn about the art events in the region at

The P.H. Miller Studio | Berryville, VA


The P. H. Miller Studio, now located in Berryville, VA specializes in making handmade fine gilded and carved frames for art and mirrors. Peter Miller, recently relocated from Woodbury, CT has spent the past 30 plus years in the business designing and creating frames for clients around the country. Starting back in the early 1980’s, Peter Miller offered just a few handmade frames in simple style and uncomplicated finishes. His business was focused more on offering clients the vast world of commercially made moldings. It was those early years when Mr. Miller honed is design skills and techniques for handling artwork properly and professionally whether it was a child’s drawing or expensive oils on canvas. In those early years, clients would come to the frame shop and occasionally ask for finished corner frames. Through research, Mr. Miller found in nearby NYC, several factories or production houses that were, in fact, the handmade frames that his clients were requesting. This became a major focus of the business, helping the frame shop to stand apart from all of the regional competition. While there was a financial satisfaction and his clients were very pleased with the “new” offerings of water gilded frames, Mr. Miller became increasingly interested in the art of applying gold leaf. So with the help of Mr. Miller’s Gallery Director, Michael Coleman, and his contacts in NY, Mr. Miller began to seek out the best gilders practicing in the country at the time. He joined the Society of Gilders and studied with several gilders throughout the US. Along with workshops, Mr. Miller visited museums both here and in Europe to further his understanding not only of the history and beauty of the gilded surface but also in the way these surfaces wore and survived over time. All of this information was vitally important to Mr. Miller as he furthered his skills in preparing surfaces for gilding, applying gold leaf and how to “age” and tone the gilded surface to convincingly replicate frames several centuries old.

Over time, Mr. Miller began to replace the samples and offerings from the Gilded Frame Production houses with his own frame offerings. While Mr. Miller does create many contemporary styles of frames, he takes his inspiration from history. Now all of the frames that are seen in the showroom of the P. H.
Miller Studio represent the range of work that Mr. Miller does. “Like my predecessors from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, presentation of art work is vitally important. I am always striving to achieve the marriage between painting and frame. These American frame makers from that period were inspired by the followings of the Arts and Crafts Movement originating in Europe in the latter half of the 19th century. For the most part these craftsmen/artists, now both famous for their paintings and their frames, learned the art of carving and ancient techniques of water gilding. They were not afraid to experiment with design, take from history and push the boundaries of accepted design to create a new benchmark which is truly American.”

Of course the handmade frame production houses are still in operation and provide some beautiful frames but there are only a few frame-makers in the US now who work in this artisan spirit involved and skilled in every aspect of the process. Shortly after Mr. Miller’s daughter, who was the business manager and gallery director after graduating from college, announced that she was moving to Loudoun County, Mr. Miller and his daughter phased out the gallery side of the business so that in the years going forward the studio would be focused solely on frame making. The studio showroom in Berryville, demonstrates the marriage of painting and frame with paintings that are often from the Miller’s collection but also occasionally with paintings that are available for sale with an original Miller Studio Frame.

Studio Hours: Tuesday through Saturday. 10:00 – 5:30, Sunday and Monday by chance or appointment.

Website:, phone 540-955-3939

Please check the Miller Studio website for upcoming workshops teaching traditional water gilding.


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