My name is Gaby Vazquez and I’m a rising senior currently attending Southern Virginia University (SVU). Never heard of it? That’s because its located in a small, rural town called Buena Vista. To shed a little light on what I mean by small, there is a sign when you drive into town that says “6002 happy citizens and 3 old grouches” and you can pretty much see where the town begins and ends from the same point. It may seem suffocating to some, but I have come to find comfort in the small and simple things.
About a ten minute drive from Buena Vista is the quaint and historical town of Lexington; where the citizens adore Lee Jackson, horses, and VMI cadets. SVU students often go there for food, fun, and shopping. But the main thing I love about Lexington are the multiple art galleries found right on Nelson Street, probably because I’m an art major. My art professor, Barbara Crawford was the one to first tell me about the Cabell Gallery. She told me how she used to teach Cabell Gorman (the current owner of the gallery) back in the 80’s and that they still talk to each other today. I was interested in looking for some type of internship over the summer that involved art and long story short I was able to get an intern position at the Cabell Gallery. Similar to Buena Vista, you can pretty much see the whole gallery standing at the entrance. But what it lacks in square footage, it makes up for in beauty.
I’ve learned about local and regional artists and what is takes to run an art gallery, specifically on a local level. Every artist featured in the gallery is unique and has something different to offer. With a variety of style, subject, and technique, it’s hard to decide who your favorite artist is. But if I had to choose, my top three would have to be Julia Lesnichy, Ed Hatch, and Bonnie Mason.
Julia Lesnichy is originally from Russia, but lives in Crozet, Virginia and is known for her paintings of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My favorite painting of hers is titled “Sunset in June”. She beautifully paints Virginia sunsets in pastel colors resulting in a perfect combination of warm and cool colors. Her work allows me to feel like I am standing there taking in the mesmerizing view.
Ed Hatch is one the of the master painters featured in the gallery. His impressionistic style never ceases to amaze me. Ed is best known for his depictions of water scenery. To most, water is simply the color blue, but to Ed, water is not only blue, but also purple, pink, green, yellow, white, etc. This can be seen in his piece “Double Ledge” which is a whopping 30 x 40 in.
Bonnie Mason is known for her gallery wrapped landscape paintings of the outdoors in the mountains of Virginia. Her choice of vivid colors are reminiscent of a storybook setting which you can’t help but smile at when you see it. My favorite piece of hers is titled “Glad Morning”.
As an artist myself, I feel I am drawn to those artists who are more impressionistic in style because it is so different from what my personal style is as an artist. Although my end goal is not to become a professional artist, I feel I have learned so much about art in general and the impact it makes, not only in small town, but in an individual’s life. So if you just happen to find yourself in or near Lexington, Virginia, stop on by the Cabell Gallery and see the “genius of small.”