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central va tourism

Capturing the VMI spirit with Maria Reardon

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Capturing the VMI spirit with Maria Reardon

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Another school year is about to pass and once again there will be a new crop of eager VMI graduates ready to take over the world. This year is kind of special as Cabell’s son Jack graduates. He comes from a long line of VMI grads including his father, uncle, and both his grandfathers. But that is not that unusual with Virginia Military Institute. Tradition is a core value, it practically seeps from the imposing walls. It’s a feeling that you recognize as soon as you walk onto post, but it is not necessarily an easy thing to capture in a painting, unless, or course, you are Maria Reardon. Maria knows about VMI tradition. Her husband is a graduate (‘87) and her twin boys both graduated in 2014. It is with this familiarity that she is able to capture simple moments of life at VMI and allows you to truly feel the emotion of what it must be like to be there.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John 12x16 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg

Maria works in pastels and she loves being outdoors, immersed in the world, observing and experiencing everything going on around her. She's drawn to the unique and ever-changing relationships of form and color. She is intrigued by the unexpected combinations of light and color which characterize her work. If there is one thing people always remark to me is that her work has so much color, but she is able to do this while maintaining the realism of her subjects.

Pastureland and House Mountain 10x20 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg
Navigating the Maury River through Goshen Pass 12x16 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg

Maria is a Virginia native and received her formal education from Virginia Commonwealth University earning a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in illustration. She lives in Richmond but has a getaway home in Goshen, here in the wilds of Rockbridge County. This love for Rockbridge County and Lexington also shows up in her work, her ability to capture the slices of life locally is as intimate and impressive as those she does of VMI.

The Cabell Gallery is proud to feature Maria Reardon’s work year round. True, many people seem to get sentimental around graduation time. But the thing about VMI tradition it is a lot more than one season. And the thing about Maria Reardon is she has the uncanny gift of the ability to capture it all.

Click here to see Maria’s available works.

View of Main Street 12x20 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg

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A Love Letter to Lexington in the Snow

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A Love Letter to Lexington in the Snow

<photo credit: Gail MacLeod>

Lexington in the snow…you are one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen.  I love the way the snow clings to your brickwork on your old buildings and caps your iron railings like frosting.  You have always been charming, but in the snow you are somehow magical. 
I’m not naive, I know not everyone appreciates you like I do. I know some people say, “Oh the snow looks nice, but I don’t want to go OUT in it. It’s too much hassle.” Really?? They must not remember what it was like to be a kid and play in the show for hours.  So I get some snow on my boots, no big deal.  It’s worth this to be with you when you are so beautiful.
I know there are some who say, “I can’t go DOWNTOWN in the snow, there is no place to park.” These people don’t know that it’s the perfect time to discover downtown Lexington.  So you might not be able to park right in front of where you are going; Lexington is meant to be walked. I have wandered through your downtown, Lexington, and I always find something unexpected. I moved here in 1983 and often I see things that I didn’t know about (or forgot about?) when I walk your streets.
I hope others love you like I do, Lexington. I hope that they appreciate your restaurants, and shops, and quirks. I hope they love walking down West Washington and seeing all the art at the Cabell Gallery and Artists in Cahoots, and the Nelson Gallery. There are so many places a person can find in Downtown Lexington where people show off their talents. For such a small town, I could spend a whole weekend just walking your streets…and yes, even in the snow! People can pop in to the Lexington Coffee Shop for a coffee or hot chocolate, or maybe into Sweet Treats for one of their juicy hamburgers or warm sandwiches. And if they are from out of town they can stay right downtown at the Georges or the R. E. Lee.
Lexington, I’ve never known anyone who visits you that doesn’t fall in love. I hope that more people appreciate all that you have to offer…especially in the snow.

 

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