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pastel

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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Why is Julia Lesnichy so popular?

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Julia Lesnichy is one of the best selling artists at Cabell Gallery and it is easy to see why. Arriving here from Russia a decade ago, she wanted to give her son the opportunity at an American education. Her family settled in beautiful Crozet Virginia. Already quite an accomplished painter in Russia, she found herself surrounded by breathtaking inspiration. Her work with both pastels and oils was quickly embraced by the new audience in the United States. Her sweeping views of the Blue Ridge, painted plein air, were snapped up by collectors, and Julia has done nothing but grow and grow her fanbase since.

Julia was born in Leningrad, raised in Moscow, and throughout her life in Russia, was a "city" girl. Perhaps this is why she is so drawn to nature. She is captivated by the colors shes sees depending on the time of the day and season and resorts to oils and pastels to capture these fleeting moments. She often finishes her plein air paintings in her studio in Crozet, which is located in the quiet rural area in Virginia. Julia says that she literally lives in the woods, among the trees, with the tree tops hovering above the house. These trees have always served as a great resource of inspiration when they turn scarlet, bright yellow and glowing orange in the fall.
Julia captures more than the colors of those moments, but she captures the moment, the moment in time with all the sights and smells and emotions. Each time you look at one of her works, you are transported not just to the place, but to the feeling. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons that Julia's work is so popular.

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New Artist: Wendy Musser!

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New Artist: Wendy Musser!

We are so pleased to welcome North Carolina native, Wendy Musser to the Cabell Gallery! 

Oil and pastel landscape painting is her primary focus.  Her education includes obtaining an Associate of Arts Degree from Peace College, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Returning to school later, she completed a second major in Interior Design at Meredith College.

After years of working in art related fields Wendy aspired to return to her college art training.  She then began to study acrylic studio painting under Mary Anne K. Jenkins.

 To better understand the landscape and to capture the inspiration of being in nature as one paints, in 2001 she began studying “plein air” pastel painting.  Due to the array of pastel colors available the medium has energy and immediacy that makes painting on location an exciting experience.  Translating the stimulation of painting in nature into a vivid yet harmonious image of colors is a rewarding challenge.  The plein air paintings are generally worked to near completion while on the painting site.  Back in the studio the pieces are evaluated and finishing touches are added.  Once finished, they may become an inspiration for larger scale paintings.

Believing that learning should be a life long experience Wendy has continued to study pastel painting with Kevin Beck, Albert Handell, and Richard McKinley.   Her studies in oil has been under Scott Christensen, Rick Mc Clure, John Poon and Libby Tolley.  She is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, a Charter member of PAiNT NC and the Pastel Society of North Carolina.  She is the Co-fonder and Secretary of the Western Wake Artist Studio Tour and has been accepted in and received awards in juried shows in the Triangle Area since 1997.  

"Plein air painting is not only observing the object as you paint it, but painting in the out of doors.  My first experience with the medium of dry pastels and my first experience of painting in nature were at a workshop.

I was immediately hooked.  I am convinced that painting out in nature is both the most challenging and most rewarding painting experience.  Not all of my selected painting locations are breathtaking.  All, however, are unique and the test is to create an inspiring image from any location.  Concentrating on a single focus of interest among a vast array of subject matter is very challenging.  Light changes so quickly that the image you see is constantly changing.  As I paint, the light is quickly moving, the birds are singing, the bugs are biting, the air is refreshing (or muggy, or freezing) and the subject is directly in front of me for translation into a painting.  Dealing with the distractions of the elements and working hard to capture a moment when the light is favorable makes the painting process even more exciting and exhausting.

My goal is to capture the beauty of the places that I have discovered and to lure viewers to want to visit the very spot where I have painted.  God has given us a beautiful world that is quickly being altered by our actions.  I hope that my painting experiences can preserve a glimpse of the natural beauty of this great land and to entice others to take time to celebrate the environment we have been given by enjoying the gift of our landscape"

(Pictured above: "Greener Pastures" 20x20 Pastel)

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