Arts

Father Mefodii with an icon of Christ and the apostles.To the uninitiated, the icon is beautiful artwork. The colors are rich and verdant – vivid yet transparent – illuminated. Burnished gilding reflects the light back on itself; night-dark indigo and deep vermilion gently glow.

Yet these depictions of saints and holy figures – these icons – are not painted; they are written.  They are not meant to be admired for their beauty – although they certainly are beautiful, they are meant to be engaged with. They are created for dialogue, conversation, and introspection.  According to the Eastern Orthodox faith, these icons are not just the images of saints, angels and holy figures, but their very presence.

Just outside of the village of Palmyra is the Skete of Saint Maximos the Confessor – an Eastern Orthodox monastery and chapel. Two monks – Father Kyril and Father Mefodii – live at the skete and lead services in the chapel there. The chapel is filled with light; sunshine from without pours in through large windows; inside, candles flicker and the gilded icons gently glow. In the company of saints, congregants sing the liturgy in conversation with the cantor and the priest; myriad tiny bells on the censer chatter as perfume fills the air. Icons line the walls; a screen of icons on tall stands divides the chapel.   Add a comment

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Tom EllisMany Lake Monticello residents have looked out across from the marina and seen a little village with a working train on a dock. Some may wonder at the unique idea, some think it’s clever, but others know it’s Tom and Kay Ellis who live there.

A civil engineer in his past life – designing water and sewer systems, treatment plants and other municipal facilities – Ellis currently loves to tinker and create. He is self-taught in the craft of woodworking and carving. Recently Ellis won second place in the intermediate category of the annual Fluvanna Art Association’s People’s Choice Award Show for his wooden sculpture Rivanna Food Chain.

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Nancy ShafferThere is a distinction between fine art and decorative art, although recently that delineation has become somewhat outdated. While fine art focuses on drawing skills, decorative arts focus more on technique.

This is the only thing that separates the Painters at the Lake (PATL) from the Fluvanna Art Association (FAA). The groups have far more in common than one would suspect, however. Many members have crossed over and are learning different skills.

Art elites would look down their noses at decorative artists, dismissing their work as cultural folk art. Nowadays, the precise meaning of decorative art is less significant given that the confines of an elitist concept of fine art have been outmoded by the all-inclusive classification of visual art.

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Painting by Linda Bethke, First place winnerUnlike the annual judged show in the spring where one person judges the entire show, the Fluvanna Art Association has its People’s Choice Award Show in the fall, where the public decides the three best in each category.

This year the reception and judging took place on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Fluvanna County Library. There were 54 entries and a variety of mediums. New this year was a category called the small wall, which featured works smaller than five by seven inches.

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Artist Susan Lang in her studioArtists master their skills not only by learning techniques but practicing them. Artist Susan Lang believes in principle. Her inquisitiveness and drive has helped her to become a stronger artist. Lang, president of the Fluvanna Art Association (FAA), is one of those rare people who has become successful in life because of her voracious curiosity.  It has served her well throughout her life in her work and in her painting.

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