art

Search for Sugar Man, Find Yourself

Written by Kaitlin Hill 
Images courtesy of
Sony Classic Pictures

Editor’s Note: This article includes a mention of suicide.

This October marked the 10th anniversary of the Middleburg Film Festival, bringing with it A-list celebrities, exclusive screenings, packed houses, and standing ovations. Ray Romano made his directorial debut with “Somewhere in Queens” and Brendan Fraser’s triumphant return to the spotlight was celebrated by raucous applause as credits rolled on “The Whale.” But, arguably, the most powerful moment of the festival occurred on its closing afternoon, in the intimate and understated auditorium of The Hill School, in front of a modestly sized crowd. 

The documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” produced by Sony Classic Pictures, tells the most curious tale of Mexican-American, Detroit-based singer and songwriter Rodriguez. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s the point. Unlike Prince, Elvis, Sting, or Madonna, the single name is not a signifier of notoriety. Instead, the documentary explores how an artist of a similar caliber of talent could live in absolute obscurity in the United States with, unbeknownst to him, Elvis-level fame in South Africa. 

“Searching for Sugar Man” opens on a winding Cape Town highway with a disturbing rumor. “He set himself alight on stage and burnt to death in front of the audience,” says Stephen Segerman, a South African record shop owner, as he navigates a twisting road high above an endless expanse of steel gray water.

Over the course of 86 minutes, interviews with Segerman, guitarist Willem Möller, American music executive Clarence Avant, “Bonanza” actor and record producer, Steve Rowland, Detroit bar owner, Rick Emmerson, and others explore the rise of Rodriguez in South Africa and the shroud of mystery surrounding him as they seek to discover whether he is dead or alive. 

Rodriguez’s story unfolds to the soundtrack of his on-the-nose lyrics, percussion guitar, and soulful voice. In his song, “This is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues” from his first album “Cold Fact,” released in apartheid South Africa in 1971, Rodriguez lays bare the delusion of the American dream, pinpointing concerns that still dominate headlines over fifty years later. 

“The mayor hides the crime rate 
council woman hesitates 
Public gets irate but forget the vote date 
Weatherman complaining, predicted sun, it’s raining 
Everyone’s protesting, boyfriend keeps suggesting 
you’re not like all of the rest

Garbage ain’t collected, women ain’t protected 
Politicians using, people they’re abusing 
The mafia’s getting bigger, like pollution in the river 
And you tell me that this is where it’s at.” 

“To many of us South Africans, he was the soundtrack of our lives,” Segerman explains in the film. “The message it had was ‘be anti-establishment’…We didn’t know what the word anti-establishment was until it cropped up on a Rodriguez song, and then we found out it’s okay to protest against your society, to be angry at your society.” 

And music journalist Craig Bartholomew-Strydom adds, “This album somehow had lyrics in it that almost set us free as an oppressed people.” 

While some songs provided inspiration for the anti-apartheid movement, years later, others offered clues for Segerman and Bartholomew-Strydom in their search for Rodriguez’s origin and outcome. 

As the film demonstrates, they used the following lyrics from “Can’t Get Away,” on Rodriguez’s sophomore album, “Coming from Reality,” to find him. 

“Born in the troubled city
In Rock and Roll, USA
In the shadow of the tallest building
I vowed I would break away.”

To share too much more of the plot would be to deny potential viewers the chance to experience a masterfully captivating mystery, complete with dead ends, breakthroughs, multiple identities, moments of self-reflection, and a surprise ending. But perhaps the biggest plot twist was the Q&A following the film, where Rodriguez, yes, the Rodriguez, appeared to answer questions from the crowd. 

As the audience heaped on their praise, Rodriguez proved to be witty, soft-spoken, and above all, humble. 

When asked how he managed to stay so grounded considering his fame in South Africa, he answered simply and with a small laugh, “I’m from Detroit. We are accustomed to some noise.” 

And responding to an inquiry from the crowd on what message he would share to inspire others, he stopped, contemplated, and said “Copyright your music.” 

Though the crowd gathered at The Hill School was undoubtedly eager for more, Rodriguez, purposefully or not, didn’t deliver, continuing the legacy of mystery that has characterized his whole life. He ended simply by saying, “Goodbye, good luck, and stay well,” a sentiment similar to his song “Forget It” from “Cold Fact.” 

“If there was a word, but magic’s absurd
I’d make one dream come true
It didn’t work out, but don’t ever doubt
How I felt about you

But thanks for your time
Then you can thank me for mine
And after that’s said
Forget it.” 
ML

This article first appeared in the November 2022 issues of Middleburg Life.

IDENTITY & RESTRAINT: Art of the Dog Collar

Story by Richard D. Hooper

Another must-see exhibition will open at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) on October 7. The exhibit highlights more than 60 dog collars from the 187 collars donated to the museum by Dr. and Mrs. Timothy J. Greenan in 2014. The exhibition is a collaboration between the NSLM and The American Kennel Club (AKC) Museum of the Dog in New York City which is sending 48 works of art from its collection to accompany the collars.

The first section of the exhibition focuses on collars and art from the 17th century into the middle of the 19th century. Among these collars is a very practical hinged, iron collar, and another iron collar of flattened disks with upturned spikes connected by iron rings. Both are from the 1600s.

Some collars in the collection are engraved with the dog’s name, the identity of its owner, or both. Others don’t have either but still convey the high status – its own form of identity – of its owner through both design and richness of material. One such example is an extremely large 18th-century collar from India which would have graced the neck of a Tibetan mastiff. The horsehide leather is set with brass-mounted, agate cabochons along with elaborate metalwork. Two other 18th-century leather collars are from Germany; one is adorned with brass seashells and bosses, the other with stylized initials. 

Silver collars conveyed a similar cachet. Of those included in the exhibition, there is one identified as being from the year1834. It is a simple design, and, although the dog is not named, it identifies the owners, Miss C. & E. Senhouse. Their names are elegantly engraved above their beguilingly named abode, “Nether Hall,” a structure in Cumbria at the northwest corner of England with portions dating from at least the 1400s. 

Pierced metal collars from the 18th and 19th centuries are certain to be among the highlights of the exhibition. These were made from wide bands of brass with sections removed leaving dates, letters, and designs as the surface. Contrasting leather was usually used as a liner, stitched to the collar through small holes near the upper and lower rims. An unusual example in the show has a metal liner with round-ended spikes bent over its rims.

The earliest painting on display is “The Lion Hunt,” dating from 1605 by the Flemish artist Paul de Vos. The Dutch artist Abraham Hondius is represented by several pieces including “The Amsterdam Dog Market” painted in the early 1670s. The scene is generally considered to be an imaginary construct. Nonetheless, it is an amazing painting with more than 40 dogs depicted, possibly to advertise Hondius’ expertise in painting them. In the lower right of the painting, an array of collars is laid out for perusal. Among other artists in this section of the exhibition are Philip Reinagle, George Morlandl, Henry Alken, and two paintings by Sir Edwin Landseer, including the well-known painting “Alexander and Diogenes.”

The other sections of the exhibition focus on particular breeds or types of dogs such as mastiffs, terriers, bulldogs, pointers, and setters. Included here is Richard Ansdell’s “The Poacher at Bay,” depicting a poacher trying to protect himself by desperately clutching to the collar of the gamekeeper’s mastiff. Some of the other artists on display in these sections are Percival Rousseau, Gustave Muss-Arnot, Arthur Wardle, George Earl, and George’s daughter, Maud Earl. 

Collars extend through these portions of the show as well, displayed alongside breed types or by use. These collars feature styles that were becoming more broadly available through means of manufacturing including collars with linked metal plaques or bands and interlocking, delicate chains. Many of these were for simple practicality; others strove for a high degree of decorative pleasure.

The catalog of the show contains contributions by Dr. Timothy Greenan, Claudia Pfieffer, the deputy director and George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Curator at the NSLM, and Alan Fausel, adjunct curator at the AKC Museum of the Dog. 

The show will run from October 7 to March 26, 2023, before traveling to the AKC Museum of the Dog in New York where it will be on display from April 5 through September 4, 2023. Finally, it will be at Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia, from November 3, 2023, until May 3, 2024.

This exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Timothy J. Greenan, Garth Greenan Gallery, Mark Anstine, and Marianna Lancaster. ML

This article first appeared in the October 2022 issue.

“Shades of Autumn” at the Byrne Gallery

For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2022
The Byrne Gallery 
Middleburg, VA

The Byrne Gallery in Middleburg, Virginia, is proud to present Shades of Autumn, the latest series of plein air landscape and garden oil paintings by noted Virginia painter, Robert Thoren. This new exhibition for the month of October features impressionistic views that showcase the beauty of the Virginia countryside as well as scenes from Italy and France. Goose Creek and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains are both represented in the splendor of the autumn season with color and majesty. The exhibition will be on display from October 5th – 30th, 2022. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, October 8th from 4:00 – 7:00, and a gallery talk on Saturday, October 15th, from 2:00-4:00. Drinks and refreshments will be provided. Both events and the exhibition are open to the public and all are invited to attend. 

Robert Thoren is an avid proponent and practitioner of plein air painting.  He has relished the opportunity to paint the Northern Virginia landscape, particularly the lush terrain of the Shenandoah Valley. Before moving to Virginia in 1993, Robert studied with teachers closely associated with the late Russian emigre impressionist Sergei Bongart.  Mr. Bongart’s work was often featured in exhibitions at the Frye Gallery in Seattle along with other noted artists and fellow emigres Nicolai Fechin and Leon Gaspard. 

Like Sergei Bongart, Robert Thoren paints in a sensual, impressionistic style emphasizing vivid color and employ fresh dramatic brushstrokes. His artistic goal is to suggest spontaneity while maintaining a firm mastery of drawing and painting techniques. In his many still lifes, Robert celebrates the Bongart school’s focus upon color and its ability to transform everyday objects into scenes of powerful emotion. Robert teaches both oil and acrylic landscape and still life painting through the Fairfax County Parks Authority.  He is an active member of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters.

The Byrne Gallery is located at 7 West Washington Street in Middleburg, Virginia. Gallery hours are Monday and Tuesday by appointment only, Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Contact the Byrne Gallery for more information by phone at (540) 687-6986, by email at [email protected], or online at thebyrnegallery.com

A Decade Afield: Celebrating 10 Years of NSLM’s Museum

Written by Dulcy B. Hooper 

For visitors of Middleburg’s National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM), the past 10 years have offered a delightful series of memorable exhibitions.

When it opened its doors to the public in 2011, the museum’s inaugural exhibition was entitled Afield in America: 400 Years of Animal & Sporting Art. It featured over 100 works, all of which were on loan from major institutions and private collections from across the country. 

Henri DeLattre (French, 1801–1876) The Race Between Mac and Zachary Taylor at Hunting Park Course, Philadelphia, July 18, 1849, 1850, oil on canvas, 27 3/4 x 43 3/4 inches, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. F. Turner Reuter, Jr. and Anonymous, 2021. Courtesy of the National Sporting Library & Museum.

Built in 1804, the historic house which would become the museum was bequeathed to the National Sporting Library (NSL) by George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. It was then renovated and expanded in the two years prior to the museum’s opening with the addition of 10 small-to-medium galleries, two hall galleries, and an extended section boasting two large galleries. All the artworks installed in the main entry space and in the second-floor galleries were acquired through donations and bequests subsequent to the museum’s opening. According to Claudia Pfeiffer, the NSLM’s deputy director and George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. curator, when the permanent collection was initially installed in 2012, the museumwas only able to fill a quarter of the galleries.

At the time, initial plans for the museum focused on developing two loan exhibitions per year for the two large galleries and featuring the permanent collection in Vine Hill’s historic wing. “Those traveling exhibitions allowed a buffer of time for us to research, develop, and curate the museum’s own topics,” Pfeiffer says.

A Decade Afield features over 120 18th- to 20th-century American, British, and Continental artworks and pays tribute to the 10-year growth of the museum’s permanent collection. It is divided into 10 sections representing the “broadening scope and depth of NSLM’s holdings.” Some of the museum’s earliest pieces can be found in the Federal-style galleries in the Vine Hill mansion wing.

Left: Gallery wall. Courtesy of the National Sporting Library & Museum. Middle: Herbert Haseltine (American, 1877–1962) Portuguese Rejoneadores, a pair, modeled 1921, gilded bronze, 12 3/4 x 11 1/4 x 4 3/4 inches, Gift of the Estate of Milton Ritzenberg, 2018. Courtesy of the National Sporting Library & Museum. Right: The NSLM on a beautiful summer’s day. Photo by Kaitlin Hill.

“It was a great opportunity to thematically organize the NSLM’s art collection and showcase the works with bold color choices for the walls,” Pfeiffer emphasizes. “The goal was to create an impactful visual experience for first-time and returning visitors alike and to give an overview of how the collection came to be and grew to what it is today.” The museum was closed for the month of May in preparation for the exhibition.

Today, the NSLM’s collection includes 1,445 objects encompassing a wide range of mediums including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, trophies, weathervanes, and dog collars.

Left: John Frederick Herring, Sr. (English, 1795–1865) Going to the Fair, 1841, oil on canvas, 57 1/2 x 95 inches, Gift of Manuel H. and Mary Johnson, 2021. Right: Alfred Duke (British, 1863–1905) Game and Gun Dogs, late 19th/early 20th century, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 1/8 inches, Gift of Mrs. Jacqueline B. Mars, 2022. Courtesy of the National Sporting Library & Museum.

The beginning section of the exhibit, entitled “The Start,” creates an “aesthetic reminiscent of a country house, its inhabitants, and the country way of life,” Pfeiffer explains. Many of the best pieces in this section are portraits of key figures instrumental in expanding the library. The next section, “Setting the Course,” features two galleries dedicated to Felicia Warburg Rogan and honors her donation of 15 important British sporting art paintings. According to Pfeiffer, those works “set the bar for the NSLM’s standards moving forward and brought in iconic paintings by John Emms and Alfred James Munnings.”

The section “Mixed Bag” is an eclectic assortment of sporting works including a 41-inch English sterling silver model of a coach, NSLM’s earliest artwork, “Horse in a Landscape” by Abraham von Calraet, and paintings by Franklin Brooke Voss.  

The remainder of the exhibition highlights the subsequent growth of the collection with such themes as “Spurring On,” “On Point,” “Casting the Line,” “Tally Ho!,” “The Menagerie,” “A Record Place,” and “Winners Circle.”  

As for their next 10 years?  “We look forward to what the future holds,” Pfeiffer says.

A Decade Afield will be on view through September 18, 2022. ML

This article first appeared in the July 2022 Issue.

Collector’s Dinner in Middleburg Brings Together International Crowd

Written by Victoria Peace
Photos courtesy of Teresa Taylor

On Saturday, May 14, Teresa Taylor hosted a Collector’s Dinner in her Middleburg home. Guests of the networking event included local Hunt Country art collectors, international art enthusiasts, and representatives from the Trotter & Sholer gallery in New York City. “Art is a passion of mine and few things are more enjoyable than celebrating the love of art with others who share the same,” Taylor said. “I wanted to bring together a fun and diverse mix of friends who may not have otherwise come together to mingle and discuss art.”

For dinner, the 27 attendees enjoyed a specialty cocktail and a four-course Thai-inspired meal prepared by Chef Cathal Armstrong. Armstrong is the owner of the acclaimed D.C. restaurant Kaliwa which is known for its innovative Southeast Asian cuisine. Table décor included pieces from artist Derek Weisberg, and artist Ezra Cohen’s work was featured in the interior of Taylor’s home.

As the evening progressed, Taylor’s guests enjoyed a view of the sun sinking over the rolling hills of the Salamander Resort & Spa. “The evening was beautiful,” Taylor emphasized. “It’s amazing how art can spark a memorable evening.”

In the future, Taylor is hoping to host another Collector’s event. She is looking forward to creating more connections between those involved in the art scene in Hunt Country, New York City, and abroad. ML

Notable Moments From Middleburg Film Festival 2021

Notable Moments From Middleburg Film Festival 2021

Written by Kaitlin Hill

Photos by Shannon Finney

Celebrating its ninth year and a return to fully in-person screenings, the 2021 Middleburg Film Festival did not disappoint. Passholders and ticket buyers were treated to celebrity appearances, fascinating Q&As, special spotlight events, well-deserved tributes to some of Hollywood’s finest, and, as always, a wonderfully diverse set of films with something for everyone. Here is a look back at some of the highlights from the mid-October weekend hosted by Sheila Johnson. 

Left: Women in Film luncheon hosted by Greenhill Winery with Red Rocket cast, Brittney Rodriguez, Suzanna Son, and Bree Elrod. Right: Women in Film luncheon hosted by Greenhill Winery with composer Kathryn Bostic, songwriter Diane Warren, actor Ann Dowd, and composers Lesley Barber and Amie Doherty.

BIG NAMES HEADLINE THE WEEKEND

Past Middleburg Film Festivals have always hosted their share of celebrities, and this year was no exception. Day two of the festival opened with a screening of “The Lost Daughter” at The Salamander Resort and Spa, followed by a tribute to lead actress Dakota Johnson. During the tribute and conversation, Johnson was awarded the actor spotlight award for her role opposite Academy Award winner Olivia Colman.

Also on-site throughout the weekend was actress Ann Dowd, perhaps best known for her role as the brutal Aunt Lydia in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Dowd attended the film festival as a representative of the film “Mass,” which debuted Friday afternoon at The Hill School. Dowd not only attended the post-screening tribute to her, but she also mixed, mingled, and posed for photos at the Women in Film luncheon at Greenhill Winery.

“Capote” (2005) and “Star Trek” (2009) fans will have recognized actor Clifton Collins Jr. who showed up to present his new film “Jockey” in which he plays the main character, Jackson Silva. In a post-screening conversation with Clayton Davis from Variety, Collins Jr. delighted viewers with anecdotes from filming on a live track with real jockeys. “I got there a week and a half early to hang out with the jockeys – spending all day with them, helping them with the horses, whatever I needed to do,” he says. “I didn’t want to be ‘the actor.’ I told [my producer] I don’t care if my house has burned down. I don’t want to know until I wrap because I have to be here.” His dedication to the project earned him a standing ovation as the credits rolled and the distinguished performance award.

Left: Lead actress Dakota Johnson “The Lost Daughter” at The Salamander Resort and Spa, MFF.
Right: Post-screening conversation with actor Clifton Collins Jr. from “Jockey.” 

A highly anticipated appearance of the weekend was that of actor, director, and five-time Academy Award nominee, Kenneth Branagh who came to Middleburg to showcase his autobiographical hit “Belfast.” “Belfast” was the sold-out centerpiece film of Saturday night with moviegoers eager to view the film following its success in Telluride and hear from Branagh in the subsequent Q&A session. Branagh also greeted festival attendees Sunday morning on the Salamander Resort Middleburg Terrace for a well-deserved and illuminating tribute. Those up early enough were treated to an artfully crafted highlight reel of Branagh’s best work from “Othello” to “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Additionally, Branagh sat down with festival advisory board member John Horn for a conversation covering Branagh’s life and career where he described his latest project about childhood in Northern Ireland as “tender.” He also regaled the crowd with some of his favorite on-set moments with cast members Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds, Gerard Horan, and Jude Hill. For his work as the film’s director, Branagh was awarded the director spotlight award by Sheila Johnson.

RECOGNITION OF WOMEN IN FILM

Another bright spot of the weekend was the attention given to women in the film industry. Saturday morning’s Women in Film Music Conversation at the Salamander Resort Middleburg Terrace highlighted four talented film composers and songwriters including Kathryn Bostic (“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America”), Dianne Warren (“Four Good Days”), Lesley Barber (“Manchester by the Sea”), and Amie Doherty (“Spirit Untamed”) in a panel hosted by Jazz Tangcay, Variety’s Senior 

Artisans Editor. Women took the spotlight again at the Women in Film luncheon hosted by Greenhill Winery. The afternoon event was attended by Britney Rodriguez, Suzanna Son, and Bree Elrod from the film “Red Rocket,” as well as Ann Dowd from “Mass” who shared with attendees the realities of being a woman in the business.

Beyond luncheons and panels, notable women dominated the screen in the films on dock through the weekend. “Spencer” and “Julia” told the tales of real-life icons Princess Diana and Julia Childs. And “Passing,” “Prayers for the Stolen,” “Petit Maman,” and “The Lost Daughter” centered around female figures as well, powerfully sharing their stories.

But the theme of powerful women perhaps most notably extended to the awards granted throughout the weekend. In addition to Dakota Johnson’s actor spotlight award, Ann Dowd was recognized with the Agnès Varda trailblazing film artist award, and “The Power of the Dog” cinematographer Ari Wegner was awarded the distinguished cinematographer award.

Left: John Horn, a host on KPCC and a member of the festival’s advisory board, with Kenneth Branagh on stage at Salamander. Middle: Tim Gordon (from DC Radio/Keeping it Real with Film Gordon/co-President of the Washington Area Film Critics Association), Benjamin Price from Kids First! and Washington Post Chief Film Critic Ann Hornaday. Right: Filmgoers at MFF.

A HEARTWARMING WINNER

As always, attendees were given the chance to rate each film with one, two, three, or four stars immediately after viewing by ripping a slip of paper and returning it to one of the festival’s many helpful volunteers. Of the 34 films representing every genre, including documentaries and international entries, Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” was awarded the audience’s highest honor of top narrative prize. The film, which was sold out for both screenings, documents Branagh’s Northern Irish upbringing through the character “Buddy,” played by Jude Hill. Set in the 1960s, at the beginning of The Troubles, the black and white film blends meaningful humor with moments of tense violence, for a well-rounded film deserving of every laugh, tear, and standing ovation it received.

The crowd cheers at MFF for the Belfast Q&A with Kenneth Branagh. 

Branagh described the film best in his Sunday morning conversation with John Horn. He said writing this story was, “something riddled with pain and difficulty and loss, but through which there must be some way to find hope and a future. The film seems to be opening a portal for other people’s experiences of their own childhood. And that is the big thrill.” ML

This article first appeared in the November 2021 Issue.

Hollywood Meets Hunt Country: Inside the Weiss Family Mural

Written by Shayda Windle

Ever since Monica Weiss and her husband, Michael, have known each other, she’s endearingly been known as “Hollywood” to him. So, when the couple decided last February that it was time for a home renovation, it’s no surprise that Monica enlisted the most talented remodelers, designers, and artists in the area for help. Their 1823 Victorian-style home in Hamilton had already undergone several renovations when they purchased it in 2006, but after many years of hosting guests for Thanksgiving and other special events, the pair decided it was time to expand the space a bit more. 

Image Above: Patricia Taylor Holz explains the process of rendering sketches from Deb Morrow’s photographs. Photo by Shayda Windle.

            Monica says prior to the renovation, they never had a foyer so when the opportunity to decorate came along, she wanted to make it special. She knew she wanted something that was reminiscent of Hunt Country, and thought she’d be able to find it with new wallpaper. She set out on a mission to the Paint and Paper Place in Purcellville hoping she would find it there. When the salesperson told her they didn’t have what she was looking for, she asked if they knew anyone that painted murals. To her luck, local multi-media artist, Patricia Taylor Holz, was working at the store that day. 

           It turns out Monica struck gold upon meeting Taylor Holz, whose body of work includes clients from Disney, MTV, CBS, Phillip Morris, and Jim Henson, just to name a few. As a multi-talented set designer and artist whose experience with large-scale art spans every industry imaginable, it was clear Monica had found the perfect person for the final addition to her home renovation project: a mural that would depict the family’s love of Hunt Country, and the attributes that make this area so unique. It was also important to Monica that the mural would be personalized and include the ones they love the most — their dogs. 

           Taylor Holz visited the Weiss home to discuss Monica’s vision in more detail and quickly noticed the home had an antique aesthetic, with a wide variety of old-fashioned books, furniture, and décor on display. It was then that Taylor Holz began envisioning a historic equestrian and hunting scene reminiscent of the Civil war era with sepia and neutral tones to give it the right look and feel.  

Image Above: The final mural; photo by Shayda Windle.

           One caveat to the project was that it needed to be completed in advance of the next family event in a month. Taylor Holz knew the job would require more than one person so she enlisted local artist Penny Hauffe, whom she met through the local art community, for help to complete the job. Taylor Holz says she wanted to work with someone who “had positive energy, because, there is a lot of emotion that goes into artwork that’s put on display in your home and projected out to the viewers.” Taylor Holz says she considers her projects to be a “labor of love” and that she wanted to work with a “midwife who would help her deliver a bundle of joy” to their new clients. Hauffe was naturally the best fit for the role. 

           Hauffe already had street credibility with murals completed at The Leesburg Auto Wash, Leesburg’s King Street, One Life Fitness building in Brambleton, and the private dining room at the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg. The added bonus for Taylor Holz was Hauffe’s cheerful disposition and positive energy that she brought into the process. 

           The two began the creative process by searching for inspiration in photographs. Luckily, Taylor Holz had met local equine photographer, Deb Morrow, when she came into Western Loudoun’s art scene and they were Facebook friends. It was by chance that Morrow posted some of her recent work on Facebook and let her friends know they were free to use it for their artistic endeavors with her permission. 

Image Above: Patricia Taylor Holz (on left) and homeowner Monica Weiss (on right). Photo by Shayda Windle.

           When Taylor Holz began sifting through Morrow’s work, she realized her equine photographs would be key in creating the hunt scene the Weiss’ were looking for. From there, she gathered the photo sources – from sidesaddle photographs by Morrow to photos of the Morven Park Mansion, Bluemont Vineyard, and Bear’s Den, and began working on the renderings for the mural. 

           She then created a concept of a 19th-century hand-colored sepia illustration on parchment with “just hints of opaque brown, black, red and white on the riders, animals, and dogwoods,” Taylor Holz says. She goes on to say that she wanted a transparent, aged quality to the whole mural, “like ink fading & flaking off old parchment,” and used a variety of mediums and techniques to achieve the look, including a palm sander for the distressed aesthetic. She also used a monochromatic underpainting technique called “grisaille” on the horses and riders, which she says, “involves lightly sketching a form, glazing it over completely, and then sculpting dimension by removing highlight areas with a rag or brush.”

           The final result has ended up to be nothing short of fascinating, so much so, that Monica tells us “it feels like you’re walking into the land of Narnia.” Guests have been so amazed by its intricacies that they will sit down with a glass of wine to stare at the scene for hours.  Upon entering the foyer, viewers are presented with a winter scene of two Victorian-styled ladies riding sidesaddle, which wraps around to a larger scene that includes more riders on horseback, overlooking the hills and vineyards of Hunt Country with the Weiss family dogs looking down from Bear’s Den. At the very end of the mural, Taylor Holz and Hauffe included a vintage, old-fashioned painting of the Morven Park Mansion in spring with Virginia’s state flower, the dogwood, in bloom. 

Image Above: Deb Morrow’s sidesaddle photo, shown top left. The rendering process, top right. The murals (bottom images). Photo by Patricia Taylor Holz..

           With so much talent to be shared between these women, there has been no shortage of interest in their work. Taylor Holz and Hauffe enjoyed their first collaboration together so much that they’ve continued working together on another mural for the Masters of Foxhounds Association of North America. Be on the lookout for an upcoming story about their next big project with the MFHA. ML

To view more of Patricia Taylor Holz’s work, visit her website at pthvisualarts.com. For more about Penny Hauffe, visit pennypaint.com. To see more of Deb Morrow’s photography, visit deborahmorrowphotography.smugmug.com.

This article first appeared in the June 2021 Issue.

Middleburg’s Town-Wide Arts Celebration

The Middleburg Arts Council and the Town of Middleburg will host the fall installment of its biannual arts celebration, Art in the Burg, on Sept. 22.

Artwork from more than 20 local and regional artists of different styles, forms and subject matter will be on display on Madison Street, next to King Street Oyster Bar, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Celebrating Middleburg as an arts destination, Art in the Burg, will also feature live music from local artist, Bess Putnam, the Blue Mountain Songbird. During this celebration of the arts, visitors can connect with artists and discuss the creative process. Art-lovers also get a rare opportunity to purchase original works of art without gallery fees.

“Art in the Burg gives visitors a unique opportunity to meet a variety of local artists in one place,” said Middleburg Arts Council Chair Deb Cadenas. “The town of Middleburg provides a picturesque setting for this wonderful event.”
The Middleburg Arts Council is currently raising funds for a planned 6-foot bronze fox statue. A life-sized replica of the statue will be on display during the event. A raffle will be held during Art in the Burg to help with the project. The raffle prize, a gift basket filled with a variety of items, will include a certificate for a commissioned pet portrait.

Visit the Middleburg Arts Council hospitality tent to enter the raffle. For additional information about Art in the Burg, contact the Middleburg Town Office at 540-687-5152.

 

This article first appeared in the September 2018 Issue.

2018 Middleburg Annual Arts Celebration 

2018 Middleburg Annual Arts Celebration

Featuring over 20 Local and Regional Artists offering their artwork for purchase, and live music from Blue Mountain Songbird.

Happening Sept. 22, 2018 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Madison Street, Middleburg Virginia

 

Sponsored by the Town of Middleburg and the Middleburg Arts Council

The Artists in Middleburg invites you to the 2018 Fall Benefit

The Artists in Middleburg (AiM) invites you to its Fall Fundraiser

 Enjoy a tapas buffet, bubbly to sip, art to purchase, and raffles galore!

When: Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 from 3-6 PM

Where: Wendy Lind Andrew’s, Fox Meadow Farm, 22330, Sam Fred Road, Middleburg, VA, 20117

Attire: Business Casual

Ticket Cost: $75 per person

Tickets available through ticketleap.com, by phone (540) 687-6600, or via mail. Visit our website, theartistsinmiddleburg.org for more information.

RSVP: with ticket purchase by Friday, September 7