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Glenowen Farm Round Hill Virginia

Northern Virginia was locked in a week of bitter temperatures, followed by a day of rapid warming. This warming trend sent warm air over frozen ground and produced oceans of heavy thick white air. Distance multiplied by this natural opaque filtering can produce photographs of amazing beauty.

A recent foggy weekend morning in Loudoun County was a perfect time to seek out these serene settings mixed with meandering Loudoun tree farmtree lines and farm features. The Blue Ridge Mountains consistently produces these types of environments when the light is right. The fog led me to Glen Owen Farm located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge in Round Hill. Spanning hundreds of acres, this Century Farm, not only raises cattle but also wheat, barley soy and corn.

The flowing tree lines appear as earthy seams that playfully hold the ridge together. Now leaveless, these barren bones help to create a patched jacket look dotted with cows and veins of snow. The layers of trees blend as each successive rise fades with distance.

Adjacent to this place is a Christmas tree farm, also pictured here. I’ve also photographed this location many times over the years. Whole sections of trees grow and shrink upon comparison of pictures taken over time. Fog can lend itself well to trees arranged in rows. The contrast between nature on its own time, and the human element, can create a metaphor of man and nature.

Loudoun farm photographyI’ll often drop what I’m doing in the name of photography and fog. This alluring mixture has often yielded moody photos that beg for attention.

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Courthouse Exhibit Press Release

Media Contact:
Gale Waldron
Gwaldron1 [@] verizon.net

For Immediate Release

 

New Exhibits on Display in County Courthouse

Dean Drewyer Paintings and Dave Levinson Photographs Celebrate

Loudoun’s Beauty 

Leesburg, Va – The Courthouse Grounds and Facilities Committee recently installed two new exhibits by acclaimed Loudoun artists in the public areas of the courthouse.

Loudoun Landscapes – Photographs by Dave Levinson

Dave Levinson has lived in Loudoun County since 1997.  In that time, he has enjoyed exploring his surroundings, seeking out the natural beauty that Loudoun has to offer.  Dave’s passion for the outdoors, hiking and exploring serves as a canvas for his chosen medium, photography.  He enjoys sharing the beauty that he captures through his lens while using rural culture and preservation as backdrops.

A lifelong artist, Dave has created bodies of work that have been shown in galleries, museums, libraries, government facilities, restaurants and interior design boutiques.  His photographs can be found in businesses and homes across Loudoun County and Virginia.

In addition to his love of photography, Dave has years of experience as a designer, inventor, entrepreneur, author and public speaker.  For more information about Dave and his Loudoun photographs, visit loudounlandscapes.loudoundesign.com or contact him at LandscapePhotos [@] gmail.com

Looking Back – Original Paintings by Dean Taylor Drewyer

The former Chair of the Art Department at Loudoun Valley High School, Dean Drewyer recently retired after 32 years of teaching art in the Loudoun County public schools.  He makes his home and studio with his wife and son in the old Hughesville Church and School near Lincoln, Virginia.

For Dean, making art is a personal celebration of the joy of being alive.

Whether standing in an open field, knee-deep in a stream in the woods, or floating on the lake in his aluminum rowboat, Dean works in a rapid wet-on-wet style in oil, concentrating on capturing the ‘premier coup’, immersed in the process of investigating and seeing as if every subject is new.  This approach lends his paintings a spontaneity and freshness while it also captures the feel of time and place. Shadow and light, brush handling, the thickness of the paint, and color with its atmospheric/spatial effect are his primary concerns.  The chosen subject is simply a visual trigger to discover and record these dynamics.

Dean has been exhibiting his paintings and drawings in the mid-Atlantic region since the early 1970s.   His work is in private collections throughout that area, from Tennessee to Pennsylvania.  His most recent plein-air work is based on locations along the upper Potomac river, the Virginia Piedmont, the Blue Ridge and the low mountains of western Maryland, and on or near the lakes in downeast Maine.

Both displays will continue through March 31, 2012.

The mission of the Courthouse Grounds and Facility Committee is to make recommendations to the Court and the Board of Supervisors concerning the maintenance and improvement of the Courthouse grounds and use of buildings for other than the administration of justice; and to administer the day to day use of the grounds in response to requests for use by the general public. The Committee is charged with establishing the rules for the use of the grounds when requested by the public, as well as the review and resolution of requests for usage.

For more information, contact Gale Waldron, Courthouse Curator, at gwaldron1 [@]verizon.net or 703-771-0127.

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Foggy Virginia Morning

Foggy mornings in northern Virginia usually provide excellent opportunities for photography. In late summer, dew drenched grasses and weeds illuminate in the diffused early morning light just before the sun fully breaks. Distant trees appear to float along the horizon like cannonball ravaged sails of pirate ghost ships. Sporting shades of gray driven by distance and moisture, the trees eerily cling to the horizon as if to crawl toward the viewer.

Sunday morning, September 4, I found myself in several such places just south of Purcellville, Virginia. The early morning fog was thick enough to wet otherwise dry hair, bead water on my camera and loosen normally squeaky knobs of a trustworthy tripod. To some, these conditions might spoil weekend morning plans. For some landscape photographers like myself, the thick white air begs for attention.

The painterly effect of fog converts an otherwise sun-soaked scene into one of mystery and allure. As if the sky was forced down to earth, the horizon becomes masked with layers of whites and grays. Mere shapes define the normal landscape features turning them into patterns and hulking masses.

 

 

This photo was taken in the middle of a robust corn field. Recently sold for development, these 50 or so acres are divided by an out of place gravel road, where the camera stood for this brief moment in time. Corn stalks, most breaching the six foot mark, filled the visible space below the horizon. The small gravel road, I assume, was created to permit interested property buyers deep access into the parcel, which is located along Black Oak Road.

Lonely beige corn leaves rests upon the unmarked road, separated from the whorl where it once grew. Limp and withered, the clump resembles fingers that caution the wayward visitor to turn back. A range of rich green hues are capped with yellow and red shaft tassels  While a distant dog made itself known, this desolate place lacks signs of ongoing human activity. The gravel road vanishes to a point, where a natural arch is formed by the distant trees.

 

 

A lonely tree stands guard in the middle of a generous pasture located along Silcott Spring Road in Purcellville, Virginia. The dew drenched grasses were wet enough to reveal the path left by my soaked boots. Soothing and serene define this simple photograph, divided by a hill in one direction, and a young tree in the other.

 

 

In a different section of the same field captured above, the ground in this photo is spotted with puffy seeds of local field grass. Each seed bundle is weighted down, heavy with moisture from fog. Bearing yellow and beige hues, the seeds give pattern to the field as they float above their green leafy counterparts. Combined, they create a quilt that blankets the gentle rolling hills that define this part of Loudoun County. The trail left by now soaked boots can be seen along the far right edge of this photograph.

This morning was rewarding not only in terms of the resulting photos and stories shared, but also the solitary time spent exploring our wonderful county.

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Oatlands Plantation Celebrates

On this day the Oatlands Plantation celebrated the 200th birthday of their greenhouse. Built in 1810, the most advanced materials and techniques of the day were used in its construction. With a glass roof and southern facing glass wall, the facility captures much of the daily sun as it makes its way across the sky. The balance of the building of made of brick. The pipes, attached to the interior brick walls, are connect to the fireplace. The internal system for heating and cooling were balanced by heat from the sun, the fireplace and cool cellar which served as a multi-functional aspect of this building.

The greenhouse is noted as being the second oldest such structure in the country. In its restored state today, it looks much like it did 200 years ago, when it provided produce year round.
 

 

The historic mansion (below) rests a short distance from the greenhouse. A tour of this beautiful historic home provides the feeling of stepping back in time. Plantations can be found all over the state of Virginia, but Oatlands stands out for its grandeur and rich history of early farming. This National Trust location hosts events throughout the year, including the well attended annual horse race know as Point To Point.
 


 

Locations such as this provide a one stop site for producing Virginia photography. With its rich gardens, long covered roads and paths, staff quarters and mansion, the grounds provide something new upon every visit. Oatlands Plantation is a wonderful place for the family to visit and take in local Loudoun history.

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Wild Turkey

there may be a turkey in there

 

Yes, the name of this photograph is Wild Turkey. If you turn off the lights and squint, you may actually be able to see one. The real story here relates to the challenges of outdoor photography. Often while closely focusing on a subject, landscapes in my case, several minutes can pass while preparing and concentrating. It seems that when least expected, some sort of wildlife will pop out unannounced. The alleged wild turkey in question made itself known with loud gobbles while crashing through leaves.

Both surprise and excitement causes the camera to fly off the tripod and wildly point in a direction of more immediacy. With this photo, you are able to see the process visually. I burst out in laughter while reviewing it later on the computer and felt compelled to aptly, but abstractly, named the image accordingly. Every once and while, an interesting photo is taken, even if the intended subject is no where to be seen. This Wild Turkey photo instead reveals a pleasing painterly feel with soft green overcast and stripes of trees in motion. I'd call this one experimental.

While hiking to places of interest, I've learned to keep my camera at the ready; lens cap off, camera on and everything thing else on my back. This way I'm always prepared to catch that surprised deer or sneaky fox. Wildlife does not play a major part in what I exhibit, but I certainly like the challenge of capturing a unique moment. Being prepared has paid off, but this was learned after countless missed opportunities in capturing deer flying over fences. Here in northern Virginia, this is not a rare occurrence. The Loudoun landscape is filled with deer just waiting to flee your presence.

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Meet the Artist event

On Saturday, June 18, I will be speaking at Loudoun County's Cascades Library during their Meet the Artist event. I will be showing examples of my landscape photography and discussing the stories behind them. The event begins at 2 pm.

Follow this library link to learn more: engagedpatrons.org/EventsExtended.cfm?SiteID=6457&EventID=88099.

Much of my work not only focuses on Loudoun's natural beauty, but also its historic places, farms and hiking trails. Loudoun offers a rich history dating back to the early 1700's. George Washington is credited with surveying early Loudoun and is responsible for mapping out natural boarders and landmarks. He is also known to have owned various places of businesses here in Loudoun following his initial explorations.

Another angle to my work focuses on preservation. Over the last eight years, I've captured vistas, barns and farms. Many of the places depicted in my photos no longer exist. They have either been replaced with neighborhoods or simply torn down for safety reasons. Some of the images shown during my discussion will focus on these places.

As always, I welcome audience interaction as part of my discussion. I hope to learn something myself from those who attend. No reservations required, just show up. I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks!

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