Posts Tagged ‘visual arts’


LAC Member Spotlight: Bob Friedenberg says, "It's NOT A WOLF!"

January 16, 2011

By Allen Pearson

Bob, Howi and Bernard

Quantum leap? Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal? Quantum Tunneling- this reminds me something I did in last winter’s snow!! And, what is String Theory? I’m clueless. But, ask Bob Friedenberg. Not only does he understand and have a PhD in physics, but he has an incredible talent in doodling.

We met for breakfast in Purcellville, where I learned that this former physicist is a doodler at heart! A passion since childhood, his family encouraged him to start again! His imagination and fascination with sci-fi and things-physics are at the heart of his drawings.

I was intrigued at the way Bob creates his works of art. It’s not simply a matter of putting pen to paper and illustrating a dog or whatever…I know because I asked. It’s deeper. Something like that would be trivial to him. He begins by finding something he’d like to draw. It may come to him while talking with his wife, family, friends, or coworkers, or while surfing the internet but it doesn’t stay there. It goes further.

Using the idea of illustrating a cuckoo clock, he starts drawing it. However, as he does, if he decides that a “skier” or “snowman” might look great on the side of the clock, even though it’s not there on the original, he’ll add it in. This description may leave you thinking that he creates a bunch of wandering mindless pieces that no one would want. That’s far from the truth! The “parts” or “pieces” added to the clock, creates depth and keeps you wondering what else you might find in this illustration. I found myself looking at his work for the longest time.

"Crystal City"

Some illustrations he’s just starting can be found on his Facebook page, “Not-Wolf-Productions”. Check it out and comment- he reads them.

Bob began participating in shows in 2010 with a relative which quickly led to one of his early successes: winning “Best in Show” at Clifton Day.

Bob’s wife, JoEllen, does ALL the work for “Not-Wolf-Productions”. She handles the production, marketing, and web design. Without her skills, Bob’s lost!

Not-Wolf Productions”, is named after his dog which looks like a wolf and howls like a wolf but has absolutely no wolf in ‘em!” And, yes, had to meet Howi (Miwok Indian for ‘Turtle Dove’), the “not-wolf” and yes, he looks like a wolf!

Allen Pearson
Nature, Dog, Cat Photographer, “Allen Pearson’s Photos


Amy Manson Puts the Fun in Functional Pottery

December 15, 2010

by Kimberly McCann-Pierce

“It found me,” says Amy Manson when asked how she settled upon pottery as her artistic medium. Talking over wine during an ice storm Amy agreed to take a pottery class with a friend. “It was pretty instantaneous,” she says, describing her kinship with pottery.

Amy draws her inspiration from nature. “I really like things that are found in nature. Clays and colors that are earth tone.” When she started, Amy strove for geometric perfection, the perfect clay pot or piece with contours and lines without flaw. As her artistic voice grew, she began to experiment in what she describes as “the fun and funky hand building” side of pottery.

Her Leesburg, Virginia studio is spotted with both the specificity of wheelwork and the hand fashioned clay shapes of funk. Amy describes hand building as “more instant”, giving the creator something useable right away. The flexibility of hand building permits patterning or free flowing creativity. While traditional wheelwork is strong in identifiable shape and contour, giving an easily recognized piece an immediate sense of place, hand patterning is different.

Amy’s hand patterned clay art ranges from twists, bends, speckles, and colorful dollops to delicately filigreed images inspired by birds, trees, Earth. Display shelves in her home studio boast trays with funky splash, artfully jagged lines, and trendy backgrounds. Next to the hand-patterned creations, geometrically perfect drinking cups line the shelves, popular pieces Amy designs for weddings and gift giving.

She sees herself moving more in the direction of creating the perfect imperfect piece, blending different artistic modalities to create something both fun and functional. I spot some pieces haphazardly placed on a bottom shelf and ask about them. “Oh, those are just my seconds,” she smiles. In looking around her studio, I find nothing but first rate artistic expression.

In addition to transforming clay, Amy also teaches several pottery courses throughout Loudoun County. Currently her work can viewed and purchased at the Gateway Gallery at: For more about Amy and her artistic journey visit the Gateway Gallery home page biography at:

Her teaching venues include:

The Round Hill Art Center, Round Hill, VA 2010
Children’s Ceramic Instructor
Handbuilding Instructor

The Old Furniture Factory, Round Hill, VA 2010
Adjunct Advanced Wheel Instructor
Beginning Wheel Instructor

ArtSquare, Leesburg, VA 2010
Children’s Ceramic/Art Instructor
“Get Me Started With Clay” Instructor

You can also follow Amy’s pottery adventures on her blog at


Member Spotlight: Nadine's Folly & Glass Art

November 16, 2010

By Allen Pearson

Looking for a unique Christmas or Holiday gift this year?  Something not from a store?  Check out Nadine’s Folly, Glass Art, of Ashburn.

I joined Nadine on her typical morning commute to her studio, “It’s a killer!,” she says, “Sometimes, the kitchen slows me down!!”  We ended up in the basement with a computer, materials, machines, and a comfortable client area where I was shown the process of creating glass art.

How does it happen?  Want artglass but don’t have a design? Nadine has several reference materials, such as catalogs and magazines, to generate an idea.  When I suggested drawing my own design she smiled, and said “of course, someone can do that,  that’d be great!,” She assists you from start to finish with every single detail.

After selecting/creating a design the excitement begins.   She takes your design and draws it out in detail.    Then, uses a computer program to enhance it and fill the colors.  During the design stage, she works closely with the client to get the design exactly as you envision, before the actual creation begins!

Once the client approves, glass selection is next.  She has quite a selection to choose from and can order pieces.   Now, she gets to have the fun she’s done for 30 years!  She will cut, grind, foil, solder, clean, and polish the glass to create art.

Nadine’s had the opportunity to create artglass for clients including Loudoun County and  Fairfax schools,  Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation in Ashburn and a Synagogue in Falls Church.  Her fondest memory is at Legacy Elementary School where a stained glassed window was dedicated to a young boy who recently passed away.  The work included  Labrador Retrievers, music, sun, soccer ball, science, flowers and his favorite colors, red and blue.  The work was placed by a garden named after the student.

Nadine’s art career began as a portrait artist but changed after she sat in on a stained glass class for her husband.  She studied fine arts  at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.   She is currently serving as Secretary for the International Guild of Glass Artists and President of the National Capital Art Glass Guild.

Want to Christmas shop? The website is,, contact her soon! Nadine’s work is one of a kind and unique, you’ll need to plan to have that special Christmas present.

Allen Pearson


Sculptor Jeff Hall and the Layers Between Hard and Soft

September 10, 2010

by Kimberly McCann-Pierce

The human figure has inspired artists for millennia.  From the statues in ancient Greece to the friezes at Washington National Cathedral, the body’s graceful form speaks to us as a representation of our march through time.  Local sculptor Jeff Hall* stands proudly on the shoulders of giants in his study of the human figure.  Hall graciously invited me into his studio to view his art and discuss his process.

Loudoun sculptor, Jeff Hall, with torso pieces from his showcase series "City of Angels" and "Monumental Men."

“I view myself as more of a craftsman as opposed to an artist,” said Hall, as he led me through his Lovettsville, Virginia studio.  Male and female forms in bronze and clay dotted the studio intermingled with an ephemeral Lucite mermaid named “Pearl Diver”. “It’s a matter of the surreal and of pushing the limits,” said Hall in describing the mermaid, directing my attention to the smooth fins and the oversized pearl she pressed against her bronze chest.  “It’s a matter of communicating with that other world and it has to be a mood or a feeling to inspire it.”

Hall identifies the concept of Time as a prominent theme throughout his work.  A piece outside his studio aptly named “Time Twister” trellises against the entryway, staring into the distance amid a whirlwind of bronze fossils and Doric columns.  Hall’s showcase series, “City of Angels” * and “Monumental Men”*, address Time as provocative torsoed ruins arranged with sculpted blocks of miniature brick, creating a suspended sense of ancient meets modern.  Hall discussed the juxtaposition of the torso series, identifying the abstracted layers at play as the brick meets the flesh.  “Breaking out the layers between hard and soft is like the layers of one’s personality or character,” said Hall.

When asked how works of such technical intricacy and grace are conceived, Hall points to his interest in fantasy.  Hall’s ideas are born through anything from comic books to feelings inspired by newspaper articles.  In describing the process of bringing the idea into the three dimensional world, the piece must guide him as he creates.  “Oftentimes I will give the piece a title and then it will lead me where it wants to go,” said Hall, pointing to a life size terracotta paleontologist* immersed in a fossilized mammalian discovery.  The terracotta paleontologist emerged during the Jurassic Park movie debut and the subsequent cultural saturation of dinosaur imagery.  “That’s what makes you a contemporary artist: the time period you live in and what you’re bombarded with,” said Hall.

Hall is an artist to the core, despite his self-applied title as craftsman.  As a child he was fascinated with shapes and colors, experimenting with paints and creating detailed airbrush work.   His interest evolved to woodworking where he enjoyed the challenge of molding pieces into different shapes.  From woodworking came a natural progression to clay, plaster, terracotta, ceramic, and bronze, still playing upon the challenge of forcing shapes from metals and other malleable materials.   Hall spent eleven years working with “The Three Soldiers Vietnam Memorial” sculptor, Frederick Hart.  Through his work with Hart, he learned the Lucite sculpting technique, a skill only a few sculptors have mastered.

Time Twister, Bronze - 55" x 20" x 14"

Hall’s work strives to bridge the gap of past with present and technical with ethereal.  When asked where his inspiration will take him next, he simply comments, “I think I want to go more abstract.”  For Hall, abstract means experimenting with a blend of materials and paints.  Tucked among the bronze and clay figures in his studio are two blue Lucite pieces that stand out from the shades of brown.  Hall suggests he may mix metals with Lucite to draw a keener distinction between the real and the otherworldly.  He talks about the qualities of Lucite and explains the lengthy and costly process of creating with those pieces.

Each material has its own nature, but Lucite, according to Hall, has an ethereal quality that lures the eye.  Hall’s work is a blend of fantasy with reality and ancient with modern and I look forward to seeing how abstract he will go.

*For more on Jeff Hall and his work visit; for a list of studios representing Jeff Hall visit


Family Friendly! Fun! Free! – This weekend only!

June 18, 2010

Dear Mom,

So, I was thinking about a fun way to spend Father’s Day Weekend. Something fun, and outdoors, and even a little bit artsy? (That part is a secret.)

You know we are always dragging Daddy to weird conferences, and concerts? And how he just likes the driving part? Or how we drag him shopping? And how he complains about having to carry all the bags?

So, here is my idea. The Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. What? You think you can hear him groaning already? (Yeah, I might hear him groaning all the way from Texas.)

But look! Daddy loves power tools, right? We can go see wood turning, or glass blowing, or welding! Daddy cannot be separated from his camera, right? – there are photographers of everything – landscapes, people, animals… There are also painters, potters, jewelers, AND sculptors in many mediums. Heck, there are even weavers…

Huh. You think this is a hard sell? Did I mention the booklet? There is a map, with over 30 stops to hit over two days. And at those stops, over 50 artists. Do you not think that he will LOVE trying to fit it all in? (I tried last year, and just missed my goal)…. Don’t you think he will get a kick out of traveling all over western Loudoun County- scenic countryside… historical villages? It is gorgeous. There are good places to dine, and wineries to do a quick tasting. There are even bed and breakfasts sponsoring the tour-great places to stay.

Okay. And here is the cool part, Mom. There is stuff for everyone! There is artwork to buy in all price ranges. The artists are there to meet, and you can see demonstrations of their work. There will be door prizes.

Oh. Here is the best part. It is free. FREE!!!

You are welcome, Mom. Check out the website: There are also booklets out in local stores. (I will send you one.)

Your artsy daughter,




The Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour

Saturday, June 19th, 10-5PM, Sunday, June 20, 12-5PM

Visit the studios of over 50 talented artists as you wind through the scenic countryside and historic villages of western Loudoun County. Enjoy paintings, pottery, jewelry, photography, fiber, sculpture and more!

Take this unique opportunity to talk personally with the artists, purchase artwork, view demonstrations and exhibits, or win a door prize!

FREE to public! For Tour Maps, lists of artists and more information please visit ur website at: or call 540.338.7973.


Two Purcellville Arts Instructors Teach Much More Than Art

April 15, 2010

I first met Darcy Swope and Trent Carbaugh at last year’s Loudoun Arts Forum. Darcy, in a colorful outfit, sporting a huge smile and Trent, a grizzly lumberjack of a man, stood out even at an artists’ conference. I soon found out that they were both teachers at their own school, The Birds of a Feather. During introductions, they spoke about a refurbished studio in the country and workshops for people of all ages and abilities. Something about them intrigued me and I wanted to see for myself.

Earlier this spring, I invited myself out to their studio. Just a few minutes outside of Purcellville, I found myself on gravel roads in Loudoun’s lovely countryside. When I turned onto their driveway, I immediately noticed that this was not your average art school. Set on several acres and bordered by a gurgling stream, the location is idyllic.

The Birds of a Feather Art Studio

Darcy came out and offered another big smile and began the tour. Inside, I was greeted by Trent and found myself entranced with the playfully eclectic decor. No white walls here. Trent, a master carpenter, had restored this old structure himself and his whimsical side showed through in interesting places. From the patterned, carpet-tiled ceiling, to the restored wooden floor, it was obviously a labor of love.

Interior - Birds of a Feather Art Studio

When asked about what they teach, it’s quickly understood that while these teachers are interested in traditional arts instruction like color, design and composition, there are other lessons that they strive to convey that are less tangible. According to their website, “Being at the school, there is opportunity to instill tolerance, hope, joy and acceptance and understanding of differences as well as likenesses.”

Trent Carbaugh & Darcy Swope

Trent enjoys sharing his love of history, designing camps around medieval times, pirates and mechanical gadgetry. Carbaugh’s inner child is readily apparent in  his fanciful drawings of monsters, dragons, and superheroes. Swope, once a recipient of the National Art Education Association’s award for “most creative art teacher in the United States” and retired from 31 years as an art teacher loves to use her experience to help everyone think creatively, but absolutely lights up when speaking of her desire to use art to reach people with learning or physical disabilities.

“I love the idea of making the arts accessible to everyone, everywhere, of any age and ability,” Darcy states.

Recently, they worked with over 100 employees at AOL in a creative thinking seminar. Swope and Carbaugh led the employees through team-building exercises, using “art” as a tool to prod employees to think out of the box to create something together utilizing AOL’s core beliefs.

AOL employees creating "art" together that reflects AOL's core values.

At the Carver Center in Purcellville, they are currently teaching art to memory-impaired, vision-impaired and blind senior citizens. This is the kind of work that most warms their hearts and Darcy hopes to expand upon this program and offer it at other locations.

For the youngins’, they’ve also got a summer camp lined up through Loudoun’s Parks & Rec called “Birds of a Feather Art Camp” for ages 6-12.  Offered at their Purcellville studio, the camp offers chances to sculpt, collage and even print on one of the county’s few printing presses. For more information, please call 703-737-8031.

One of my favorite things about my job is having the opportunity to meet my arts community. I thank Darcy and Trent for reminding me that it’s not only about the art…it is just as much, if not more, about the journey.

To learn more about The Birds of a Feather Art School, give them a call or drop them an email:

The Birds of a Feather Art Studio
15671 Ashbury Church Rd.
Purcellville, VA 20132

~ lee


rosalba negrete

April 13, 2010

Rosalba joined the Loudoun Arts Council a few months ago and I got to meet her for a few minutes yesterday when she stopped in to see the Loudoun Sketch Club exhibit.

Rosalba is a sculptress and a member of the Round Hill Artists Coop. She’s got a brand new website to explore at

Rosalba Negrete (sculpture)
Germinar, 14″ x 10″
stoneware, coil technique and cone 6 glaze

It was lovely to meet you! Welcome!

~ lee