News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
A Love Of Autumn Colors
BY CRAIG SCHULIN
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Artist Paula Raudenbush grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, where she developed a love of nature by simply living in one of the region’s most stunning pastoral settings.
Couple that with a deep appreciation for the natural world instilled in her by her parents and it isn’t hard to understand the way she embraces nature in her art.
Raudenbush’s current exhibit is a reflection on where her passion for nature eventually led her: botanicals. The category is broad, encompassing flora from mushrooms to towering oaks. Artists typically gravitate toward plants in their full glory—blooming flowers, leafy trees or ripe fruit. But Raudenbush found her passion on the nadir of the life cycle.
“I fell in love with botanicals,” said Raudenbush. “I love the fall colors. Even the seed pods that can be dull when you first look at them actually have lots of colors when looked at more closely,”
Raudenbush works from the actual plant. It isn’t unusual for friends to drop by to give her leaves, abandoned nests or other items they find.
A figure in the Fredericksburg art scene since the 1970s, Raudenbush credits the art community here for much of her success.
“The community has always been so open and welcoming. We celebrate and encourage and learn from each other’s art. It lets you stretch yourself, be more creative even,” she said.
For Raudenbush, continuing to learn also includes more formal settings. She recently completed coursework that is part of the Virginia Master Naturalist program. She also studied with Charlottesville artist Lara Gastinger, a specialist in botanicals, who is currently wrapping up work on 1,300 illustrations in the soon-to-be published “Flora of Virginia” book.
“Paula is a fantastic botanical artist. Most of my students start out being cautious with the colors. But Paula was quick to jump in there. She does a great job layering colors, capturing the details,” said Gastinger.
JarrettThor Gallery in Colonial Beach is featuring Raudenbush’s exhibit alongside another by Maryland artist Vicki Marckel.
Marckel’s work is something of a complement to Raudenbush’s, although the subject matter is architectural rather than natural.
“But we both share the same palette,” said Raudenbush, noting the similar colors they use. “We didn’t plan this, but it really all came together very nicely.”
What: Paula Raudenbush’s “Stems & Seeds” and Vicki Marckel’s “Vivid Perceptions” exhibits.
Where: JarettThor Fine Arts Gallery, 100 Taylor St., Colonial Beach
When: 10 a.m.–6 p.m,, Thursday–Sunday. Exhibit runs through Oct. 7.
Info: 804/224-7200, jarretthor.com
Craig Schulin: 540/374-5403