Spring in the Shenandoah Valley

May is a beautiful month in the Shenandoah Valley. The trees are in full bloom and the flowers are starting to thrive. With everything turning green and the temperature rising near 80 degrees, it is time to get our paints together, pack up the easel and do some plein-air painting. Our art classes starting in April were filled with talented painters. This year we made some improvements to the Shenandoah Art Destination fixing up the bathrooms, adding more easels and tables, stacked a giant pile of wood for the fire pit so we can sit outside in the evenings and, of course, expanded our wine assortment. When I look outside the theme of this year should be COLOR. We added Henche’s color theories from the Cape Cod School of Art to our instructions and I can’t wait to see the paintings that will create. I am sure you will love it. We started to experiment with Mono printing and the results are great. It makes as much of a mess as dry point etching, but it is a lot of fun. We are on our way to another successful year at the Shenandoah Art Destination. More than fifty students have already signed up for our courses until end October. Often they are friends of previous students. That means that our guests have had a great experience here in Virginia. A true ART VACATION! Jan-Willem is currently painting for his personal show coming up in September in Nelson Gallery in Lexington. The Gallery’s theme in May is ”Here is looking at you Lexington” so he did some urban sketching and...

How has your artwork evolved since you started painting?

Have you found that your style of painting has changed over time? That is quite normal and will automatically happen as you explore and experiment with various mediums and subject matter, different techniques, etc. over time. I don’t think there is anyone who looks back to their original work and it looks like what they are currently doing today. Elements, of course, will always perhaps be the same but exploration is how we learn and grow. Some facts about Pablo Picasso (from Encyclopedia.com 2014). The years between 1901 and 1904 were known as Picasso’s Blue Period, during which nearly all of his works were executed in somber shades of blue and contained lean, dejected, and introspective figures. The pervasive tone of the pictures is one of depression; their color is symbolic of the artist’s personal hardship during the first years of the century—years when he occasionally burned his own drawings to keep warm—and also of the suffering which he witnessed in his society. Two outstanding examples of this period are the Old Guitarist (1903) and Life (1903). In the second half of 1904 Picasso’s style exhibited a new direction. For about a year he worked on a series of pictures featuring harlequins, acrobats, and other circus performers. The most celebrated example is the Family of Saltimbanques (1905). Feeling, as well as subject matter, has shifted here. The brooding depression of the Blue Period has given way to a quiet and unoppressive melancholy, and the color has become more natural, delicate, and tender in its range, with a prevalence of reddish and pink tones. Thus this period was called his...

2014 Spring is Here – Time to Paint!

OK, snow, cold go away – we are all ready for the warm breezes, trees budding, bulbs blooming and to feel the warmth of the sun.  In other words, it’s time for spring to burst forth in all its glory.  With that comes new energy and creativity to put up the easel outside and paint all those beautiful spring scenes. We are looking ahead to another wonderful “art course” season.  Courses are scheduled from end April through October.  There are still openings in all of the courses so get your registration in soon.  You will be inspired by the instruction as well as the accommodations and the beautiful peaceful setting.   Let me tell you about the resident owner/tutor, Jan Willem Boer, a Dutch master who was born in The Netherlands and studied art at the renowned Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam under some of the most influential artists of this era.  He specializes in drawing, painting and print making.  Moving to the United States he worked as a commercial illustrator and designer for 30 years for more than 100 clients in both the USA and Europe, winning several awards for his outstanding work.  Several years ago he made the choice to start putting his talent to canvas – his particular interest being the “road scenes” of his travels.  While he enjoys working in a variety of styles and mediums, he is best known for his bright semi-realistic paintings of landscapes and street scenes.   His work has been shown in the USA at The Lake Minnetonka Arts Tour, Minneapolis, MN, and Artisan Gallery Fine Art & Crafts, Lancaster, PA. ...

What to do if I come along?

If you are a partner/spouse/friend and want to come along for the art course and wonder what you can do – let me give you some wonderful options.  First of all, Lexington is full of history and small shops.  There are no franchise stores allowed in the downtown area, so you have wonderful boutiques and interesting stores to browse through along with several art galleries.  To refresh your history knowledge you can visit various museums and Civil War sites or join the “walking tour” hosted by the Visitor Center.  If you love nature there are various places to visit nearby – the Boxwood Gardens are fun to walk through, or perhaps visit the Natural Bridge.   If you want to just get out in nature by yourself and walk we have lots of walking trails close by.  The trails are of various difficulties and lengths, so you can choose what suits you.  The closest trails are just 1.3 miles away.  Or if you want to take a scenic drive the Blue Ridge Parkway is just 15 miles away.  Trust me, you won’t be bored – there is plenty that you can fill your day...

History of The Shenandoah Manor

Most Rockbridge County residents remember The Shenandoah Manor as “The Inn at Union Run”. Its story begins at the end of the 19th Century on the banks of the Union Run, where a clapboard farmhouse on 100 acres was built (1883) with a spring, a springhouse, and a hand-hewn log barn (the remains of which still stand). Rumor has it that the main farmhouse burned to the ground numerous times and was rebuilt from the ashes, again and again. In the 1990’s, the Manor became a renowned family-owned Bed and Breakfast, the Inn at Union Run, a three-time recipient of the prestigious Virginia Governor’s Award. Sadly, as so often happens to the best of dreams, life changes. The Inn at Union Run declined, the Innkeepers moved on, and the property fell into significant disrepair. In May 2006, a team of local investors decided to restore the property to a whole new level of distinction – this time as “Barefield Manor at Union Run”. Larry Swartz and Whit Gravely, both hands-on investors, contributed to the renovation of Barefield Manor in unique ways. Larry enlisted the help of his wife, Shirley, their three sons, and their grandson and granddaughter to do the hard work required to renovate Barefield Manor, including trim painting, carpentry, plumbing, landscaping, decorating and restoring the original wooden door. Larry drained the pond, designed and built a new overflow, and installed a fountain in the center of the pond. The investors hired Lexington designer David Jimenez of Designs by David to create the new, dramatic look for Barefield Manor. Unfortunately, this wonderful property has sat empty for the...

Taking Reservations

A new year and a lot has happened since my last post.  I will be more regular in my updates from now on. Yesterday we hosted an Open House for the Lexington & Rockbridge Tourism Office.  We had nine people here to see our facility and hear about the exciting future for Shenandoah Art Destination.  We gave them a tour and served them yummy hors d’oeuvres, so they can attest that the meals will be delicious – they were very impressed by what we are doing.  They have mentioned us in the April issue of BlueRidge Country magazine. We have been advertising full force for the upcoming 2013 season.  You can find us in ads coming out in the next issues of Virginia Living, International Artist, and ARTnews.  Plus there will be a feature article in the on-line International Lifestyle Magazine as well as you can find us on other internet travel & art related websites.  Our courses are starting to fill up – for a quick overview of the courses check out the “Course Availability” page. Jan-Willem has been busy designing a new logo for the Shenandoah Art Destination and painting some new pieces for the Artisans Gallery in Lancaster, PA where he is currently exhibiting.  He will be a featured guest artist in a local gallery in the month of...

Any questions? Call 612.221.1140

Email: nancy@shenandoahartdestination.com

Shenandoah Art Destination, 325 Union Run, Lexington VA, USA. 24450

Established in 2010, The Shenandoah Art Destination is one of the only, art vacation retreat schools in the United States.  Home to students from all continents, the Shenandoah Art Destination offers rigorous art classes that include painting (oil and acrylic, watercolor, pastel), plein air painting, drawing, airbrush, drypoint, lino, mono printing and mixed media.
The Manors’s beautiful, 10-acre property is located in Lexington, Virginia, 50 miles north of Roanoke, VA.

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