Arts

Persimmon tree playersPersimmon Tree Players (PTP) is getting ready for a new season of shows. The future looks bright for a theater group that has been in existence for over 20 years.

The saying in some theater circles is “creativity is contagious,” and it is challenging, magical, imaginative and fun. However, turnover in community theater often arises due to time constraints and other commitments of those who participate.

“There is a tremendous satisfaction in being part of creating an enjoyable experience for my neighbors. I enjoy the company of my theater community, whether I am building a set or playing a role on stage,” said longtime PTP veteran George Gaige.

Gaige said he would like to see PTP include specialty shows such as musicals, children’s theater and variety or talent events. Gaige’s enthusiasm and energy is evident when speaking about theater and he puts that same energy into his performances and set designs. When President Warren Johnson left in February after 13 years, Beth Sherk took over, and Gaige has been supportive of building the group and keeping it moving forward. Add a comment

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Bill SnowWilliam Snow spoke to the Fluvanna Art Association (FAA) members on the subject of how to create mood and atmosphere in watercolor painting – a skill that baffles most painters.

“This method works for any medium and addresses any time of day,” he said. “The problem with copying photos is they will not give you the results you want.” He recommended doing a value sketch to pin down the sources of light in a photo or when outside sketching. He advised his listeners not to copy the photo literally but to change it, making it their own composition. The drawback to copying photos when artists are not sure what they are painting, he said, is that they add a lot of minutia in the photo that doesn’t enhance the painting.

While Snow showed the members successful watercolor techniques, an overhead camera projected onto a larger screen how Snow applied his method, allowing the audience to watch as he painted and talked. In the past, members sidled up and gathered around the table to watch the artist work and could not always see what the artist was doing. This was a milestone.

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Haley Nelson and Jessica Harris rehearseLast week for her week-long theater camp, Jessica Harris had 24 children aged 5 to 12.  This week it is the older kids’ turn, featuring seven kids aged 12 to 14.

“We had a fabulous week at Carysbrook Performing Arts Center. Of the students who participated in last week’s camp, most had never set foot on stage before,” said Harris. “Students learned basic theater knowledge such as stage directions and projection, and also learned character development techniques and 11 songs to boot.”

Partnering with Harris is Haley Nelson, who is studying drama at George Mason University. Together, these two young women are an impressive pair when it comes to teaching kids about drama and the basics of theater. Harris, who started the Empowered Players as a teenager, shows an infinite passion and dedication to her craft and understands learning the basics early for success later on the stage.

It is amazing to watch this young woman, barely out of her teens, conduct a session with her students in an efficient, organized, direct and creative way, encouraging imagination through writing and improvisation while learning about stage presence, expression, body movement and projection. Add a comment

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Susan LangSalvador Dali once said “Drawing is the honesty of art; it’s either good or its bad.” For some artists, particularly loose painters used to impressionism, drawing is a dreary necessity. For others it is an art form that is so intense they lose themselves in it. Artist Susan Lang, known for her rich and vibrant oil paintings, had her illustrations featured in Leadership Lessons from Great World Leaders, a book written by her husband, Professor Frederick Lang.

For someone used to painting, predominantly in oils – which is the most forgiving of the paint mediums – she used only graphite to create her illustrations of 10 of the most influential leaders of past centuries, including Alexander the Great, Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill, Catherine the Great and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lang, who had never taken on a project like this before, discussed what she learned. She began with reference photos, paintings and sculptures. It took her over a month to render approximately 16 drawings to choose her final illustrations. She began mixing charcoal and graphite but ended up only using graphite.

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Troy WeidenheimerWhen using reference photos for painting, it is always a good idea to know whether the photo you’re referencing is even worth painting, according to artist Troy Weidenheimer, who spoke to a group of Fluvanna Art Association (FAA) members on Friday (June 16).

“Garbage in and garbage out,” he said, describing the dilemma most novice artists have in choosing photos that are poor in compositional quality – something many artists never stop to contemplate. This relates to photos that the artist has taken or has permission to use.

“How do you analyze photos and then what do you do once you have found an appropriate photo?” he asked. Before artists looks for potential problems in photos, they first must determine what type of art they are creating. He pointed out that while illustrations are an exact replica of what is in the photo, fine art goes beyond the literal rendering. “It interprets and enhances elements of the photo in the most artistic and visually pleasing way,” he said, adding that originality inspires the creative process. Add a comment

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