Hedy Schiller Watson and Dr. Bonnie MackeyFor most of us the alphabet is something we take for granted. We learn it, form words and communicate but never stop to think about its origins.

Dr. Bonnie Mackey has made a study of it. The alphabet is the subject of a book she co-authored with her niece, Hedy Schiller Watson. The book, titled Alphabet Books: The K-12 Educators’ Power Tool, provides an interesting perspective on a subject we seldom think about.

Mackey received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in art history from Mary Washington College, her Master of Education in educational administration from the University of Texas, and her Doctorate in philosophy, educational curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on language literacy and culture from Texas A&M University. Mackey’s passion about learning and education is evident.

This is not Mackey’s first book. She has written others as well as numerous opinions and theories on the subject. Add a comment


William Snow paintingThere were many surprises at the 42nd annual Fluvanna Art Association (FAA) judged show on Saturday, March 25.

Artists that one might have expected to win this year didn’t. As with all judged or juried shows in the art world, the judge decides on a winner based on criteria of what is strong and worthy of recognition. But it is still a subjective process. No two people judge the same and there are always surprises.

This year’s judge was accomplished and award-winning artist Leah Olivier, who shared her wisdom with FAA artists about their work. Olivier, an expert portrait painter, is a stickler for good anatomy of facial features, animals and figures. Olivier also studied each piece for its overall composition, color and the emotion it evoked. She admitted it was a difficult choice in the intermediate and advanced categories with so many varied pieces in style and medium, including photography and sculpture.

The show communicated to the viewer on many levels with humor, sadness, memorable moments and places, precise techniques and styles. Add a comment


Rob BrowningWalking through various areas of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, one is struck by the artwork and the varying levels of the artists’ work. The art ranges from surrealism to realism to whimsical to abstract. Among the artists is Lake Monticello resident Rob Browning.

Successful artists are often very reflective, searching for life’s answers through their work. Browning embodies these traits, including being shy, gentle and gifted. Like other artists, he becomes energized when talking about his work or the work of others.

“I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t interested in art,” said Browning. “I don’t know where my interest came from. There weren’t many artists in my family or artists I knew in the area.”

Browning grew up in Fluvanna and is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond with a degree in communications art and design, and has won numerous awards for his work. He started out in advertising doing illustrations.

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Actors rehearse“Dewey Frye has just keeled over into his mashed potatoes while giving a speech at the Rotarian Club in New Edinburgh, Miss., and the first thing his widow, Dorothy, does is go straight to the grocery store. As she puts it, her ‘house is about to get as busy as the Big Star on triple coupon day.’ It seems not to have sunk in yet and everyone around her is waiting for her grief to catch up with her. The problem is the only one she really wants to talk to about it is Dewey and he is not there.”

This is how director Beth Sherk describes the opening of the upcoming performance of the Persimmon Tree Players (PTP). They will be performing Osborne & Eppler’s Southern Fried Funeral, described as big-hearted family comedy southern style.

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Tapestry by Wendy CharltonWendy Charlton, a former Fluvanna County High School teacher who now works in grants administration at the University of Virginia, has an unusual hobby: tapestry weaving.
Tapestry weavers are artists, Charlton said, who are separate from weavers who make utilitarian objects like rugs or scarves.

“Tapestry weavers make the kind of art that is usually intended to put on the walls – although of course the line between art and craft is almost impossible to define. Tapestry is usually considered a craft medium,” she said.

Charlton uses a simple loom to create art with yarn, whereas other weaving requires floor looms with multiple shafts. Her loom accommodates pieces up to 32 inches wide.

Her fascination with weaving began in an art class on tapestry in high school. While other students were bored in the class, Charlton was fixated on the way yarn could be used to create a landscape or other pictures. Add a comment