Art at the Mill opens

Posted: April 25, 2013

The Winchester Star

Millwood — Big, bold, large-scale paintings can be an entrancing sight.

But when volunteers at Clarke County Historical Association’s biannual Art at the Mill show are trying to fit hundreds of pieces of artwork on a limited amount of wall space, they can present a challenge, director Laura Christiansen said.

Still, they managed to make it work, filling Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood to the brim with artwork of all sizes and colors for the 44th show.

A jury whittled the show down from more than 4,000 submissions to 1,013 pieces for the sale, about a third of which are held on reserve and come out as others are sold, Christiansen said.

“This show we got more submissions but the jury was more selective,” said Christiansen of Strasburg.

The spring show starts Saturday and continues through May 12 at the mill, 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood, she said. An artists’ reception will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. May 5.

A Patron’s Night preview party will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $65 per person.

This year’s show will feature 298 artists, 69 of whom are new, Christiansen said. Their works include sculptures, pencil, ink, etching, mixed media, pottery, charcoal, woodwork, stained glass, and paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor.

Among the works are five paintings by the late John Leone, a longtime Art at the Mill participant who died two years ago this week, she said. “He is definitely someone who people in this area know and respect. People have certainly missed his art, so we are glad to have it back, even if it is for the last time.”

Cheryl Voytek of Millwood has entered artwork in every Art at the Mill show since it started in 1990. For this year’s show, one of her entries is a brightly colored triptych (three connected paintings), “Oriental Poppy,” that shows the large orange bud being pollinated by a bee.

“I like to do seasonal work for this show,” said Voytek, who is also one of the more than 40 volunteers who hung the show.

Another artist, Wendy Bridges, also submitted a triptych, this one a Japanese-style acrylic painting showing a man on top of a whale, Christiansen said. The title, “Miyamoto Mishahi,” means subduing a whale.

The most expensive piece this spring is once again a bronze statue by Belinda Sillars, Christiansen said. She has multiple pieces in the show, but “Bullfinch,” which depicts a horse and rider jumping through brambles, is selling for $17,500.

One of Sillars sculptures, a “beautiful and elegant” painted bronze horse head, was also chosen to use on this year’s promotional materials to show the range of items people find at the sale, she said.

Another three-dimensional piece that is sure to give people a chuckle is a hand-sculpted ceramic scene by Barbara Guay, she said. “Knightfall” shows a happy looking dragon outside his den cooking up his supper. Pieces of armor are strewn on the ground.

It is completely different from another of her pieces, an elegant panel of painted ceramic featuring a water scene, Christiansen said.

“The nice thing about this show is sometimes we get five pieces submitted and all of them are completely different,” she said. “Artists get a chance to show off their range.”

One of the new artists to the show, Sarah Gallahan, showed her range with several bold bluesy oil paintings and two detailed mosaics, said Candy Means, volunteer coordinator. One of the mosaic pieces, “Kraken,” has the “quality of being Medieval stained glass but also more modern.”

Another oil painting, this time Courtney Murphy’s “Ballad,” is a stark contrast to Gallahan’s almost cartoon like figures, showing the realistic image of a woman’s legs, Christiansen said. Part of her is in light and part in shadow.

“It is nice how she uses the woman’s figure to separate the light and dark and also plays with that on the dress,” she said. “That is hard to do.”

Besides the different art on display, visitors will have a few opportunities to watch art in action with live demonstrations throughout the run of the show, Christiansen said.

Steven Walker will give the demonstration for Patron’s Night. Other artists participating are Rachel Canada, Saturday; Marni Lawson, May 2 and 9; Daniel Robbins, May 4, and Jean Seelig, May 10.


Art at the Mill will begin Saturday and run through May 12 at Burwell-Morgan Mill, 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through Fridays. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for students.

For more information, call 540-955-2600 or go to

— Contact Laura McFarland at