‘Early Creations’ exhibit open through Dec. 15

Posted: November 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

Artist Rachel Neiswander shows her pencil drawing, “Younger Self.” Her drawings and photographs are on display in the lobby of the Virginia National Bank on the Loudoun Street Mall. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)
“The Seed,” a pencil and charcoal drawing by Rachel Neiswander, is on display in the Virginia National Bank lobby on the Loudoun Street Mall.
“Lilly,” a photograph by Rachel Neiswander, is on display in the lobby of the Virginia National Bank on the Loudoun Street Mall. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

Winchester — The Virginia National Bank on the Loudoun Street Mall is giving a budding artist a chance to share her work with the public.

“Early Creations,” an exhibit of photographs and drawings, is the first public exhibit for Rachel Neiswander, 28, of Woodstock. The show is small — three photos and four drawings — but the artist is still thrilled about the new exposure.

“It’s really cool. It is definitely not your typical setting, but there are different kinds of people coming through,” she said. “I was excited to come in and see what I could offer.”

The show runs through Dec. 15 in the lobby of the bank at 186 N. Loudoun St. Admission is free and open to the public during bank hours.

Candace Davenport, the bank’s office manager, said she is always looking for new artwork to grace the bank walls, so she was happy when a friend recommended Neiswander’s work. She went to the artist’s website, ronnielimages.com, and liked the quality of work.

“She has a variety in here, whereas some of them come in here and are all the same,” Davenport said. “With her variety of artwork, we have had a lot of people come in who have enjoyed her art.”

Having art on the walls makes the bank “a little more welcoming for people,” whether they are customers or people who come in to look at the architecture of the building, she said.

Neiswander said that her story and the stories of people she knows can often be read and interpreted through her work. “I often see or develop an image in my mind and continue with the same subject until it is exhausted.”

She doesn’t set out to create a series, but as the works progress, a “relationship between pieces becomes quite obvious.”

One common theme in several of her works is to focus on hands. With “The Seed,” a hand cups a crumpled leaf that has a seed inside of it. “As I was creating it, the leaf morphed into something else. It symbolizes the death of something and the seed is rebirth.”

Pencil and charcoal are Neiswander’s first loves, and while she does tend to prefer black and white images, she sometimes uses colored pencils for the background or certain features she wants to highlight. She used colored pencil on two other drawings, featuring hands in the show.

Another drawing, “Younger Self,” is a pencil drawing Neiswander created from a magazine picture that she saw and liked the girl’s smile. “She is just herself and is OK with that. That is my story as well. I am here and you can take me for what I am.”

Two of the photographs are water lilies, which Neiswander finds fascinating, and was attracted to in those instances by how they looked in that day’s light. She shot the images at an arboretum in Ohio, where she grew up.

She graduated in 2008 from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg with a degree in art education. She moved to the area to work as an assistant director at the Boys and Girls Club.

“I have always enjoyed working with kids, whether it is teaching art or life skills. I want to teach through my art,” Neiswander said.

She has since also supported herself as food service and retail personnel. Whatever spare time she has is spent on her art and sharing it with others. With the bank exhibit, she likes that “some people who would not go to an art gallery would come into a bank, so that is a creative and innovative way to introduce people to art.”


“Early Creations,” an exhibit of photographs and drawings by Neiswander, will be on display through Dec. 15 at Virginia National Bank, 186 N. Loudoun St., Winchester. Admission is free and open to the public during bank hours.

For more information about Neiswander, contact 330-473-0442 or contact@ronnielimages.com or go to ronnielimages.com.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com