Memorial service set for artist

Posted: March 18, 2014

The Winchester Star

Winchester artist the late Wilson Webb participated in the Winchester and Frederick County Artists Studio and Gallery Tour at his Blue Mountain Gallery on Valley Avenue. A memorial for Wilson Webb will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Shenandoah Arts Council, 811 S. Loudoun St. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

Winchester — Wilson Webb was a laid-back, quiet man who loved art and adventure, his daughter said.

Donna Buckeridge recalls her father loving to travel and meet new people and always wanting to “go where the action was in his own way.” But when the late artist settled in Winchester in 1997, he found where he belonged.

“He absolutely loved being part of the art community in Winchester,” said Buckeridge, 51, of Rockville, Md. “I would go to a few of his shows and I could feel the community and the support and appreciation he got from his peers. I think it is wonderful that he was so well respected and found his place.”

Wilson’s friends and admirers are invited to a memorial service to remember and celebrate his life, she said. The service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Shenandoah Arts Council, 811 S. Loudoun St.

Webb lived in Winchester from 1997 until 2013, when he was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a type of chronic leukemia that disrupts the body’s normal production of mature blood cells, Buckeridge said. After the diagnosis, he sold his house and all of his art equipment, and moved to Leesburg. He died Dec. 31.

In October, the arts council hosted “Wilson Webb, A Retrospective,” an exhibit of 30 paintings representing some of the range Webb created during his time in Winchester, Executive Director Tracy Marlatt said. The show included landscapes, portraits and buildings with attention to architectural detail.

Between the October exhibition of his work and the sale of some of his items, the arts council received about $6,500, she said. Those funds have been set aside to be used for a small public art initiative in the future.

Not everyone could make it to the show, so the memorial is an opportunity to pay respect to his family and share memories of him, she said. “It is chance to celebrate an artist who gave so much to the community.”

Webb’s partner, Ellen Burgoyne, and his children and grandchildren will be in attendance. There will be a slideshow of images of Webb, displays of his works, and an opportunity for people to say a few words, Buckeridge said.

“It is very heartwarming for people to express their love and appreciation for dad. It is nice to see a side of his life we weren’t involved with on a daily basis,” she said.

The setting of the memorial at the arts council is appropriate given Webb’s passion for the arts, Marlatt said. Not long after moving to Winchester, he became active with SAC and helped with the renovation when the current building was transformed from a dialysis center to a gallery.

“Wilson is one of the ones who gave much sweat equity to changing the building into what it is today. There is a lot of Wilson in this building even though Wilson is no longer with us,” she said.

Marlatt met Webb shortly after she started work at the arts council, and he became an invaluable sounding board for her. When an idea was brought up and she wanted an artist’s perspective, she could bounce it off of him and know she would receive honest feedback.

“Wilson was very direct so you always knew exactly where you stood and what he thought. I miss him,” she said.

Webb was a creative man who designed retail store interiors and built and installed fixtures during the week and painted for himself on the weekends, Buckeridge said.

He was able to focus more on his art from 1995 to 1997, when he lived in Costa Rica and had a gallery there, and then when he moved to Winchester and joined several plein air painting groups in the region.

In an interview before his show in October, Webb said he loved landscape painting with the groups and capturing a scene in that moment. “I enjoyed the time we spent out painting in the field. I would come home and work on them some more, but not very much.”

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Shenandoah Arts Council or Capital Caring Services, Loudoun and West Fairfax counties.

Information

A memorial for Wilson Webb will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Shenandoah Arts Council, 811 S. Loudoun St. For more information, contact 540-667-5166.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com