Rural landscapes exhibit opens at Duvall Gallery

Posted: October 5, 2013

The Winchester Star

Jill Garity, an artist from Philomont, hangs one of her oil paintings at Duvall Designs Gallery in Millwood. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday and weekdays by appointment. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)
Artist Jill Garity of Philomont is showing her oil paintings at Duvall Designs Gallery in Millwood. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

Millwood — Artist Jill Garity’s landscape paintings are fueled by emotion more than anything she finds in reality.

Many artists see a scene and are inspired to recreate the exact turn of a leaf or the way a river flows through a field. With her work, Garity is more interested in letting the canvas speak for itself.

She starts with a loose paint application, sees what it reminds her of, and develops the work from there.

“The canvas has its own voice, so I react to what the painting needs, not necessarily to what I am seeing outside,” said Garity, 63, of Philomont.

“Modern and Romantic Rural Virginia Landscapes,” an exhibit of 27 of Garity’s paintings, is on display through October at Duvall Designs Gallery, 2053 Millwood Road, Millwood, said Peggy Duvall, who co-owns the gallery with her husband, Jay.

An artist reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the gallery. Admission is free and open to the public.

For October only, the gallery will open Thursday to take advantage of the increased traffic from Art at the Mill at Burwell-Morgan Mill, she said. The gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays.

The Duvalls discovered Garity because of Art at the Mill, Peggy said. She and her husband attended the fall 2012 show separately and made a list of artists they liked. They compared them, and Garity was one of the few they both listed.

While they “both have an affinity for landscapes,” they prefer them to be less about portraiture and more “evocative of the emotions you get from the landscapes around here,” she said.

“Every time I come over the mountain into the valley, I take a breath. There is that feeling in these paintings in the layers, depth, and texture,” Duvall said.

The paintings have an old-world feeling in a way, much like this region, but “there is definitely a contemporary bent to them,” she said.

While she loves the outdoors, Garity said she doesn’t do much plein air painting because her paintings have so many layers to them and need time to dry. Because of that, she usually has several paintings in progress at once.

But that time is important to create the layers and textures she wants. “You just can’t develop the atmosphere with one application,” she said.

Sometimes her work is about choices. With a painting called “Autumn Wetland,” she started with a “beautifully painted sky” that became too busy as the work developed. Even though she loved it, for the sake of the work, she changed it all. “You have to be willing to sacrifice your babies.”

That painting was inspired by a property belonging to a friend on Paynes Island but doesn’t recreate the landscape there.

Another painting, “Stewards of the Hill,” features a configuration of barns she has seen in Upperville. She was trying to “ride the fence between abstract and realism,” which wasn’t always easy, she said.

“I just kept applying layers, letting it drip, and using the palette knife until it looked right,” she said. “A lot of times I built up the surface with thin glazes of color.”

Garity said she has been painting since she was a young adult but only became serious about it about seven years ago when she started working under a mentor, artist Robert Vander Zee of Alexandria.

Duvall said she was excited about hanging the show because it is such a “beautiful body of work” and very cohesive. “They are all a little different, but there is something in them that is fluid. The personality shows through.”

Pottery by Barbara Allen, wood bowls by Gary Smith, and wood furniture by Jay Duvall are also on display at the gallery.


Duvall Designs Gallery, 2053 Millwood Road, Millwood, will feature “Modern and Romantic Rural Virginia Landscapes” by painter Jill Garity through October. For this month only, the gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday and weekdays by appointment. For more information, contact 540-336-9631 or or or go to

— Contact Laura McFarland at