BOYCE — An art exhibition on display at the Long Branch Historic House and Farm features two oil painters’ interpretations of natural settings in the South.

“REFLECTIONS: The Return of Light” runs through Aug. 30 at the 200-year-old property off John Mosby Highway (U.S. 50) near the Millwood community. It features Southern landscape and river scenes by Steven S. Walker and coastal scenes by Mary VanLandingham.

An artists’ reception for the public is planned this weekend.

Walker, who was raised in Richmond, has been an artist since his childhood. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and then a master’s degree from Marywood University. Initially, he began showing his works at libraries, coffee shops and other businesses, which enabled him to win several local awards. That recognition enabled him to display his works in galleries, where art collectors started noticing them. His art has since been placed in collections by prominent businesses, government institutions and organizations including Hilton Hotels, Dominion Resources, the Boy Scouts of America, the National Park Service and the U.S. Air Force.

He never was top-of-the-class in art school, and he hasn’t won a lot of awards, he admitted.

“But I’ve always had a strong work ethic and the passion to work on my craft,” Walker said.

Since becoming a full-time artist in 2008, Walker and his art have been part of several local and national juried competitions including the Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional and the Oil Painters of America Salon, from which he received Awards of Excellence; the Oil Painters of America National, from which he received an honorable mention; the Richeson 75 Landscape Competition and the International Salon Competition. His works also have been part of a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts statewide traveling exhibition.

Five years ago, Walker was chosen by the Ohio Arts Council to establish the Ohio Governor’s Art Awards.

A contemporary landscape painter based in Valdosta, Ga., VanLandingham now is making art her full-time profession, despite not having been an artist for as long as Walker. She specializes in creating lively, vivid paintings depicting nature in an impressionistic style, striving to recreate scenes in a way that both comforts and bewilders viewers.

VanLandingham earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Valdosta State University. She has participated in juried competitions such as the Clarke County Historical Association’s “Art at the Mill” and Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center’s “The Art of Being Southern.” The latter organization is in Alabama.

The reception for the artists will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and is free. Both artists will be able to talk one-on-one with visitors. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information about the exhibition or the artists, call Long Branch at 540-837-1856 or go online to www.visitlongbranch.org.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

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