MIDDLEBURG — If you go:
What: Barbara Johnson and James Shaffer one night art exhibition
When: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8
Where: Shade Mountain Winery, Route 104, near Middleburg
For more information: Call the winery at 837-3644
Barbara Johnson’s approach to art is asking “what if” and enjoying the unintentional that follows.
Finding inspiration with acrylics, the McEwensville artist, 69, long focused on contemporary realism creating still lifes and landscapes but admits she really only started taking her artistic inclinations seriously about 15 years ago. In that time, she turned a new corner and transitioned to collage painting which, she says, “has provided me with new opportunities of visual expression.”
Her collages contain an eclectic mix. When she sees something that could be put to better use, she collects it and gives it new life. “I use ... ‘found’ things” such as copper, burlap and bark, she says. One of those found things was the bottom of a burn barrel. “My grandson had it in his truck,” she says, then describes the damaged metal’s colors and texture. “I told him it was way too beautiful to be thrown away.”
She incorporated it into a painting which became a part of a collage she titled “Mindstorm.” The title, she explains, came from the painting appearing “like brain cells exploding behind the burning barrel.”
And now, her grandson “wants it back,” she adds.
That’s just one story behind one piece of art. There are stories behind each of her creations.
Part of her transition to collage can be pinpointed to when her father died after which she created a series of three collage paintings. Delving into her art, she says, seems to help when she finds herself in need of closure.
Elsewhere in McEwensville, James Shaffer — better known as Pete to his friends and family — was an up-and-coming artist of his own.