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Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour adds new talent

Photo courtesy/J.Douglas J. Douglas has drawn portraits for most of his life, but he began to experiment with oil paintings in 2008. Douglas’s stop is at 43000 Mill Race Terrace in Leesburg.
Nestled among the hills, vineyards and historic houses of Loudoun County, 63 artists will be welcoming the public into their studios for this year's Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. The event, which will take place on June 22-23, has been growing in popularity and talent during the last eight years.

“The whole idea of the tour was to go to the artists,” said Franklin Parks manager and WLAST coordinator Jeff Stern.

During the tour, visitors can drive across western Loudoun and see the artists at work in their natural environment. Besides selling their artwork, many of the painters, sculptors, glassworkers and fiber artists give public demonstrations.

All competitors are chosen by a neutral jury, but this year's competition was particularly fierce due to the talent, Stern said.

“It's remarkable how many new artists pop up,” he said.

The jury tried to narrow down the number of stops so visitors could view them all over the weekend, but the level of artistry was so high that the jury instead added a few locations. There will be 20 new artists featured on this year's tour.

Each artist will also be offering a door prize for tourists who visit 10 or more studios. Visitors can pick up door prize “passports” at any stop on the tour, or they can print one out at http://www.wlast.com.

More than 1,800 people came to the tour last year, and Stern expects more to come this year, especially from neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.

“There will be something for everyone on the tour,” Stern said. “For the public it is great to get out and see art and talk to the artists, but the artists also grow from talking to each other.”

Some of this year's new artists include:

George Andrews, an art teacher at Middleburg Academy and University of Virginia, will be showing his ceramic paintings. Andrews, who works in the dark, paints by putting clay on the potter's wheel, letting it flatten and then throwing it onto the canvas. “Touch is almost more important than sight,” Andrews said of his technique. “I'll be showing people how and where I work.” Andrews will be showing his work at Middleburg Academy on 35321 Notre Dame Lane in Middleburg.

J. Douglas has drawn portraits for most of his life, but he began to experiment with oil paintings in 2008. People who have seen his art in galleries across the United States call his style “contemporary impressionism,” Douglas said. He recently finished a five-piece series of flamenco dancers. “I've been wanting to do this [tour] for five years,” he said. Douglas's stop is at 43000 Mill Race Terrace in Leesburg.

Glass artist Steena Fullmer-Anderson first became intrigued by glass 15 years ago when she saw stained glass windows in Europe. When she invents a piece, she decides a color scheme and picks glass that changes color when she holds it up to the light. “I love to talk to people about glass and how it is made,” she said. Fullmer-Anderson will be in the ArtSquare building on 12 Cardinal Park Drive in Leesburg.


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