Tag Archives: lynchburg

Open Studios: Gina Louthian-Stanley

Gina Louthian-Stanley has been a creative person since she was born. In the first grade, she won her first art award for her visual narrative of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” She continued taking as many art classes as possible throughout school. While she learned techniques in college, most of what she does today is a combination of those techniques used in a totally new and different way.
“Formal training has brought its rewards,” Gina says, “but self-exploration has produced the greatest results. By taking all of the insights  that my teachers have taught me, I’ve been able to merge them to create my own artistic style or styles. Experimental art has always fascinated me.”
Which may be why Gina uses a variety of mediums including cold wax, encaustic, watercolor, oil, monotype and intaglio printmaking, pastel and ink drawing, pottery, and jewelry making. She even mixes the medium at times to “push the limit” of what the medium can do to convey the ethereal atmospheric landscape that she loves.

Which is your favorite medium, and why?
I have two passions at the moment, working in wax and printmaking. I have been a printmaker since the 70s, and working in hot and cold wax at least ten years. With the encaustic mediums, I can utilize photography, printmaking, and painting. I have also been introducing encaustic mediums into jewelry pieces. I am attracted to the natural elements of the damar resin and beeswax. 

What/who are your inspirations?
All of my inspirations come primarily from the earth and nature. I am influenced by artists and writers who are intrigued by nature and natural elements. I am also inspired by music and always have it playing in my studio. 

Would you say that any of your work is a reflection of living in Roanoke? 
Most certainly. I have lived in Roanoke all of my life and have always been inspired by the landscape here. I have a particular piece, Bent Mountain Marsh, that was created from a memory of a place. I was there on a clear blue day and the reflected blues of the sky in the glass-clear water against the textured brown grasses on the bank etched in my mind. I had to paint it. 
For me, driving to work and seeing a heavy mist rising just above the earth in the early morning sunlight–that moment, you take a deep breath and all is right in the world.

Gina’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Gina and participating artists!

 

Open Studios Artist: Meridith Brehmer Entingh

Meridith Bremer Entingh developed a fascination with textiles when she was very young. She started knitting at age seven, and continued to explore the things she could do with fiber. In the 60s and 70s, she worked with embroidery, macrame, and needlepoint. Under the guidance of her father, she switched her major from textiles to business in college, but she never lost her love for working with fiber.

“In the mid-1990s, I became friends with a wonderful weaver, Jane Kinzler Anthony. She had a studio in her basement where she wove beautiful tapestries she sold as office art, as well as functional weaving,” Meridith recalls. “Just seeing what she wove inspired me.” Meridith began taking classes at an arts studio in Old Town Alexandria, and volunteered to work in their yarn shop. She purchased her first loom within the year.

How long have you lived in Roanoke?
We moved here 11 years ago. Part of the criteria for purchasing our home was that there be a room for my weaving studio. Our house has this great little room, 11×11 with built-in cupboards. There was room for my loom and plenty of storage. I quickly outgrew the room with the purchase of my second floor loom in 2007. So, in 2013 , we built a new weaving studio. I bought another large floor loom this year, so now it has two large floor looms, and it is bursting at the seams. 

How long have you been involved with Open Studios?
This is my fourth year on the tour. I asked to be involved in 2014 when my new studio was completed. In my travels around the area to do demonstrations, people are fascinated with how the loom works and they want to know about the process. For this reason, I felt that my studio would be a good addition to the tour. By visiting the studio, people can see all of the tools and the process from start to finish.

Do you have a favorite piece? Why is it your favorite?
My favorites evolve over time. One is the first scarf I ever made 13 years ago. It was woven on a 4-harness table loom. It’s made of alpaca, in cream and a pale grey green. I found the design in a weaving book and was very pleased by the result. I know that creating it inspired me to continue weaving. Most recently, I’ve enjoyed creating table runners and wall hangings using many colors and geometric designs. It’s as close as I can get to drawing and painting with yarn.

Would you say that any of your work is more a reflection of living in Roanoke or your travels and experiences outside of Roanoke?
Both. I’ve lived in many places including up state New York, Oregon, Colorado, and Northern Virginia before moving to Roanoke eleven years ago. I think my work is a reflection of the diversity of the places I have lived in my life. Last year, I designed and wove a ministerial stole for my church. I wanted the stole to be representative of the Roanoke Valley. It is hand painted (dyed) in curves that remind me of our mountains with the Roanoke Star placed on top of the curves. When worn, the Star sits just below the minister’s left shoulder where he can touch it when expressing something heartfelt. 

Meridith’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Meridith and participating artists!

Open Studios Artist: Elaine Fleck

Elaine Fleck has been involved with Open Studios Roanoke on and off for the last ten years. However, her use of oil on fabric goes back to when she was a teenager. Eventually, she moved on to fabric and embroidery to create her work.

“After some time, I experimented with painting in acrylics on fabric and then completely switched to oil and fabric,” she explains. “So one could say I have been cutting things to bits for over 40 years!”

Who are your inspirations?
I tend to like artists that use either a lot of texture or color. For painters, I like Gustav Klimt and Matisse. Lately, I am inspired by mosaic artists and this has led me to creating some new mosaic sculpture–specifically my mosaic shoe collection that will be featured on the Open Studios Tour this year along with my paintings. Locally, I like the mural artist Toobz. His piece in the Wasena Tap Room rocks! I love the creative license he gives himself.

Do you have a favorite painting? What makes it your favorite?
Right now, my favorite painting is “Jesus Saves.” I think the couple in this painting look so comfortable under that iconic Roanoke landmark. I like the fact that the painting is pretty simple in design, mainly consisting of the sign, the field, and the couple. 

How does your work reflect living in Roanoke?
“Jesus Saves” is most definitely a reflection of my living in Roanoke for the last 20 years. I had been looking at that sign for years and did not know what kind of a scene I wanted to set up. One day, after walking by that sign for probably the 50th time, it unfolded before me. My favorite model and her husband are the models for that painting. 

Elaine’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. This is a great opportunity to check out her paintings and mosaic sculpture work! Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Elaine and participating artists!

Open Studios Artist: Jamie Nervo

Jamie Nervo’s need for art started when she was a child. Her father was in the military, and she is the oldest of seven children who spent their early years moving around a lot. The joy to create art was the one thing that followed her throughout her travels.

“My work depicts life’s everyday events with a twist, masking the harsh realities of life and focusing instead on the positive and lighthearted issues we encounter each day,” she explains. “We are bombarded with negative imagery and events that echo over and over in our minds. My colorful abstractions shut out those unsavory events and look at life in a patchwork of pleasant ideas and color.”

How long have you been involved with Open Studios?
It has been about 10 years. I’ve been showing up with the same great group of artists for a while: Winn Ballenger, Barry Wolfe, and Nan Mahone. We all set up in Barry’s driveway and peddle our art. I’ll show up with them until they kick me out of the group. Rain or shine, it’s always worth doing the show.

What are your inspirations?
Attending museums or visiting galleries, travel, and studying people. Looking at other art excites me, and I can’t wait to get to the studio downstairs in my house to paint. I get all charged up and the energy builds. A couple cups of tea helps too! My landscapes are definitely a reflection of living on Bent Mountain. The view is mighty fine. Changing cloud formation, color, and shadows keep me inspired to paint.

Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
Without much thought, I usually just go for it. What I create is raw and immediate, using an open mind. I don’t second guess things, I just put down strokes of paint and add color. Sometimes I create ugly messes, but out the mess there is always beauty or something interesting. Discovering the unknown and pushing the envelope always feels good. There are a lot of times when I say to myself, “This looks like crap.” But I keep going, and then the painting either evolves, or it doesn’t. There are also the safe paintings that are within the bounds of the familiar like chickens and dogs. These are abstract realism with a twist.

What impression do you hope to leave with your work?
My work is upbeat and happy. When I’m not feeling it, I usually don’t paint. There is enough sadness and destruction in the world. I hope they bring a little happy chuckle to everyone.

Jamie’s work will be available alongside participating artists through Open Studios Roanoke, beginning on April 29-30. She will offer primarily oil paintings, but will also have a few encaustic paintings available for purchase. Visit www.openstudiostourroanoke.com for more information on Jamie and participating artists!

Home Buying and Renovation Budget Prep

So, you want to buy a house. Or, you’re considering a renovation. Looking at homes and upgrades is exciting, but don’t get ahead of yourself. While HGTV makes it look easy, purchasing a home or getting a second mortgage actually takes a lot of planning and preparation. Here are a few ways to get yourself ready:

Know your budget. You should spend no more than 25-28 percent of your monthly take-home income on a mortgage. Look at your monthly paychecks (after taxes) to see what that percentage would be so you aren’t looking at homes out of your price range. If you’re considering a home equity product (also know as a second mortgage), make sure the extra monthly expense keeps you in that 25-28 percent range.

Save the right amount. Traditionally, your down payment should be 20 percent of the purchase price to avoid paying more in interest and private mortgage insurance (PMI). If the home you want is $200,000, you should have $40,000 saved. Additionally, be prepared to pay closing costs, an inspection fee, appraisal fee, and a lender’s fee. There are loans that don’t require 20 percent down, but you’ll pay more in interest over time and PMI could be required.

Plan for future costs. If you have enough money to comfortably buy a home now, don’t forget about future expenses. Are you planning on starting a family soon? According to the USDA, a middle-income married couple spends an average of $727 a month on a child. Can your budget handle that with a mortgage? What if something breaks? You’re now responsible for home repairs and must plan for those unexpected expenses.

Home Equity Loans or Line of Credit. These options are for people who already own a home; they can be used for renovations, college costs, or even a vacation. When choosing a lender, you’ll want to look at their closing costs, interest rates, and fees. You should also consider if you want a lump sum up front (home equity loan) or a revolving loan that works like a credit card (home equity line of credit). And keep in mind that you’re essentially adding to your mortgage payment, so make sure you’re financially prepared.

Buying or making upgrades to a home should be exciting, but don’t let the thrill of the hunt overshadow the financial preparation. Do your homework and get your ducks in a row; when you’re ready, your dream house will be there.

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

Make Reading an Adventure

Little Free Libraries are steadily growing in number across the United States and the world. The movement began in 2010 with its creator, Todd H. Bol, giving away 30 Little Free Libraries. Over the next few years, he watched them multiply. Today, they number over 50,000 registered locations, with a goal to reach 100,000 by the end of this year.

Wilshire Avenue, Grandin Road area (LFL #12354)

For those unfamiliar with the concept, the Little Free Library is a place where one can take a book or leave a book in a common neighborhood area. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books.

There are several little libraries scattered throughout neighborhoods in our area. Although the exteriors are different, the overall sense that each library steward is not only fostering a love for reading, but also cultivating a sense of social responsibility emanates from each carefully crafted box.

Oak Grove Elementary (LFL #14031)

At Oak Grove Elementary, for example, a small green and blue library greets parents, students, and visitors near the entrance to the school. Fourth grade students designed, painted, and built three libraries as part of a Children’s Engineering/Project Based learning project in 2013-14. They chose this library for the school, and organized a book drive to stock it. In the years to come, they have pledged to continue to care for the location. From a young age, this encourages students to nurture their reading habit, seek out new books to read on a regular basis, and share their favorites with neighbors and friends.

31st Street, Roanoke (LFL #13970)

Just as the students poured their creative spirit into this design, artists, craftsmen and women, designers, and architects are all expressing themselves through the new medium. Locally, Marijke and Steven Barber spent the better part of a cold winter making one. The beautiful painted library is located on 31st street. They completed it as the weather turned warm, and it has attracted visitors ever since. Like many of the others we visited throughout Roanoke, the façade almost echoes the exterior of their home.

Waxmyrtle Drive, Roanoke (LFL #44308)

On Wax Myrtle Drive, a small red and white library accents a family home with similar features. The library was built by a grandfather and grandson as a birthday present. When families love to read, and share that love with their neighborhood, it becomes a gift for everyone around them. These locations make for quirky and unique family road trips around the county, but also serve as an opportunity for local groups to promote civic engagement, and awareness about social and environmental issues. In fact, several of the locations we visited contained copies of the Constitution, left by a local political outreach group.

Laurel Woods Drive, Salem (LFL #21400)

Of course, each location offers something for everyone, and not just in the form of literature. Our favorite stop was located at the trailhead of the Chisom Trial in the Roanoke County community of Laurel Woods. There is a picnic bench just beyond the little library, and it is an easy stop for hikers and explorers. “The library was established in memory of Charlene Lenox Denton (1942-2012),” steward, Brian Chisom, explains. “Charlene enjoyed outdoor activities: gardening, hiking, camping, and walking with friends. And, in many settings, she found ways to help others. The Little Free Library that bears her name is a testament to Charlene’s devotion to service and community.”

There are six newspaper boxes, donated by the Roanoke Times, interspersed throughout the map. The Roanoke Arts Commission hired artist Dan Kuehl to transform them by covering the exterior with familiar landmarks from the Roanoke region. Each box has a steward that is responsible for its upkeep.

Although every library is different, they serve as a direct reflection of our community’s growing dedication to the arts, literature, and service. If you are interested in exploring the locations with family and friends, or simply looking for a new book to take you on an adventure, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.

Living Fearlessly

Fearless. It’s a beautiful word that implies fewer limitations, more opportunities, and a life full of adventure. Yet, so often fear keeps us from pursuing the things that make us happy—including something as simple as going out with friends on a Friday night.

That’s why Fearless by Logan Doughty is so important.

Written as “A Woman’s Guide to Personal Self Protection,” Fearless is about creating a lifestyle, of which only a portion is physical self defense. It’s about being proactive, lowering unhealthy levels of anxiety, and deescalating conflict.

“When I look at self defense as my only tool, that’s missing the point,” explains Doughty. “Think creatively. If this is going south, I’m going to start moving before it goes too far south.”

The ten principles Doughty promotes can be broken down into three categories: physical, mental, and environmental preparation. Instead of letting your low grade anxiety keep you living in the dark, let it motivate you to act in a way that is healthy for your lifestyle.

For example, when you move into a new apartment, ask your landlord for permission to change the locks on your door to make sure you know who has a copy of every key. Run through scenarios in situations that make you fearful to determine how you will overcome an attacker and get away. Carry pepper spray, and know how to use it.

Doughty decided to publish Fearless as an extension of the classes he offers on Personal Self Protection. It began as a quick way to reach those who may not be able to attend a class. The goal is not only to reach more people, but to provide more relatable content.

“The people who are assaulted are not Mixed Martial Arts experts. I’ve seen classes that are ridiculous. Just because someone is a weight-lifting fighter, doesn’t make them a great self defense instructor,” he says.

Fighting skills are personal, and too often, perishable. If you aren’t using them on a daily basis, it can be easy to forget them. However, establishing a routine that uses your principles can prove invaluable in situations after certain defense moves are long forgotten.

Doughty also talks about how to use weapons like pepper spray and stun guns.

“Really, you’re safer now than you’ve ever been. However, we are more anxious than we’ve ever been. The solution is not in the fighting. It’s only a tiny part of the solution,” he explains. “I look at these situations like they’re problems to be solved. If I don’t run around like everything is going to fall apart at any moment, then I’m not going to fall apart.”

Learning how to trust your instincts and your abilities is the first step in cultivating your fearless lifestyle. If you are interested in taking one of Doughty’s Personal Self Protection classes, or in purchasing his new book, Fearless, visit his website: www.pspqualified.com.

Join us for a Lunch & Learn with Logan Doughty on Thursday, April 13 from 12:15-1. Logan will be discussing a few techniques and his new book! Bring your own lunch, and let us know you’re coming by emailing editorial@beckmediagroup.com!

Strong is the New Pretty

Kate T. Parker began taking photos of her girls in everyday life–biking, playing soccer, discovering tide pools–and quickly came to realize the most resonant images captured her daughters’ true, authentic selves. Her recent book, Strong is the New Pretty, is a celebration of the tenacious spirit inherent within all girls. Featuring Parker’s stunning photography alongside advice and wisdom from her subjects, the book demonstrates that all girls are unstoppable.

“As the project grew, I met and photographed hundreds of girls from all over the country, and I learned that strength doesn’t ways come in one package, and it doesn’t always manifest itself the way it does in my girls,” Parker explains.

This book features girls reading or studying, girls jumping in mud and leaves, girls comforting their best friend, girls on the playing field, and girls creating art, among many other awesome activities reflecting their mental and physical strength. It reminds us that beauty is not about being a certain size, having your hair done a certain way, or wearing a certain dress. It is about being yourself.

Head over to www.katetparker.com to learn more about the author. We will be giving away a copy of Strong is the New Pretty on our Facebook page tomorrow! For those that do not win, you can purchase it here.