Shenandoah Valley Artists
Bruce Fortier started his artistic journey years ago while working as a mechanic. Used car parts lying around his shop brought visions of unusual creatures to his mind. He started with constructing a life size creature for his wife’s garden, and that was the beginning of many garden creatures. Soon people were coming to him not only for car repairs, but for his creatures. When Bruce retired in 2014 he knew what he wanted to pursue. Shrinking the creatures into smaller sizes, Bruce switched from using auto parts, to utilizing found objects and materials to create his beings. Bruce has been an award winning artist in mixed media at several Fine Art Festivals and is doing something he loves. He enjoys the reactions of surprise and joy from people viewing his work for the first time, and to Bruce, that’s the biggest reward of all.
Cara Mayo received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Using her art training, she worked as a substitute art teacher and a technical illustrator for many years. Cara showed at galleries in the Virginia Beach and Norfolk area and participated in shows until 2004, when she had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to an automobile accident. During the following years, Cara had to slowly learn how to paint again. In the process, she realized her experiences from the TBI and the accompanying near-death experience that occurred from this accident gave her a very different view of life. She uses oils, watercolor, textiles, mixed media, encaustics, and acrylics, and is currently experimenting with bridging the vastness she experienced from the near-death experience with the beauty of earth.
Her works are owned by the following: Aboriginal Elder, Alice Springs, Australia; Tibetan Buddhist Tulku (commission), MA; Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoches, Tibet, India; Peruvian Shaman, Amazon; Shaman (commission), US; child and adult near-death experiencers; and collectors in Italy, Spain, France, Scotland, Ireland, and England.
Watermedia artist Karen Rosasco retired after 31 years of teaching high school in New York and then led adults on history and art tours to six continents for 16 years. She has also conducted week-long abstraction-by-design workshops across the U.S. and Canada, attracting pupils from Europe and South America. Art and articles about her have appeared in major art magazines, and her prize-winning pieces have been accepted in regional and national juried shows. She was accepted in the American Watercolor Society's International Exhibition in New York City twice, winning second place in 2007. Her work is found in many private and corporate collections, including General Electric, Harcourt Brace Educational Testing, and several regional Virginia hospitals. In her current series of work, Karen usesa variety of materials in layers to achieve highly textural and dynamic presentation. Methods, materials, and themes change, but a consistently good composition and design hold the viewer's eye.
Marti's passion for art began in childhood, but life took her on a totally different path and amazing journey. Then one day, after college, marriage, kids, several careersm and life, she attended a young artist’s exhibition. A spark was lit. The passion first experienced so many years ago was reignited. It was at this point that Marti began her adventures into the world of oil painting. Being self-taught brought its own challenges in trying to convey on canvas what she saw with her eyes. Her first subjects were children and adult portraits. She then branched into domestic and wild animals, paying particular attention to eyes. She loves to paint and spends as much time in her studio as possible. For her, there are so many canvases to fill with life.
Don’s career has spanned over four decades, first as an illustrator in the United States Air Force, then a long career in corporate aerospace art departments. In 2010, he decided pursue his lifelong dream of painting full-time. His recent work is a series of paintings of women in a variety of locations and various themes. The uniqueness of each setting continues to challenge him to push his abilities further and allow the viewer to be inspired and use their own imagination to look deeper into the subject matter itself. Don was juried into the 38th Annual Virginia Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition, the 25th Anniversary Show of the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild, First Place in BuyRVAart’s People and Figures juried exhibition, an Honorable Mention in the Turner Watercolors national painting contest and an Honorable Mention in the SOHO Urban Artist National Painting Contest. He recently had a painting accepted in the Ella 100 Exhibition that was on display at the Downing-Gross Gallery in Newport News, Virginia, from April–June 2017 and then traveling to China, Japan, Germany, and France until April 2018.
Susan Crave Rosen began painting in 1995 after moving to Virginia from Long Island. Music served as her creative outlet until she discovered painting. She loves the physical process of applying paint, whatever the medium, surface, or tool she uses. She appreciates the tedious nature of learning a new skill. Susan says, “It is wonderful to love something and try to put its essence down on paper or canvas. Watching the paint move on its own or with my prodding, the process of making a picture — that’s the reward. And if I like the finished painting, it’s a bonus!”
Raku, a ceramic tradition that began in Japan in the 16th century, serves as inspiration for Lynn Hilton Conyers as a contemporary ceramic artist. Even though she uses the element of chance and the unintended effects that result, control and artistry are not absent from her original designs. Lynn’s use of fabric impressed into the surface of the clay produces textures that are enhanced when the piece, hot from the kiln, is placed in a chamber of combustible materials. The resulting reduction atmosphere creates iridescent qualities on the glazed surface which are further incorporated into the total design of the piece through the use of metallic oil-based pencils, and oil pastels. The unglazed surface areas become a canvas upon which she can paint and draw. The addition of fiber, wood, and glass or semi-precious stone beads pay homage to ancient cultures and unites the two and three dimensional aspects of the wall plaque. Contemporary pottery has dared Lynn to challenge established traditions while exploring and experimenting for the sheer joy of discovering a new approach to the craft.