It’s so good to be back in my wonderful kitchen in Mathews, Virginia,
where I can see the birds, boats, and flowers from my window.
My house is only about fifty feet from Horn Harbor, which is a creek
that opens into the Chesapeake Bay. The sunlight shines on the
calm, still water of the creek, and I can see my daughter Patty’s
house reflected in it. Patty’s house is across a little
neck of the creek from mine, and the two properties are connected by
a footbridge over the water. Patty comes across for coffee in
the morning, and I can see her coming from my window.
I bought Patty’s house years ago when my mother was still alive
so that she would have a place of her own to stay in whenever she visited
me here. My mother, whom many of you remember as “Gran Liz,”
was a strong-willed, independent woman and appreciated having her own
space. My mother was amazing, even in her 80’s and 90’s,
but I had the footbridge built as a shortcut to my house for her so
she wouldn’t have to walk the much longer distance that would
skirt the creek via her lane and the road the houses are on. The
house is Patty’s now, and she enjoys taking the shortcut and so
do her dogs.
I am so blessed to be able to live in different parts of this country
as well as in Italy. There’s something almost magical for
me at each home. I look forward to going to each one; and, I’m
sorry to leave one for another but, at the same time, excited to experience
again that particular thing that is so special about the next place.
In Italy, it’s the history, the culture, and my heritage.
In Florida, it’s that beautiful tropical light that shines through
my studio windows and the time all to myself to paint, as well as walking
every day with friends. I get the best exercise in Florida and
Italy! In Waynesboro, it’s the beauty and ambiance of the
Shenandoah Valley, and it has so much to offer in terms of nature and
culture year-round. In Mathews, it’s the Bay and its
many creeks and tributaries and a blessedly slower pace than what is
normal in cities and towns. In each place there are special people,
either family or friends or both.
I returned to Virginia from Cortona, Italy, just in time for my show
with The Framer’s Daughter in Galax. The Leaf and Strings
Festival was in full swing, and the streets of Galax were full of beautiful
music performed live by area musicians and vendors selling everything
from food to crafts.
It was a special treat for me to meet The New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters,
known locally as “The Bogtrotters.” The band is depicted
in both the
poster and the print
edition that I created especially for the show.
Galax is an important stop on “The
Crooked Road-Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail”, which
is a driving route through the Appalachian Mountains from the Blue Ridge
to the Coalfields Region, following U.S. Route 58. The trail connects
major heritage music venues in the region such as the Ralph Stanley
Museum in Clintwood; the Country Cabin in Norton; the Carter Family
Fold in Hiltons; the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance in Bristol;
the Floyd Country Store in Floyd; the Blue Ridge Institute in Ferrum;
and the Blue Ridge Music Center, the Rex Theater, and the Old Fiddler’s
Convention in Galax. The traditional gospel, bluegrass, and mountain
music heard today was passed down from the generations and lives on
through a wealth of musicians and instrument makers along the trail.
Hearing and seeing the musicians perform live was a treat for Patty
and me, and I came away with a new respect for their art and the devotion
they give to it.
Patty and I were delighted to stay in Mary Guynn’s cabin again.
We stayed there a couple years ago when we were in town for a show,
and it is a joy. I included it in the image for the special poster
and print edition for the Leaf and Strings Festival, as well as the
The poster The
Crooked Road-Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail was released
during The Framer’s Daughter’s show this past weekend in
Harmony-Along the Crooked Road was also released this past weekend
at The Framer’s Daughter.
My home away from home whenever I’m in Galax.
L. to R.: My daughter Patty Moss, Framer’s Daughter
owner Kay Weddle, cabin owner Mary Guynn, and me. This picture
was taken at Cissy’s Food and Friends in Galax. Cissy gave
us a private seating for dinner before she opened her restaurant for
business on Friday night.
The band in the poster and the print are based on The
New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, known locally as “The Bogtrotters”.
It was a joy to meet them at The Framer’s Daughter. Band
member Leon Frost, who plays the mandolin, has played at The White House
and with Jimmy Buffett. What an honor it was for Patty and me
when Leon offered to give us a tour of his home and property.
In addition to his house, Leon has assembled numerous cabins on his
property and has his very own amphitheater, country store, and catfish
Bogtrotters member Leon Frost and me in front of his country store.
My thanks to Framer’s Daughter’s owners Kay
Weddle and Darrell Weddle for a wonderful show and for their warm hospitality.
I will always have happy memories of my Crooked Road experience.
L. to R.: Kay Weddle, Virginia State Folklorist Jon Lohman,
City of Galax Tourism Director Chuck Riedhammer, and me. Although
not a member of The Bogtrotters, Jon Lohman was singing on stage with
the band the day the picture was taken for me to use as reference when
creating the painting for the poster and print edition, so he’s
in them! They tell the sweetest stories with their songs.
Now that I’m back in my Mathews home and studio,
I need to get to my easel. I have many paintings on my “to
do” list, including the special paintings for my September 12-13
Convention at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia. I’m
planning a Thomas Jefferson architectural theme for the large Convention
print, and I can’t wait to get started.
I have received a question regarding my medium of choice. Most
of my offset lithograph prints are based on original watercolors, but
some are based on original sketches, usually in pencil. I also
produce oils, mixed media, silk screens, giclée, and etchings.
I love all media; but, watercolor is perhaps the greatest challenge,
and I always feel like I’m playing my best game when I work in
watercolor. I wish I had a million lives so I could work in all
media all the time!