A few weeks ago, my newsletter focused on my Museum
in Waynesboro, Virginia, and I thought it would be fun to have a newsletter
about The Moss Portfolio in Mathews, Virginia, too.
P. Buckley Moss Galleries, Ltd., d.b.a. The Moss Portfolio, is my publishing
company and distribution center. It used to be located in Falls
Church, Virginia, but we moved it to Mathews in 1994 when we fell in
love with the Chesapeake Bay and the slower pace of Mathews County.
Mathews was introduced to me by Jake Henderson, who is my business partner.
Jake loves to sail and wanted a place to go on weekends to sail and
relax. Falls Church is very near Washington, DC, and is a very
busy place. Mathews is about a three-hour drive south of Washington
and about forty-five minutes to an hour’s drive north of the historic
triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. The natives
of the county can trace their ancestral roots to Colonial settlers and
many of them have retained a slight British accent that, combined with
a Southern accent, is unique to the Tidewater region of Virginia.
I have wonderful neighbors in Mathews. My purple martin hotel
had deteriorated over the years, and Eugene Hudgins rebuilt it for me.
He and another neighbor Sheddy Armistead put it up on its post.
Purple martins are birds that eat mosquitoes, which breed in marshy
areas. Since we have an abundance of marsh and mosquitoes in Mathews,
many people put up purple martin houses to attract the birds.
P. Buckley Moss Galleries, Ltd., d.b.a. The Moss Portfolio, moved
to Mathews, Virginia, from Falls Church in December of 1994. I
helped design the building to fit into the rural, residential area.
The property we purchased for The Moss Portfolio was
originally part of a plantation known as Poplar Grove, and our street
address is 74 Poplar Grove Lane. Many people want to spell “Poplar”
with a “u” and turn it into “Popular,” but that
isn’t correct. Poplar Grove got its name from the poplar
trees on the property. In 2006, I chose Poplar Grove and its tidal
mill as the subject for the special, large print that was released at
my collectors’ convention in Williamsburg, Virginia, in September
of that year.
Carry Me Back was released at my collectors’ convention in
Williamsburg, Virginia, in September of 2006 and depicts Poplar Grove
and its historic tidal mill.
The plantation house and tidal mill are just down Poplar
Grove Lane from The Moss Portfolio and face the East River. The
oldest part of the house predates the Revolutionary War, and the tidal
mill once ground meal and flour for the soldiers of the Continental
Army. Among its many historic distinctions, Poplar Grove was the
home of Captain Sally Tompkins, the only female commissioned officer
in the Confederate Army. Captain Sally is buried nearby at Kingston
Episcopal Church. Also, Beatle John Lennon purchased the property
shortly before his tragic death and had plans to live there part-time.
Church depicts Kingston Episcopal Church in Mathews, VA, where
Captain Sally Tompkins is buried. Vestry records show that the
parish dates back to around 1652. Mathews County was originally
part of Gloucester County and was known as Kingston Parish. Mathews
became an independent county on May 1, 1791, after an Act of the General
Assembly of Virginia in 1790. The legislation was introduced by
General Thomas Mathews, Revolutionary patriot, lawyer, and member of
the General Assembly, so the county was named after him. That
is also why “Mathews” has only one “t.”
The staff at The Moss Portfolio are a close-knit group
and are in many ways a family. They care about one another, their
work, and the “World of Moss.” I am so lucky to have
such a conscientious team handling my art and my business. The
President of P. Buckley Moss Galleries, Ltd., and the head of the team
is Jake Henderson. He oversees the marketing of my work and the
overall operation of the business, which includes the Museum in Waynesboro.
The Moss Portfolio team, L. to R.: Cathy Williams, Ann Godsey,
Tricia Miles, Lori Dixon, Angie Clawson, Kirsten Thomas, Jake Henderson,
and Patty Moss. Not pictured are Michelle Berrier, Christy Moughon,
and Lisa Champ.
When I complete a painting, I take it to The Moss Portfolio
where it is processed for printing. The offset lithographs are
printed by a printing company and trucked to The Moss Portfolio where
they are signed and numbered. Nowadays, my “Moss”
signature is applied in pencil by a machine next to the print number
and the copyright date. This authenticates the print. I
used to hand-sign “Moss” next to each print number, but
I had to have surgery on my wrists in 1994 as a result of signing and
turning so many prints. The machine closely duplicates my “Moss”
signature and saves my hands and wrists for painting. I was concerned
at first about using the signing machine until I found out that our
President’s signature is often machine-signed. I figured
that if it was good enough for the President of the United States, then
it should be good enough for me.
Lisa Champ, selecting some prints to sign and number.
Lisa Champ, above, and Christy Moughon, below, share
signing and numbering duties along with wholesale and retail invoicing.
Christy Moughon, at the invoicing desk.
My more recent giclées are printed in-house by
Angie Clawson. In addition to printing the giclées, Angie
updates our website, the shopping
site, and the Moss Dealers’ website; formats and e-mails the
weekly newsletter; designs our newspaper and magazine ads and our tearsheets
(advertising flyers with new releases); and prepares and processes my
original works for printing as either lithographs or giclées.
The Moss Portfolio is where authorized Moss dealers call to place orders
for their gallery stock. All of our staff members answer the phone
and take orders. The orders are given to Christy and Lisa, who
run the invoices. Then the orders are pulled, packed, and shipped.
We are not set up for walk-in retail customers like the Museum, but
we do fill phone, fax, mail, and internet orders for retail customers
who do not have an authorized Moss dealer in their area.
Although all of the staff have been trained to pack and ship orders
so they can help out during our busiest times, the very best at packing
and shipping are Ann Godsey, Lori Dixon, and Patty Moss. They
are experts at minimizing the risk of damage to my art while in transit.
Lori also organizes and prepares orders that need special inscriptions
for me to sign. Although I no longer sign each print beside the
print number, I still inscribe prints with special requests (limited
to four or five words plus my signature and date). The special
requests can be arranged either through a collector’s favorite
Moss dealer or through The Moss Portfolio directly. Ann, Lori,
and Patty, together with Christy and Lisa, are also responsible for
L. to R.: Patty Moss, me, Ann Godsey, and Lori Dixon.
We call the part of the building where the packing and shipping is done
“the warehouse.” I feel very much a part of the “warehouse
staff,” because I spend a lot of time there signing.
As many of you know, Patty is my daughter and our Warehouse
Manager. Patty oversees the day-to-day activities of receiving,
invoicing, and shipping my work. She works closely with our authorized
dealers, retail customers, and our staff to see that the orders are
filled. Patty is indispensible to me. She travels with me
to the gallery shows that are close enough to drive to and helps out
with the driving and assists me at the shows. She knows so much
about the business and my art that she is invaluable to the dealers,
too, and they love it when she comes with me to the shows. Patty
also helps set up and staff our collectors’ conventions and dealers’
Our authorized dealers are a very important part of my business.
They represent my work around the country, and many of them have become
close friends. Staff member Cathy Williams is our dealer liaison
and reviews applications for new dealerships. She manages the
special print projects and assists Jake with marketing. She is
also our convention and dealer meeting coordinator. Cathy is a
people-person and ideally suited for handling our employee benefits
Moss dealers are also well-cared for by Michelle Berrier, who works
with those frame shops and galleries that are having shows either with
or without me. She guides them through the show process and helps
with advertising materials and show orders. She also keeps track
of inventory on consignment at the galleries.
L. to R.: Angie Clawson, Cathy Williams, me, Tricia Miles,
Jake Henderson, and Kirsten Thomas. Not pictured is Michelle Berrier.
I also feel very much a part of the office staff, because I spend a
lot of time there making decisions with Jake and discussing the newsletter
and my schedule with my assistant Tricia.
Tricia Miles is my personal assistant and organizes my
schedule, helps me with my correspondence, and handles travel arrangements
and itineraries for my appearances. She also helps me with reference
material for my paintings. I tell Tricia what I want to say in
the newsletter each week, and she puts it into words for me. Do
you realize there are three Patricia’s here? We don’t
get confused, though, because we each go by a different, shortened version
of the name; Pat, Patty, and Tricia.
Tricia Miles, left, and I going over a draft of the newsletter.
Kirsten Thomas has the distinction of working at The
Moss Portfolio the longest, second only to Jake. Kirsten had been
responsible for our wholesale invoicing for thirteen years, and now
she handles payroll and accounts payable. When she is not tied
to her desk, she is stretching the canvas giclées. Kirsten,
along with Jake, Cathy, Michelle, Patty, and Corrado Gabellieri (Director
of the Museum), helps set up and staff our conventions and dealers’
In an upcoming newsletter, I’ll focus on the offices of the P.
Buckley Moss Society and the P.
Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education.
’Til next week…
I’ve been watching the news while I work at my easel, and I’ve
heard that the American Red Cross is low on funds. There have
been so many natural disasters in both our country and other parts of
the world recently. The Red Cross does so much for those in need,
and I have been asked by several of my Iowa dealers who have seen the
suffering from the floods first-hand to create a print edition featuring
an Iowa landmark to benefit the Red Cross. I will be working on
this in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I encourage all those
who are able to make a donation to the American Red Cross.
Red Cross Cats, above, and We Care, below, are two prints
that are currently available which benefit the American Red Cross ($10
from the sale of each print).