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John Barber premiers new painting this weekend

If anyone wonders what Urbanna Creek looked like during the early 20th century, copious research and reading are the only way to formulate an image within one’s mind. Most do not have the time to organize and peruse vast historical resources to formulate this image. But those willing to let an accomplished maritime artist present a beautiful painting that captures the “historical essence” of this time—now is the chance!

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Chesapeake Bound by John M. Barber
John Morton Barber, the nationally-acclaimed American artist who has painted the Chesapeake Bay and the eastern seaboard for three decades, will personally debut his latest painting, “Chesapeake Bound-Making Sail Aboard the Schooner Man A Way, Urbanna, Virginia-Circa 1930,” at the Middlesex Art Guild Gallery. This exhibit is a special two-day event this Saturday and Sunday, November 1-2, to showcase the painting and various prints related to life along the bay.

The painting is a rendition of impressive vessels on Urbanna Creek that were used to transport people, produce and material goods during the days when commerce was ruled by the waterways along the eastern seaboard.  It shows a time when nautical terms such as aft, boom, fore, jibsail, etc., were common everyday words with the local residents of Urbanna. 

Viewers will even recognize buildings and houses, both existing and long gone, in this fascinating depiction of living by the creek at a time when daily life depended on the natural abundance of the Rappahannock River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Barber is a nationally-known maritime artist recognized as the premier chronicler of the Chesapeake Bay whose attention to historical detail provides a valuable record of the 20th century’s waterman’s era for generations to come.

Barber’s love for the Chesapeake Bay is reflected not only in his art, but also in his environmental and philanthropic endeavors. Through donations of his art and copyrights, nearly half a million dollars has been raised to further the efforts of nonprofit conservation groups that protect this great natural resource. He was elected as a Fellow of American Society of Marine Art in 2007.

Also on loan to the gallery for this exhibit will be the original oil painting by John Barber, “Diamonds on the Water.” This scenic painting features a sailboat on Urbanna Creek and is from the private collection of David and Christy Cottrell. The Cottrells have generously donated to the guild their personal print of this oil painting.

The print is numbered 1 of 950 and is signed by Barber. It will be raffled to raise funds for the Middlesex Art Guild. Raffle tickets are $5 each or six tickets for $25 and will be on sale starting November 1 continuing through November 20. Tickets are available at the Papeterie and Forget-Me-Not Consignment Shop.

The public is invited to a reception on Saturday, November 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. as well as Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Middlesex Art Guild Gallery on 217 Virginia Street in Urbanna. The artist will be in attendance both days.

The reception is generously sponsored by Nimcock Gallery and The Fix-It Shop. This event is free and open to the public.

Weekly gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sundays. 

The Middlesex Art Guild is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community arts organization and a Community Partner with the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. Contributions may be tax-deductible. For more information about the Middlesex Art Guild and how to support its programs and events, please call 758-9080.

posted 10.27.2008

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