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Urbanna is subject of Art on the Half Shell poster

Charles VanDenburgh paints on location in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
Art on the Half Shell is Saturday

The 9th Annual Art on the Half Shell art and craft festival will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, May 9, in Urbanna. Over 80 juried artists will exhibit their creations on Rappahannock Avenue and in Taber Park. There also will be activities and music on the lawn of Lansdowne beginning at 11 a.m., the Urbanna Farmers’ Market in the Sentinel parking lot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and four historic buyboats and model boats on display at the town marina. Above, event co-chairs Ginny Sawkins (left) and Diane Gravatt display the official 2009 festival poster and the new festival flag in front of Lansdowne. For more details on the festival, see related articles and photos on page A9. (Photo by Tom Hardin)

The Art on the Half Shell Festival Foundation is happy to offer as this year’s festival poster, “Afternoon Reflections,” by Heathsville fine artist Charles VanDenburgh. 

The original oil painting depicting one of Urbanna’s familiar waterfront sites will be offered for sale during Art on the Half Shell this Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artist also will be signing the limited edition poster for patrons. 

VanDenburgh was awarded “Best in Show” by judge Johnny Johnson of Fredericksburg during last year’s show and was invited to produce this year’s poster—a festival tradition offered to each year’s highest award recipient in the category of two-dimensional fine art.

VanDenburgh lives in the Northern Neck region of the Chesapeake Bay, which has inspired many of his paintings. His work is featured in local galleries and in many private and corporate collections.

When asked about his work, VanDenburgh commented, “Ever since I can remember I’ve loved to draw. I renewed that passion in 1995 when I picked up a brush and started pushing paint. Oil painting has now become a full-time pursuit. Although most of my work these days is done in my studio, many of these pieces begin as plein air studies. In fact, I often combine travel and painting,  including trips out West and along the New England coast.

“My painting philosophy is that a painting should be as much about the paint itself as about the subject,” he said. “It’s my hope that my paintings bring as much visual delight to you the viewer as they do for me.”

This year marks the 9th anniversary of Art on the Half Shell. Artists from Virginia as well as artists who will travel from as far away as Connecticut and Florida, will have their exhibit areas open to the public beginning at 9 a.m. this Saturday. 

Middlesex County artists will have a large exhibit area in Taber Park and will be joined by demonstrating artists, authors who will be signing their latest editions, and the Children’s Art Workshop area. 

On the lawn of Lansdowne on Virginia Street, music by “Tinker’s Dam” of Richmond will entertain visitors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Visitors will be able to rest in the shade at the historic home, listen to good music and enjoy a cold beer or a glass of wine along with great food before continuing on through Urbanna and all the activities planned for the day,” said Sawkins.

Something Different will be selling its barbecue under the magnolias at Lansdowne. Other festival food vendors include Richmond’s Strawberry Street Café, and Cross Street Coffee. 

The Urbanna Farmers Market will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Southside Sentinel.

Several buyboats will be open for tours at the town marina on Urbanna Creek throughout the day on Saturday, and Gary Thimsen will have a small model motorized boat demonstration every hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are welcome to bring their motorized boat to the demonstration.

The town trolley will run from the waterfront to Bethpage Camp-Resort from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A Student Art Show sponsored by the Middlesex Art Guild will be held at the Middlesex Woman’s Club building.

For more information on the festival, email , visit on the web, or call the Art on the Half Shell Festival Foundation at 758-5788.

The mission statement of the Art on the Half Shell Festival Foundation is: “A community cultural arts festival organization dedicated to promoting all aspects of the visual and performing arts for the cultural and economic benefit of our community and its visitors. In this endeavor, the Foundation will support a wide variety of artists in order to promote their work and talents while stimulating community interest and economic development.”

posted 05.06.2009

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