Great Falls Studio Art Tour 2021
John Francis McCabe, Oil Painter Great Falls Artists’ Workshop
opportunities on weekends from October 15 to 17. Patrons of the arts, those looking to support artists by purchasing pieces for their home or office, and people just looking to soak up creative energies have had the opportunity at 18e Annual Great Falls Studio Art Tour.
An interactive business card made its way to locations across Great Falls for demonstrations in a variety of mediums, including woodcarving, painting, quilting, century-old cranking a lithographic press, and participating in activities artistic.
Tobias Webster, 13 from Great Falls, visited Atelier Studios, a stopover on the tour, with his mother, Erin. The artists in residence at the Artists’ Workshop rent their spaces from the Arts of Great Falls. The non-profit arts organization provides affordable shared studio spaces as part of its mission.
Tobias does not paint but enjoys watching how artists create. “It’s inspiring… that people can create these amazing pieces,” he said, looking at the works of artist Jill Banks. “This one is the best example. When you look at people, their faces are so well made. But they are not clear. It allows you to see yourself there, to associate with memories.”
Great Falls studio artist Walter Lawrence is a photographer and focuses on the birds of Great Falls. “There are so many different varieties of birds that you can get from your backyards at the parks… I keep finding them.” Lawrence spoke of a local “rockery”, an area where herons breed on an island in the Potomac River off Riverbend Park, filled with sycamore trees. Lawrence said he hired a park guide to steer a boat so he could “fish with his camera.” It captures images of great blue herons, egrets, cormorants and young eagles in their nests.
Cindy Grisdela of Reston is also an artist at Artists’ Atelier, as is John Francis McCabe of Great Falls. Grisdela is an award-winning textile artist who specializes as an “organic and intuitive artist”. I usually have a rough idea of what I want. But the process changes as I work on it, ”she said. “Colors and shapes interact with each other and lines.
For painter McCabe, his work is not organic. McCabe paints in oils according to the tradition of classical realism. On Saturday, he demonstrated his skill by painting a portrait of Mark Casso wearing his Revolutionary War uniform of the 1st Virginia Regiment.
Not all of the artists on tour have been professionally trained. Lalo, with no last name, has no formal art training, according to Arlee Barnes of Great Falls Physical Therapy. His wood carvings of birds, horses and rabbits stood outside an office building in the center of the village of Great Falls. Originally from Costa Rica, it appears that Lalo carved the vast majority of works of art from pieces of wood.
Inside the office turned into an art gallery for the weekend, another type of sculptural work could be seen. Ronnie Jolles’ main medium is paper. She uses hundreds of types of paper from all over the world to create her works. Each could be called a collage, but it is more of a sculptural art form on paper. Sections and images rise from the two-dimensional surface, creating shadows and depth facilitated by his use of paints to enhance images.
In 2006, The Connection featured a story about photographer Walt Lawrence. Asked about his personal goals at the time, Lawrence said: “to grow my collection of Great Falls images, and another is to help Great Falls Studios find a permanent location in the community.” He said one of the goals of the organization was to find a facility where artists from the village could work, teach and exhibit their work to the public. “Great Falls has the potential to become the art center of Northern Virginia, and I want to work to make it a reality.”