October Main Gallery Exhibit
Modern Florals & Mystical Landscapes
Acrylics by Virginia Branch
Virginia Evans Branch is a fifth generation native of Columbus, Mississippi. She has lived all over the world and has recently returned to her hometown of Columbus. She lives with Bill, her husband of 28 years, and has two grown children, Harrison and Sarah. She attributes her love for flowers from her mother’s garden. Living in her family’s antebellum home, she has a new appreciation for the flowers that her mother planted that have been incorporated in many of her floral paintings. She began her formal art studies while still in high school by taking art classes from Larry Feeney and Charles Ambrose at Mississippi University for Women. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She spent a year studying at Reading University in Reading, England where she was fortunate to travel extensively and study the master painters. She has won scholarships to The Scottsdale Artists’ School and has studied under John Burton, Heidi Moran, Nancy Chaboun and Joni Falk to name a few. Virginia has been creating art since the time she was old enough to hold a pencil. She knew from an early age that art would be a big part of her life. She has had a mural and hand-painted furniture business. She has taught 18th century Chancery calligraphy to adults as well as working in calligraphy professionally for individual commissions and a private art gallery in New Orleans. She is an international portrait artist working in colored pencils, oil and acrylics. Her new body of work is acrylic and mixed media. She has been influenced by her surroundings since moving back to Columbus from a lengthy absence. The flowers and landscapes that have been calling her back home are reflected in her new body of work.
It has been many years since I’ve lived in Mississippi and I am so happy to have returned to my hometown of Columbus. My husband and I are living in my family’s antebellum home which is rich in history and family memories. My recent body of work reflects my homecoming and the flowers and landscapes that surround me. My modern floral still lifes are influenced by the flowers from my Mother’s garden and the landscapes are influenced from the surrounding area. I’ve called my still lifes ‘modern florals’ because I want to convey that the still lifes are not typical, classical paintings but creative interpretations. Many of the paintings are a compilation of flowers from my garden, photos that I have taken and simply, from the realm of my imagination. The paintings are about bright colors, variety, and the relationship of shapes as much as the actual flower. All are painted in acrylics. In contrast to my bright and bold florals, my landscapes are more tonal in value and have a mystical quality. I love to walk along the Tombigbee River at the Riverwalk in Columbus and I’m always taking photos of the river in various light. I wanted to create atmosphere and texture with my landscapes. The canvas is first prepped with burlap and plaster of paris before painting begins. Once it is sanded, there are several layers of acrylic paint applied before I pour an isolation coat on the canvas. I then finish it with a cold wax to give the impression of an encaustic painting. Every day that I can paint is a blessing as well as an adventure. It brings such pleasure to paint in bright and bold colors and then to completely change my color palette and paint more tonal paintings. I love trying new techniques and styles and look forward to where this journey takes me!