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Painting by WeidenheimerMany artists enjoy painting landscapes for a variety of reasons, often thinking they are easier than painting the human form, but are unaware of the pitfalls in landscapes. Clouds can be horrendous to master and amateur clouds look like suspended cotton balls in a massive swath of blue. Skies are challenging and whether artists who attempt a landscape realize it or not, trees are just as challenging. They can, however, be mastered with practice and good technique, according to artist Troy Weidenheimer. At a packed monthly Fluvanna Art Association workshop, members learned new skills about painting autumn trees.

“Children paint lollipop trees or something resembling a power plant,” he said, then discussed the shapes of trees and why they form the way they do. Those who are learning art sometimes fail to understand the science behind what they see. Weidenheimer often cautions members about the pitfalls of not looking at the shapes and perspective of objects, especially in landscapes.

“Amateurs paint flat trees, ignoring light and shadows,” he said. “We don’t seem to appreciate that it is a large three-dimensional object and for the sake of perspective, it is rounded rather than flat.”

Paintbrushes are key to recreating realistic trees.

“There is no brush that can replicate every branch and twig of a bare tree; artists give the illusion,” he said. “The Chinese use the armpit hair of a mouse.” The members laughed. He said he uses a small half-size paintbrush, which is not always easy to find. Weidenheimer said a rigger makes “clunky branches but is great for grass.” He did not recommend the stencil brush either, because it is too hard. His favorite is an oriental brush that can sweep a line easily from thick to wispy. Add a comment

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Jeffrey BlandJeffrey Bland is one of those people whom one might call a modern day Renaissance man. As an architectural designer and draftsman, Bland looks around in his environment for ideas on style and improvement. For example, he didn’t buy bamboo brushes to do his Sumi-e Japanese ink painting, he crafted his own bamboo brushes using deer and elk hair. He pursues his curiosity.

Born in Queens, N.Y., Bland showed design talent at an early age and in high school, his art teacher influenced him with her encouragement.

“She pushed me to draw objects and subjects I was uncomfortable with or felt I couldn’t do,” he said. “I have always had an interest in art and that led me into architecture.”

He received an associate’s degree in architectural design and engineering theory and ended up working for a mechanical, architectural, consulting and engineering firm as a mechanical designer and draftsman.

“After school there were positions open in the architectural and mechanical disciplines. The salary for the mechanical position was paying more than the architectural position so being young and single I went the mechanical route, but always maintained my love for art and would draw, paint and sculpt as a hobby,” he said.

As a mechanical designer he became part of the design team for new work and renovations of HVAC systems for commercial and federal buildings, including the United Nations building and World Trade Center in New York, the patent and trademark office complex in Alexandria, the Forensic Medical Center of Maryland, air traffic control towers, and renovation of the Pentagon.

He said the most challenging part of what he does is finding resources to help him figure out something he wants to do but has no idea where to begin. Add a comment

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Nine hole honoreesEach year, the Lake Monticello Golf Course senior men’s Gray Foxes organization holds a year-end banquet. This year the event was held for the first time at the new pub facility in the Bunker clubhouse. The senior golfers were offered a choice between beef and chicken, and both choices were well received by those in attendance. In addition, the beer was included.

The Gray Foxes have an 18-hole men’s group that plays Thursday mornings and a nine-hole group that plays Friday mornings. Participants may play with both groups, but most players choose one group or the other.

The coordinator for the 18-hole group for the 2017 season was Dan Atkinson. He runs multiple competitions during the season, which stretches from April to October. The year-round competition that keeps the attention of all the players is known as ringers. There is a ringers competition once a month. The idea of this competition is to keep track of each player’s best gross and net scores on each hole for the entire year.

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Pool design finalized

Lake Monticello General Manager Catherine Neelley told the Board of Directors at a budget work session Thursday (Nov. 2) that the pool will be functional through the 2018 season.
“We’re going to make it another year, no problem,” she said to the visible relief of some members.

Finance Director Dabney Wallford told the directors that the pool lost less water than in the previous year, in part due to the contractor sealing cracks, and that the pool manager kept the chemical levels balanced despite ongoing problems with the filtration system.

Cracks and the failing plumbing system were the chief reasons the Board called for replacement of the 41-year-old pool earlier this year.
The process has not been without controversy.

While initial estimates of the replacement were around $750,000, the Board eventually decided to request $900,000 to fund the project. Residents approved a funding plan that will take $436,000 from the Emergency Reserve Account and $463,600 from the membership in the form of a one-time special dues assessment of $100 per household.

Voters had to make this decision without knowing what any proposed new pool would look like or where it would be located. Directors initially believed it would be more cost-effective to build on a new site, either adjacent to the existing pool or near the golf course. In September they announced it would be built on the current site. Add a comment

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Running“Look at that,” Ivan Raiklin said as he rubbed his hand over the worn tread of his running shoe.  It’s not the first pair he’s worn down since late August.

Raiklin – a Green Beret, a start-up investor, and a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate – is running with a mission. He’s trying to bring awareness to the problem of veteran suicide by running 22 miles a day in recognition of the 22 veterans estimated to die by their own hand every day.

By running in all 95 Virginia counties and all 38 independent cities, he hopes to raise money from across the Commonwealth for those groups helping to combat this epidemic.

Arriving at Pleasant Grove on a recent Tuesday afternoon, he had just crossed 705 miles. He expected to reach 715 miles before stopping for the day.

Which left him 1,061 miles more to go.

The idea

Raiklin came up with the idea for his run back in March while attending the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

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