Monday, November 15, 2010

Visit to a Local Artist

My husband and I visited the home, studio, and gardens of Donna la Pré this week. She animatedly gave us a tour of everything, from her garage-turned-art studio, around fruit trees to her herbal Cat Garden ("It attracts all sorts of birds and bugs and bees..."), to her self-designed English-country potting shed, all the way to her kitchen for tea. See my blog post about her garden at Immortal Mountain.

When we pulled up to her house in the mountains of Rappahannock County, Virginia, we saw a light on in what appeared to be her garage. As we walked closer, Donna met us outside of the structure, saying she had been working in her studio all day, and asked us if we'd like to see inside. Entering her workspace, we were greeted by the sound of opera music and one of her cats, Beauty (Sassafras was nowhere to be seen).

This is one of Donna's inspiration boards. Her background is in painting, but her studio is filled with soft things of all shapes and sizes. She makes a menagerie of little creatures reminiscent of fairytale characters, such as these floral-frocked rabbits, which she sells on her Open Studio nights. Donna embraces femininity, as vintage bedsheets and tablecloths of various shades of white hang randomly around the studio, ethereally suggesting spacial divisions.

This is inside the potting shed. She designed the building herself, and even helped to lay the unfinished brick floor. I really liked the utilitarian lighting choice.

An example of one of Donna's woodland scenes. How adorable are her little booties?! Just a sample of what to expect for her upcoming Open Studio, December 11 & 12 in Washington, VA. She's also working on a lovely holiday series of velveteen birds. Visit her current garden website here; I'll post a link to her art website as soon as it's up and running!

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