Planning a country jaunt for apples and pumpkins this weekend? If your wanderings lead you near Leesberg, detour to Mount Gilead, a tiny artists' enclave open to the public this Saturday and Sunday.
On view are paintings by Alfred MoAdams, June McAdams, Robert Sivard and Margaret Marks. Women's Strike for Peace founder Dagmer Wilson wil show her watercolor and pen-and-ink drawings. Their works reflect a simultaneous influence by the abstract expressionists and the surrounding countryside.
"None of us are abstract painters," Wilson says, "but at the same time our view of nature is very individual and personal."
This is seen in June McAdams' exhibit. Though she is a portraitist by profession, her works in this show are fantasy-oriented: paintings of prehistoric animals and contemporary farm machinery against an exquisite pastoral landscape.
The McAdams' daughter, Weeige, will display her ceramic creations, and another potter, Joan Gardiner, will be showing functional pieces such as tea pots, several of which are adorned with fanciful "Alice in Wonderland" figures.
The idea for the open house came about because the artists wanted the public to see their work where it was created rather than in a gallery. Visitors are free to wonder the studios and homes and shore light refreshments in an informal outting. The artists will be on hand to answer questions and discuss their work. It's not a craft demonstration where visitors can watch the works being made, says Wilson, but an chance to catch a glimpse of these artists' lifestyles.
A visit to Mount Gilead also offers visitors a breathtaking view of Loudoun Valley and the Blue Ridge mountains. Mount Gilead was originally conceived as a town in the early 19th century, but the project never came to fruition. When the Civil War broke out, all hopes of making it into a spa for Washington cityfolk or even a county seat were lost. Two of five houses on the hill date back to the 1760s. One of these, Marks' home, used to be a schoolhouse.