By Nelia Dashiell
The Arts in the Village Gallery hosts two incredible artists during the month of September. Watercolor artist Wendy Schobert and coppersmithing artist Anne Jordan will both be featured in the gallery’s “A Natural Flair” exhibit. The exhibit will feature both artists and their unique pieces of art, which portray an aspect of nature in each of their respective forms. We were able to take a moment with both of the artists and ask them more about their work, inspiration, and future plans.
What first inspired you to pursue this form of art?
Jordan: My first experience with copper was embossing thin copper foil. I used pencil-like tools to create three-dimensional pictures in the copper. Knowing my interest in copper, my neighbor gave me some much thicker roofing copper scraps. To figure out how to use this thick copper, in 2008 I took a coppersmithing class taught through Fairfax County’s Adult Continuing Education program. I have been hooked ever since! For me, copper is so much more forgiving than drawing and painting. In copper, a mistake often leads to an opportunity for an improvement that you never planned on. Some of my favorite features in my copper work have been the result of initial mistakes.
Schobert: Nature has always inspired me, which is why I majored in science. I use the medium of watercolor to express my connection to nature and its beauty. With watercolor I can capture the bright colors of sunlight and contrast it with the subdued colors of shadows to express the curves, shapes and textures of the flora and fauna that surround me. [Whether] I am outside with my camera [or] paintbrush, the natural world opens up to me. I love trying to capture those peaceful moments of joy. Science, art, and the incredible design of nature come together with my paintbrush, my tubes of watercolor, and a little jar of water.
How would you describe your art style?
Jordan: Decorative and functional with a natural theme. I try to make my decorative floral pieces look realistic and form the hard metal to appear fluid and delicate. For the functional trays, baskets and bowls, I usually add a decorative touch of a leaf or flower or other organic element to it. I spend a lot of time developing textures and patinas that highlight the warmth and natural beauty of the copper.
Schobert: I love the small intricacies and details that I observe in nature. I am inspired to closely observe their beautiful shape and substance. I tend to be a realist—but hopefully a creative realist.
What do you think of the art scene here around Northern Virginia?
Jordan: It’s great. I have been able to take advantage of many venues in Northern Virginia as an art student, as an artist selling my work and as an art collector. Occoquan has some terrific galleries with local artists; I am finishing up five years with the Artists Undertaking Gallery. The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton is [also] a wonderful place to meet artists in their studios, buy their art and take classes.
Schobert: I am very grateful for the support from the community of artists in the Northern Virginia area. I have had so many opportunities to learn and grow as an emerging artist. My artistic journey began at the Lorton Workhouse Art Center. They offer inspiring works of art to view and art lessons from highly recognized artists. Artistic talent abounds here. The various art societies such as the League of Reston Artists, The Springfield Art Guild, the Vienna Art Society and the Loudoun Arts Council offer artists an environment to share their work and to share their passion for the arts. I also believe that the co-op art galleries, such as the Art in the Village Gallery in Leesburg, give artists great exposure to the public.
What are your future plans for your art career? What do you hope to accomplish?
Jordan: Right now I am exploring everything I can in terms of creating art with copper. In the future I hope to find that one copper art form that really captures my passion and inspires and compels me to spend years fine-tuning it. I hope to create a “consistent body of work” that will be recognizable as my own.
Schobert: Watercolor is a challenging medium. I want to continue to explore new techniques, new materials and new tools that will enhance my skills as a professional artist. I also want to write and publish a children’s book that uses my own watercolor illustrations to share with my grandchildren and others. If I can accomplish anything, I hope to help myself and others to stop and see the beauty of nature as we go through our hurried lives. There is a quote that I like by George Bernard Shaw: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” I feel like I am in the process of creating myself as a professional artist who is refining my signature style.
You can catch both of these artists at the Arts in the Village Gallery through Sept. 30.
Arts in the Village Gallery
1601 Village Market Blvd., Suite 116
Leesburg, VA 20175