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"Impressions of Virginia" is opening in Fredericksburg on February 11th, 2022 from 6pm-8pm at Frame Designs Gallery. The exhibit has been described as "one of the most impressive shows I have ever seen and really highlights the relative strengths and differences between photography and painting,” by Kathleen Moran, President of the Colonial Beach Artists Guild.

The artistic pairing is ecstatic of the response to the exhibit. “To our knowledge, “Impressions of Virginia” is one of the first to become a traveling exhibit for our area,” shares Dawn Whitmore, “We are delighted to share our artwork and impressions with our upcoming Opening Reception at Frame Designs and Gallery in February.”

The initial plan began in early 2021, for a duo exhibit. The two have shown their artwork together in the past. However for this exhibit they wanted to create something different.

The idea began as a simple one, two artists…ten sites.

Koons and Whitmore created a plan to experience their state of Virginia and to share their artwork and personal impressions of the areas explored. The exhibit entailed countless hours of planning, driving, creating and collaborating for the two artists. Each of the sites chosen was visited once by the duo together. In a few instances, to ensure the best use of time, more than one destination was seen in a day. The pair began their journey in June 2021 and visited their last site in October 2021.

"We believe the exhibit shows how photography and painting has artistic nuisances," explains Laural Koons, "There are pieces in the exhibit which work as paintings but not as photographs and vice versa....photographs which would not work as paintings."

The pair delight in how the written impressions of each site have been received. Koons shares, "During the opening night in Colonial Beach, people did exactly what we intended for the exhibit...the people read what we shared and interacted with us about our impressions."

We want to thank Cheryl Bosch and her assistant at Frame Designs Gallery for creating and sharing the following video:

What is your definition of impression? Here are a couple from Merriam-Webster's dictionary:

"an especially marked and often favorable influence or effect on feeling, sense, or mind"

"a telling image impressed on the senses or the mind"

Come Friday, December 10th from 6pm-8pm to see Laural Koons and Dawn Whitmore's impressions and artwork of 10 Virginia destinations.

"Meems Bottom Covered Bridge"

© Dew Photography VA

Meems Bottom Covered Bridge is 200-foot single span covered bridge built by Frank Hiser Wissler in 1892-1893. As part of our Shenandoah journey in "Impressions of Virginia" the bridge was visited on an October afternoon. Laural and Dawn walked through the span of the bridge which is open to daily vehicle traffic. The pair would stand on the inside planks while a vehicle slowly passed by. Recent comment from a VDOT representative in a Northern Daily News articles shares, "Meems Bottom is the last covered bridge in Virginia which allows daily transportation of vehicles.”

The current bridge is said to be the 3rd over this span of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. The history of the two other bridges is stated in research as, "It is believed that there were at least two prior bridges near Meem's Bottom that were lost by flood and fire. The first bridge was likely burned in 1862 by Stonewall Jackson's Rebels, and the second, washed away by floodwaters in 1870."

Meems Bottom Covered Bridge (6x8 Oil Study)

© Laural Koons

The Meems Bottom bridge had carried traffic daily for nearly 85 years when it suffered vandalism on October 31st, 1976 by fire. However, VDOT (the owner of the bridge) was able to salvage original timbers and reconstruct the bridge. The decision was made to give extra support to the original structure with steel beams and concrete piers. It was reopened to traffic in 1979.

As of a Northern Daily News article the bridge is currently closed because of a second case of vehicular damage in the last two months. ( VDOT is assessing the options of what will be the fate of the bridge, whether they continue spending limited funds to make repairs to a historic landmark, which has been damaged by vehicles 11 times in the last two-year time span or to close it permanently to daily vehicle traffic.

Want Laural and Dawn's impressions of Meems Bottom Covered Bridge and see the resulting artwork in person? Come to the Opening Night of their exhibit "Impressions of Virginia '' on December 10th, 2021 at Dockside Realty in Colonial Beach, VA.

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