Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Our trip out to King George came about as my husband and I were out visiting Dave one day and I mentioned that I would like to paint his barn sometime. Since I knew Dawn was documenting old barns through photography, I asked if she would like to come out with me, there were a couple of other barns on a neighboring property we could also look at. Of course she jumped at the chance and so we made a plan.



Dave's Barn

© Laural Koons


Dave’s barn sits on a property of around 150 acres in King George Virginia and was purchased by his parents sometime before 1973. They built a nice brick home and used part of the property as a hay business. Sometime in the 70’s Dave’s sister, not unlike most young girls, fell in love with horses and so a barn was built. After the children were grown and gone, the horse barn became a hay storage barn and continued in that capacity until recently. It's not a fancy barn, it's a sturdy serviceable barn with its own character. When you look around it, you see pieces of their past life interwoven with the present. Wash Tubs, antlers and tools still hang on the walls. The property was recently sold and so time marches on. I hope that the new family who has taken stewardship will cherish the property as much as Dave did.


Want to know more about Laural and Dawn's impressions of Dave's Barn 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.



Dawn and I decided to visit the National Cemetery in Fredericksburg, as one of our sites, one morning before the real heat set in on Fredericksburg this summer. Starting at Sunken Road, we walked down toward the Innis house. After taking a few photographs there, we took the walking path up to the cemetery stopping by a barn that was located on the Brompton property that begged to be photographed. That will have to be a painting for another day! As we crested the hill and the cemetery lay before us we were fully aware that before us, there was a lot to take in. Probably more than we expected. As mainly a landscape painter, I'm studying the lay of the land and the trees. But amongst all the greenery and undulating brick walls are white granite headstones of those who came before us.

Fredericksburg Cemetery

© Laural Koons 2021


The Fredericksburg National Cemetery is located at 1013 Lafayette Blvd in Fredericksburg Virginia and is one of 14 national cemeteries managed by the National Park Service.

Established in 1865, it is the “final resting place for more than 15,000 Union soldiers who were originally buried in shallow and often unmarked graves around battlefields and field hospitals.”


After the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, the U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of a national cemetery at Fredericksburg, located at Marye’s Heights, providing a proper burial place for Union soldiers who died at major battles, smaller skirmishes, and illness while camped in the region, many within a 20-mile radius.


Construction on the cemetery began in 1866, with all burials from the Civil War interred in the cemetery by 1869. Of the 15,000 plus Union soldiers buried, only 2,473 have been identified. Burial plots are consecutively numbered and you will notice that the cemetery is not organized by state, unit or campaign. Soldiers buried there are mostly privates because the higher-ranking officers were often able to be transported home by family members. Those that are known have a rounded granite headstone to mark their grave with the graves of unknown soldiers' marked by a small square stone bearing two numbers. The top number identifies the plot and the bottom number indicates the number of soldiers buried in the plot. Confederates who died in the Fredericksburg area were interred in Confederate cemeteries in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania.


By 1945 the cemetery was closed to further burials. There were an additional 300 burials between 1869 and 1945 of veterans of the Spanish-American War, WW1 and WW2.


Want to know more about Laural and Dawn's impressions of the Fredericksburg National Cemetery and to 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.


In our last blog post, Laural shared her painting process and how it changed a bit for this exhibit. We decided the next step is to share Dawn's photography process. Sounds simple enough, until she went to write about it. However, in the end, Dawn says, "It was a great experience for me to think and ponder on exactly what is my photograph process and to see how this exhibit has caused growth in my photography process."


In my barnscape photography, I have a vision and purpose which drives me. It is one that resonates to my core:


"To preserve agricultural history for future generations"


A photographer friend asked me once, "Is your purpose to document the old barns or create art?" My answer, "Both. I want to document the old barns before they are gone, but also want to create art with them." However, how does one translate this view of documenting and creating art for our exhibit, "Impressions of Virginia" is it even possible?


Laural is a patient and caring friend, who allowed me to work through this process as we traveled to our destinations. On the other hand, I am one who wants to grow and saw this exhibit as an opportunity for growth.


"Finding a Barn on FXBG National Cemetery Day"
© 2021 Dew Photography VA

I seized the opportunity to apply a few lessons learned from Rick Sammon. Rick Sammon is a photographer with nearly 40 years of experience. One lesson, I employed for this exhibit is, "Look at other's photographs before visiting a site, especially if you have never been there." This viewing of other's work is not to copy them but to see the place and begin to envision what you plan to photograph. Rick further shares, "Having a plan of what you want to capture helps you focus when arriving on site."


What I learned from this process, is it did help me focus during our time together. Flexibility is another lesson learned during this process for even the 'best laid plans' did not always come to fruition. This is where having Laural on our adventures became my saving grace. Her calmness and confidence in the face of disruption, along with the fact she is a fun and wonderful person to be on an adventure with, kept our main target of the exhibit in sight:


"To share our artwork and personal impressions of the area's explored"


An additional way, my photography process grew during this exhibit is to not be afraid to create digital art. Even though my main goal is to attain the best in camera capture, I began to attain knowledge and utilize my post processing software in new ways. This area of commitment for growth became a wise decision. Especially since our adventures had to be planned out in advance for one day trips, which caused us at times to have to work with what we had for the day to include weather, people and other obstacles. As I became better acquainted with the post processing of my captures, the obstacles did not frazzle me as they had in the past, because now there was a solution.


This is but a snippet of how my photography process has grown while creating artwork for "Impressions of Virginia" to open on December 10th in Colonial Beach at Dockside Realty Gallery. Laural and I look forward to seeing you.


P.S. Not all of the images shared will be framed for the show. We have limited space for the exhibit because we will be framing and sharing our "Impressions of Virginia" with you, which will be included in your purchase of the artwork.

Plus, we want to surprise you with our completed artwork on Opening Night of the exhibit.


P.S.S. If you see something you like and must have, we are always welcome to fulfill a special order for you. We just need to know the size you want and if you want matted or framed artwork. Just reach out t us. To contact Laural: laural@lauralkoons.com and Dawn: dewphotographyva@gmail.com