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November Windows at RAL Art Center

This November the RAL Art Center Gallery Windows will once again feature the amazing diversity of artists that our organization represents with two wonderfully creative members, Barbara Brecher and Linda Lavigne-Long.

Barbara Brecher is a Fiber Artist and graphic designer who works in Felting, which is an ancient form of textile art that pre-dates weaving and spinning techniques. Present day Fiber Artists use the basis of these ancient techniques with modern style and flare.

Basically, felting is a process of combining natural fibers by layering them together and then applying moisture and pressure causing them to interlock with each other. The organic effects that occur with the natural shrinkage of these fibers, in this case wool and silk, create a unique fabric which Barbara then dyes or paints, and fashions into a garment. Barbara learned this process while living in Alexandria, VA, and within a supportive community of other fabric artists, her work evolved from thick and bulky pieces (think of that wool sweater you accidentally put through the washer and dryer) to pieces that are light as air, silk and wool, wearable artwork. Her window will feature a cape felted with wool and silk as well as a kimono and colorful one-of-a-kind felted purses

For more than 20 years Barbara owned a graphic design and marketing firm, Brecher Design Group, in Old Town Alexandria.. When she moved to the Northern Neck she also served as the Executive Director of the Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington.

Linda LaVigne-Long, like many abstract artists, began her painting in the "realist genre", and then began to gradually move into more abstract renderings. She loves the process of painting and her artwork is an expression of what she is feeling about a subject. Linda does not see a field or mountain in front of her. Instead the realistic scenes slip into a pure abstraction of patterns, shapes and colors. She is captivated by the relationships between the shapes, the push and pull effect of colors and the energy in the lines they form. This is apparent in her piece exhibited in the Gallery Windows this month titled, "What If ". Here Linda explores transparent and solid shapes, open to the chance qualities of layers of paint. These layers create exciting textures and unexpected colors.

Linda works mostly in watermedia (acrylic and watercolors) because they are quick drying and lend themselves well for experimentation with textures, layers, etc. allowing her to produce a variety of styles for her art. She has traveled a great deal, has lived in many places and her art reflects the diversity of her life experiences. Continuing to search and experiment with different artistic techniques and materials, Linda's work is always evolving. She is mostly a Richmond resident but also has a home here on the NNK, and has been active in the RAL since 2012.


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