Behind the Muse: with Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson is a mother, a wife, an artist and she teaches art at Thomas Harrison Middle School. For those of you familiar with the middle school species, that translates to: Laura has the patience of a saint. I recently visited an art exhibit of student work that Laura organized at the Blue Nile in downtown Harrisonburg. The show consisted of hand-sewn monsters that represented the student’s secrets, inner demons and fears. The artwork was impressive enough on it’s own, but to read the words of a middle schooler explaining that part of themselves was downright powerful. The world needs more teachers like this woman. We’re thrilled that she is dedicating a chunk of her precious time to participate in Art Lotto again this year. Laura will be creating a portrait of Greg Sultan. Laura’s portrait will be created by Sharon Skates.

Laura works on a sketch of her Art Lotto partner, Greg Sultan.
Laura works on a sketch of her Art Lotto partner, Greg Sultan.

“I love that the Art Lotto process can be so organic. Like last year, I came to the meeting with no plan, no expectations, and an open mind. When I met Greg Sultan at the Baja Bean in Staunton, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had talked to him briefly at the Luck of the Draw, and had looked at his website, but had no idea what form his portrait would ultimately take. I am an art teacher, so I know a wide range of media. At first I thought maybe glass, then maybe wood block printing, then maybe watercolor. I still haven’t landed on one for sure. 
But I know what it will be called: He told me that he is heading far away from here — uprooting, transplanting, reestablishing — and with that comes much change and adjustment. With change comes potential — to do, to be, to create, to build. These things are choices we can make, and even though we might sometimes feel like our chance has passed, “There’s Still Time.” ~Laura

Behind the Muse: with Ben Fraits

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Art Lotto veteran, Ben Fraits, works on his portrait of Pat Jarrett.

Second year Lotto participant, Ben Fraits, ain’t skeerd to try something new. This year, Ben is working on a portrait of photographer, Pat Jarrett. Both Ben and Pat took home an Art Lotto award in 2012. Ben won the Out-of-the-Box award last year with his photo/scrabble piece concoction of Anne Hogan and Pat won the Oh Snap! Photography Award with his portrait of Elliot Downs.

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“I’m not exactly sure what inspired the idea for my art lotto piece this year, I wanted to think a little more ‘out of the box’ I guess. However, I was quite excited when I drew Pat Jarrett’s name from the cup.  Knowing him from around town and learning more about the artist himself, I needed something to solidly represent him, something chiseled into time, something strong, that has a little weight behind it. I needed to create a work that would define Pat in a way that it might be cemented into resembling the solid artist, photographer that he has been over many years.  I think I’ve found this in this portrait..
Defining the legend.. (wait for it)” ~Ben 

Behind the Muse: with Misti Yoder

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Misti on the job in Millersburg, Indiana.

Misti Yoder is an Indiana based photographer but she is no stranger to Rockingham County. She was born and raised here in the Valley and plans to return in the near future. This is Misti’s first year playing the Art Lotto game and she has become a pro at using Lotto as an excuse to come home for a visit!

At the Luck of the Draw event, Misti drew the name of painter, Morgan Fink. The two girls met at sunset for photos on a horse farm outside city limits. Misti needed complete darkness for the shoot. Here’s Misti’s take on her experience that evening.

“(Her) horses name is Ryan. He is a good boy and stood so nicely when we met him…up until shooting time. I’m pretty sure heaven is right there in Port Republic. Rolling hills, a view of Massanutten Mountain from one side and full mountain ranges on the other, a quaint little pond on site and majestic horses in every direction. Breathtaking. We didn’t finish shooting until well after 10pm as we learned that sunset and complete darkness do not always coincide.” ~Misti 

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Morgan and Ryan at sunset.
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View from the horse farm. (Misti Yoder Photography)