Art gallery a local showcase

Tom Chipley, an artist at The Art Group Gallery in Mount Jackson, stands beside two of his works inside his studio. Ryan Cornell/Daily

MOUNT JACKSON — The batteries inside local artist Tom Chipley’s wall clock are dead.

For the past three weeks, the short and long hands have been perpetually frozen at 6:47, though Chipley’s recent flurry of work has distracted him from replacing them.

Chipley is the president and resident artist at The Art Group Gallery in Mount Jackson.

His whimsical illustrations, full of bright colors and deliberate lines, are reminiscent of renowned Spanish painter Joan Miró.

“Traditional art in the valley is usually considered to be barns and cows standing in fields and maybe bowls of apples,” he said, “and I just don’t do that on general principles.”

The gallery, which began in the historic Bowman-Shannon Cultural Arts Center in 2010, is a nonprofit artist cooperative with three floors of art open to the public.

And like the wall clock in Chipley’s studio, the works of art adorning the walls of the gallery are truly timeless.

Another artist belonging to the cooperative is Penelope Carroll, whose paintings include a series of landscapes with beautiful, grapefruit-pink sunrises and rolling hills.

A resident of Edinburg, Carroll said the area offers many opportunities to capture these scenes.

“We get nice sunrises and sunsets because of the mountains on both sides,” she said. “Every place you look, we have old quarries that are full of water, lovely little lakes, mountain vistas.”

With the exception of artists from Richmond and West Virginia, all of the gallery members are local.

Chipley’s studio in the gallery is more than a place for him to put his pens. It’s a place where he has complete creative freedom to draw anything his mind might think of.

“Artists always talk about their muse,” he said. “Well, there’s something to it. This place is so creative for me.

“For about a year I rented a little place across the street and absolutely nothing happened. I couldn’t do a thing in the world. I moved in here, and was just cranking out stuff I was really happy about.”

Since retiring from commercial art more than a decade ago, Chipley said this freedom has felt like an extended vacation.

“If the government knew how much fun this was, they’d put a tax on it,” he said. “Either that, or they’d make it illegal.”

Throughout the month of December, all artwork in the gallery is 20 percent off.

The gallery, located in the Bowman-Shannon Cultural Arts Center at 5998 Main St. in Mount Jackson,  is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It also hosts live music, wine and refreshments from 7 to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of every month.

For more info, visit http://www.theartgroup.org or call 540-477-4131.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com