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Virginia Donelson

Somerset, VA

Virginia Donelson was born and educated in Virginia. She attended drama school in London, and afterwards moved to New York City to pursue a career in writing and performing character-driven comedy, both for theatre and television. She worked on Saturday Night Live, Showtime and Comedy Central, and co-wrote and performed in the two woman play "Dick’s Island” a critical hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1989.

After moving to Merriewood Farm in Somerset, Virginia and raising her family there, she began painting lessons with artists Pam Black and Becky Parrish. Although she came late in life to painting, Virginia feels she came early in life to art. Her mother was an accomplished portrait painter, and as a child Virginia watched her work, pored over her many art books and went with her to museums and galleries. Because her mother’s uncle was Gottfried Hofer, an Austrian artist of some note, Virginia grew up surrounded by great art; their house was full of his lovely portraits, botanicals and landscapes.

Drawing upon her years in theatre, Virginia finds that her background in comedy has hugely influenced her painting. Success in comedy requires close observation, just as painting does. Comedy can only be truly funny when it reflects reality, and that requires a great deal of close observation of human behavior. Similarly the most critical factor in painting is looking, truly seeing and reflecting the character of one’s subject. It’s about proportion: a character played too broadly is never believable, a portrait painted without accurate proportions never renders a good likeness.

Virginia’s favorite subjects are dogs, children and florals. She also finds great freedom in sometimes painting whimsical, even comical subjects, since after all her first love was comedy.

Virginia Donelson
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