Best of Show at Windemere Art Gallery

Ashland Winter2 smrMy watercolor “Ashland Winter” (detail at left) was selected Best in Show at Lee Artists Association’s fall show.

It represents a steam passenger locomotive such as served Ashland, Virginia into the 1950s. Featured also is the 1923 Ashland train station. Ashland is one of the last “railroad towns,” with the AMTRAK and CSX main lines right through the middle of town.

Ashland Train Day is Saturday, November 1, 2014.

I’m happy that family and friends like my paintings, but it’s nice to have an impartial outside expert select one of them. LAA’s Fall into Art show will be on display at Windemere Art Gallery in Mechanicsville, Virginia through November 15. Come by.

On Being Careful What You Wish For

Tuesday the citizens of Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District reminded Eric Cantor of he’s only human. They also reminded us of the potentially unintended consequences of Gerrymandering. As we should have learned in high school, Gerrymandering is that grand old American practice of manipulating election district borders to assure my party has more safe seats than your party.

Virginia is a purple state: apt to go Republican or Democrat in any particular election based on a single issue or the personality of a candidate. Therefore every ten years the Virginia Assembly members try to assure their party the maximum number of safe seats from among its current eleven Representatives. The practical result has been conceding the Third District (most of Richmond and liberal enclaves along the James River—see map) to the Democrats and the Seventh District (encompassing the conservative areas west and north of Richmond) to the Republicans.

There Eric Cantor was safely elected year after year since 2000. In recent elections the Democrats have wasted little effort (read here: money) on opposing him. Ah, but there in lies the rub. The Seventh District is so conservative that this year a political neophyte successfully challenged Cantor for not being conservative enough!

So, Republicans find themselves with Dr. Dave Brat as their candidate for this year’s election. As a result, if Democrat candidate Jack Trammell is moderate enough, Republicans could lose their “safe seat.” If not, Democrats may find Cantor replaced with an even more conservative representative.

Be careful what you wish for.

I’m Watching You


Dean Hoffmeyer

A mother peregrine falcon keeps a close eye on fish and game personnel measuring and banding her chicks in downtown Richmond, VA.

Details in May 31st Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch.


Bird Watching

Serious ornithologists go to where the birds are, but we watch them from the comfort of our breakfast nook.

For the five winters we’ve lived in Virginia (this time) Treva has provided a smorgasbord for avians. Lately she’s concentrated on peanut butter, corn meal and suet smeared on the low branches of a maple tree, thistles in a vertical feeder for the finches, a veritable trail mix of seeds in a domes feeder, we call the mushroom–designed to inhibit large bird access, an all-bird mix in a squirrel-proof house shaped feeder, and finally a horizontal tray mounted on a pole to discourage the squirrels. The tray carries a variety of feeds including peanuts, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, various seeds and (drum roll) dead meal worms.

After a cold, but dry fall, the east coast has enjoyed serious winter weather in 2014. So far Virginia Continue reading