Piedmont Paintings: Ross Arkell
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1935, Ross Arkell moved to Penhook, Virginia, in Franklin County, just across the Pittsylvania County line, in 1993, where he still lives today. Receiving his degree from Northern Illinois University in 1957, Arkell went on to study with Sarkis Sarkisian, John Foster, and Nicholas Buhalis at The Art School of the Society of Arts and Crafts, now the Center for Creative Studies. In 1985 and 1987, Arkell was awarded fellowships from Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, respectively. Throughout his long career, Arkell has exhibited his works across the United States as well as in Canada. His most recent exhibitions have been held in Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Martinsville, Virginia.
This fall, the Museum will become yet another venue displaying Arkell’s paintings. This exhibition, titled Piedmont Paintings, will feature large and small oils of the fields, mountains, rivers, farmhouses, and churches that are indigenous to the Piedmont landscape. These paintings will also represent Arkell’s devotion to his medium. Using a thick application of rich colors, especially shades of blue, green, and purple, Arkell uses his paintings “to draw a bit of drama from the mundane and to record the character of our landscapes and the houses that we have placed upon it.” According to Arkell, “My goal is to use the paint with strength, joy and definition – to keep the brush alive. The pleasure is the pleasure of doing it.” With Piedmont Paintings, Arkell manages to meet his goals, creating bold but pleasing images of our region’s landscape.