Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Open Studios: Botetourt, Part I

Botetourt County held its first "Open Studios" event over the Halloween weekend. Sixteen artists opened up their studios and homes to the public so that art lovers could get a glimpse of their workspace and purchase their wares.

My husband and I were able to take in a few of the artists' studios on Sunday. I feel sure if you're interested in the artwork, these artists would love to sell you something.

Ed Bordett is a Fincastle artist. The following information is an updated revision of an article I wrote about him for The Fincastle Herald in 2005.

Ed Bordett, a folksy Fincastle town councilman, has his studio in the back of his own gallery, Art Images.

Ed Bordett's artwork.

His shop on Main Street was the town’s first art gallery, if you don’t count woodworking shops and other non-painting creative endeavors scattered about the area. He took over an old garage about ten years ago, giving him lots of space in which to paint and collect antiques and curiosities, which he is fond of doing.

Bordett’s been a member of the Fincastle community for about 25 years. He paints scenes from the locality and from his native New York.

Fincastle sculpturer Joyce Hilliou says Fincastle is lucky to have artists of Bordett’s caliber in the area. “Ed’s work is great,” she says. “I think Ed is indisputably a master of serigraph paintings.”
Serigraph paintings are original works of art that are similar yet unique. They are created with a silk-screen process that separates colors and transfers them onto a screen. When the screen contacts paper, the color is forced through a stencil. The process is repeated up to 40 times for color.

That’s just one of the things Bordett does. He also creates oil paintings, etchings, monotypes, and some commercial artwork. He has won many awards and honors for his work and businesses commission paintings from him.

My husband really liked Ed Bordett's version of a cow.

He has always been an artist. Bordett attended the National Academy of Fine Arts in New York City and graduated from the Ringling School of Art. He’s been in the area since 1975; he moved to Fincastle in the mid-1980s. He’s been on town council since 1997. He’s chaired the Fincastle Festival’s art show, served on the board of Alleghany Highlands Art Center, has been a member of the grant review board for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and co-president of Market Gallery & Studios cooperative in Roanoke.

He takes his artwork on the road 12-15 times a year, showing at juried shows on the east coast. He’s also husband to wife Becky and father of two.

His artwork focuses on color and light, what he calls a visual mix of the activity around him. He attempts to convey his emotions and feelings toward his subject when he paints.

Ed Bordett's image of Fincastle at Christmas.

Fincastle, he says, doesn’t have the same high energy as New York, but he sees a lot of similar geometric shapes and patterns. This comes through in his use of light across the surface of his art.

He paints from photos and sketches, depending on the subject and the way the subject matter caught his fancy. He sometimes creates small studies of a subject before moving onto a larger painting.

He works among a jumble of antiques, with the cracks in the walls of the old building as a backdrop and a partially-played chess game near an old sofa. The room is littered with easels, large and small, and half-finished canvases. He doesn’t keep regular hours, though that could change if the town begins to have a cultural climate change that indicates an interest in local arts.

"Buying isn’t the only thing,” he says of the arts and their work. He wants folks to look, too, and contemplate the artist’s vision.

That vision has sustained him well for a very long time, and he has no plans to give it up.

“I’ve just always been lucky enough to pursue what I want to do,” Bordett says as he cradles an ancient yet beautifully painted box he picked up at auction. “I’m extremely fortunate.”

Another Ed Bordett view of Fincastle at Christmas.


  1. The last piece of Fincastle at Christmas is very nice! When I lived in Santa Cruz, they had Open Studios which would last 3 weekends covering different areas of the community. With the art community from UCSC, there are many many artists in the area. It was something I enjoyed, touring the studios. How nice you have that in your small town. We have it here in San Luis Obispo County, but I've never gone. I should put that on my list of things to do.

  2. Such a great Christmas view of Fincastle!

  3. Nice post! I wish I had gone to the open studios. I hope they do it again next year so I'll have another chance to go. Our little community abounds in creativity.

  4. Enjoyed your post...and the art - especially "Flurries"!


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