Artist Linda Volrath is a Virginia Treasure
By Ed Felker
“Musicians compose songs about what is meaningful to them, authors use the written word,” artist Linda Volrath says. “My language is visual.”
During her college years and early career, Linda focused on illustration and commercial art. While professionally trained using all media – acrylic, pen and ink, watercolor, photography – her love for oils and fine art is what stuck with her. “I’ve invested years to build the skill set to express ideas in my own unique voice,” she says. “But it is a continuing pursuit and lifelong process.”
Volrath is enamored with oils because of their jewel-like qualities, longevity, and virtually infinite versatility. Everything from expressive, visible brushwork to thin glowing transparency can be employed. “Oils have the potential for fresh alla prima work (meaning ‘at first attempt,’ a method of painting using wet paint over wet paint), small paint sketches and studies from life, or more time-intensive large-scale studio work,” she says. “It allows for changes and can evolve like a sculpture, adding and removing elements as a piece emerges.”
Painting is how Linda captures and communicates scenes and subjects that have had a lasting impression on her. And Volrath, a Virginia native who has been around horses most of her life, is drawn to Virginia’s Hunt country. “I’m not only inspired artistically by the landscape, horses and hounds that are part of foxhunting and Point-to-Point races, I’m also inspired by the athleticism, passion, and commitment apparent in this community,” she says.
Painting the world of foxhunting gives Volrath, who is a member of the Blue Ridge Hunt, a sense of connection to that world. “Involvement with any riding club has the potential to offer education, work, leisure, entertainment, land conservation, charitable work and more, all at once,” she says. “To me, Virginia’s treasure is in the beauty of its landscape that endures in open spaces, its rich traditions, history and natural resources.”
Always an animal lover, when she trains her eye on the horses and hounds of the foxhunting world her work truly shines. “As a young child I found myself compelled to draw animals as a way to feel closer to them,” she recalls. Every day she spends out following a hunt, visiting a kennel or attending a point-to-point race is full of energy and discovery. “My biggest challenge is narrowing down which of the many ideas to paint that I’ve gathered,” she says.
“As a subject, foxhunting is timeless, yet concurrently speaks to my time,” she says. “I like knowing that my paintings might play some small role in documenting my time.”
Visit lindavolrath.com for more.