Tag Archives: Virginia

THE PAINTED TREE — Shopper’s Paradise

The Painted Tree, The Shops at Hilltop, Virginia Beach

The Painted Tree is truly a one-stop-shop experience, perfect for the holidays. I’ve been meaning to share this unique shopping experience with you and now’s the time. As an artist and all-around “DIY maker,” this appeals to me. The focus here is specialty gift items, home decor and boutique clothing–which covers quite a lot of options. What began as one vintage market in Bryant, Arkansas in 2015 has grown into a network of superstores in over a dozen locations across the country bringing together indie artisans and businesses. I’m thrilled to share with you what I’ve found at the location in The Shops at Hilltop, Virginia Beach. And, of local note, The Shops at Hilltop will be celebrating with an Open House extravaganza this weekend, December 1, 2 and 3.

My first visit to The Painted Tree was at The Shops at Hilltop here in Virginia Beach. You can literally spend the whole day at this amazing complex of top-of-the-line boutiques and restaurants. And, as I say, you can find just about anything for every kind of taste at The Painted Tree: fashion, pop culture, art, antiques and so much more. I’ll provide here some samples of items that caught my eye and top it off with a video tour.




Selfies to Canvas

One of the vendors here, Nancy Harrington, gave me the scoop on what The Painted Tree has to offer. Her business, for example, Selfies to Canvas, will convert pictures from your cell phone and turn them into works on stretched canvas. Nancy spoke about the community of vendors she is so happy to be a part of. In fact, she took me around to point out a few highlights, like Church Mouse fine woodworking as well as K Courage artisan jewelry and fiber art.

“This is the perfect home for an entrepreneur.   The Painted Tree is worry-free and so much fun.  For the guests coming to shop, we are not just a shopping trip, but a whole shopping experience.  Maybe kind of corny, but to coin a phrase, ‘We are Etsy on steroids.’  All the best in one place.  You are supporting the small business person and finding treasures you didn’t even know existed! I offer a one-of-a-kind gift for your loved ones, friends or yourself.  Any picture on your cell phone can be perfected and transferred to canvas while you shop.”

— Nancy Harrington, Selfies to Canvas

Art Cat

Happy Holidays!

Catwoman by Mark Winslow, Your New Best Friend

Church Mouse Woodworking by Al Cain

Art by Mabelle Lansdell

K Courage artisan jewelry and fiber art.

Shore Drive Farm Market, Lynnhaven Coffee Shop.



I’m thrilled to know about this amazing shopper’s paradise and look forward to getting to know the whole scene better. I am amazed by all of the talented folks, including artists Isa Sofia Monell, J Glynn Winters, Rachel Jennings and Summer Paradiso, among many others. I’ve already noticed that items get snatched up pretty quickly, making room for new merchandise. Oh, well, I thought I had more time to consider buying that antique phonograph!

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Filed under Art, Comics, Gifts, The Painted Tree, Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Nature Sketching Hike

Full Moon over Virginia Beach

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

— Robert Frost

We’re in Virginia Beach so let’s walk across First Landing State Park on the Cape Henry Trail and do some nature hike sketching. It’s time for this urban sketcher to get back to nature!

This is the state park that I walked across. It’s a nice workout!

I’ve been meaning to share with you again some of my art-making adventures. This is something that’s been in the works for a while. Bit by bit, I gathered up the will and motivation to tackle my new local state park. I’d been venturing forth a little at a time, getting used to it and then, finally, I decided to go from one end of it to the other! Now, it doesn’t seem that 6 miles is so bad at all. And, since I live near it, it’s about time.

Virginia Beach Seagull by Henry Chamberlain

I put this video together of some of the best moments from some of my visits leading up to my longest hike, from one end of the Cape Henry Trail to the other. If there are any natives reading this, I’d be curious to read about your own experiences with the park and if you too have walked the length of this trail.

Green Snake by Henry Chamberlain

A word of caution: Keep an eye out for snakes. I have no plans of getting too close to any snakes. As they say, the snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them, even the poisonous ones. So far, I’ve come across a green grass snake (non-venomous) and a Copperhead (venomous). It turns out that Copperheads are the most common venomous snake in Virginia, found in all regions. Snakebites are supposed to be rare. It helps if you stay away from them!

Forest Surrounding Sun by Henry Chamberlain

So, go in there mindful of your surroundings. Aside from safety concerns, if you’re really looking closely enough, you’re bound to see some amazing sights. It may take a minute but you’re bound to reach some scenic gems. In this case, you’ve really got a surf and turf panorama before you: world class beaches and a first-rate state park.

You can learn more about First Landing State Park right here.

Contact artist Henry Chamberlain for art sales, commissions, etc.


Filed under Art, Comics, Travel, Virginia Beach

Small Press Expo: 2018 Ignatz Award Nominees

Ignatz image by 2017 Promising New Talent winner Bianca Xunise

The Small Press Expo (SPX), the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels and alternative political cartoons, is pleased to announce the 2018 nominees for the annual presentation of the Ignatz Awards, a celebration of outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning.

The Ignatz, named after George Herriman’s brick-wielding mouse from his long running comic strip Krazy Kat, recognizes exceptional work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression. The Ignatz Awards are a festival prize, the first of such in the United States comic book industry.

The nominees for the ballot were determined by a panel of five of the best of today’s comic artists: Mita Mahato, Carolyn Nowak, Kevin Czap, Leila Abdelrazaq, and Taneka Stotts.

Congratulations to all our nominees!, with the votes cast for the awards by the attendees during SPX. The Ignatz Awards will be presented at the gala Ignatz Awards ceremony held on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 9:30 P.M.

Outstanding Artist

Yvan Alagbé – Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures
Ivy Atoms – Pinky & Pepper Forever
Tommi Parrish – The Lie and How We Told It
Richie Pope – The Box We Sit On
Sophie Standing – Anxiety is Really Strange

Outstanding Collection

Beirut Won’t Cry – Mazen Kerbaj
Blackbird Days – Manuele Fior
Language Barrier – Hannah K. Lee
Sex Fantasy – Sophia Foster-Dimino
Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition – Julia Kaye

Outstanding Anthology

La Raza Anthology: Unidos y Fuertes – ed. by Kat Fajardo & Pablo Castro
Comics for Choice – ed. by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor and Ø.K. Fox
Ink Brick #8 – ed. by Alexander Rothmans, Paul K. Tunis, and Alexey Sokolin
Bottoms Up, Tales of Hitting Rock Bottom – ed. by J.T. Yost
Lovers Only – ed. by Mickey Zacchilli

Outstanding Graphic Novel

Why Art? – Eleanor Davis
Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Freedom – Marcelo D’Salete
Uncomfortably Happily – Yeon-sik Hong
The Lie and How We Told It – Tommi Parrish
Anti-Gone – Connor Willumsen

Outstanding Series

Ley Lines – Czap Books
Nori – Rumi Hara
Bug Boys – Laura Knetzger
Gumballs – Erin Nations
Frontier – Youth in Decline

Outstanding Minicomic

Dog Nurse – Margot Ferrick
Greenhouse – Debbie Fong
Common Blessings & Common Curses – Maritsa Patrinos
Mothball 88 – Kevin Reilly
Say It With Noodles: On Learning to Speak the Language of Food – Shing Yin Khor

Outstanding Comic

Recollection – Alyssa Berg
Hot to Be Alive – Tara Booth
Hot Summer Nights – Freddy Carrasco
Whatsa Paintoonist – Jerry Moriarty
Baopu – Yao Xiao

Outstanding Online Comic

Woman World – Aminder Dhaliwal
The Wolves Outside – Jesse England
A Fire Story – Brian Files
Lara Croft Was My Family – Carta Monir
A Part of Me is Still Unknown – Meg O’Shea

Promising New Talent

Yasmin Omar Ata – Mis(h)adra
Tara Booth – How to Be Alive
Xia Gordon – The Fashion of 2004, Harvest
Rumi Hara – Nori and The Rabbits of the Moon
Tommi Parrish – The Lie and How We Told It

Outstanding Story

Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures – Yvan Alabge
Why Art? – Eleanor Davis
Rhode Island Me – Michael DeForge
How the Best Hunter in the Village Met Her Death – Molly Ostertag
The Lie and How We Told It – Tommi Parrish

Small Press Expo is this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland, September 15-16!

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Filed under Alt-Comics, Alternative Comics, Comics, Comix, Ignatz Awards, Independent Comics, Micropublishing, Minicomics, Small Press Expo

Graphic Novel Review: ‘Will & Whit’ by Laura Lee Gulledge


Do you think it’s hard to find comics that you can relate to on a human scale? Hopefully, that’s not the case but, for a lot of readers out there, it may seem confusing. Well, the comics medium offers such a vast and wide assortment of possibilities. Consider the story of Wilhelmina Huckstep, “Will” for short, who is a talented and beautiful young woman who has one Achilles’ heel. She’s sort of afraid of her own shadow. More specifically, she’s afraid of the dark.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Young Adult, Youth Culture

Review: ALL MY GHOSTS by Jeremy Massie


For a relatively young country, the United States holds a tremendous amount of history, with much of it leading back to Ole Virginny. “All My Ghosts,” a new comic from Alterna Comics, is set in a small town in Virginia, rife with history, and ghosts. Our main character is Joe Hale, the editor and owner of The Wise Progress. This is likely a nod to The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. Given that this story takes place in Wise, a small college town up near the Appalachian Mountains, I believe I’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s a nice quirky setting that adds some extra flavor.

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Filed under Alterna Comics, Comics, Comics Reviews, History, Journalism, mystery, Newspapers

Book Review: MOUNTHAVEN By B.P. Chamberlain, Jr.


“Mounthaven” is the story of a man on a journey of self-discovery stymied by his own personal set of blinders. Those blinders prove to be a costly problem for him. He seems to be aware of them. He wants them off. He is certain he can see the blinders others wear. That alone is the stuff of novels. This is also the stuff of life which makes this biography, thinly veiled as fiction, all the more remarkable. Throughout the book, there is a narrator leading you through a family history intertwined with the family estate, Mounthaven. By the last third of the novel, it is revealed that the narrator is the main character. And the main character happens to be my father. If that’s not remarkable, at least in my world of reading, I don’t know what is. In fact, out in the world at large, this book should find many interested readers.

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Filed under American Civil War, Book Reviews, Books, History