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Paintings by Michele Frantz on display at NOVA-Manassas

Acrylic paintings by Michele Frantz of Nokesville will be on display at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College from March 16 to April 12.

“Journeys: En plein air and studio works from 2009” features paintings of familiar Northern Virginia locations such as Chrysalis Vineyards near Middleburg, the Herndon Wine Festival, and many of the historical and scenic sites in Manassas and Prince William County.

Primarily a watercolorist, Frantz had been dabbling with acrylics as a way to get around some of the limitations of watercolor.

“I was finding the medium extremely frustrating until a friend and I decided to do some en plein air work. That was the day I suddenly ‘got’ acrylics,” Frantz said. “Since then, acrylics have been my media of choice for most of my landscape paintings.”

Frantz says painting outdoors provides many benefits.

“Not only is there immediacy to painting outside that is hard to replicate in a studio but it’s also a great way to spend a day. You get some sun, fresh air and a picnic lunch. You also get to interact with your audience instead of being isolated in the studio,” she said.

“I’ve struck up some great conversations with complete strangers over my jar of rinse water,” Frantz continued. “Visitors to Old Town Manassas seem particularly tickled to discover an artist underfoot, although perhaps that is because I also prove a convenient person to ask for directions.”

Though she would like to paint outdoors exclusively, Frantz says time and weather often dictate how she completes her works.

“Several are finished in the studio where I’m freer to walk away and come back later with a fresh eye, and a few are wholly studio creations based on the photographs I take everywhere. The public is invited to take a close look to see if they can guess which is which.”

Frantz shares her talents by teaching classes in painting, drawing and composition. She has won numerous awards at exhibitions throughout the region and is active in the local arts community, serving as a former president of the Prince William Art Society and the current president of the Manassas Art Guild.

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.