New More New Artists Joining RAAC’s Upcoming Art Tour

Last week, we showcased Tina and Paul Falkenbury, two of the new local artists on this year’s Art Tour. This week we’re introducing the other two new artists: Nora Harrington and Charlie Tompkins. They’ll join the 28 studio artists and 8 galleries—representing more than 80 artists—who are showing their work at RAAC’s Fall Art Tour on November 4–5.


Nora Harrington: Finding another world outdoors

Nora Harrington paints because she knows art calms her and exhilarates her in a way that nothing else will.

She’s inspired by everyday sights that bring us joy: the way a gravel road is illuminated or obscured by light and shadow, the complexities of colors in the landscape, and the patterns to be found in a chaotic jumble of leaves and branches—if you know where to look.

“I paint to experience these moments but also to share them… They contain an energetic calm, a sense of gratitude, and an invitation to slow down and admire the world around us.”

Nora works mostly outdoors, directly incorporating what she observes around her into her oil paintings. Through slow and careful looking, she’s able to share our connection to the world more keenly.

City artist, country artist

Over two decades ago, despite working in a studio on Capitol Hill, Nora found herself driving out to the Shenandoah National Park more and more. So she posted a flyer in Sperryville and was soon renting an old farm house.

Not long after that, she found her first job in Rappahannock County: carving and painting furniture designed by Peter Kramer (a longtime Rappahannock artist on the Art Tour). And the capstone of her tenuous rural experiment in Rappahannock? Meeting her now husband, Eddie Fletcher. They now have two sons who have lived in the country their whole lives.

Her current studio is an old farm building east of Little Washington and Massies Corner. Though visible from the highway, to Nora it’s like another world. High garage doors and white walls bring in light and air, her favorite backdrop for finishing her paintings.

Harrington says, “I feel very grateful to live in Rappahannock County, and my paintings are how I share that sense of gratitude.”

Charlie Tompkins: Creating windows of time

Charlie Tompkins has been a photographer his whole life, synthesizing a love of the outdoors and music into a vast portfolio of prints.

In his darkroom, he uses a technique called silver imagery, a process that develops gelatin silver prints from 35mm film. “A handmade, silver print is a thing of great beauty,” he writes. “And it is like a little window of time. When we look into that window, we can see what a small slice of the photographer’s ‘reality’ looked like at a given instant, frozen in metallic silver.”

Learning from the master

In the late ’60s, Charlie studied under the instruction of Ansel Adams, learning how to master the “zone system of photography.” Adams perfected this vision through a process called visualization, which requires the photographer to “pre- visualize” or imagine how the final photo will turn out.

In 1969, Charlie opened Icon Gallery in Washington, DC, with influential photographer Mark Power. It was the first gallery in the city devoted to exhibiting photography as a serious art form.

Finding Rappahannock

Tompkins was drawn to Rappahannock County as soon as he had a driver’s license. His family loved horses,
which didn’t interest him, so he began coming out to Skyline Drive in search of pictures instead. When his parents passed away, he decided to move to Rappahannock because that was the place he most identified with. He opened Charles Tompkins Photography Studio and Art Gallery in Little Washington in 1997.

“Photography is a means of recording one’s pilgrimage,” says Charlie. And looking for more “magic moments” is the next step forward.

Plan Your Studio and Gallery Visits in Advance

Previews of all the Tour artists’ work are available on our Gallery and Studio pages.

The printable map will be available on the website one week prior to the Tour. Maps and information will also be available at the Main Gallery as well as the Rappahannock County Visitors Center and other local businesses on the Tour weekend.