VIRGINIA  MAUDE  WOOD

 


Virginia Maude Wood was born August 20, 1895 in Glendale, West Virginia.  She was the daughter of Edward John Wood, 1908 mayor of Clarksburg, and Jessie Powell Cost.  Virginia died November 30, 1992, and is buried in Elk View Cemetery, Clarksburg, WV.

The following memoir is from the files of Carolyn Wood Kaeser, great-neice of Virginia Wood.

From Virginia's Memoirs (September 1973):
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

"After elementary encouragement in "Art" by Miss Isola Shinn, who was our dedicated and only art teacher in all the county schools, when I was a child... I chose, instead of a bicycle, a $25.00 China Painting Class, (and) began my career. Mrs. Hal (Therese) Rapp was our very charming teacher and we decorated plain white china, ordered from Chicago. 

"After graduating in 1913 from Clarksburg High School (Towers Building), I registered in 1914 in Ohio Wesleyan University as a Special Student. I studied Bible, German, Charcoal Drawing and Art History. In 1919 I studied Elementary Design and Water Color Painting in Summer School of Teachers College, Columbia University, N.Y.C. 

"Returning to Clarksburg I designed lampshades with Mrs. Lucie Paden Miller. We had a formal Exhibition at the Waldo Hotel using old handpainted vases of our patrons. The shades were made of silk layers, stretched over wires, especially designed for each vase, and brushed with shellac for translucence (several coats) and sheen. ($50.00 charge
for each) 

"At the same time I took a correspondence course in Commerical Design (Federal School of Minneapolis). 

"In 1921 I studied, at the National Academy of Design in N.Y.C., Life Drawing under Charles C. Curran, and Still Life Oil Painting under Ivan Olinsky who was a kindly gentleman, as well as a famous artist. Mr. Curran was one of the greats, also, but his critiques lacked sympathy and concern for his pupils. From January thru May 1921 I walked to these
classes from Claremont Avenue and later, Morningside Heights, where Mabel Smith and Alice Sheppard shared their apartment with me. They were serious students in the graduate school of Columbia University
(Biology). During this winter I also attended evening classes in Illustration at the N.Y. School of Industrial Art. This required a twenty minute subway ride to reach the Public School on E. 42nd St. and I bravely! went alone, after dark! 

"Again, returning home, I designed color schemes for the walls of the new Episcopal Parish House (ordered by Mr. R. T. Lowndes). I was also employed by Horner Bros. Engrs. making pen and ink tracings of mine maps and titles. During this time I won the competition for a City Seal (which was used for many years officially) and City Flag. My father,
Edward J. Wood, and Harrison G. Otis, city manager, gave invaluable assistance in designing the Flag. Miss Cora Atchison employed me to design a seal for the State Federation of Music Clubs. 

"New York lured me once more, and I spent an interesting fall and winter 1927-28 in Greenwich Village, free-lancing in competition with twenty-five thousand other artists (according to records of that era). I worked on fashion cards for the Butterick Publishing Co., and made patterns and illustrations in pen and ink for the Methodist Book Condern, i.e. The Graded Press. This firm was in easy walking distance, so I could promptly discuss my assignments with that editor, Miss Grace I. Allston. We finished up a series which had been a ten year project of the publishers. I then landed a promise of designing for the Dennison Mfg. Co. for fall, which suited my plans as I was ready to come back home for a vacation in my green hills. 

"After I retured to Clarksubrg, Mr. E. W. James, Sr., of The James & Law Co., invited me to assist in their Gift Shop. I came to enjoy that job so much I put aside my early ambition in the realm of Fine Arts and eventually served there as clerk and buyer for many years. (She retired December 31, 1960.) I did continue study of Drawing and Painting as a
side line and enrolled under the fine teachers Ernest Freed and Elizabeth Whipple of Clarksburg Art Center, of which I was one of the founding members. 

"We, as a group, had met in the James E. Davis Studio in his remodelled barn on Pike Street for sketching every Tuesday employing models brought in from the loafers of Court House Plaza. When this studio was sold, (and Jim had returned to Princeton) he encouraged us to rent a clubhouse in which to meet and practice. Due to the enterprise of all concerned
and especially of Justina Hart, we found a filthy wreck of a frame house with many rooms on Duff Street. We did our best that bitter winter to fumigate, clean and paint, but even the paint froze in the buckets. At last we got classes going, and in time had exhibits of paintings and ceramics by our group and artists from surrounding towns. Later we managed to trade and transferred to a new location on Marshall Street, Mr. Pursglove having added a new gallery to that old residence we had acquired there. 

"There we have had our exhibitions for many years and I always had entries each year. My oil painting of a Clarksburg window view was shown here, in Charleston (West Va. Exhibit), in Richmond, Va. (at the Regional), and finally in N.Y.C. (a National). A water-colored design for a stained glass window was published in full color in a national
Baptist magazine with a long article about it, written by Mildred Schell (at one time Christian Ed. Director of our church).... I have specialized in flower painting, landscapes, garden scenes, and pastel portraits, but the most fun of all is pencil sketching from living models (so few patient enough to hold a post for longer than minutes). 

"To try to express Nature and human nature, to the few who will pause long enough to gaze upon the Creator's Originals - interpreted in forms and colors differing with each artist and shouting, or whispering, "Stop! and Look! This is my personal Thank You! to the Creator of all visual Wonders!" I shall soon be gone but perhaps a few of these brush
strokes may endure beyond my earthly life-span. If not, I have had joy in these attempts! "