Dr. Bonnie Straka has a keen eye for art and a love for supporting charitable causes, including: Love Without Boundaries, Bringing Hope to Children, Service Dogs of Virginia, Martha Jefferson Hospital, and Half the Sky Foundation. A number of the pieces in her collection have supported these cherished causes. Outside of her profession, Dr. Straka is a loving mother of six children- four adopted from China.
Albert Ernest is a loyal friend of the practice and has recently been exploring his natural talent as a painter. Dr. Straka fell in love with his barn paintings.
The paintings of local artist, Audra Book, represent natural forms as they project into the world entirely through color.
Constituting the largest number of works in the collection, paintings by Betsy Fowler are bright and personal representations of humanized animals interacting in their natural kingdoms.
Fred Nichols is a highly collected central Virginia artist. From his studio in Barboursville, he creates lithographics of Virginia landscapes. The works are transcendental, colorful, and almost reminiscent of a stained glass window. Each is filled with light and framed by dramatic black forms of nature.
Currently a California resident (USA), He Qi Studied at Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing Art Institute in China and Hamburg Art Institute in Germany. Now He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA)
and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Art Institute of RUC (Renmin University of China,Beijing). The works of He Qi were done in a style which blends together Chinese folk art and modern art styles.
H. WANTUE MAJOR
The works of H. Wantu Major are breathtaking in color. The two in this collection represent tribal women in traditional dress, but presented in a modern and graphic way. This treatment of the subject matter reinforces the cultural patterns from both a tactile and emotional level.
This work of Jacqueline Peters is a cool and stoic portrait, reminiscent of colonial portraiture, yet modern in subject matter. The work is minimalist and a reflection of this woman’s soul. The body posture and crow form an implied triangle creating a personal space that projects starkly against the vacuous and distant mountain landscape. The color scheme, particularly the yellow sky, adds to the cool emotional tone of the work.
Leah Fanning Mebane is a highly collected Oregon-based artist. Well known for the large format organic works, she is also an accomplished watercolor portrait artist and has even painted several portraits of Dr. Straka’s children. Several of her Chakra Series paintings can also be found in the Spa.
This painting was purchased by Dr. Straka in April 2008 in support of the Love Without Boundaries Foundation, an organization that has touched the lives of thousands of children in China through humanitarian aid in five key areas: Education, Foster Care, Healing Homes, Medical, and Orphanage Assistance.
"My goal as a portrait artist is not only to produce a good likeness, but to produce a work of art that sings the subject’s own song; not just a picture, but a celebration of the person," the artist says.
A friend and inspiration to Dr. Straka, Lori Konkle painted each work meticulously with her mouth while battling Multiple Sclerosis. Ms. Konkle passed away in 2007 but her art is celebrated through family and friends.
The works of Milenko Katic include spirited representations of horses that beautifully capture their emotional veracity. You can feel the freedom these magnificent creatures possess in their power and speed.
The works of Sharon Mason represent a closer look into the world around us, thus producing gratitude for a God who has made all these subjects possible. She also has donated children's portraits to help families heal from the loss of their children.
Sunny Goode is a Richmond Virginia contemporary artist. This painting was selected as the entryway art of the Spa.
In her own words, "Color is how I communicate. Even in my earliest memories, color was the primary voice – it is no wonder I became an artist and love to paint. I believe a painting should make you feel something. I often look back at a series I’ve done and realize that I can “see” very clearly what was going on in my life at that time, in the lines and shapes, but primarily with the colors I used."
TOMAS J. FERNANDEZ
Things to notice about “Called to Soar”…. The doves have been painted with automotive enamels and a clear coat as well. The color I choose is gold. This is more dramatically seen on the underside of each sculpture. This golden hue is symbolic of what happens when we invite the Holy Spirit to reside within us. He carries the Light of the World with him, that of Jesus the Christ. When we ask Jesus to be our Savior, he imparts himself through the Spirit to take up residence and impart his nature to us. We radiate, like the moon reflecting the sun. It is no longer us by ourselves, we are a team with God himself. The more we align ourselves with his Word the brighter we become.
It is God’s dream for us to fly, thus the title, “Called to Soar”. His love, beauty, and compassion are transferred to us, they enhance us, inspiring our thoughts, our physical presence, our words, our actions, our eternal destiny. We begin to fly toward “True North”. There is no age requirement, no financial fee, the invitation with a million perks for uniting with your Creator is waiting for you. Find a small group women’s or men’s Bible study near where you live and be transformed!
God’s Love and Blessings – Tomas J. Fernandez
Drawing from the Western tradition of portraiture and composition as well as Chinese culture, Zhao Kailin narrates the direct gaze of his seated subjects, usually female, with a quiet aesthetic that speaks of inner beauty.