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The Byrne Gallery is proud to present “To The Beach!” celebrating summer at its best! For July and August, this oil-on-canvas exhibition features majestic seascapes and serene dune paintings by Gerald Hennesy, Shawn Hennesy and Lida Matheson Stifel. These well-known Virginia plein air painters feature the soothing power of the surf, the delightful calm of breaking waves, and the joys of blue skies and warm weather of summer.

A reception for the artists will be held Saturday, July 24th from 4-7 p.m. and everyone is cordially invited to attend and enjoy!

Gerald Hennesy
Mr. Hennesy is a master painter known throughout Virginia and the coastal waters of the eastern seaboard. His paintings of the Atlantic are some of the finest you will ever see. His painterly impressions of the sea at dawn will thrill you with the majesty of this powerful body of water. Family vacations on the Outer Banks were summer rituals bringing the joy and exhilaration of the ocean air and seaside. The sea has been an inspirational muse for Gerald all his life. The ocean is a metaphor for change and each day the colors, surf and temperature vary and his paintings capture the nuance of each very different day at the beach. Being at the ocean is a sensory experience that inspires the mind, body and spirit. It is this sharing of the wonder and beauty of nature that was a gift from Gerald and to his family every summer.

Mr. Hennesy is a great American painter and hero who has just celebrated his 100th birthday! In WWII, he flew the F4U Corsair fighter-bomber off the aircraft carrier Yorktown CV-10. He flew over 100 missions and served under command of Admiral William “Bull” Halsey. After the war, Gerry studied at the Corcoran with C. Gordon Harris, the preeminent international landscape and coastal-view artist.
His work has been exhibited widely in commercial and museum galleries including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, The Corcoran Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum. His paintings are in numerous private, corporate and public collections, including the U. S. House of Representatives, the State Department, the Maryland State Mansion, the DAR Headquarters, and the American Legion Headquarters. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Art.

Shawn Hennesy
Anyone who has watched a sunrise over the ocean or sat in the shadow of a late afternoon sand dune will fall in love with the beach scenes of Shawn Hennesy. His paintings evoke the same peaceful and tranquil feelings one gets while walking along a deserted coastline. Shawn’s beach scapes are simple, beautiful and delicate. His ability to capture the beauty and mood of the shoreline will make you feel like you’ve taken a mini vacation every time you gaze upon one of his paintings.

A native Virginian, Shawn travels up and down the East Coast in search of his subject matter. He renders his paintings in a realistic style, but with a romantic mood, and the detail in his work reflects a knowledge of both art and nature.
Shawn learned to paint under the guidance of his father Gerald Hennesy and brother, Paul Hennesy and he comes from a family of artists that goes back generations. Working in the traditional medium of oil on canvas, Shawn has spent decades perfecting his talents. His award-winning paintings can be found in many private, corporate, and public collections. He has been featured in numerous group and one-person shows, has been a participant in the Art in Embassies program, and was twice a Top 100 Finalist in the international Arts for the Parks competition. He is a past president of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters.

Lida Matheson Stifel
Lida Matheson Stifel attended The Corcoran School of Art studying with William Christianberry. Since that time, she has exhibited her works across the U.S. for over 40 years. Drawing inspiration from the natural world, she strives to imbue her paintings with an aura of energy and spontaneity. Her small farm in Montgomery, Maryland provides her with the opportunity to capture scenes ranging from sweeping country landscapes to the smallest and most charming details of rural life. As a plein air painter, Stifel prefers to work directly from her subject in order to achieve a sense of immediacy, immortalizing the fleeting moment in time to which she is the only witness. Stifel has been selected to participate in over 30 juried exhibitions and is a member of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, the Mid Atlantic Plein Air Painters, and Oil Painters of America.

Please come to visit the Byrne Gallery this summer to see the “To The Beach!” exhibition. Gallery hours are Monday and Tuesday by appointment only, Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. Contact the Byrne Gallery for more information at 540-687-6986.