Hometown Art

When I returned from Jamaica in the 1970’s, I moved to the family farm (where I still live). The nearby town straddling the Rapidan River is Rapidan, VA. It’s a quaint, tiny milltown which used to grind flour with a water wheel, and even has its own Wikipedia page! The old mill is being turned into an alternate energy electric generation station, which is pretty cool.

This town was important in the USA Civil war, and changed hands several times during that conflict. It is very small, but has several very architecturally interesting buildings, and one of the best examples of Carpenter Gothic churches in the USA.

In the 1970’s we started the Rapidan Volunteer Fire Co. I designed the building, and as far as I know, it’s the first earth bermed fire department! I also donated many drawings and cartoons, which were sold to raise money to help start the company.

Rapidan Fire Department Palanquin

This cartoon in particular was quite popular. I drew it to raise money for construction of the Rapidan Volunteer Fire Co., and it was printed on note paper, postcards & t-shirts, and sold in the nearby Rapidan Trading Post.

The original cartoon is psychedelically watercolored, and hangs in my dining room. When I get a chance, I’ll upload it as well. The design is based on a palanquin, except in this case, instead of a bride, a Beastle is being rolled along by an unseen force. In attendance are my other favorite cartoon characters.

Beastle is the main character in a cartoon strip I devised called: Sandbox. I loved both cartooning and making sand castles, and I created a year’s worth of Sandbox series, which I’ll publish here on my blog. Sandbox was about the adventures of imaginary characters who lived in a (can you guess?) sandbox.

Rapidan Tourist Map

I drew this map of Rapidan so tourists wouldn’t miss our interesting old buildings. In the 1970’s we sold crafts, and my artwork was sold in the Trading Post across from the Post Office. This map predates the Fire Department, which is now located adjacent to the Post Office, on the other side of the train tracks.

Rapidan is of interest to tourists because of its quaint architecture, and our riparian entertainments: rafting, canoeing, fishing, and floating down the Rapidan River. The River was named after Queen Anne, and its original spelling was “Rapid Anne.” True to its name, the river is very rapid and floods every several years.

Antiques were sold in Poor Sam’s and at the Freight Station; Max Ware made canoes and high-tech paddles at Maxcraft, and Jim Poole made furniture and musical instruments at the Joinery. Waddell Memorial Church has buttresses and spires made of wood! I have lots of art I did of various postcards and business cards from this period, which I’ll put online.

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Comments: 1

By Carole Matalon on 31.03.2011 3:47

This is so cool. Angus you are so talented…but then..I always knew that. One thing I do not see…your signature..you always used to “hide” it within your artwork…

speak your mind!
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