Artists at “The Works” Galleries

Joe Bourgeois:

My relationship to the artists’ community has always been from the outside. My ability and desire to do art are sometimes uncomfortably far apart. I’m probably better considered as a woodworker. My artistic vision is impaired and my hands don’t always do what I want them to. Still I have a great enjoyment in considering and developing projects. Most of all I get growth through my encounters with the artists around me.

I can be reached at, and some of my work can be seen at

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Judith Becker

Judith received a BS in Design, Certificate of Education, University of Michigan and MS in Education, Monmouth University. Her professional work history includes teaching art grades K – 12, designing and teaching needlework techniques, and a long career in Human Resources with Citigroup. After she retired, she returned to her art and began painting and teaching art, mostly to adults.

Before relocating to the WV Eastern Panhandle area, she was a member of the Garrett County (MD) Art Council. She is a member of the Berkeley Arts Council, Martinsburg, a member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society and is a Tamarac, “The Best of West Virginia”, artisan where she also exhibits and sells her art through its Dirkirson Gallery.

Judith specializes in painting with colored pencils, pastels and watercolors and often mixes her media for unusual effects. Her subjects mostly are botanicals, landscapes and scenes from her travels. Her popular classes cover many art techniques targeted for both the beginner and the more experienced painter.

She is the creator of a unique art form called “Spritzilism”, which involves using botanicals as templates for sprayed watercolor paint. The results produce interesting compositions with lots of vibrant colors and textures. She also offers a class in this process, which is primarily limited to the Spring, Summer and early Fall since it has to be offered when fresh botanicals are available.


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Annette Verna

I’ve been making pots since 1978. My work combines my interests in the pottery forms and firing techniques of early civilizations. The more pots I make, the more important it becomes to contemplate the role of pottery in the development of human civilization. I like the clean lines and practical shapes of ancient Greek, Roman and American Indian forms. I fire using the pit fire technique, a process derived from early potting cultures. Each piece of clay provides a new experience to learn and each finished pot reveals its own personality.

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Rip Smith

Sterling “Rip” Smith is an award-winning fine art photographer who has exhibited regionally and nationally. His photographs are held in public and private collections throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and as far away as the United Kingdom.

He has been doing photography off and on for more than fifty years and currently resides near Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Web site:

More images:


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Sandra Nichols

Sandra Melson Nichols (Sandy) is a jewelry artist whose passion for making jewelry began as a hobby in 2006 and became a business, Melson Gems, in 2010. Her jewelry conveys beauty, elegance, unique design, and timeless style. She finds inspiration in nature, primarily her garden. Not surprisingly, natural gemstones are her material of choice, which she showcases using gold, silver, pewter, or copper wire and metal, to create original pieces that can be treasured for years to come.

Sandy finds the design phase to be the most intriguing part of her work — sketching or creating a mockup. When she feels that her designs are beginning to look the same, she explores other art media to incorporate. This process keeps her work fresh and interesting.

Her quote, “I’m never bored!! And my studio space is rarely tidy.”

To see more Melson Gems’ designs, please visit Melson Gems on Facebook:

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Anna Howard

My art and laughter go hand in hand. I take great delight in taking the chaotic disorder of the creative process and transforming the disorder into a functional piece of art. By incorporating irony, humor, curiosity, remembrance, celebration, surprise, and quiet reflection; it develops into an active piece of art in daily life. And the scene is set.

A writer uses words to create their stories. I use objects. I find my inspiration in a myriad of places. My eye seizes on an object, and “out of left field” a clock concept begins to form. My fondness for re-using items is a mixture of unending curiosity, Midwest sensibility, and an appetite for “Second time ‘round” items. This combination becomes part of the palette eliciting an emotional response. And In the end answers the basic question, “Can all of this be made into a clock that tells story?”

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Marilyn Schoon

Marilyn Schoon: Fused Glass

I started making jewelry as an escape from the responsibilities of teaching English at a highly competitive science/technology high school. One weekend I took a fused glass class where I discovered the idiosyncrasies of dichroic glass, and I was hooked! Dichroic glass, originally used for the re-entry tiles on NASA’s space shuttles, transmits one color but when looked at from a different angle reflects another. Then, after we retired to WV, the Berkeley Arts Council offered a 2½-day polymer clay class with international teaching artist Christi Friesen, and yet another passion was born. I love the freedom that retirement offers, allowing me to explore different media and creative outlets; and I’m grateful to be an artist at the Berkeley Art Works.


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Pam Curtis

A native of California, I have lived and taught in four states and two foreign countries. I began making jewelry almost 20 years ago when a jeweler wanted $300 to string some carved Chinese beads I had. Since then I have enjoyed searching for and assembling beads, stones, and other components that please me into creations that I hope will please others.


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Susan Parker

After painting seriously, but briefly, during college, I returned to art in 1998. It is now my primary activity, apart from the demands of daily living. (A career in social services and court administration intervened, leaving little time for art during my “middle period.”) I work in watercolor, oil and pastel, using the medium that best suits my mood and the subject.

As an artist, my goal is to focus attention, if only briefly, on the beauty (and quirkiness) in the things around us that often escape our notice as we rush about our daily lives.

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Martha Hanley

Expressing visually that of the sacred beauty and mystery of life that  words alone can’t capture is my goal. The fun, exciting creative process of putting paint to paper or collaging mixed media becomes just as important as the final product.  When vibrant colors, textures, shapes come together in simple florals or abstract landscapes to express something unique then I am satisfied and hope that others will be moved by what they see.

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Gary Bergel

Multi-disciplinary Artist


Teaching Creativity, Color & Design at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, and assisting at the area Veterans Administration Healing Arts Center, have been a “fit” for my “multi-disciplinary” creative mode. I have worked in photography from age 16, and have utilized whatever materials are
at hand since my youth. I visually explore and capture images via digital photography on a near-daily basis = a form of “sketching” for me.

While I have chosen only recent photography for this BAW virtual galleries presentation, including a “vertical panorama,” my volunteer work with veterans prompted a “return” to acrylic painting. I am currently working with traditional acrylics, interference acrylics, gold and silver leaf, and collage on circular canvases, and am completing a mixed media “specimen box” series.

Regardless of medium, I am about contemplatively “seeing,” both inward and outward. I aim at synthesis and universals to depict personal “inscapes” and the “isness” of things – daily life, detritus, our turbulent COVID-19 times, and the majesty and mysteries of light, sky, wind, earth, water and Spirit.

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Doug Kinnett

In my high school years, the works of the Post Impressionists—especially those of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne, fascinated me. In college my horizon broadened to include German Expressionist and American Abstract Expressionist works. Reductionism, primitivism, constructivism and symbolism are the core of all of these influences. These tools are primary in how I create art with a focus on paint application and color. My work hovers in a pause between idea and the action necessary to express that idea. Meaning is literally caught in flight from thought to marks of line and color. It’s a dynamic space that invites open interpretation of an uncharted landscape. This boundless, unfettered space is Modern Art.

In my doctoral studies I specialized in Aesthetic Education, the teaching of art appreciation. As a retired professor, I value sharing my experience with my fellow critique group members. Our conversations guide my explorations into paint that is seeking meaning. It’s elusive. It slips and slides across my canvasses, but there is a structure. In some paintings it looms above the color. In others structure watches from the shadows. Those hard lines are all but subsumed by the riot of color and brush stroke. This is the birth of meaning. Like dawn, color breathes into what would be a lifeless, stark space without it.

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