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Railtown Reflection ~ the story behind the painting

Railtown Reflection

I joined my new husband in Summersville, West Virginia in early February of 2012. Ray had been in Nicholas County for a year as a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) and had had the opportunity to do some exploring on his own before we got married. So, shortly after my arrival when he had MLK Jr. Day off, he knew a cool place to show me in our area. We had decided to go out for a leisurely breakfast at the Cathedral Café in Fayetteville which was just a half hour’s drive from our home. After breakfast, Ray suggested a drive and took me down a beautiful little road along a creek. The snow was dazzling in the sunshine on tree branches and I was captivated by the beauty of the creek along the road. Being new to this state, I couldn’t believe that there was so much beauty everywhere and that people weren’t just clamoring to see it.

The creek along the road - we stopped for this picture - that is Ray on that rock to give some perspective. Yes, they call these kinds of things creeks around here!

He took a turn and we crossed a single lane bridge over the New River and stepped back in time as we entered the deserted town of Thurmond. The town had once been one of the richest boom towns in the state and was now basically desolate with seven inhabitants. A fire took much of the town several years ago but there were a few buildings with interpretive signage in the windows. Back in its day, the town was accessible only by rail so there was no actual Main “Street” but we enjoyed parking and walking around.

Views from town, the road above town, and life out of winter ground - daffodils in February along the road!

The snow had begun to melt where the sun was shining and a puddle along the path reflected the brilliant blue winter sky and a glimpse of the coaling tower. My heart caught at the thought of this place that had once bustled with business now so still with this silent reflection of days gone by.

My photos that I used for the painting ~ For composing my painting, I wanted to capture the rail, the tower, and for sure the puddle, but I also wanted the edge to have more of the foreground building than my photo so I used my other photo of the town area to figure out where to put the columns at the right edge.

My painting, Railtown Reflection, gives many viewers this sense of beautiful nostalgia as well. It has been accepted into several juried exhibitions including the prestigious WV Stage Juried Exhibition and won “Best Local Scene” at The Mountain Color Art Show.

Click here for more information on Thurmond which is now a park in the New River Gorge National River.


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