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her studio. She’s been working for so long that the children she drew and painted come back with their own children for a second generation portrait. The phrase “children’s portraitist” may conjure up a bygone era, but Varner isn’t particularly old-fashioned, but rather she is old-school—in the best sense of the word. In an increasingly digital world, she’s decidedly analogue. “My clients don’t want something copied from a photograph,” she comments, though she does acknowledge that taking a “single” digital photograph has been an aid to her work, especially if someone’s little angel has been less-than cooperative. “I may not even need cooperation to get a good outcome [for the portrait],” she muses. Varner requires two one-hour sessions for her pastels portraits, and shares that “[when] a child comes in for their second sitting, they will see the portrait and light up.” Although her bread-and-butter are her children’s portraits, she has also worked for years as a fine-arts painter, concentrating on a range of landscapes—broad views of the Blue Ridge Mountains or even intimate moments that capture the corner of a garden fence and its blooms, opening up to the landscape behind. When her mother-in-law lived in Greenwood, Varner made that a main source of her landscape painting. But now, she travels more, often to Bath County, among several other,

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Profile for Ivy Publications

Wine & Country Living Spring 2017  

Wine & Country Living Spring 2017