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Picture Perfect Couple

Art and Joel Anne Lambert are an exhibit of enduring love.

On Valentine’s Day, Joel Anne Lambert will often receive a bouquet of red and white roses from her husband of 30 years, Art Lambert.

The flowers are significant.

“He sent me a red and white rose when we first started dating,” said Joel Anne.

Art, 77, and Joel Anne, 71, have lived in Reston since 1980. For many that know them, they are that cute couple on Waters Edge Lane.

“I think they were made for each other,” said Karen Swanson, who has known the Lamberts for about 24 years. “They just totally care for each other.”

The couple, in their second marriage, came together not on the wings of cupid’s arrow, but on the wings of art.

“It drew us together,” said Art Lambert.

“What’s special about us, besides being a happy couple, is we both do art, together and separately,” added Joel Anne Lambert.

It’s not hard to miss. The first thing a guest would notice walking into the Lamberts' home is the wall-to-wall art. Paintings and collages of all sizes hang on every wall. Sculptures grace walkways and side tables. Their home is a gallery of their own art and works by other local artists.

THIS PAST MONTH the couple had several works of art on display at Jo Anne Rose Gallery at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne.

While proud of the exhibit, it was a tough month for the couple. On Christmas, Art Lambert broke his leg.

“It put a burden on [Joel Anne],” he said. “It’s kind of a test of a relationship, but it only strengthened ours.”

The couple had to cancel plans to go on a cruise with several of Joel Anne Lambert's high school classmates.

“It’s all right, he’s worth it,” she said.

Likewise, it doesn’t take long for Art Lambert to comment on the care he’s received that past month and a half.

“I’ve had the best nurse in the world,” he said.

It’s this kind of banter and compassion that neighbor John Alciati finds inspirational. Alciati has known the Lamberts for about 20 years. Thirteen years ago, Alciati got married. “They were an inspiration from the perspective of two people who complement each other,” said Alciati. “Part of my decision to get married was based on their strong relationship.”

WHEN ART AND Joel Anne Lambert met, they were living in Potomac, Md. Joel Anne Lambert, a teacher, had just returned to school to study art.

“I wanted to be an artist and art teacher,” she said. Art Lambert was in the middle of a career with the Foreign Broadcasting Service. After they got married, they moved to London, where he was the bureau chief for Europe. They lived on the Thames River.

After three years in London, the Lamberts moved to Japan. In 1980, they moved back to the United States, finding a home in Reston.

With six children — Art Lambert had three from his previous marriage and Joel Anne Lambert had three from her previous marriage — life was busy.

The couple didn’t always have as much time as they would have liked to pursue their creative interests, like painting or photography, but their love stayed strong. For one Valentine’s Day, Joel Anne Lambert gave Art a card with a haiku she’d written. It read:

From days of dreaming

Our bloom emerged so bravely

More lovely each year

Their love for each other, just like their love of art, continued to grow.

IN 30 YEARS, the Lamberts traveled the country and the world together. “We like to travel. We travel to see art,” said Joel Anne Lambert.

While always looking for inspiration, the couple has found more in their backyard than anywhere else. “It’s a constant inspiration to us, living here,” said Joel Anne Lambert, referring to their home on Lake Anne. “This is where we ended up and it was so perfect.”

Their strong relationship sometimes facilitates collaboration on a painting or a collage.

“They have a closeness that allows them to actually create as a team,” said Alciati. “It’s a reflection that they care for each other.”

ONE OF ART LAMBERT'S recent paintings was a portrait of his wife. In the Valentine’s Day photo that he worked from to paint the portrait, Joel Anne Lambert is holding a bundle of red and white roses.

So it doesn’t take long for people to notice the wealth of their currency, love.

“It’s obviously such a rich relationship,” said Marianne Alciati.