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‘Potomac Days at the Crossroads’ To Be Auctioned

Artist Carol Dyer creates historical vision of Offutt’s Crossroads.

“Potomac Days at the Crossroads” by Carol Dyer.

“Potomac Days at the Crossroads” by Carol Dyer.

— Carol Dyer has created numerous paintings of life at the turn of the century in Annapolis, Washington D.C., Bethany Beach, Rehobeth and across the nation — and now she has produced “Potomac Days at the Crossroads” — painting her vision of what the River and Falls Roads intersection was like in a simpler time when it was named Offutt’s Crossroads and folks traveled by horse and buggy and bicycles built for two, three or even four. This folk-art original is being auctioned from Sept. 5 through Oct. 20 by silent bids placed at the Art Gallery of Potomac. The winner will be announced during Potomac Days and the painting will be awarded the evening of Oct. 20 at the Potomac Arts Night.

“A year ago, I decided to create a painting about Potomac Days,” said Dyer. “I contacted Elie Pissara-Cain who discussed the history with me and showed me all of Potomac’s historic landmarks. I took photos and created this ‘Potomac Days’ painting.” Potomac Days is a 30-year-old community tradition that celebrates and honors Potomac and its organizations, businesses and citizens. The parade, carnival and business fair will take place this year on Oct. 20 and will begin at 10 a.m.

Dyer focuses her painting on life in Potomac around 1880, when it was named Offutt’s Crossroads. She displays a scene of a parade marching through the crossroads with historic Potomac landmarks surrounding the activities. She includes the splendor of the Potomac Hunt Club, the C&O Canal Museum, the Canal Barge, the Glen Mill, the original Avenel Equestrian Center, Offutt’s Beer Parlor (now Mitch and Bill’s), The Perry Store, the Happy Pickle (now the office of WC & AN Miller/Long and Foster Real Estate), Saint Gabriel’s Church (burned down), Potomac Methodist Church, Old Angler’s Inn and her version of Potomac’s one-room school house. The painting contains the village blacksmith and the wheel maker. The trolley is coming through, the Comet Band is playing, horses are frolicking in the pasture and children and parents are celebrating Potomac Days with balloons and by watching the parade — much as done today.

“Welcome to the heart of old Potomac Village where River Road and Falls Road cross. Please enjoy this painting and read it like a book,” said Dyer. Indeed, the painting is a reflection of the history of Potomac - and gives one the opportunity to reflect on the changes that have taken place in and around Potomac Village. “I think one of Potomac’s businesses, banks or restaurants may want the original,” said the artist. “Other Potomac residents and businesses may want to purchase the giclée on canvas and paper. These prints will be available in the Art Gallery of Potomac in October.”

Terri Cunningham, one of the gallery’s resident artists explains the value of the painting: “Carol’s painting is the only one of Potomac that I can remember being done from a historical perspective. The Surrey sold prints of the old map of Potomac with pen and ink drawings of Potomac landmarks around the border. I believe that was 30 or 40 years ago. This is a unique opportunity to have this original painting by Carol, who is considered one of the most important historical folk artists in the country.”

Dyer is one of 10 resident artists in the Art Gallery of Potomac, recently re- located along the Glenolden Road side of the Potomac Village Shopping Center at 9945 Falls Road in Potomac. Dyer, originally from Boston, took only one art lesson at the Boston Museum of Fine Art when she was a child. In 1970, she began her career as a professional painter. She focused on scenes from the Delmarva Peninsula, creating nostalgic paintings of family beach vacations. Her next endeavor was the “Splendor of Washington” series. Dyer said, “The capital's famous buildings are displayed as they appeared at the turn of the century with imaginative illustrations and stories of the people who lived in the city during those times. The series now numbers some three dozen scenes at different times of the year and celebrating most national holidays. These paintings are distributed as prints and greeting cards that are sent by most Washingtonians with Christmas and special occasion greetings.” Dyer also continues to create a new Delmarva scene each year.

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Photo contributed

Carol Dyer

For the past few years, she was commissioned by the Mystic Seaport Museum to create a “Port Cities Collection” — paintings of famous seaports at the turn of the 20th century. Some of her latest paintings are Tidewater Days, Historic Annapolis Days Passed, The Steamship Savannah, and the Parade of Lights in Charleston.

Her collection can be viewed in the book “Album of American Traditions,” published by Mystic Seaport. In the book, Dyer details her technique for creating her appealing folk art. This book, her note cards and paintings can all be purchased at the Art Gallery of Potomac.

Dyer is currently creating a painting of “Family Days at Glen Echo Park.” For more information about Carol Dyer or to purchase her art or prints, go to www.caroldyerartwork.com or e-mail her at caroldyerart@aol.com. She can also be reached at 240-669-7555. To place a bid for her unique “Potomac Days at the Crossroads,” go by the Art Gallery of Potomac. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 – 4 p.m.