In Memoriam: Arts Community Loses a Mentor
September 23, 2007Landon Woody, age 89, passed away Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, in Valley Health Care of Chilhowie, Va. He was born in Russell County, Va. and had lived in Abingdon since 1954.
In 1981, he opened Woody's Goody's, specializing in art supplies and collectibles. He was a watercolor artist and was instrumental in organizing the Wednesday Morning Painters, a group of artists meeting weekly at The Arts Depot in Abingdon. Landon was a mentor to many, and loved by all.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Arts Depot, 314 Depot Square, Abingdon, Va. or Abingdon United Methodist Church, 101 E. Main St., Abingdon, Va.
From Bob Cassell, director of The Arts Depot, Abingdon:
Landon was an inspiration to all painters, young and old, just beginning or experienced. He always pointed out the good things they were doing in their paintings and gently offered suggestions for improving them.
Landon was never too old to learn and took workshops from other painters every year up until his death. He felt he could always learn something new, and then he took what he learned, incorporated it into his paintings, and shared what he had done with others.
Landon had a very wry sense of humor. Someone asked him one day when he was going to get a website for his shop, Woody's Goody's. With a twinkle in his eye, he pointed his cane around his shop toward the four corners near the ceiling and said that he already had four websites.
Doug Mullins, co-chair of the Virginia Highlands Festival Fine Art Committee for several years:
My wife Cecelia and I became acquainted with Landon after we accepted the chairmanship of the Festival's Fine Art Committee. D.R. Mullins [a local artist] had told me about Landon and what a wonderful guy he was. We were new to Abingdon and didn't know at the time what a knowledgeable, revered man he was in the art community of Abingdon and the surrounding area.
I went to Landon's art shop, introduced myself, and sought his advice on artists [whom we were considering as instructors/jurors] for our watercolor workshop and juried art show. Not only was he very helpful to me in finding guest artists, he attended every workshop we held in the four years Cecilia and I chaired the art committee. He was a talented watercolorist and a truly prolific painter. He turned out several pieces a day during the five-day Festival workshop. He sold at least one painting in each of our shows. He made materials available to all the participants who needed them and gave encouragement and advice to all. He was a low-keyed, humble man with vast knowledge of his craft and the art community.
Landon was the quintessential southern gentlemen — humble, self-effacing, and always helping young artists in their quests to become better at their craft. His impact on the art community is immeasurable. He was an admired, respected man by all who had the good fortune to know him. His passing leaves a void in the art scene of Abingdon and the general community.
When I introduced myself to Landon, he said, "oh, you're that nice man they have been telling me about." That to me, was the essence of his personality and his life. He wanted everyone he knew to feel good about themselves and their work. The words "legendary" and "iconic" truly belong in any sentence that describes Landon Woody and his impact on our lives.