Lovettsville Artist Unveils Town’s First Mural

Lovettsville is celebrating the completion of the town’s first mural.

            Last Friday, Annabel Nelson, a 19-year-old Lovettsville artist, unveiled a 12.5-foot-tall by 4.5-foot-wide mural that she painted for the Willows Vintage Charm antique store, which portrays the shop’s mascot, “Willow”—shop owners Deb Fallon’s and Karen Gaines’ interpretation of a woman featured in a 1926 edition of The Ladies’ Home Journal. Aside from the owners, a handful of residents and several Town Council members and town staffers were also present during the dedication.

The mural, which Nelson painted on weather-resistant board using normal acrylic paint with a topcoat to protect it from the elements, was installed on the western outside wall of the South Church Street shop. “It is fabulous,” Fallon said.

Although Fallon and Gaines originally intended for Nelson to paint the mural directly onto the brick wall, and Nelson thought the piece would take just a few weeks to complete, those plans were thwarted by Nelson’s health complications.

In the past few months, she’s had five surgeries and suffered two major infections.

But overall, Nelson got the work done at home in just a month. She said the project was basically run-of-the-mill for her—having already painted and installed murals in the halls of Woodgrove High School, where she graduated in 2018.

Nelson said the most time-consuming and rewarding mural she’s ever done was a 15-by-9-foot mural that she created to surprise her art teacher, who had told her to challenge herself. That mural took Nelson two-and-a-half months of work all day, every day to complete and had her working on it even while on vacation in Washington State. “I took that a little too far,” she joked.

19-year-old Lovettsville artist Annabel Nelson, along with Willows Vintage Charm owners Karen Gaines and Deb Fallon, unveils the 12.5-by-4.5-foot mural she painted for the side of the antique shop. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

But Nelson’s “Willow” mural is in a more prominent location within the community, and not just in the halls of a high school for students and teachers to see.

It’s situated less than 200 feet away from the northbound Berlin Turnpike lane, in a spot where drivers heading toward Brunswick, MD can admire it.

That’s something Nelson said she wasn’t used to—having strangers see her work and compliment her on it.

“These are people I don’t know who see it,” she said. “It’s interesting how much connection there is with it now.”

Moving forward, Nelson said she’s focused on creating more large-scale projects and is equally focused on her education.

Lovettsville artist Annabel Nelson signs the 12.5-by-4.5-foot mural she painted for the side of the Willows Vintage Charm antique shop. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

Currently, she’s enrolled at the Northern Virginia Community College, but has the option to transfer to James Madison University anytime in the next three years to study business. Although she was offered a full scholarship into the college’s art program, Nelson said she wants to follow a career path that will offer a bit more stability, and health insurance.

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Annabel Nelson, a 19-year-old Lovettsville artist, stands alongside members of the Town Council and Willows Vintage Charm owners in front of the 12.5-by-4.5-foot mural she painted for the side of the antique shop. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

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