charlottesville-born annie harris massie met me downtown at mudhouse to chat about her ongoing show at lyn warren’s gallery, les yeux du monde. annie, and her mother, anne adams robertson massie, who is an accomplished watercolorist, have combined their most recent work for the show, which is called “florilegia”—latin for a “collection of flowers.” it opened on november 16th, and will run until december 30th. the show features paintings of flowers—still lifes and unruly bouquets of all varieties. annie prefers to paint with oils on large panels, while anne paints mostly in watercolors.
annie has shuttled between charlottesville, lynchburg, and richmond for much of her life—she was born here, grew up in lynchburg, spent just shy of a decade in a house downtown as an adult, and moved back to lynchburg a few years ago, where she lives with her husband and stepsons, who are 12 and 14. the curving, bucolic drive on route 29 between charlottesville and lynchburg—in either direction—is her favorite place in central virginia, as she says that she feels like she’s going home, wherever she happens to be heading. annie has also spent the past 21 years commuting back and forth to richmond, where the mckinnon and harris workshop is located. when they were young, anne nurtured a budding creativity in her children by requesting that all of their christmas gifts to her be handmade—drawing and painting were always encouraged in the massie household.
annie spent her undergraduate years at hollins college, and then graduated from vcu with a master’s degree in art history. she realized, however, that she was more interested in producing art than studying it, and soon formed mckinnon and harris with her brother william, combining both of their middle names for the design company’s name. mckinnon and harris produces aluminum outdoor furniture. the gorgeous, sleek collection of tables and chairs isn’t just beautiful, though—it’s meant to stay outside year round. annie is involved in the design and marketing of the furniture line and the company also hires vcu graduates to help design outdoor furniture.
though she works in her lynchburg studio, annie primarily paints landscapes, which she begins on small, 11”x14” canvases outdoors and finishes on expansive panels inside. nature, she says, has always been the subject of her paintings, so it was both natural and new for her to focus on flowers for “florilegia” as she turned her attention to a subject smaller in scale.
annie has been a scarpa customer for years, and says that she’s more interested in accessories than clothes, since they tend to lend themselves to creativity—she likes to change up her shoes, jewelry, bags, and scarves. annie’s first scarpa purchase was a leather tote bag in which she stashed her computer and work things for years as she commuted back and forth to richmond. more recently, she’s been carrying a cydwq pony hair tote, and says that she has been “living in” two pairs of fiorentino + baker boots, which she alternates every day. annie says that she prefers pieces that can be worn with “blue jeans or black tie,” and is attracted to style that has an “attic sensibility,” as her mother, anne might call it—things that are timeless.
annie & anne’s show, “florilegia,” will run at les yeux du monde until december 30th. you can find information about les yeux du monde by clicking here.