The family of Virginia (Ginny) Urani has lived in the mountains of eastern Tennessee for generations. Though her mother moved to the Midwest when she was a child Virginia has always considered the mountains to be home. In the fall of 2002 she returned and now lives with her husband, John, on Cherry Mountain near Hayesville, North Carolina.
Virginia moved to Kansas City, Missouri when she was 19 to be an artist for Hallmark Cards and to study art at the Kansas City Art Institute. Eventually she left Hallmark and joined IBM. She spent the rest of her working life in the corporate world in administration, customer service, and event planning. During her last years at IBM she was assistant to the Community Relations Manager for IBM in Kansas City and spent most of her time working with nonprofit organizations. She continued to study and develop her art with numerous artists during the years in the corporate world.
When Virginia moved to Hayesville, NC in 2002 and she had more time to pursue her love of painting. She soon noticed that there are not only many kinds of flowering trees such as dogwoods and azaleas, but also that there are hundreds of wildflowers, which bloom from February to November or December. She began painting them and found watercolor to be the perfect medium for capturing their delicate beauty. She also began to learn about them and soon preferred to sit on the ground among them rather than work inside. Springtime and summer finds her painting studies of flowers. In the Fall, she paints studies of individual leaves. She feels the colorful leaves are the flowers of autumn.
Virginia has taught watercolor at the John C. Campbell Folk School since 2006. She has also taught watercolor painting in Tuscany. Her work was selected for exhibits at the Jewish Cultural Center in Chattanooga, TN 2012-2023. In 2016 she received a grant from the NC Arts Council to create “portraits” of bonsai trees in the NC Arboretum in Asheville. She also was granted a Residency at Wildacres Retreat near Little Switzerland, NC in 2018 to write and illustrate a story about an experience with a butterfly during a painting retreat. She self-published the story as a book using her paintings and photographs as illustrations. The title of the book is “My Butterfly … A Love Story.”
Virginia works in several media, including oil, acrylics, pen and ink, pencil, and watercolor. She loves the beauty of the mountains, especially the wildflowers. She frequently contributes her work to organizations that work to preserve the native plants and trees in the southeastern Appalachian mountains. Through her work, she invites you to enjoy the loveliness of the world around us.