WAYNESBORO—When Seth Holmes left Frederick County, Maryland, to follow his passion in 2015, he never intended to return to the area.
But after five years of living in Los Angeles and working in the film industry, Holmes came to see the benefits of small-town life.
“When I left, I was very discontent. Frederick was too small. Maryland was too small,” Holmes recalled. “Over the course of my five years there, I was working on a lot of people’s stuff. So much that’s churned out is propaganda and not done well. What’s happening in the Hollywood industry is not gonna change.”
So Holmes packed up and headed back East.
“I figured I’d come look for a city that had a film industry,” he explained. “I figured if I go live somewhere cheaper and not as stressful, I could pursue my own things and have time to do that.”
Holmes took a job at an automotive dealership in Waynesboro to tide his bank account over until he found his new film city.
But there was an unexpected plot twist in his script.
Finding home—and a pandemic
Not long after Holmes returned to the area, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“During the shutdown, I thought, ‘what can I do to make money?’ I’ve always been driven,” he said.
Having grown up dabbling in drawing and sketching, he turned to art.
“I had a friend in LA who got me into watercolors, so I started messing around with them,” Holmes said.
He started with the Postmasters Coffee+Bakery in Rouzerville and moved toward the downtown from there.
“I did a couple buildings around Waynesboro and decided to try more of the architecture around here,” he said.
He describes his style as a sort of “architectural caricature” in a style that reflects the sense of wonder and whimsy he sees in the world.
“I love the architecture around here and the buildings, but I also wanted to make a connection with the community by making something that resonates with everybody so they feel ‘this is my town.’”
Afterall, Waynesboro is now the town Holmes calls “home.”
“I didn’t intend to be here very long, but I fell in love with this town,” he said.
The perks of a small town
One of the great things about a small town, Holmes said, is the people you meet.
He connected with Rodney Clark at Gallery 35 East.
“He’s given me a lot of advice and guided me through it,” Holmes said.
Next, his work hit the walls of Brio Coffeehouse on the square, thanks to owners Rodney and Janelle Cool. “After that, a lot of people started reaching out and I was really thankful for that,” he said.
Holmes decided to put aside his passion for film, drop his full-time job and start a part-time job to allow more time to focus on art.
“I’ve chased the perfect career for years. I stopped pursuing film as a career, but I still do have stories that I want to tell,” he said.
For now, though, his art is his focus.
“I decided to start doing commissions,” he explained.
And he’s done enough local watercolors to earn him a spot as visiting artist at Gallery 35 East.
He has 13 watercolors in the show. “There’s a lot of local buildings, plus the Maryland flag,” he said.
The show is open now at Gallery 35 East, 35 E. Main St., Waynesboro. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information on Holmes or to commission art, find him on Instagram @holmes_watercolors or Facebook or visit www.holmeswatercolors.com.
Originals are for sale at $249 each. Prints are available for $35 for 8-by-10 and $45 for 9-by-12. Custom commissioned work starts at $208 for an 8-by-10.
“I hope people enjoy the art and find something that resonates with them,” Holmes said. “I’m very thankful for the interest.”