Chatham artist's painting on disgraced guv's list of gifts

Heather MacKenzie's painting “Seals at Chatham Bars Inn” part of indicted Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's swag
Heather MacKenzie's "Seals at Chatham Bars Inn" made the national news this week.

Watercolorist learns that "all news is good news"

Even if one of your paintings is listed in a federal indictment

The saying by P.T. Barnum goes "I don't care what you say about me, but just spell my name right", and for Chatham artist Heather MacKenzie that just happened to her big time.

Today watercolorist Heather Mackenzie is the most Google-able local artist in the art world due to the alleged greed of an indicted Virginia Governor and his wife Maureen.

First came a mention on the MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show

Ms. MacKenzie's watercolor, "Seals at Chatham Bars inn", was mentioned last Tuesday on the Rachel Maddow Show as one of the "gifts" owned by former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen.

The original art was bought from the Nickerson Art Gallery in Chatham  where Heather MacKenzie's art is exhibited. She is also at Local Color Gallery in Chatham and Saltworks Fine Art Gallery in Orleans.

On the list of gifts allegedly given to the former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell by Jonnie Williams contained in an indictment handed down earlier this week, was “one Heather MacKenzie water color and frame.” The entire 43-page federal indictment is here.

 Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, once a rising star in the national Republican Party and only out of office since January 11, pleaded not guilty along with his wife Maureen to federal charges he used his office to help businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $165,000 in loans and gifts which included the painting by Ms. MacKenzie (shown in her Facebook photo on right).

The scandal surrounding McDonnell’s relationship with businessman Jonnie Williams dominated the governor’s final year in office, contrasting with the image of a politician who had led the Republican Governors Association and was mentioned as a potential running mate for presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

Then came reports on Slate and The Wire

The Chatham artist's painting, “Seals at Chatham Bars Inn,” was purchased at the Nickerson Gallery, and earned MacKenzie a mention on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, an article in Slate and another in The Wire.

Below is the original $1,100 watercolor that ended up with Governor McDonnell.

You can buy your own copy of "Seals at Chatham Bars Inn" on her website here. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on