Thursday, January 4, 2018

Remembering Warmer Days

"The Bishop's Garden", 12x12 oil on panel
    Back in September I spent a week painting at different locations around Washington DC. The weather was perfect! Sunny, warm with a cooling breeze and it was an absolute joy to be outdoors painting on my own with no time restraints. I thought I would like to post some paintings from that week and bring a little warmth to those of us in the deep freeze.  Currently the wind is howling outdoors, there is snow on the ground and temperatures are plummeting to the single digits. BRRRR

     The painting above was painted at Washington's National Cathedral from the lawn overlooking the Bishop's Garden on the south side of the cathedral.  The late summer garden was dominated by blue flowers with a good deal of gray green foliage to compliment them. I loved the warmth of the building contrasting with the cool of the garden.

     The two paintings below were painted in the gardens of Tudor Place, a mansion surrounded by acres of land in the middle of Georgetown in DC. There were so many wonderful things demanding to be painted that I will have to return in the spring. I chose to work small using my pochade box instead of my French easel as it is easier to move around. As it turned out I planted myself in one spot first looking to my left at the rear of the mansion to paint the ancient boxwoods and then I turned right to paint the late blooming roses and pergola in the rose garden. Turns out it was a smart move as both of these paintings are currently on view at AMERICAN PAINTINGS FINE ART in DC for the annual SMALL TREASURES EXHIBIT. All works must be no larger than 9x12 so these easily qualified.  Gardens are a joy!
"Rose Garden, Tudor Place", 6x8 oil on panel

"Boxwoods, Tudor Place", 8x8 oil on panel

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Artist's Process

"Tree Study #3", 12x16 oil on panel
"Tree Study # 2", 10x8 oil on panel
"Tree Study # 1", 10x8 oil on panel

        On November 1st an exhibit of plein air paintings by the Washington Society of Landscape Painters opened at the Athenaeum on Prince Street in Old Town Alexandria, VA.   Athenaeum curator, Twig Murray's concept for the exhibit was for "sketchy" field studies that might be used to inspire larger, more complex studio paintings or be the finished work in itself. She wanted to show the various methods artists use to create their finished paintings.
         The WSLP is well known for plein air painting and it is something the group does together the last Sunday of every month. Some members paint exclusively en plein air while others view their paintings as studies. I fall into the latter group. That is not to say that on occasion I feel that a particular painting created on site is "done" and I frame it up and exhibit it along with my studio work.
         The three little paintings shown here were all created from my deck in the summer between the hours of 6:30 and 8:00 PM on different evenings. Each portrays a different view of the woods behind my house being drenched in the same golden light. While they do stand on their own I was most interested in studying the light and interesting ways to create texture and movement when painting the trees. They are studies in positive and negative spaces and the use of both palette knife and brush. They will be helpful references.
My Sketchbook 
      Also included in the exhibit is a glass case holding sketchbooks by four members and mine is one of them.  Shown here is how I prepare for a studio painting by doing a pencil sketch on one side and then a color study on the other.  I can then prop the sketchbook up and use these studies as my reference. I find it more helpful and interesting than working from a photo as I have already edited the information before me.
      There is one more week to view the exhibit: THE ARTIST'S PROCESS at THE ATHENAEUM GALLERY 201 Prince Street, Alexandria VA. Closing date is Sunday, January 7th at 3:00 PM.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Something Had to Give!

"Silver Morning" 60x48 oil on line Commissioned Painting
        I haven't posted in months! This has not been for lack of something to say or due to a lull in production.  Quite the contrary.  This fall I went into over drive with preparations for five shows, a large commissioned painting, a week long plein air event and all the rest of the stuff of life that all of us have to deal with.  Like many artists I do my own framing, packing and publicity.  Something had to go if I was going to honor my deadlines and that something was my blog and social media.  Even that small change took some of the pressure off. The good news is the commission was a success and the paintings arrived on time to the shows, the bad news is nobody heard about it. Hmmmm.

      So, I will at least document some of the work and events in this post and some upcoming ones. The painting posted here is the one commissioned by a couple from North Carolina who already own two of my paintings. I was thrilled with the request particularly since the subject was my beloved Outer Banks. All they asked was that the palette be muted greens, bright grays and white and that the size be 60x 48. I did four 8x10 studies and let them choose the one to work from. I gave them the study along with the painting.
       The last two studies are currently on view in the 109th Thumb Box exhibit at the Salmagundi Club, 47 5th Avenue, NYC!

"Silver Morning" study 8x10 oil on panel
"Low Cloud" study 8x10 oil on panel
"Aftermath" study 8x10 oil on panel
"Edge of the Storm" study 8x10 oil on panel

Monday, August 21, 2017

Another Nocturne

"Key Bridge Nocturne, 32,5x32.5 oil on panel
        Summer is entirely too enticing to spend indoors so I have been silent here on my blog preferring to squeeze every moment from this wonderful season,  We have had a wet summer which has enhanced the lush greenery of this region and when combined with the notorious Washington heat it has helped create some wonderful atmospheres.  One such night is what inspired this painting.

         The air was moist and heavy and the colors from the city lights reflected back up through that atmosphere. There was a shimmer and sense of movement in the sky. I painted this on a panel larger than I usually use and it was a great opportunity to use a variety of tools.  There was a lot of brushing, rolling, scraping and dragging.  I let accidents lead me along instead of correcting them and they helped create an interesting surface.  Sometimes it is best not to stick slavishly to the original plan.  If I see something good I go with it. I think that if the painting is exciting for me to paint then perhaps that will translate into the image. I was enjoying this one so much that I was in danger of overworking it.  I put it out of sight for a week, took it out and corrected a couple of things and declared it finished!
          I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Back to the City

"Summer Rain, Pennsylvania Avenue" 30x30 oil on panel
     I have enjoyed painting and sketching outdoors again and have some good studies to put to use but I am feeling compelled to return to the studio and paint the city.
    I am working larger for now and I find the square format helps create some strong compositions. My favorite panels are not available larger than 20x24 and no squares larger than 12x12 but Ampersand will cut any size Gessoboard I request! I have been adapting to the different surface and I find I like it very much when I give it more tooth by applying additional layers of gesso both with a roller and with a brush. Good to know it is such a strong, archival substrate, the only drawback is the weight. I will most likely not go larger than 36x36.

     ON THE EASEL....I am working on a 32.5x32.5 painting titled "Key Bridge Nocturne". So far so good but it still has a little way to go. I am still experimenting so we shall see.......

     ON EXHIBIT.....I have four paintings on view at the Delaplaine Center in Frederick MD (well three, because one sold) and you can see some photos of that show in my last post.
      ON THE HORIZON....The Washington Society of Landscape Painters will have a plein air exhibit at the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, VA and it will open November 1st and extend until December 31st. I will be the coordinator for that exhibit.


Monday, June 26, 2017

The WSLP at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center

    This beautiful exhibit of 87 paintings by the members of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters opened at the Delaplaine Center for the Visual Arts in Frederick MD last Saturday.  I am proud to be a member of this society which has been in existence for over 100 years. Membership is limited to only 40 members and we exhibit as a group at least once a year. We meet monthly for plein air painting excursions and several times a year for meetings and critiques.  I find the work of my colleagues an inspiration!

     I am the Exhibitions Chair Person for the group so I have been busy with this show, painting and getting ready for our next exhibit which is scheduled to open in November at the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, VA. That too will be a spectacular setting for a show! If you live anywhere near Frederick please try to stop by this impressive arts center and see our show. It runs until July 30th and there will be an artist's reception this Saturday, July 1st from 3:00 to 5:00. 

     I have four paintings in this show and two of them are among the paintings in the photos. I wonder if you can tell which two are mine :-)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Getting Out of the Studio

Painting the Perennial Garden at Bon Air Rose Garden in Arlington

      Finally my favorite time of the year!  I adore spring and all it's glory, particularly flowers. Along with wanting to get my hands in the dirt and plant new things is the desire to be out painting all that color and light.  We have been having so much rain (pouring as I write) that I haven't been out and about as much as I would have liked. However, last Friday the sun blessed us from time to time on a mostly cloudy day and I was able to join friends from the Washington Society of Landscape Painters at the Bon Air Rose Garden in Arlington Virginia.  The roses were extraordinary but the textures and intense colors of the perennial garden lured all five of us.

"Larkspur" 8x8 oil on panel
      This is the little study I did of the bed I was facing. The actual color of the larkspur is somewhere between the color in the photo and the color in my painting.  I had left my cobalt blue at home and I think that would have been the right blue to mix with alizarin or pyrole red or cad red to get just the right color. Instead I relied on ultra blue with a little cerulean and alizarin.  I used a palette knife for most of the painting but also a loaded brush here and there. The panel was toned with a wash of salmon pink and you can see some of it shining through in the trees, among the flowers and along the walk.  I thought it a good choice for both a cloudy or sunny day painting.
       I would love to do a large, studio version of this one. Perhaps 30x30?