Sunday, October 30, 2011

Two for Small Works shows

"Knitting", 8x6 oil on linen panel
     I mentioned earlier that I need to concentrate on small works and with that in mind I spent the afternoon in the studio creating this small painting of Jesse knitting.  This summer I took you through the process of creating the painting "Jesse Waiting" so the model may look familiar to you.  As I explained then, this is another image from the photo shoot I did along with three artist friends of our wonderful artist model, Jesse.  Jesse also happens to be my granddaughter! 
     It is interesting to me that a photo of the painting points out some little adjustments I should make that I did not see in the painting itself.  In my defense, the light had changed dramatically and I can see how I might have missed these things.  I am talking about the shadow under the leg of the bench and also Jesse's shaded right arm.  There appears to be a line there near her shoulder that I didn't see. Also the leg of the bench where it meets the stone wall should be a different value.  Small things, an easy fix.

"October Morning, Wide Water" 8x10 oil on panel
      Also touched up and ready for a small works show is this painting from my last post about our paint out at Wide Water in Potomac, Maryland.  All I did was lighten the foreground shadows and I am happy with the resulting painting.  I haven't decided yet which paintings are being submitted to which shows as I would like to complete a couple more before making that determination. 
      This Friday the Art League Plein Air painters will be painting on Roosevelt Island on the Potomac across from Georgetown.  I am hoping for a good view of the city across the water but the trees may not be bare enought yet to provide that.  We shall see.  I can always paint from the footbridge over to the Island. I am going to attempt to upload the promised images from Friday's paint out but I am not optimistic:(  Once I get to the third image things go haywire and I may have to contact Blogger for some assistance.  Here goes.....If you don't see any images then I failed.

Lynn Mehta
Lynn's painting

Well, at least I got the images of Lynn Mehta up.  I had added all the others successfully and then the last one came up over everything and resisted all attempts to remove it until I removed all but these two.  Frustrating. I will have to look into it.   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Great Day at Wide Water!

"Late October at Wide Water" 8x10 oil on panel
      The Art League Plein Air painters had a strong turnout today at Wide Water on the Potomac.  This spot is located just down from the C&O Canal in Potomac Maryland.  Also located here is the historic Old Angler's Inn which played a pleasant role in today's outing.  Not everyone was able to stay for lunch but eight cold and hungry painters enjoyed the warm Inn and delicious food!
     Because I want to enter a couple of holiday small works shows I am keeping my paintings to 8x10 inches or smaller right now.  This photo was taken at my stopping point.  When I got home I lightened the foreground shadows which I think helped a lot.  I tried to photograph the painting to post but it was dark and under the studio lights everything got very orangey.  I will take it outside tomorrow and try again.  I am rather happy with it and think it will frame up nicely and be an entry for one of the shows.  You may remember my last painting from this spot which was focused downriver.  Today I was standing in about the same placed but turned to catch the view upriver with the morning light hitting the rocks. There was a lot more color in the trees today. Boy, did we luck out with the weather this morning!  By noon the sun was gone, the sky gray, the wind blowing and it was downright cold.  Maybe we are going to get the predicted snow tomorrow after all.  Weird for October!
      Yesterday I received some very good news.  I have been juried in to the Salmagundi Club in NYC as an artist member!  If you have been reading this blog then you know that I have had paintings accepted in a couple of national shows held at the Club.  I did a lengthy blog in August about our experience at the reception there for the Salmagundi non Member Show and recently one about the upcoming American Artists Professional League's 83rd Grand National which will open on November 1st at the Club.  I liked it there so much and the quality of the paintings was really impressive!  I now have a number of exhibition opportunities there at the Salmaguni and one of the small works shows I want to enter will be held there.  It is the Annual Thumb Box Show and I would like today's painting to be one of my entries.

The lunch bunch with Jean 
The lunch bunch with Ellie
     Since I am usually behind the camera Ellie was good enough to take my picture with everyone so I have included one with me and one with her:)  Left to right around the table are Caroline Town, Lynn Mehta, Susan Johnson, Kim Stenberg, Theresa Miller and me in the first photo and then Ellie Kilcline in my place in the second photo.     
     I just tried to upload a sampling of today's great paintings but I only got two of them uploaded before everything went bananas.  The only way out was to remove those two and right now I am too tired to start over.  I will do a fresh blog tomorrow and show you those paintings (there were some stunners!) and the finished version of mine.  Time to crash and watch some "crap telly".


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Small Works

"The Falls" 8x5 oil on linen panel
      As much as I like to work large I am having a good time doing tiny, 6x8 paintings. I want to have work on hand for whatever Small Works shows come up over the holidays.  They are quick and give me a chance to try new things without a large investment in materials and time.  I find it is a good way to play with different techniques and I am already getting ideas for larger paintings.
     This small  painting of  a portion of the Great Falls in Virginia was not done on site but was culled from one of my larger paintings of the same subject. I painted it in the studio today. I have done a number of very large pieces depicting areas of the Falls and I have done very well with them.  I haven't done one in a while and now I think I would like to do a series of small ones.  The texture of this linen panel is just right for them.

     Tomorrow morning I plan to go out riding and since my horse lives on the property where we painted on Friday I will bring my unfinished painting with me and see if I can complete it on site.  Not, however, from horseback:)

     Speaking of horses......I have had two life long passions, horses and art.  Horses came first and my obsession for drawing them had a lot to do with my becoming an artist.  I was that horse crazy kid I am sure many of you have known.  My parents said I started begging for one about the same time I started talking.  I am not sure that is an exageration!  Owning a horse was not possible and my folks were advised that I would eventually grow out of it.  Right!  I became very creative as a kid in finding ways to ride and when I couldn't I made myself happy by drawing horses and reading every novel ever written about them and seeing every movie.  I still tear up when I watch "National Velvet"!  Happily as an adult I have been able to be a horse owner and have been for 31 years!  So...where are the horses in my paintings you ask?  Good question.  I get asked that a lot and I am not sure what the answer is.  When I was a kid I always painted horses in a very romantic way, galloping with their manes flowing.  I don't think that is how I want to paint them now.  I will ponder this from the back of my mare Gypsy and see what I come up with.
Gypsy and Me, October 7, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Turkey Run Park and Madeira

Part of the view I was capturing

"Turkey Run" 14x11 oil on panel
           Thursday morning I met Linda Beardsley, Jack Dyer and Dick Neff at Turkey Run Park which is located along the George Washington Parkway overlooking the Potomac River.  We had hoped for some spectacular river views to paint but found the trails to the river almost vertical and slippery with leaves.  We opted to try our hands at the woodland views instead. It was a windy day making the light really shimmery and appealing but somehow I just didn't rise to the occasion.  I didn't make the right decisions early on and things got pretty muddy instead of the desired golden, flickering light.  I lightened things up when I got the painting home but the freshness was gone for me.  I have painted a fair number of woodland themed paintings but I usually hone in on rocks and streams and do them very close up.  I think I need to get out and practice in the woods a little more!

"Winding the Bend" 12x16 oil on panel (in progress)
       Friday morning I was happy to head to a more familiar scene.  I met Susan Johnson, Ellie Kilcline and Kim Stenberg at the Madeira School where we set up behind the chapel on the heights over the Potomac.  I have painted here many times and I think the view here is one of the most spectacular ones of the Potomac in the Washington DC area.  However, instead of painting my usual view I was surprised to be able see clearly down river for the first time and set up apart from my friends to capture this scene.  This is thanks to the fact that a tree went down and took a lot of the uderbrush with it.  I hate to see trees go but thank you Mother Nature for the new subject to paint!    
      The painting is incomplete and since I forgot to take a photo while I was working I will either have to go back when the light is similar or just finish from memory.  I will post the final painting when it is finished.  I am much more satisfied with this painting than the one from the day before!




Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Happy Ending!

Erik's Pond, 30x40 oil on linen
     Well, here is Erik's Pond all dressed up in it's beautiful new frame and hung in the place of honor over Erik's mantel! 
      Those of you who read my blog this summer would have followed this painting from the very beginning.  Actually before the beginning since I started posting about the commission when I showed you the four 8x10 studies I did for Erik to choose from.  After that I posted the progress of the painting from the underpainting, through the "tunnel of ugly" to it's emergence as the finished painting.  I am very pleased with it and more importantly Erik was:)
                                                                                                                                                                Thank you Erik for sending this photo.  It is great to be able to see it in place!  I have no idea where most of my paintings are and I sometimes wonder about them.  I hope it will live in this place and be a source of pleasure for Erik and his family for a long time.
            Tomorrow I will show you what I have been doing for the last couple of days.  The fall weather has been spectacular so I have been outdoors virtually all day everyday and have been off painting with friends and riding my horse.  I got one good painting under way thanks to Friday's paint out but the painting from Thursday is screaming for help!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Berry Strawberry!

"Berry Strawberry! 8x6 oil on panel
       Today was a very rainy and windy day so it was a great time to stay in the studio and get going on those small works I was talking about.  This little 8x6 inch painting was the result of today's efforts.  I had some great looking strawberries (now a little worse for wear) and I always like to paint reflective surfaces so the little pewter bowl seemed a good pairing with the berries.
      I guess the title is a little corny but once it entered my mind I couldn't come up with anything else:) 
     I plan on painting out both tomorrow and Friday unless rained on again in which case I will do another couple of 6x8 paintings in the studio.  I guess I should start thinking of subjects.  Maybe a trip to the grocery store is in order....Back with more tomorrow!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Plein Air Show and Tell

"Wide Water at the Old Angler's Inn", 12x16 oil on panel
     Today I was confined to home waiting for our plumber.  Somehow when I think of the great artists I have studied and admired I don't think of them doing things like waiting for plumbers, walking and cleaning up after their dogs etc. I think of them leading romantic lives and completely devoting themselves to their art.  What a fairy tale!  I am sure there are some that fit that mold but I am betting more of them had concerns similar to mine and most of the artists I know.  Even Vermeer had a business to run and struggled to find time to paint. So, I turned a sows ear into a silk purse and had a great day in the studio instead of getting out to paint.  I did the finishing on yesterdays plein air painting that I had posted I would do and here is the completed painting.  I hope you enjoy it!

"Festival Tents" 11x14 oil on panel

    I forgot to show you the finished painting from last week's paint out at the Alexandria West End Art and Wine Festival. "Festival Tents" captures the brilliant sunlight on the tents and the dappled shade that inspired me to paint it.  This is a better image than the one I posted on my website because this is in natural light.  I will have to replace the other with this. 

     Below is a painting I completely forgot about and it was sitting in it's wet paint carrier since September. I painted it from our porch at the beach.  I may actually hold on to this one and hang it in the beach house, I think it belongs there.

"End of Summer" 11x14 oil on panel

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Kind of Critics!

My approving critics ( I didn't get their names)

      What a beautiful day to be out painting!  Today I painted with some new friends, also Art League members, at a site called "Wide Water" just below the Old Anglers Inn in Potomac, Maryland.  I wish I had taken more photos of all the action during the morning... kayakers practicing their rollovers, hikers, guys on some sort of surfboard looking thing that they poled along, and exuberant Labs going for a swim.  Exuberant Lab #2 did a real number on painting friend Bobbi Pratte.  She got soaked but fortunately her painting survived uscathed:)  As I was finishing for the day I turned and found I had a few onlookers.  They graciously gave me the thumbs up!  I really like talking with people when I paint and I love getting the immediate feedback.  These truly are the critics I enjoy! 
"Wide Water" 12x16 oil on panel (raw state)

      This is "Wide Water" in its raw state.  I need to finish the left side of the painting and get a little more push pull going on with the light and dark.  My sky got a little muddy and could use some brightening. That's because my brush wasn't clean enough when I wanted to lighten the sky where the sun was brightest. This painting is very similar to the one I did in August at River Bend which is on the Virginia side of the Potomac.  The difference, besides the fall colors, is the water was very much higher and faster today than in August and provided more movement.

     Behind me were Bobbi Pratte and Susan Johnson and as I look at this photo I wonder if I didn't miss an opportunity here.  Perhaps I should have painted them painting.  Look at that dappled light and the strong light on the river and the deep shade under the tree!  Well, there is always the studio.  I may play with this one.
Bobbi Pratte (left) and Susan Johnson painting, my easel in the center

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Finished! "5th and Waverly"

"5th and Waverly", 20x16 oil on panel
     I took "5th and Waverly" out of the closet today and decided I liked it as is and consider it finished.  In case you are a new reader you may not understand my reference to the closet, (see my earlier "Closet Finished" post). When I think a painting is complete I put it away in a closet near the studio for awhile.  This accomplishes two things...I get to see it again with fresh eyes, therefore, being more objective about it AND if it is out of sight I will not pick at it. I am fully capable of ruining a painting by not knowing when to stop.

     My vantage point for the painting is from under the Washington Square Arch looking up 5th Avenue.  Waverly Place runs along the north side of the Park.  What struck me that morning was the peacefulness of the scene.  It was more like Main St. than one of the busiest avenues in NYC.  Down here in the Village (Greenwich Village) the trees were more dominant than the buildings and people were out doing the quiet morning things people do everywhere.  Walking the dog, riding bikes, jogging etc.  Just another American town.

Morning, Washington Square Park
       I like the pairing of these two paintings inspired by the same morning.  Here you can just make out a side of the Arch behind the trees.  I had walked down this path to the arch and then stood below it and looked uptown.  Waverly Place was just outside the park on the other side of the foreground shrubs.  The light really was that golden!
      I plan to save these two and enter the both of them in a national show later this year.  For now they will be on view only on my website. At least they will be in a couple of days:)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In the Spirit of the Season

Evening Descends on Black Pond, 24x48 oil on canvas

      The Black Pond along the Potomac River has been a favorite destination of mine for years.  I used to ride my mare Lucy here on a regular basis and I have taken numerous hikes here with my granddaughter Sian. It is a special place.  I have painted it a number of times and this particular painting was done in the studio last fall and is based on the small plein air painting also on this page.  I had a number of referance photos to help me enlarge the image to this elongated, horizontal format.
     Since being at the pond late enough for the sun to be setting to this degree would mean hiking back in the dark, I relied on what I know about the sky and the reflections in the pond at other times of the day.  Even in the smaller painting, which was actually painted during the afternoon hours,I adjusted the colors and light to this time of evening knowing I wanted it to be a study for the larger piece.

    I hope to exhibit this large painting at the Art League Gallery sometime this year.  The little one has already found a happy home!
The Black Pond, 14x11 oil on panel

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Painting at the Alexandria, West End Art and Wine Festival

Festival Tents, 9x12 oil on panel (in it's raw state)
    Today I spent the afternoon at the first ever Alexandria, West End Art and Wine Festival.  My verdict.... they have a winner!  Of course the weather this weekend helped.  I don't think I could have imagined a more beautiful and comfortable October day.  The light has taken on that golden quality which makes everything look better.  I had a wealth of subjects to choose from but decided on this since I had the Art League tent to work from.

     Lots of visitors stopped by and I enjoyed talking with them.  Quite a few were from out of town.  I learned the proper way to pronounce Oregon.  I think it is something like Orr-Gun:) Next year I will sign up for a tent.

    This little, 9x12 painting is not quite finished but I took some photos so I can fine tune it in the studio.  I might like to add that man who just sat down on the curb.  After my birthday extravaganza last night I was pretty worn out by the time I finished three + hours on the painting and decided to call it a day.  I took some time to explore the fair and there was so much to see, eat and purchase.  I took lots of photos!

    My kids gave me a recipe and the fixings for A.A.R.Peachy Sangria last night and I just whipped up a batch for Dick and me.  Oh, it is GOOD!  Also good is having clever kids:)  Thanks guys!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday in Old Town Alexandria

The front, Union St. entrance to the Torpedo Factory

The rear, Potomac River dockside entrance

Dockside view with "The Godspeed" out of Jamestown

The main hall looking towards the Target Gallery


Opposite end of the main hall looking towards the Art League Gallery
      Today I thought I would do something a little different.  I needed to attend some Art League Board Committee meetings and I decided to give you a little tour.  I mention the Art League a lot and if you have been to my website then you know I exhibit there frequently.  This is an organization I am passionate about!  It is located at the end of King St. on Union St. in Old Town Alexandria Virginia.  It is in a World War II torpedo factory that has been converted to an art center.  The Factory is made up of three floors of art studios and galleries.  The largest space is inhabited by the Art League for it's gallery, school, administrative offices and store.  There are additional classrooms in two other buildings, the Duke Street Annex and the Madison Annex.  The Art League is a going concern!  With our mission "To Nurture the Artist" we also nurture the community.  Besides being a tourist attraction and a mecca for artists to study, exhibit and mingle the Art League has an active outreach program in the City of Alexandria.  One notable success is SOHO (a Space of Her Own) working with at risk, low income, 5th grade girls in a year of personal growth centered around art.  Oh... and did I mention the incredible travel workshops and the illustrious faculty?
     Yes, I am enthusiastic about the Art League. I have made some good friends here and enjoy working with them to hang the monthly shows, paint plein air and now as a Board member to help steer the organization forward.  Read more at

The Art League Staff at work at the front desk

The light filled main gallery looking towards the solo room

A front room of the gallery and the Bin Gallery is off to the right

Street life at the end of King St. near the Factory

A favorite stop across from the Factory

One of the popular, Old Town Trolleys stopping at Union and King for the Torpedo Factory



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Evening on the Pond

Evening on the Pond, 8x10 oil on linen panel
I had mentioned in an earlier post that I have been busy framing small works in preparation for the holiday season.  I have quite a few more than I thought and I have selected some of my favorites to frame.  You may remember this one as one of the studies for the large commissioned painting I did this summer titled "Erik's Pond".  There are two others besides this one from that series that will find their way into frames.  I will probably put this on exhibit in the Art League Bin Gallery next month.  It will be too large for the juried small works show that will also be held there the same month. 
       The weather has turned sunny and cool and just perfect for plein air painting and I plan to be out and about as much as possible in the next week.  This Sunday I will be painting at the Alexandria West End Art and Wine Festival and handing out brochures for the Art League.  I hope that those of you reading this blog who live nearby will stop by and see me.
     That reminds me....I checked my stats for the first time and was surprised at how large a percentage of my readers are from the Netherlands!  I will be forever amazed at the range of communication via the internet.  So to all of you in the Netherlands thanks for checking in.  It would be great to hear from you!
     I still haven't updated my website:( and I hope at my next post I can say that I did.  Good night for now.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Progress

5th and Waverly, 20x16 oil on panel (in progress)
      I made some more progress on the 5th Avenue painting today concentrating on putting in some of the traffic lights and indicating where the street signs and more cars will go.  I am still refining the buildings in the foreground but don't have far to go there.  I need to keep this fresh and not too detailed. I am at the fun part where I can feel the painting beginning to come alive.  I am surprised at how much pleasure I am getting out of painting a cityscape and I will plan some plein air outings downtown in Washington DC this fall. 
     I ordered more materials and frames today in preparation for some "small works".  As we enter the holiday season there are a number of Small Works shows at various galleries.  The Art League will be having theirs in November and the painting surface can be no larger than 8x10 inches.  The overall size, including frame, can be no larger than 10x12. I have a number of 8x10's already painted but they are already framed and don't meet the requirements so I will do more.
     Speaking of the Art League....I just came home from hanging the October All Media show (which is a beauty !) and the Altars and Reliqueries Show. Unfortunately the paintings I submitted for the all media show were not included this month.  Actually, there are no traditional landscapes at all in this show.  There are a few traditional drawings but the bulk of the exhibit is abstract and I would say our membership is very strong in that area. My work years ago was exclusively abstract and seeing a show such as this makes me wonder if I want to take a stab at it again.  However, as I drove home along the Potomac with a spectacular sunset overhead reflecting in the water and the various crews out for evening practice I decided no, I have found what I really want to paint. 
     Although not in the all media show I do, however, have my plein air painting, "Two Red Boats" on exhibit in the Art League's Bin gallery which is immediately adjacent to the main gallery.

Two Red Boats, 11x14 oil on panel
ON EXHIBIT, The Art League Bin Gallery