Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So, What's next?

The Lookout, 10x8 oil on linen panel
       I am back from our trip to the Outer Banks and you know from my earlier posts that while there I busied myself trying to paint the sun as it went down.  Three of the results were O.K. but only two would I consider framing.  I don't mind since that was not my goal.  It was a challenge and a lot of fun. 
      I hit the ground running when we got home because I found out while we were away that on Monday Art in the Embassies wanted to pick up my two paintings going to the U.S. Embassy in Soltje, Macedonia. "Spring Rush" and "Between the Sun and the Moon" are now on their way.They were framed and wired but it was time to varnish them and I wanted that done before they left.  Also on Monday I was shipping three small works to the Salmagundi Club in NYC for the annual Thumb Box show.  I sent the three I showed you in the "More Small Works" post.  That done I took an inventory of the studio and ordered more supplies.  OK, now I am all caught up and as I ask, what's next?  Good question.
        The leaves are gone and all that beatiful fall color and golden days I loved being outdoors painting are gone as well.  Am I already in the winter doldrums?  Winter has its beauty too but I am just not into it yet.  I can look forward to snow on the ground because of all the beautiful colors reflected off of it.  Meanwhile I think I will look inward.  By inward I mean indoors.  I have included these two small paintings of interiors from last fall.  I have decided to paint "plein living room".  There I am seeing beautiful golden light and wonderful reflections off the floors.  I spent some time rearranging the living room furniture today and will set up my plein air easel when the sun is out.  I think it will be fun!  I have also been revisiting interior paintings by artists I admire.  Among contemporary painters I love the interiors of New York artists Jacob Collins and Greg Kreuz.  The 19th century interiors painted by Sargent, William Merrit Chase and Frank Benson are wonderful and I really must go back and look closely again at Vermeer. I am looking forward to both the studying and the painting! 

October Afternoon, 10x8 oil on panel

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Gray Day Sunset

Sudden Sunset, November 21st
     I mentioned yesterday that we had had an all day gray day and I figured I would not be painting a sunset afterall.  Fortunately I had everything setup ready to start at 4:30 but it wasn't until the sun was practically set that there were sudden bursts of gold pushing through the clouds.  I know I said I was doing these in under an hour but this one had to be uber fast!  I was using the knife to get a load of paint on really fast and there was no possibility of refining.  I just put the colors down where I was seeing them and as close to how they appeared without stopping to do much mixing.
      It's not a bad expression of the moment but I wish the golden light wasn't sitting on top of the gray clouds.  I dragged the gray over the gold in some places but was too busy getting the color down to pay much attention to my edges.  This was an exercise after all and it served it's purpose.
       We left early for a favorite restaurant this evening as I was sure the milky gray sky was not going to reveal anything worth painting but for five minutes I was wrong again.  Still, after the speed of this painting I don't think I could have managed much in the even shorter time frame tonight!  After all, tomorrow is another day:)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Sunset from the OBX (Outer Banks)

November 19th on the top and the 20th below
     As I mentioned in yesterday's post I am technologically limited here on the Outer Banks so I am only uploading one image a day and I can't crop or photo shop. 
     These are the sunsets from November 19th and 20th which I  laid down on the deck boards to photograph.  Todays painting I will have to photograph during the daylight tomorrow as it was too dark when I finished.  Today was an all day gray day and I wondered what the evening would bring.  It wasn't very encouraging but then around 5:00 some golden light broke through the clouds and gave me an opportunity.
      I know I said I wasn't going to correct or try to improve these studies but I am really itching to improve that land line at the horizon on the lower painting.  It's not really changing the painting so I think I will just go ahead and do it:)
       I am still determined to do one of these each evening.  My daytime painting plans have changed a little because of the incredible amount of mosquitoes along the Sound.  I want to get out on the docks jutting into Currituck Sound and look back at some of the shingle cottages dotting the shoreland and paint them.  I will wait for the cooler weather at the end of the week in the hopes the mosquitoes will find the climate not to their liking!
      I received an email today from the State Department's Art in Embassies program informing me that my paintings "Spring Rush" and "Between the Sun and the Moon" will be picked up early next week for their trip to Soltje Macedonia.  They will be part of an exhibit at the U.S.Embassy there for at least a year.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In the Chase on the Outer 'Banks

11/19 between 4:30 and 5:00 P.M.
    I haven't posted in some days because I was busy getting things done before my husband, three dogs and I left for a week on the Outer Banks of NC.  I love it here!  I packed all my plein air gear and plan to paint as often as weather permits.  These first two days I have spent the time relaxing and waiting for evening so I could start the series of small, quick sunset paintings I decided I would do this trip.  I want to do all of them in under an hour. 
      The little 6x8 painting you see on the easel was done last evening but I had forgotten to take photos and so I propped it on the easel for a picture before starting todays painting.  Yesterday I also forgot to use the umbrella.  I thought I would go blind looking into the sun.  No matter how hard I would sqint as soon as I looked back at the canvas all I saw was black and white.  I had to wait for my eyes to readjust.  Yes, I could have gotten the brollie but it would have taken valuable time.  The sun goes down fast!
     Todays sky was less dramatic than yesterday but the colors were very much the same.  I will upload the new painting tomorrow because every time I try to add an additional photo I get bounced off the blog.  I am using the laptop and things don't seem to work the same. 
     Painting like this is fast work for me and out of my comfort zone.  That is why I am doing it.  I have promised myself not to continue work on the paintings after the initial session and that is hard because I always want to improve  them.  I am using this as an exercise to see how much I can improve over the week if at all.  I just wish I had more of these 6x8's but I only had two left.  I brought down 8x10's and 9x12's because I didn't have time to shop and that is too bad because the smaller ones are best for this. It would have been great to have a week's worth of sunset paintings all the same size and then choose the four best to frame the same and hang as a group.  I need to slow up and plan better!

Reminder: ON EXHIBIT at the Art League Gallery, "Berry Strawberry" and "The Knitter" are in the small works show and "Festival Tents" is in the Bin Gallery

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Small Works

The C&O Canal , Potomac MD  6x8 oil on panel
     This is the time of year for the traditional small works shows in hopes that holiday shoppers will add gifts of original art to their shopping lists.  In my previous post I showed you the two pieces I have on exhibit at the Art League Gallery's Small Works show that will be up for the rest of the month.  It is a HUGE show!  Besides this show there is also "What to Wear", wearable art in the solo gallery and our monthly exhibit in the Bin Gallery.  There really is something for everyone here! 
      There were almost 900 entries for the small works and the poor juror had to review them all and make her selections in one afternoon.  After that our Hanging Committee comes in to hang the show.  I chair that committee.  I wish we had a better name for it.  Anyway, this year instead of combining the small works with a large works show we decided to devote the entire gallery space to the small pieces.  It is a large gallery.  My first thought when I walked in and saw everything lying on the floor and the non accepted works stored in more boxes than I wanted to count was WHAT WERE WE THINKING!  My amazing crew and I hung over 300 works of art.  Would you believe that by 7:00 we were all finished and sitting around enjoying Bugsy's wonderful pizza together?  Well, we were.  That is what comes of having a great group of people work together for 6 years and enjoy the process.  We have fun.  I hope those of you who are in the area will come in and see this.  I suggest you bring your checkbooks because there will be works and prices you will not be able to resist!  Oh, and if you have an inner Lady Ga Ga screaming to get out there is a pair of must have boots in the "What to Wear" show!  You can see some of the works and read more if you check those links.

Along the C&O Canal  8x6 oil on panel
       As you can see, I liked this view.  This was the first of the two paintings and inspired the second because the vertical format didn't let me paint the beautiful pinkish gold dappled light on the ground.  I loved the effect and the colors.  I also find I like doing these really tiny paintings.  Weird because I have always preferred working large. Usually I find getting pieces ready for the small works shows a real chore.  That is not the case this year.  I have friends who do a tiny painting a day as a learning experience and now I understand the benefits.  I want to get looser in my painting.  Working at this scale I need to put down the large forms and learn to edit to put in only the important information.  I can also experiment more easily with new surfaces because of the very much smaller financial investment.  I have been working smaller on my plein air paintings in preparation for the small works season but I think I will continue and perhaps do multiple paintings on each outing.  In the studio it is great fun to just pick up things from around the house to paint or tack up a couple of photos from my folders and approach them like a plein air piece. 

Rainy night on lower 5th, 10x8 oil on panel
    I used that approach with this small painting based on a photo I took on 5th Avenue in August.  Cityscapes are new and challenging for me.  I was trained as a landscape designer and spent a lot of time drafting blueprints.  When faced with architecture in a painting my instinct is to try to get very precise.  It is a challenge for me to stay loose, not use a straight edge or even a preliminary sketch.  I am happy with the sparkling, jewel like light coming from up the avenue in this painting.  That was the main inspiration for it.  With practice I hope I will develop more ease with the buildings and cars.  The more I paint the more I need to learn!
      I will be sending three paintings off to the Salmagundi Club for the Thumb Box show in December, this may be one of the ones I send as it may appeal to New Yorkers for obvious reasons.
      I will be updating my website in the upcoming week so be sure to check in there for more small paintings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dick and Jean's New York Adventure

Entrance to the Salmagundi Club for the AAPL 83rd Grand National
We were off to NYC bright and early last Sunday to attend the American Artists Professioinal League's 83rd Grand National  Exhibit held at the Salmagundi Club on 5th Avenue.  We looked forward to attending the painting demonstration by artist Charles Brandenburg which was starting at noon, so we were sure to be on the 9:00 A.M. Acela.  We were right on time and had great seats and then we waited to roll...and...we waited.  Announcements began to be made every couple of minutes updating us on the "technical difficulties" that would be resolved shortly.  Finally a resigned announcement came over and I quote "Folks this train is going nowhere"!  We were told another train was being brought in two tracks over so we all bustled our way there and then waited for the food car to be stocked :(  Finally we left right before the 10:00, more as a matter of form I think.  So we arrived at Penn Station and I won't take your time here with the taxi debacle and the heated words between our taxi driver ant the Little Caesar Penn Station employeed who wanted to run the show.  We told them to take it up with one another later and hit the road!  We arrived at the Salmagundi just as Mr. Brandenburg finished his painting.  So much for well made plans.
       We were starving and the wonderful aromas from the restaurant downstairs lured us the the much acclaimed Salmagundi Brunch.  It did not disappoint. Then off to enjoy the show......It is a beauty!  Now, I knew Jill Banks also had a painting on exhibit but what I didn't know was that friend and fellow ALPAP (Art League Plein Air Painters) Lynn Mehta also had a piece selected.  Just as I found mine, I turned around and there was Lynn who had just found hers!  We were both very pleasantly surprised:)  Lynn's lovely painting, "Appalachian Valley" won the John Collins Memorial Award!  A post or two down you can see Lynn at work painting when we went to Wide Water.

Lynn standing below her "Appalachian Valley"

Me next to my "Along the Old Potowmack Canal"

A very nice color catalogue of the exhibit was available and I brought one home for posterity.  I have also been juried in as an artist member of the Salmagundi so I was very happy to receive a tour of the "inner sanctum" by member Roger Rossi who has been extremely helpful and welcoming.  I said after my first trip here that the first thing that struck me when I passed throught the door was the warm and welcoming atmosphere of this place.  I suppose the imposing elegance of this 19th century mansion on 5th Avenue might make you forget that it is inhabited by friendly artists eager to share their work.  As a lover of history the tour meant a lot to me.  I have read about the famous artists who were members here and seeing the palettes and brushes of artists such as Childe Hassam and William Merrit Chase was for me like a baseball buff seeing Babe Ruths bat or having an original Mickie Mantle baseball card! The library was really something!  When you take the tour online you don't get to see the size of it.  The walls are lined with books that must be treasures.  Between the tops of the bookcases and the ceiling are all the palettes of noted members.  In cases and on the mantle are the porcelain beer mugs the members used to paint and hope to sell.  The original tiles, hand painted by artists members, that made up the fireplace surround in the first Salmagundi location were moved to surround the fireplace in the conference room here at their permanent home. This magnificent mansion has been the home of the Salmagundi Club since 1917.
      The main gallery has a large tray ceiling which used to be an enormous skylight.  This coming June work will begin to recreate that skylight and the gallery will be filled with natural light!  Big job! Exciting time to be here.

      Also on exhibit right now at the Art League Gallery in Old Town Alexandria in our annual Small Works Exhibit are "Berry Strawberry" and "The Knitter"

"Berry Strawberry" 8x6 oil on panel
"The Knitter" 8x6 oil on linen panel

Friday, November 4, 2011

Painting at Roosevelt Island Washington DC

My comfortalbe nook with a great view of Key Bridge and Georgetown
     So much for being a daily blogger.  It's just not going to happen.  Plain and simply there is just not enough time.  So what have I been up to all week you might ask.  Well, 90% of it was art related and depending on who you talk to that is either a good thing or makes me terribly negligent.
     I serve on the Board of the Art League and all of us serve on at least three committees.  That keeps the lot of us really hopping!  Tuesday I spent the day in the studio finishing off some small works to be ready to enter at the League next week and then for the Salmagundi Club's annual Thumb Box show.  That is their name for the small works show that they have been doing for years.  Wednesday I spent the day framing five paintings and varnishing, Thursday I was in Old Town to attend a meeting and to drop in to my favorite art gallery, The Principle Gallery on King Street.  I recommend it to all.

      Today, as you can see from the photo was spent with the Art League Plein Air painters on Roosevelt Island here in DC.  We all found wonderful little nooks to set up in that gave us great views of the Key Bridge and Georgetown across the water.  The only problem was that after a week of magnificent skies and fall color we had a flat, gray morning.  The good thing was the yellows really stood out.  Anyway, off we went to make what we could of it and fortunately I wasn't too far into the painting when the 20 mph winds came up.  No matter, I was solidly entrenched and warmly dressed and the wind chased the clouds and brought in beatiful blasts of sun.  My only complaint was my eyes watered so profusely there were times I couldn't see to paint:)  I amped up the colors a bit to go with the change and worked until I thought I had gone as far as I could with it for the day. Tomorrow I want to add some more strong color. When I started there was a bit of sandy beach exposed dappled with leaves so I painted that and eliminated the boulder.  When I finished the tide had come in covering the beach and I liked that better because of the reflections.  I took some photos so maybe tomorrow I will paint out the beach, put in more water and the boulder in the foreground.....or not.

       Just a reminder....."Along the Old Potowmack Canal "is on exhibit at the American Artists Professional League's 83rd Grand National  which is being held at the Salmagundi Club  Dick and I are travelling up on Sunday for the reception from 2:00 to 5:00 and I am really looking forward to it!

"Along the Old Potowmack Canal" 24x18 oil on canvas