Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Night Shades

"Vermilion Sky, Georgetown Waterfront", 24x30 oil on linen
    I guess you could say I have become a creature of the night. The more I paint them the more I love nocturnes!  I gravitate towards the moments of last light when the landscape has darkened, lights have come on and there is some drama and deep color to the sky.  Cities sparkle at these moments.  This is the view of Georgetown from the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge spanning the Potomac between Virginia and DC.  When I began the painting I used a sky photographed by an artist friend in Scotland (with his blessing of course) as I didn't have another reference for the sky I had experienced.  Happily the sunset Thanksgiving evening was exactly like this so between Ken's photo and what I could see again for myself and photograph I finished the painting today. I darkened the clouds to be more like the Thanksgiving sunset and then made the blue of the sky darker and more intense.  I think I will protect this one from further tweaking and put it away for a week or so.  I am itching to work with these colors again but I am not sure what scene I will choose.

     The opening at American Paintings Fine Art in DC on Saturday night was a tremendous success.  It was a miserable, cold, night with heavy rain pouring down nonstop so I was concerned that many would not venture out but when I arrived the gallery was packed!  The French restaurant next door, Et Voila, catered the affair so everyone was treated to beautiful paintings, fine food and good wine. The painting I wanted to upload in my last post but was unable to is shown below.  This was one of the four I had on exhibit and I am happy to say it sold that night!

"Evening on the West River", 8x10 oil on panel

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Small Treasures

"Heading to DC" 6x12 inches, oil on linen panel

     Tonight is the OPENING RECEPTION FOR SMALL TREASURES 2014, at American Paintings Fine Art at 5118 MacArthur Blvd. NW, Washington DC.  The reception is from 5:00-6:00 so if you are planning on being in town this evening you might want to stop by for some wine and hors d'oevres and view over 100 tiny paintings just waiting to become Christmas gifts or a treat for yourself.  Small paintings (none larger than 9x12) and small prices!
      I will have four paintings in this show and along with the ones pictured above and below there will also be a cityscape, "September Evening, Rosslyn" shown a few posts back as well as "Evening on the West River" from a much earlier post. I will try to get that up here too but I often have trouble uploading more than two paintings to a post.

      I have had a sad interruption to my painting and posting but I will slowly but surely be getting back on track. Tomorrow I will upload some of the paintings on view in NYC at the Salmagundi Club's Thumb Box show.  In the meantime you can view all the work in that HUGE show by going to www.salmagundi.org and clicking on the image for that show. It is being billed as the biggest little show in the Club's history. It has a long history!

"Silver and White" 8x8 inches, oil on linen panel

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Above Cayuga's Waters

"Above Cayuga's Waters", 24x30 oil on line
     Here are two more paintings inspired by the same morning in Ithaca New York as "Leaving the Inlet" from yesterday's post. As I explained, I was in a launch heading from the inlet leading from the Cornell Boathouse out to lake Cayuga. The latter is one of the famed Finger Lakes , five glacial lakes spanning a number of states. The region is beautiful! There are gorges, waterfalls, meadows and vineyards. Ithaca is a charming college town where both Ithaca College and Cornell University are located. I have close family connections to both institutions and visit here at least once a year.

     So how do I create these paintings at home in the studio? I had taken LOTS of photos from the launch. I ended up deleting at least half of them and kept only ones that had an element of what I found so striking that morning. There were heavy clouds breaking apart with the glow of the rising sun showing through. There was mist, a lot of mist lending an air of mystery and softness. It was late September and the fall color in this northern region was well underway. It was cold! The painting above was created by taking elements from three separate photos. I wanted to have a few of the Cornell buildings poking through the mist at the top of the hill because I knew I wanted to title this "Above Cayuga's Waters" and that is from a line of the Cornell alma mater. I wanted a sense of the cold with the warm light of the sun promising warmth. I did several sketches before starting work on this as well as "Daybreak on the Inlet", 20x16 oil on panel pictured below. In the latter I chose to depict just one of the sailboats moored at this small marina. The single vessel seemed more significant in the moment depicted. I also experimented with a very heavy texturing of the panel in this one and I liked it!

     Both of these paintings are currently on exhibit in a Washington Society of Landscape Painters exhibit "A Passion for Landscape" which is at The National Institutes of Health ( NIH) in Bethesda MD until January 3rd. I have four paintings in this show and you can view the exhibit by going to the WSLP website and hit exhibits on the menu.www.wslp.org

"Daybreak on the Inlet", 20x16 oil on panel

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The American Artist's Professional Leagues 86th Grand National

"Leaving the Inlet" 18x24 oil on panel

      The annual Grand National Exhibit sponsored by the American Artist's Professional League (AAPL) is a show I look forward to entering every year. I am happy to be participating for a fourth year in a row and my painting "Leaving the Inlet" is my contribution to this year's exhibit. The show opened on Monday and runs until November 21st in the Main Gallery of the Salmagundi Club at 47 5th Avenue NYC. You can view all the works in this show (and they are impressive!) at the AAPL website www.americanartistsprofessionalleague.org.
      The painting depicts dawn on the inlet leading from the Cornell University Boat House on lake Cayuga in Ithaca New York. The sail boats are heading from their inlet moorings out to the wide waters of the lake. I was on the crew coach's launch following these boats out the inlet to view crew races. The sky was magnificent!

       Yesterday I created a business page on Facebook and if you are a FB follower I hope you will visit the page and take a moment to like it, if you do :-) and leave comments on the posts. Feedback is always helpful.  I will be posting paintings, plein air experiences and exhibit announcements there.
Here is the link...www.facebook.com/jeanschwartzstudio I hope to see you there!
Website: www.jeanschwartzpaintings.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wisconsin and M, Georgetown

"Wisconsin and M, Georgetown" 10x10 oil on panel

       I painted this little painting over the weekend using the same process I detailed in my last post. You might find it easier to see what I meant by the spots of color coming together to create the vehicles. They are not drawn beforehand. It works better for me if I lay down the dark colors and then the light ones where I see them forming the correct image. They are really quite loose and it is the placement of the bright splashes of light reflecting on them that gives the sense of realism.
      In the road a good deal of my under painting shows through and that helps keep the expanse of road in front of the approaching car from being too flat and poster like. That is fine if that is the style you are going for but that is not what I am after in my own work.

       I think I am gaining enough confidence to attempt some much larger paintings than I have been doing.  I may discover that the smaller format works best for me but I want to find out. More to come!
          Here is the little on site sketch executed in ballpoint in my 4x6 sketchbook

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Devil is in the Details

"Cloudburst on Pennsylvania Avenue, 12x24 oil on panel
     This is the final version after I repaired the scratches suffered when the painting fell from the easel. Twice!  It is also a more accurate photo so far as the color is concerned. By the way, I now wad up some tape and attach it to the back of the panel, pressing it against the easel as clumsy artist protection.

      I have been asked by several people to describe my process for painting such a detailed cityscape.  There is the word I want to talk about. The painting is detailed but then it isn't really. I will come back to that and explain.
       Other questions; Do I do a detailed drawing on the panel first, do I use photos, is this plein air? No, yes and sort of. I do an on site drawing in a small 4x6 inch sketchbook which gives me a lot of freedom to walk around looking for images for paintings. Before I head out I scale rectangles on the sketchbook pages using an architects rule to accurately reduce the size and shape corresponding to the panels or canvas I plan to paint on. Then  when something inspires me I draw the image in the rectangle corresponding to the shape I think it would look best in. My favorite drawing tool for these sketches is a ballpoint pen because they are fluid and great for continuous line drawings. I generally carry both a fine and a medium point pen.
      I take digital photos for references that my quick sketch can't provide.  Also in the field the camera is handy in the following way....For the painting above I used a photo taken from further back down the avenue near the National Gallery. On site I zoomed in on the photo to find the best composition and then moved up the street closer to my chosen image, stood in the broad crossing median Pennsylvania Avenue provides and scrawled out my sketch very quickly. Besides this process I sometime do small plein air paintings and then use them as studies for the larger paintings. That is for days I plan to stay in one spot.
      Back in the studio I often do a color study in another, larger sketchbook using oil on paper. I did not do that for this painting.

        So back to DETAIL.  How much detail? I ask myself that at the start. For me, if I am doing a well known place such as Pennsylvania Avenue , I feel there should be enough detail so the important buildings are recognizable but not so much that they become architectural renderings. I do not use straight edges. I will rest a yard stick on the top of the painting to support my arm (like a mal stick) and paint my edges freehand. I prefer the edges to be soft rather than hard. I eliminate details that are not important. Windows should follow the perspective but you will notice they are not detailed. The busy traffic beyond the foreground vehicles are really splashes of paint dominated by bright headlights. Enlarge the image and you will see what I mean. This painting is about a moment on Pennsylvania Avenue and it is really the atmosphere, the light in the sky, the sparkling traffic lights and the reflections on the wet pavement all combining to create a special moment that can be related to emotionally.
        I should mention it was not raining that day but I knew that is how I wanted to paint it. I studied traffic on rainy days here in McLean to know how to paint lights reflecting on wet pavement in the evening.

        Lastly, I did not take progress photos of this painting but if you go to the menu on the right and go back to 2011 ( September and October) you can see the progress on another cityscape "5th and Waverly". The painting above was created the same way starting with the same color toned panel and major forms blocked in with a mid value, neutral color.
      I hope this helps! If Blogger doesn't mess me up I will now upload a photo of that little 4x6 sketch made on site.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Another Pennsylvania Ave. Painting

"After the Cloud Burst, Pennsylvania Ave." 12x24 oil on panel
      I am still hooked on cityscapes and particularly enamored with Pennsylvania Avenue.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other great subjects in DC but I just love the buildings along this thoroughfare and also the gorgeous sunsets when facing in this direction or the beautiful morning light when facing the Capitol.  This one is not quite complete.  I have some little things to touch up and add (such as a forgotten lamppost) but mostly I have some repairing to do.  Yup, I did it again. This one took not one but two tumbles from the easel and I was so thankful that I painted on a panel and not canvas.  Mercifully I had just moved my palette to my other studio easel or this one would have been a mess. I'm a klutz, what can I say.  The damage is some scratching which might be problematic in the dark areas but I am not too worried.
     This one is busier than most of my city paintings but if you look closely you will see that most of the traffic is a lot of squiggles and splashes.  Oh, how I love lights on wet pavement! If I had my way the roads in my paintings would always be wet.  Well, I do have my way so expect a lot of wet pavement in the future:)
      As I was painting this one I found myself thinking of my days as an abstract artist and my transition to representational art.  I was thinking about composition and my feelings about details as in " the devil is in them". I would like to post about this when I get back in town as I am beginning to understand something about my paintings.
      Thanks for reading and I will be back soon!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September Evening, Rosslyn

"September Evening, Rosslyn", 12x9 oil on linen panel

      Small Works exhibits are on the horizon and besides my plein air paintings to choose from I like to use these shows as an opportunity to try out new approaches and ideas.  We have been having some beautiful evenings with color saturated atmosphere almost too intense to make a good painting.  I decided to attempt a painting where I pushed the color as close to what I was experiencing as I could without becoming garish. It is not as easy as you think.  I suppose for some I have already pushed it too far.  In any case I am pleased with this little painting of one of my favorite views.  I am looking across the Potomac from a boat house on the DC shore to Rosslyn Virginia on the other side.  Long time readers will recognize this scene as I have painted it several times in different seasons. I have to say that September is the month that provides the most memorable moments for me there.

      I have been asked whether or not I tone my canvases and if so, what color do I prefer.  The answer is yes, I prefer to paint on toned canvas or panels but I do paint on white when I am doing a very high key painting.  I tend not to do many of them as you probably already know.  The color I use depends on the weather, time of year or just plain whim.  When painting evening/nocturne paintings I tend to use ochre mixed with a bit of purple to dull the yellow a little.  Actually, the three colors I use in various combinations are ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and yellow ochre.  The painting above was painted on a mauve color created by a combination of those three colors.  For bright day paintings, particularly in the summer, I use just a wash of cadmium orange on the white panel.  I let some of it show through to enhance the feeling of sunlight. It is fun to experiment with underpaintings!

     "September Evening, Rosslyn" is one of four paintings I will have on exhibit at American Paintings Fine Art for the annual Small Treasures there.  I will announce dates soon and will post the pieces I will exhibit.
 "Timeless Traditions, Today's Landscapes" at Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD. October 8th through November 1st.
   American Artists Professional League 86th Grand National Exhibit, at the Salmagundi Club, NYC from
November 10th to November 21st
       More information about those will follow in future posts.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Change of Pace

"Morning Light on the  C&O Canal, 12x16 oil on linen panel
      I mentioned in my last post that I hadn't been out painting as much as I usually am at this time of year and was spending a lot of time on cityscapes painted in my studio. Sure, I have been out with my sketchbooks but not with my full plein air gear. Last Sunday I was! I joined fellow members of The Washington Society of Landscape Painters at Great Falls Park in Maryland. In spite of the ominous forecast a large number of us showed up and we were glad we did as we were treated to a beautiful, sunny morning with a soothing breeze.
      I paint very often in Great Falls Park on the Virginia side and this was my first outing in the same park on the opposite side of the Potomac. Magnificent views of both the falls and the C&O Canal! I had a hard time deciding what to paint but the comfort of this spot won out. I was in the shade enjoying the breeze and the sound of the falls and the water rushing through the lock. Heaven! It is definitely time to get back to more plein air painting!
      The color in this photo is somewhat over saturated. For instance in the original the yellow of the path is more Naples Yellow than Cadmium which is to say more golden in hue. This is the painting as I finished it on Sunday and I will be making some minor adjustments. It is a keeper and I will be framing it for sale.

      On the easel in the studio right now is a new cityscape of Pennsylvania Avenue after an evening rain shower.  It is almost finished so it will probably be my next post. There are a lot of shows coming up this fall and I want to have plenty of paintings to choose from. The first exhibit will be in October at Black Rock Center for the Arts in Gaithersburg Maryland. I'll give more show information in a later post.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer in the City

"Morning Coffee at Ollie's" 12x24 oil on panel

    August is my favorite month in DC. Everyone is on vacation and the City empties out. Granted, there is an influx of tourists but most of them are not driving and looking for parking spaces. The painting pictured here was completed this afternoon and I think I might leave it alone for now. The scene is the corner of 12th and E Streets NW just a block up from Pennsylvania Ave. I had been making my way up Pennsylvania from the National Gallery stopping to sketch along the way and decided to stop and sketch Ollie's Trolley which is a longtime, popular Washington eatery. The scene is a little complicated but I thought the challenge would be fun. This photo is right out of the camera and needs some color adjustment and brightening. The yellow in the photo is too strong as are the purple tones. I'll do more photos tomorrow when the light is bright in the studio.

      I have already started my next painting which will be of Pennsylvania Ave. after an evening rain. I feel like playing with lights and reflections again. Much fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Still Loving Cityscapes

"Market Street Lights Philadelphia" 16x20 oil on linen panel

      I am surprised it has been so long between posts but then I am also surprised with how rapidly this summer is going by. This is one of the loveliest summers I can remember! Odd then that I am not out painting the landscape everyday. Nope, I have been focusing on cities. I have, however, spent some great days in downtown DC with sketchbooks and camera. I will be heading back with my pochade box but doing quick sketches allows me to cover more ground and decide where to head with my easel. Besides DC, I just completed a trio of paintings based on iPhone photos taken in December while driving out of Philly. My last post was about the first of these. This one is the third in the trilogy. I had trouble uploading the second one but will give it another go at the end of this post.
      The photo above is straight out of the camera but I was surprised to see my accurate image appear a little more yellow when uploading from. Picasa. In any case, the lighting is a little rosier in the original.
       I have banished my 15th Street painting as well as the 12th street one that followed. Sometimes you just need to know when it is never going to work and quit! Today. I worked on drawings and a color study for another 12th Street painting. The format is 12 x24 and is a rather complicated view. I hope I can pull it off. Whether I do or not it is still good to be stretching!
      So here goes another attempt at uploading painting # 2.  Ah! There it is :-) Blogger won't allow an enlargement or title.  The title is "Rush Hour on 21st Sreet" and it is 12x12 oil on linen panel.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leaving My Comfort Zone

"Leaving Philly" 11x14 oil on panel

    I have been carrying this image in my head since the winter. In December when my husband and I were driving home from Philadelphia we experienced a beautiful sunset against which the jewel toned colors of the lights sparkled. I took several quick photos with my iPhone while sitting in traffic. What drew me to this particular scene was the purple blue of the illuminated industrial buildings in the distance against the warm tones of the sky, the curve of sparkling car lights and the twinkle of lights from the open work of the complex directly ahead.  I have never painted anything like this and I wasn't sure if I could.

     I became stuck nearing the finish on my 15th Street painting and decided it needed some closet time. I am not sure why this image flashed into my mind again but I suddenly had an urge to give it a go. I had a good panel at the ready which had already been toned with a mix of ochre and purple which I find a good base for nocturnes.  So, I did a quick color study in my sketchbook and liked what I saw. I went right to work using that study and my iPhone photo as a reference. I finished it quickly and am quite pleased with it. I was in new territory and felt happy that I was able to pull it off considering I hadn't had the confidence to attempt it before. The image may not appeal to many due to the subject matter but I will be framing it and will look for an opportunity to show it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

In Progress; "July Evening on H St."

"July Evening on H Street" 16x20 oil on linen panel
      This is what is currently on my easel and it is nearing completion. I apologize for the poor photo quality but it was taken in the dimming light and I have not edited it. We are having yet another evening thunder storm and I think we can safely label this monsoon season. It sure is wet out there! As I am typing this I am aware that the rain has ceased and we are experiencing the same lovely golden glow in the sky that I have pictured here. Mother Nature is being generous :-) We get to enjoy a sunny day, get a good dousing to keep things fresh and green and then are treated to a light show. This painting was inspired by this July weather. I have been in the mood to paint another cityscape so I chose H Street looking west as my subject rather than a landscape.

        Soon this view will be dated. Art historians ( Should I be so fortunate) will be able to date the painting as being pre H Street trolley. This deduction will be due to the fact that running down the center of H Street will be the new, bright red trolleys which are being delivered this month. I will have to do another painting of the same location when they are up and running. I think they will be a wonderful subject!

ON EXHIBIT: " The Noble Nocturne" www.salmagundi.org
                         " Images of Washington DC 2014" www.classicamericanpainting.com

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Noble Nocturne Exhibit

"At Rest" 10x20 oil on panel
      I am still loving nocturnes! Here is another take on the subject where the light of the moon is present but not the moon itself.  In preparation for this one I textured the panel rather heavily which gives a subtle movement to the atmosphere in this quiet painting. This one has been juried into the Noble Nocturne Exhibit at the Salmagundi Club at 47 5th Ave. NYC. The show runs from July 14th to July 25th in the newly renovated Main Gallery. The artist reception will be the evening of Friday, July 18th and a special live nocturne painting demo will be given by artist member Anne Kullaf at 9:00 PM.
       Also accepted for this show is my painting from the last post which seems to have been blocked for some reason. I have changed the title to " When the Clouds Parted" and I will upload it again for this post. Please visit the Salmagundi atwww.salmagundi.org I know all the paintings in this beautiful show will be uploaded soon.

        On the easel; Another cityscape and this one is an evening painting. It is almost finished so I will post soon!

"When the Clouds Parted" 12x16 oil on linen panel

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Full Moon Cycle = Another Nocturne!

"Timeless" 12x16 oil on linen panel
      I love nocturnes! I think I will be producing a number of them this year. This one was inspired by our current full moon cycle but rather than paint last night's sky as seen over and through the trees I combined what I saw with what I know. I transported myself to the beach in front of our house on the Outer Banks of NC and painted this scene that I have experienced many times. It is breathtaking to be surrounded with such a sky combined with the sound and scent of the ocean.
     I talked about the many variations of color in the night sky in the post about my Kennedy Center nocturne and in this painting I grayed the sky more and let some of the mauve underpainting show through.  The atmosphere is different at the beach than in a city. I intend to explore all of it

      Today I was supposed to meet friends at 9:00 AM to paint at a local rose garden but I wasn't feeling well so I had to cancel. I am glad I felt well enough to work in the studio and paint this nocturne and then the little still life study below. There are some similarities in painting cloudy nocturnes and painting silver. It was fun and used up the paint remaining on my palette.
"Silver and White" 8x8 oil on linen panel

      ON EXHIBIT:     This Saturday "Images of Washington" opens at American Painting Fine Art  in DC. This is a Washington Society of Landscape Painters exhibit and runs from June 14th to September 27th. I will have four paintings in this show and all have been posted here. You can scroll back over the last couple of months to see them in progress. The paintings are "Cafe du Parc", "Lunch in Lafayette Square", "Cafe La Ruche" and "Kennedy Center  Nocturne"
        Thanks for dropping in!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Memorial Day Sunset

"Memorial Day Sunset" 8x10 oil on panel

      Last night was a super windy one but we were treated to a beautiful sunset here on the Outer Banks. I had my tripod and pochade box all set up on the deck and just waited for the moment to start. This was painted very quickly between 7:00 and 8:00 PM. I had to hold on to the lid of the box to keep the panel from rattling back and forth due to the heavy winds. I laughed at myself when I came indoors because I could have stood in the bedroom window and painted in comfort. For some reason I felt I had to persevere outdoors. I am really not that much of a purist.
      Except for picking out some "stuff" the wind plastered in the titanium white I don't plan on retouching this. I would rather preserve the spontaneity warts and all.  I used to paint a lot of sunsets but haven't done one in a while and it was fun. They are great for loosening up because all you can do is capture the essence of it and move the paint around intuitively. The light and cloud movement changes much too quickly.

      Here is my set up. I am a little sorry I didn't paint in the flag as I did in the painting I posted from that spot earlier. Adjusting the red and blue would have been interesting!

Silver and Blue

"Silver Sky" 6x12 oil on panel
      I had inserted an image of this painting at the end of my last post but apparently Blogger feels two images per post are all I get to be able to work with. I painted this one standing in the same place (our west facing deck) as I stood to paint my flag painting. I decided to eliminate the foreground trees so that this painting would be all about the sky and it's reflected color on the Sound. The green would have interrupted all that silver and blue.The clouds were wonderful! Large, shimmery and fast moving. I love watching huge cloud formations moving over a body of water and I find the light and reflections entertaining to paint.
      The photos from this post are from my iPad as this time the colors were closer to the original than those I took with my camera. It is strange how that happens sometimes. The light here is so intense that I find those from my camera a bit bleached out. If I could upload them on my computer I would be able to make some adjustments with Photo Shop to come closer to the original work. If I were a better photographer this wouldn't be an issue.

       Well, I should not have complained about Blogger because now I can only work with one image. I can't enlarge or caption the photo below but I can tell you that this is what I spent yesterday morning painting.  The painting "The Beach at Palmer's Island" was almost finished when I took this photo. What you can't see was what a windy day it was! Since this 8x16 canvas was too large for  my cigar box pochade I had it well taped to the lid of the box. I set my tripod low and sat while painting as this gear is light weight and I wanted to minimize the possibility of it blowing over. I was comfortable and protected from the sun by my beach umbrella and was happy to have so many orange and red umbrellas on the beach to paint. As I was thinking that suddenly an umbrella that was being put up inverted and practically yanked its owner off his feet. In the next second my umbrella was pulled out of the sand by the wind and I chased it while it tumbled toward the ocean! When I returned with it I was greeted by an upturned brush holder and all my brushes were loaded with sand. Plein Air is not without its perils :-)

Add caption

      Last evening we had a beautiful sunset and I was able to paint it from that same west facing deck mentioned above. I will post that in my next entry. I have to say the extreme winds made that one more of a challenge than this even with the relative shelter of the house.
       All in all a lovely Memorial Day and I hope yours was a peaceful one!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Morning and Afternoon on Currituck Sound

"Memorial Day Weekend on Currituck Sound" 8x10 oil on canvas
      We're back on the Outer Banks! The weather is spectacular, the ocean is warm and I intend to take maximum advantage of both. I spent the day painting and chose to focus on the Sound today because dramatic clouds were floating over it as opposed to the cloudless blue over the ocean. It truly is a blue and white world here on the Banks. Lucky for me that it is my favorite color and if you look around my studio you could say it is my signature color. Today, however I had the pleasure of adding the rich red from our flag to the view. It is our tradition on this weekend to place a flag on the oceanside deck as well as the sound side one. Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of summer and the colorful beach umbrellas dotting the beach will provide inspiration tomorrow.

The painting in progress

     I am working off my iPad down here and don't have any editing apps to help my images so I apologize for the straight from the camera quality which is a little dark.
     I mentioned my love of blue and thought you might like to know which ones are on my palette. I always put out ultramarine, cerulean and cobalt turquoise. When at the beach I add indigo and Paynes gray. The latter two when mixed with cadmium yellow make a wonderful rich, dark green. I don't like to use tube greens so you will find my palette lined on one side with my blues and one side with my
reds and yellows and the top center is for white. My reds today were alizarin and vermilion and my yellows were cad lemon, and cad yellow light. Since I had forgotten to bring ochre I mixed a little of red oxide with the two yellows to come up with a rich, dark yellow.

Monday, May 19, 2014

"Kennedy Center Nocturne"

"Kennedy Center Nocturne" 10x20 oil on linen panel
      Above is the finished painting that I had showed you while it was in progress. The photo in my last post was taken with my iPad and the red tones were stronger than in the actual painting. This photo was taken with my Nikon and is far more accurate. I find it very difficult to photograph nocturnes. The light has to be just right and the painting angled in such a way that a glare off the dark surface is not picked up. I guess there is as much trial and error involved in photographing these works as there is in painting them.

      There is a lot of variation in the night sky. I think painting without the light of the moon more difficult than painting moonlight. Clouds help. During a full moon in April I was studying the sky from my bedroom window. There were large cumulus clouds that the moonlight reflected off making the landscape surprisingly bright and there were a lot of cast shadows. It occurred to me that it would be like painting a sunny day painting but with a subdued, lower key palette. So, the next day I tried out that theory using my familiar farmhouse scene which I can paint from memory. It was quite easy.
Here is that little painting.
"Farmhouse Nocturne" 6x8 oil on panel
      Some night skies are inky blue, some ( like in my painting above) have a greenish tint and I find that when in the city the night sky seems more purple in contrast to the city lights. Since I live so near to the city I am also aware of the sometimes rosy and sometimes purplish light that reflects low in the sky and that I can see above the trees when I look toward DC. I added that light in the Kennedy Center painting near the horizon.
      We will be heading to the Outer Banks this week and I am disappointed that there will not be a full moon. It will be in its last quarter on Wednesday and I don't think there will be enough light cast on the ocean. Maybe next time.

LAST WEEK FOR THE MASTERS EXHIBIT www.salmagundi.org.  This is a beautiful show in the newly restored main gallery. The Club is at 47 5th Ave. NYC. My painting "Different Paths" is in this show.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Finished Painting and a New Interest

"Lunchtime in Lafayette Square" 16x20 oil on panel
     I never posted the finished version of "Lunchtime in Washington Square" that  I had been writing about. Actually, it has been finished for a while now but as you can see by the date of my last post I have not been blogging in some time. I also haven't updated my website, nor have I posted in the various artist groups I participate with on Facebook. I have needed to ignore whatever I can to find enough time to paint. I am now ready for the June show at American Paintings Fine Art in DC. Frames just arrived today and I am looking forward to starting that part of the job!

    Besides painting I have been studying. I have become very interested in nocturnes and have been absorbing all I can on the subject. The American Tonalists provide a lot of inspiration. I have posted some of my own nocturnes here in the past but they have been few and far between. Please keep
checking in as I promise to be posting my efforts in that genre.
      Here is one I am working on now. In February I posted a photo of my painting in progress along the banks of the Potomac on a very mild winter day. I used that little plein air painting as the study for this 10x20 nocturne of the same view of the Kennedy Center. I need to work on the trees and shrub in the foreground and add the lights to the bridge which will be reflected in the water. It has come along rather quickly and I am already looking forward to the next one!

Untitled Nocturne in progress, 10x20 oil on linen panel
      ON EXHIBIT:   THE SALMAGUNDI MASTERS EXHIBIT, until May 22nd in the newly renovated Main Gallery of the Salmagundi Club NYC.  "Different  Paths" (18x24 oil on panel) has been held over from the Annual Members Show for this special exhibit. I am getting a lot of mileage out of that painting :-)  www.salmagundi.org

Friday, April 25, 2014

Painting From The Banks Of The Potomac

"April at Violette's Locke" 10x20 oil on linen panel ( in progress)
     Yesterday was a beauty! How fortunate that it was also the day I was planning on meeting friends from the Washington Society of Landscape Painters at , what was for me, a new location on the banks of the Potomac and C&O Canal, Violette's Locke.  This is my new favorite place on my favorite river!  There were so many inspiring views to choose from. Broad views of the Potomac from high ground, views of the Canal and tow path and Locke #21, as well as small rocky beaches along the river. I chose the latter.
      I spent at least 15 minutes turning left and right trying to decide whether to paint the downriver view or upriver. Upriver had the advantage of a small waterfall, more rapid water and fallen timber. However, downriver meant my easel and palette would be out of the sun and also provided an enticing movement of water around rocks and the island between my location and the broader river. With such brilliant light I decided to save my eyes and take the downriver view. I was very happy with my choice. The sound of the rushing water was so soothing!
       There is very little left to do on this painting. I want to lower the tree line on the opposite side of the river and perhaps cool it down a little. The foreground greens need more yellow. In that bright light they seemed light enough but in the studio I felt just a few strokes of yellow here and there would be good. That will be all. I would like to return here soon!

      Here is another plein air painting of the Potomac. This one was painted last July at Great Falls. I have just varnished this one. I really like the long horizontal panels for my river paintings.

" The Great Falls of the Potomac" 12x24 oil on panel

Saturday, April 19, 2014

More Progress on "Lafayette Square"

"Lafayette Square" 16x20 oil on panel ( in progress)

     Above is the most recent incarnation of my latest studio painting. I have been posting the progress of this one and that progress has been slow! I need to paint it while I have good natural light in the studio so I put it aside while we endured heavy rain and dark skies. The last two days have been sunny but quite cool so I am glad to be in the studio listening to music and getting back to work on this.
      The Eisenhower Executive Office building is a bugger to paint! I want it to read accurately but not be overly detailed as it would not then suit the painting. Tomorrow I will be painting parts of it out and trying again.  I will be adding more figures in the background and will have to decide whether or not to paint back in the figures I had sitting at the base of the monument.
       I am eager to move on and I hope the weather cooperates because I am counting on a painting excursion on the other side of the Poromac with friends on Thursday. I am a warm weather plein air painter :-)
        Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all of you who celebrate them!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"The Silver Creamer"

"The Silver Creamer" 8x8 oil on clear primed linen
     I painted this little study from life yesterday in my studio. It was a cold, windy, rainy, snowy, complete yuck of a day!  I didn't want to continue work on "Lafayette Square" under studio lights so after a house cleaning frenzy, which included polishing silver, I had a sudden inspiration.  Instead of cursing the care of these family heirlooms I decided to give them new life as subjects for some paintings. I love painting reflective surfaces, hence so many landscapes featuring water, so why not paint silver and other shiny "stuff" around the house when confined to quarters. I had a great time with this!

     I have painted only four still life paintings and probably as many figurative ones. It is clear where my passion lies. I want to be outdoors and I want to paint what I experience there. Still, I was aware yesterday of all that can be learned from painting objects and the same can be said for people and animals. I think such work might enhance my landscapes and keep me from getting stale. So why didn't I do this during the winter? Well,  I am sure there will be plenty of rainy days and blistering hot ones so stay tuned.

If you would like to see more of my very few other still life, people and animal paintings please visit my website www.jeanschwartzpaintings.com. and click "People and Things" on the menu. You may recognize this same creamer in the painting "Jesse Waiting". I hope you enjoy the visit!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cherry and Daffodils

"Cherry and Daffodils" 12x12 oil on canvas
      Here is the finished painting you saw in my last post while it was being painted from my rear deck last Saturday. I had begun the painting around 4:30 and worked until 6:15 so I could get that late afternoon golden light. I felt I needed that as a foil to all the pink and blue and it would also accent the yellow of my daffodils under the tree. I was lucky this year as the light was just what I ordered. I have made painting this cherry an annual event and this is year three. My previous efforts are what led me to want either an early morning or late afternoon painting. Both of those times illuminate the tree in a beautiful way. I finished this yesterday and I am pleased with it. Last year's effort was a failure and was painted over. The year before was successful and it sold.

       This is the first plein air painting I have done on stretched canvas right out of the wrapper. I usually paint on primed panels that I have added a layer of gesso to followed by an underpainting of various colors. I had set up to paint on a 12x16 panel underpainted with yellow ochre when I realized what I wanted was a square. The only squares I had in the studio were the white canvas ones and all were still in their wrappers. So be it! Happily the paint set up well on the canvas by which I mean it didn't sink into the surface and look dull as it dried. The only adjustment I made was to cover the surface well and not let the white of the surface come through. Usually I want the surface color to show through in places having chosen the underpainting for that purpose.

Check out the Annual Members show at the Salmagundi along with our magnificent new gallery;
www.salmagundi.org. Also my website (which needs an update AGAIN) www.jeanschwartzpaintings.com

Monday, April 14, 2014


"The Lover's Pool" Dumbarton Oaks, 30x24 oil on linen

      This weekend was spectacular! All the more so because it was a brief gift and we are heading into rain and cooler temperatures. I crammed as much into the two days as I could and the only time I spent indoors was at the end of the day. I rode my horse, painted outdoors and visited my favorite garden, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. For those of you not familiar with Washington DC Georgetown is one of the oldest sections of the city and it is filled with wonderful Federal style homes and some of the finest gardens in the country.

      The painting above was painted a couple of years ago and it depicts a very charming corner of the garden. I remember that day well and while I was photographing the pool there were children running up and down the hill, people strolling around the pool but there was one figure that stood out. That was the man sitting by himself quietly contemplating the pool. Stories about him ran through my head and I knew this was to be a painting. Yesterday I was surprised to find the pool drained of water and some strange black, vertical fixtures sticking up from the floor. I was disappointed but something interesting is going to occur there. In May there will be a Landscape Symposium held at the garden and sound and scent will be added to this area. I don't know if that will be permanent but I will go back to experience it.

        I never did make it to the Tidal Basin for the cherries but Cherry Hill at Dumbarton Oaks and my very own cherry provided plenty of pleasure and inspiration. Tourist season is in full swing and the traffic and parking situation was crazy. The line to get into Dumbarton Oaks was down the block and in all the years I have lived here this is the first time I have experienced that.
       I did, however, do my annual cherry tree painting. This year I chose to paint from a rear deck so I could be right up in the tree. Below is a photo of the painting in progress and I will finish it from the same spot this afternoon. I came home too late yesterday to finish it. I am tired and sunburned but ready for more Spring painting! If you would like to see more of Dumbarton Oaks here is a link

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Second Post for "Lafayette Square"

"Lafayette Square" 16x20 in progress
      Here is the latest incarnation of "Lafayette Square" after I worked on it yesterday afternoon. If you compare it to the last post you can see at least one of the figures I have decided on (selected from the sketchbook figures I showed you) and can also see I have painted out another. I made a few minor alterations around the painting and quit before having to turn on the studio lights. I had gotten a late start because yesterday and this weekend are going to be outdoor days for me. The weather is spectacular and Spring has arrived in full force, bursting out as soon as the temperatures soared into the 70's and 80's.

       I get really excited in the spring and the ephemeral aspect of it instills a sense of urgency in me. I don't know where to go first! Fortunately I don't have to go far and I have worked out a plan for the next few days. Today,after giving my mare Gypsy her first bath of the season, I will come home and paint in my rear garden where I will be standing under a canopy of pink and white blossoms. My cherry and pear trees are huge, mature trees and are truly magnificent. The pears have grown in such a way that they form a large Gothic arch where the converge. This is my favorite season, I am so inspired by it, however, I find it ironic that it is the most difficult one for me to paint. I have only done one cherry tree painting that has pleased me. Still, each year I rise to the challenge and Mother Nature is giving us warmth and sun this year to make that possible.

      I believe everywhere is beautiful in the spring but I must say that Washington DC is particularly so during this season. Tomorrow I will head to the Tidal Basin to photograph our world famous cherry trees. Traffic will be insane but it will be worth it. By Tuesday they will be gone as we are expected to have wind, rain and cold. That said I feel compelled to squeeze in a trip to my favorite garden in DC, Dumbarton Oaks. That will be on Monday and the forsythia display there is unique and stunning. I had better check my yellow paint supply!

     I will leave you with another page from my sketchbook. I had stone masons working in the rear garden this week replacing a retaining wall beneath the cherry tree. It was a nice opportunity to add to my "figures for paintings" collection. These men were true artisans and the stone wall they built is a beauty.
       PS. Do check the Salmagundi website as photos of all the paintings in the Annual Member Exhibit are now posted. The new main gallery is complete and it honestly is one of the finest galleries I have seen. The state of the art lighting system is impressive.! www.salmagundi.org

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Lafayette Square" in Progress

"Lafayette Square" 16x20 oil on panel

       The image above is the beginning of my most recent studio painting. I started it a couple of days ago and have only worked on it a couple of hours at a time. This is the struggle period and I am still changing a lot of things. There is a great deal of the peachy colored under painting showing through and it is not helping me at this point. I will be better able to proceed when I get that rather orange patch on the right worked over. I am concentrating mostly on the light and shadow right now and getting the scale relationships worked out.

        I conceived this painting last September while on one of my sketching and photo taking walks downtown. Lafayette Square is the park directly across from the front of the White House. The huge Second Empire building in the painting is the Old Executive Office Building ( now called the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) and it is to the right of the White House. Mark Twain once called it the ugliest building in America. I don't know about that but I can tell you it is a complicated one to paint. I must be careful not to get pulled into the details of it!

       The time of year is September and the oppressive heat and humidity of the summer have begun to lift making the sky appear an aqua blue and the light, still filtered by the atmosphere, bathing the city in a warm, golden glow. That is why I chose such a warm color for the underpainting.  I have roughly sketched in some figures and I will be choosing those figures from my quick sketches of people downtown. Below is a page of those "city people" sketches. Check back in a couple of days to see which ones I choose.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Different Paths" Is On The Road Again

"Different Paths" 18x24 oil on panel

      Yesterday the Salmagundi Club's Annual Members Exhibit opened at the Club located at 47 5th Avenue in NYC. I am really happy to have it selected for this important show! This is the third time this painting has been exhibited and although the purpose is to sell it I must say I am always happy to have it return home. If it doesn't sell this time I am seriously considering keeping it for my own collection.
       If you go back to January 2012 you can read my blog post about painting "Different Paths". I began it at 5:00 AM on Inauguration Day morning and just kept going. I would like to do more paintings like this but I find they are few and far between. There are some that are simply inspired by a moment and need to be painted in the moment. For me there is a poetry in that and these are the ones that speak the loudest to me. The vast majority of my paintings are hard fought and I find great purpose in that. That hard work is what allows me to occasionally paint a painting that truly pleases me.  That said, it is back to the struggle.

      If you are unfamiliar with New York City lower 5th Avenue is located in my favorite neighborhood in that city, Greenwich Village. The Avenue ends at Washington Square Park the main entrance to which is dominated by a large arch.  The Salmagundi Club is located in one of the last remaining 19th century Brownstone mansions close to that park. It is a beauty! This year the members show will be hung on the first two floors of the mansion, filling the rooms instead of the main gallery. To read more you can go to www.salmagundi.org and click on "A House of Art" on the main page. You can also take a virtual tour of this historic building which has been dedicated to American Art since 1917.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

An Historic Day!

"Daybreak on the Inlet" 20x16 oil on panel

      I titled this post "An Historic Day" because the annual Washington Society of Landscape Painters banquet brought together three of this country's oldest art clubs.  The banquet was held at the beautiful and venerable Arts Club of Washington which is housed in the mansion that President Monroe resided in on I Street in downtown DC.  The Washington Society of Landscape Painters, of which I am a member, is now 101 years old.  A number of us also belong to the 143 year old Salmagundi Club located on 5th Avenue in New York City. Therefore, the speaker invited to the banquet was none other than the Chairman of the Board of the Salmagundi Club, Tim Newton.  Tim is an avid collector and talked about art from the collectors point of view. His talk was informative and engaging and he also brought with him some of the wonderful paintings he has collected by American Masters.  We all had so many questions that we had Tim going on longer than he intended and honestly we would have enjoyed hearing even more.!

      It was a party!  This group has a good time together.  One of the highlights was the song written for the WSLP by member Andrei Kushnir. The song has a line about each of our 40 members and he sang it accompanying himself on the guitar.  It was creative and amusing!  We were all enjoying ourselves so much that when the banquet was over we realized none of us had taken photos.  I wanted something that I could post.  So, as we were leaving artist Hiu Lai Chong took a selfie of herself with WSLP President Daniel Wise, Tim Newton and me outside the Washington Arts Club.  Hey, selfies are the in thing. The clubs may be old but we're not :-)
left to right: Hiu Lai Chong, Tim Newton, Daniel Wise and Me

www.wslp.org   www.salmagundi.org    www.artsclubofwashington.org