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 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

Friday, March 21, 2014

The last painting from the Outer Banks

" Quieting Down" 11x14 oil on panel
      When I say the last painting from the outer Banks I mean from this trip. Actually I hadn't planned to paint today since there was so much to do both on the house and preparing to go home. Thanks to the spectacular N'or Easter I spent more time painting than fixing things because most of that work was outdoors. However we did make good progress indoors and the rest can wait until April. I was thrilled with all the extra time to paint and filled all the panels I had brought down.

      This little painting today really should have been a larger painting. It will act as my study for something larger but I would be happier painting it here rather than in McLean. I forgot,to take a photo so this study will have to do. The waters edge is too consistent and I would like to vary it a little more when I get back to the studio. Yesterday's 10x20 will have to stay here as it is not dry enough to travel and I don't have a wet paint carrier for it. It will be dry when we return and I can bubble wrap it for the trip home.  I had a terrible time photographing it. My camera made it look washed out and milky no matter what setting I used ! It is a clear, higher res image but the color needs to be darkened and the contrast increased. I will photoshop it at home. The iPad image was much more accurate but the color was not right. There was too much purple tone. Still I chose that for yesterday's post because it was the stronger image.  Clearly it is time to address my photo skills and the abilities of my existing Nikon.

      I wish there were more interest in Washington for beach scenes but they tend to be a hard sell. I would do better to find a gallery down here for that work.
      We leave for home early tomorrow and I will be hitting the ground running! Sunday is the awards banquet for the Washington Society of Landscape Painters and it will be held at the historic Washington Arts Club. Tim Newton, the Chairman of the Board at the Salmagundi Club in NYC will be our speaker. A number of us are also members of that beautiful institution and I look forward to what he has to say. Also the Salmagundi Annual Members exhibit opens on Wednesday March 26th so I will post information about that soon.

     Tuesday we are supposed to get slammed with a whopper Nor'easter and I so wish we didn't have to miss it! Particularly since the same storm is bringing us snow back home :-(  Oh well, I will change gears and get back to painting the cityscapes that I enjoy !

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Morning Light, Outer Banks"

"Morning Light, Outer Banks" 10x20 oil on canvas

      The painting above is from this morning and was painted from a window overlooking the ocean. It seems even the Atlantic is sporting spring colors in honor of the start to this, my favorite season. It was a truly beautiful day! The only sad thing is this will be my last rough surf painting for the week. Things have quieted down considerably this afternoon. There are still large waves rolling towards the beach but they are rolling in a much more orderly fashion. The only way you can tell that it is still rather windy is by the spray blowing backwards from the waves.

     Since I have been painting from the window I have been using the full box French easel I keep here at the house. That means I can work larger than the little panels I packed for my pochade. I was happy to find the little art supply store in Kitty Hawk is still alive and well ( which is quite an achievement considering the "big box" competition) and they even had one of my favorite size canvases for beach paintings, the 10x20 above. This was the last they had or I would have bought more to keep here for the next trip down.

     We will be heading home Saturday so I need to start planning what I will be painting in my studio next week. I have some shows coming up so I think it is time for more cityscapes. However, I fear my heart will still be here on the beach!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nor'easter, Day Three

"Waves in the Mist" 8x10 oil on linen panel
"Ginger Napping" ballpoint on paper
    Yesterday was the third day of a very impressive Nor"Easter here on the Outer Banks of NC. It was the most turbulent day and the one with the least visibility. Rain was pelting the windows and it was very hard to see so I spent the morning sketching. The dogs are always an interesting subject so I played with various drawing tools and find I still prefer ballpoint to anything. They are wonderful for continuous line and the line can be varied by the pressure used. All ballpoints are not equal. My favorite is sitting on my desk back home. I like it because it flows beautifully but I have no idea what it is. It was one of those give aways that businesses use. We"re going shopping later so I think I'll buy myself a pack of Bics :-)

     In the afternoon the rain lightened up a bit but a heavy mist surrounded us and it was difficult to focus. It gave an impression of stillness but stepping outside I found it was extremely windy! The surf was whipped up and made me think of whipped cream. I referred to the afternoon as foggy but my husband explained it was mist not fog. Apparently there is a difference and it has to do with visibility. This was not thick enough to be fog. Sounded like hair splitting to me. Dick added that since I am always in a fog he was not surprised that I didn't know he difference. Hmmmm.
     I decided to give painting the surf in the MIST, not fog, a try. It would be interesting mixing a variety of whites and grays. I used titanium white, cadmium yellow, Naples yellow, alizarin red, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue and indigo. The latter mixed with various yellows creates some great ocean colors!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nor'easter Day Two

"Early Afternoon, Mardh 17th" 6x8 pol on panel (Surf series)
"Late Afternoon, March 16th" 6x8 oil on panel ( Surf series)

     I am certainly getting what I wished for! It is now late afternoon and I am enjoying a cup of tea while the storm kicks up again outside. Winds have been a steady 30mph and don't seem to be letting up. I went down to the beach before painting the first painting above just to see if there were any possibility I could paint if tucked up close to the dune. Who was I kidding!  Even though the rain had temporarily stopped the wind blown surf gave me enough of a spraying to think it was still precipitating. It wasn't horribly cold but then I think the sub freezing temperatures this winter have made me comfortable when it is merely above 35 degrees :-). Oh, hello! The top of a table on the deck has just blown over the railing, guess I will find it tomorrow. All of this is delightful to me, always has been. The wildness of the ocean both awes and inspires me!
     The bottom painting was completed in 20 minutes yesterday afternoon proving that if I truly have to work fast I can. The light in the room was just about gone and turning on the lamps would have confused the painting. I am not saying this to suggest that painting fast is a virtue but all those timed drawings I was taught to do in school were for a reason. Having limited time forces you to cut to the chase, put down what is most important and not get hung up on detail.  It can be exhilarating and I should do it more often. I have some large canvases at home and I think I should get larger knives and try a few alla prima with these little studies as my guide.

      Happy Saint Patrick's Day to those of you who celebrate it. We are heading to the Sanderling Inn to do just that tonight!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Cold Front"

"Cold Front" 11x14 oil on linen panel

    We arrived on the Outer Banks early last evening delighted to see our daffodils in bloom, the air warm and still and a full moon rising over the Atlantic. The ocean looked more like a lake! Lovely as the scene was I secretly hoped for some bad weather later in the week to kick up the surf so I could add to my little 6x8 surf series. Crazy to wish for that after the hard winter we have had!
    This morning we woke up early to a beautifully sunlit day with only slightly cooler air. I looked out the window and was greeted by a calm sea with sunlight sparkling on it.  As I drank coffee and fed the dogs I started to plan what to take to the beach and considered my palette for the morning painting. It would be high value, cadmium lemon yellow and cerulean blue would be key players. Then the game changed. First the wind came up, then clouds in strange formations began to gather, the temperature plummeted and the surf was on the rise!

     WHOOPEE!  N'or Easter, I was thrilled! It was too cold and windy for me to paint on the beach but some quick sketches I could handle. I would set my easel by a window overlooking the ocean and get to work. I wish I was stoic enough to actually brave the elements like Dutch artist Roos Shuring but I know my limits. I spent the day painting what I love. Above is the morning painting taken from my sketches below and my palette from what I observed from the window. In the afternoon I did my little 6x8 surf painting but will have to photograph it for you tomorrow as the room had become too dark. The week is off to a wonderful start!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Revisiting Some Outer Banks Spring Plein Air Paintings


      This little, 8x10 inch painting "Evening on Baum Trail" was painted from the southwest deck of my house on the Outer Banks last May. I love the shapes of the houses in this small neighborhood in Duck. Yes the town is named Duck! When you look west from this deck you have a clear view of Currituck Sound and I have posted many paintings here of that beautiful, quiet body of water,
      Working from the screened porch on the southeastern corner of the house I painted this view of the ocean during the same trip. I was going after the many colors being reflected in the clouds by the setting sun. Then I got lucky. A sailboat appeared making its way south along the coast. The wind had picked up and so had the surf and I was thinking they were not having a very smooth sail hence the title "Rough Sailing"!
      I hope to be posting more plein air work from the beach here later this weekend, however we may be getting a fair amount of rain for a couple of days. At least it won't be the snow that is forecast here at home. I repeat, "any day at the beach is a good day"!
"Rough Sailing"9x12 oil on linen panel

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Preparing for the Outer Banks

     Above are four little 6x8 paintings from my "Surf Series" painted from the beach or from a front window when the wind was blowing too hard and cold.  We are leaving for a week at our house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and I have been packing up my gear and getting in the mood for some plein air beach painting. I pulled out my "Sargent and the Sea" book which is one of my favorites (I really don't need more inspiration than that)but I still surfed around (no pun intended) the sites of some of my favorite contemporary painters who paint wonderful seascapes. I can't wait to start work!
        We have had such a wonderful warmup the last couple of days but at the moment it is storming out and the temperature is dropping 40 degrees. Part of me hopes to have these severe winds on the Outer Banks so I can paint the rough surf but part of me wants a mellow time on the beach with bright sunlight and strong shadows cast by people strolling along the waters edge. Any day at the beach is a good day!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cafe du Parc

" Cafe du Parc" 16x20 oil on linen panel

      It occurred to me that I never posted the finished painting that I posted the progress of back in February. Surprisingly the best photo turned out to be the one I took on my iPad. Too bad it is not 300 dpi because this needs no adjustment at all!
      I don't know why it took me so long to title it as I was standing in front of The Cafe du Parc
(which is at the historic Willard hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue) and that makes the choice rather obvious. The park the name refers to is Pershing Park which you see the edge of behind the parked cars on the right. On the left, peeking through the trees is the canopy over the main entrance to the Willard. The horizontal element going across the avenue is a corner of Freedom Plaza seen on an angle here. When you add the Capitol Building and the Old Post Office building there is quite a lot of history here! I guess I was trying to come up with a title that would reference that but I am quite happy with "Cafe du Parc"!
     There are many wonderful outdoor caf├ęs in DC and I am thinking that might be a good subject for a new mini series. I would expand it to include McLean and Old Town Alexandria as there are quite a few in those locals as well. I live in one and spend a lot of time in the other. I am liking the idea!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Winter Weary!

"Kennedy Center, Georgetown Waterfront" 8x10 oil on linen panel

      I have been feeling stale and I have been missing painting in the field. This winter has been a bitter one with one snow storm after another. If my hands didn't turn to boxing gloves in the cold I would have been out there in spite of it.  So when a paint out with the Washington Society of Landscape Painters was scheduled for February 23rd I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of painting in the cold. Still, I really wanted to get out there. We were all in for a very pleasant surprise!

       The morning was cloudy but very mild even at 8:30 in the morning. I thought I might find a comfortable nook along the C&O Canal but as I drove along the Potomac the low clouds and soft light on the river changed my mind.  I set up along the Georgetown waterfront and looked towards the Kennedy Center. Above is the result of that peaceful, mild morning. A little gift from Mother Nature reminding us of what is to come.

       I had parked my Jeep in front of Cafe La Ruche on 31st Street and planned to have lunch there after I had met with the group for our traditional critique. By the time I got back to the cafe the temperature was over 60 degrees, the sky clear blue and the sunlight warm and bright! La Ruche was packed, the side garden filled to capacity. It was the same story up and down the street. Without someone to wait with I decided to scratch lunch and instead I did a thumbnail sketch of the cafe, took a reference photo and headed home. Here is the painting I did later.

"Cafe La Ruche", 12x12 oil on panel