Friday, August 28, 2009

"Afternoon Thugs" in Progress

"We fritter away our lives with detail...simplify, simplify." Henry David Thoreau
That statement describes my life well and is easy to recognize but difficult to do [in a painting].
Above, value is doing most of the work simplifying the forms and capturing the essence of the figures. Subtle contrasts create strong light allowing the light and shadow to describe the figures. I kept the palette simple, leaving color vague and earthy. I chose pigments that when mixed would make strong heavy darks, and alone would vary the temperature, transparency, intensity and texture of color in the shadows. Burnt Sienna, Brown Madder, Ultramarine Blue, Manganese Blue, Thalo Blue, Alizarin Crimson.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Portraits: Simplified and Unpolished

My intention this week... try something different, hopefully interesting, somewhat unconventional [for me], and non-floral. So I am beginning 2 "loose" study portraits [of my in-laws].
My challenge... simplify the figures as somewhat abstract shapes, use value and color to describe light and dark forms, vary the "lost and found" edges to give the illusion of depth and light, and connect shadow shapes to create unity.
My realization... the subject doesn't really matter, the principles are the same.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I found out this week that I have been selected to have 2 full pages of work published in the next volume of Best of America: Pastel; along with many very noteworthy artist and artwork. Funny how self confidence (or lack of) and fear of rejection can sabotage great opportunities; I chickened out entering the watercolor edition after seeing the work chosen for last year's edition. Good thing I didn't look at the work in the pastel category before entering.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shades of Pastel

Flourishing Above the Surface
Soft Pastel
I am thrilled to have this painting accepted into the Shades of Pastel National Competition. The juror for this show is Richard McKinley, a nationally-recognized master pastelist. I took a bit of a gamble entering, and only entered one painting. Usually, I think jurors look for groups of work that are mature and cohesive and then select one or two to show. I had finished this painting just in time to enter, but really no others like it at the time. The exhibit is hosted by the Maryland Pastel Society and will run September 26th to November 7th at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda Maryland. Opening Reception will take place on October 4th from 1-3PM.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kid's Art Safari at LibertyTown

A few things I learned teaching art camp this week.
1. It is impossible to be toooo silly.
2. 6 and 7 year olds love to smile and laugh.

3. Children have wonderful imaginations. Want to know all the possibilities of creating a map collage (and what to do with it)? Ask a 6 year old.
4. Plan plenty of "extension" activities. Art exploring can be very exciting.
5. It is physically impossible for 6, 7, & 8 year olds to sit still, not talk and giggle, draw silly faces, and not skip. Something like "exploding heads" may result.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I am still reeling a little from the opening at Bistro Bethem on Monday. Mirinda and I hung the show that morning into the afternoon and hosted the reception later that evening. Below are a few pictures from the day.

Wine well deserved.
Thank you to all the art patrons in Fredericksburg (and Stafford) for your support! Now onto art camp for eleven 6-8 year olds, Yikes! Did I really plan both of these activities in the same week?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One more for the show...

After contributing so much time to the poppies, I just couldn't let this one go. A few days ago, I pulled it off the shelf. With fresh eyes it was easier for me to see what small changes I needed to make and did. Funny how just a few touches can make such a difference in a painting (or maybe it was the fresh look). I am much happier with it now and am reminding myself... the process is more important than the product and I am always learning. Thank you all for your kind comments and encouragement.
Full Glory
Watercolor on Aquabord

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Work @ Bistro Bethem, Aug 10th- Oct 4th

The posters are up, cards mailed, most of the artwork done (except for a little varnishing, framing, and a few small details), and we have an article "Applause" on page 3 in Fredericksburg's Front Porch Magazine. Maybe I can catch my breath before the Opening August 10th.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Light in Spring"

Light in Spring
Soft Pastel on Pastelbord
A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here
A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That silence cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.
It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.
Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:
A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.
Emily Dickinson