Friday, May 31, 2013


12 x 16
Oil on Raymar Panel

Often when I am overwhelmed and have too much to do I take a respite and do something I don't need to do...something that has nothing to do with the project at hand...something just for me.  That is where I am right now.  I decided to finish this self portrait.  Really????...when I have so much to do...what am I thinking???  My reasoning is it gives me time to step back from my life and put things in perspective.  My paintings for my upcoming featured artist show are all done..they are all ready...but I still have this sense of urgency to do something.  I have been going full tilt for so long that I needed to keep busy.  So here I am...

Now I am going to relax...wait for the paint to dry and get ready to hang the show.

Reception starts at 6pm on June 8th at the Workhouse Arts Center located in Lorton Virginia...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Wedding Guest with an Aristocratic Air!

Wedding Guest
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel

A few years ago we were fortunate to be invited to a wedding in England.  I loved it for so many reasons.  I was able to see England from a different perspective...not just the usual tourist attractions...I was able to visit the countryside.  What a treat!   The wedding was magnificent and, of course, the wedding guests were just fabulous.  So many hats and interesting outfits.  It was fashionista's dream!  I took many, many source photos!  I just fell in love with this woman...she had such an aristocratic air about her...I just had to include her in my "Weddings" featured artist show at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia.  She will be there surrounded by brides, grooms, bridesmaids, flower girls and groomsmen.  The reception is June 8th at 6...if you are in the area!  

Here she is just getting ready.  I massed in the large areas of the painting and then honed in on the features and began on that hat.  I DO love that hat!  

I am having such fun with this Wedding series!  I will be posting  the paintings that will comprise the show for the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"But I Don't Want to" A Discussion with the bride

"But I Don't Want To"
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel

This piece will be included in my "Weddings" Show at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA.  The reception is June 8th beginning at 6pm.  The show will be hung for the month of June.  

The premise of the show evokes emotions portrayed in different wedding scenes.  In this scene the bride and flower girl are having a discussion.  I love the gesture...the angles of the brides body as she bends over to meet the eye of the little flower girl looking up at her.  I love the play of light on their hair and long shadows revealing the late afternoon hour.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

National Gallery of Art Copyist program Manet's Plum Brandy

It is day to paint at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  It was such a great experience...once again.  I just cannot express how much I am learning about so many aspects of the art world.  Today one of the tour guides came through and was speaking to his very large group of tourists when he asked the question "how do you tell the difference between Manet and Monet"?  Of course it was a rhetorical question...he replied..."Manet used black...Monet never used black.  You can see it in their work".   I really wanted to follow him through the gallery to hear what else he had to say...but I was drawn back to my work on "Plum Brandy" by Manet...using black!

I tried not to be too amusing today but did get three comments I thought were priceless...

The first woman said "You're almost there"...I turned around and we both laughed!  I thanked her.  Then a little girl asked if I painted the one on the wall too.  I had to fess up someone else painted that one.  BUT the comment of the day was just as I was leaving with my almost finished canvas...a woman leaned over and said "I like yours better"!!!  I just had to laugh...I thanked her very much and then decided I would call it a day.  

I think I have gone as far as I can with this Manet...I will apply to take it out of the gallery and ask to do another.  I have a featured Artist show at Lorton Workhouse Arts Center.  The show opens on June 8th and I have to prepare for that show.  Then I will apply to do another painting at the National Gallery of Art.  

What a wonderful journey...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

National Gallery of Art - second visit

This is my second visit to the National Gallery of Art participating in the Copyist's program.  I am copying "Plum Brandy" by Edouard Manet.  I continue to learn, not only about the painting process, but I have also learned so very much about the artists of that time.  Along with the research I do at home, I am able to listen in on the tours going through the National Gallery of Art and find out all sorts of interesting things about the artists in the specific room I am painting in.  It is an education on so very many levels.  

Today's tours included a discussion on Manet's brush bold and apparent they are.  Traditionally brush strokes, or paintings in general, were meant to accurately depict the subject...much like a photograph.  Once the camera was invented paintings became more about the art and less about directly copying to record an historic or family likeness.  Manet was a frontrunner in painting in an impressionistic manner and in depicting scenes from every day life instead of a posed more formal scene.    

Today's other big lesson is about color.  I have been struggling with mixing colors and getting the right shades.  This process is teaching me to be more thoughtful when I mix take my time and get it right the first time.  

Joke for the day...a young man was looking at my work and I happened to stroke the canvas with the wrong I wiped off the stroke I leaned over to him and said "either he is wrong or I am...I am not sure"...well he found me less than amusing!  Good thing I appreciate my jokes!  

To say I am enjoying this experience would be an understatement.  This is one of the most significant things I have done to improve my artwork.  Stay tuned...

Friday, May 10, 2013

National Gallery of Art - Day one

I arrived at the National Gallery of Art to begin this artistic endeavor.  I got my Copyist's  Permit and locker where I will be keeping my supplies and store my canvas.  My canvas was measured to make sure it is the required 2 inches larger or smaller than the piece I am copying and then the back of the canvas was stamped indicating approval.  

Then I entered the gallery I would be painting in and set up.  It was daunting...but was very exciting.

First I showed my permit to the guard in the gallery so he could log me in. Then I set up my palette and adjusted the easel, positioned it and began to sketch in the figure.  The painting I am copying is titled "Plum Brandy" by Edouard Manet.  The sketch went pretty well...I found everyone to be very pleasant, friendly and helpful.  

After the initial sketch I began mixing the colors.  This I found particularly challenging.  The palette of colors used by Manet in 1878 is quite different from the tubes of paint I use today.  That coupled with the way the paint may have changed due to environmental issues make it difficult to achieve the same least for me.  I managed to get colors I was reasonably happy with and blocked in most of the colors.  The aspect ratio of my canvas was not exactly right so I drew lines on each side to narrow it.  Aspect ratio is a term my husband used when I asked him to figure out what size canvas I should order.  I couldn't find anything perfect, so decided to use a 16 x 20 panel and adjust the sides as I needed.  I will cut the panel later if I choose to frame this piece.  

This is a view of my easel and setup with the painting "Plum Brandy" by Eduard Manet in the background.  

My first day went very well.  I was pleased with my progress.  People perusing the gallery were more than generous with their kind comments and asked quite a few questions about my work and the Copyist Program.  I feel I am learning so very much in so many areas of my artistic journey.  I am studying all aspects of painting...the history, techniques, palettes, as well as dealing with people from small children to adults discussing artwork, galleries and anything else you can imagine.  I am looking forward to my next visit.    

Thursday, May 9, 2013

National Gallery of Art Copyist Program - Plum Brandy

I have applied for and been accepted into the copyist program at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in Washington DC.  The copyist program allows artists to reproduce some of the Master artists’ work in a controlled and monitored environment.  It is a great way to grow as an artist.  My goal is to copy some of my favorites, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Degas, Manet, Monet...the list goes on.  

I chose a day to work...Thursday...and then I chose a piece of artwork to work from.  If available I can begin.  My plan is to begin on May 9th, to paint a piece called “Plum Brandy” by Edouard Manet, assuming it is available.  That may change.

From the website here is the official explanation...

“The National Gallery of Art copyist program has been in operation since the Gallery opened in 1941. A permit issued by the registrar's office is required for copying works of art in oil or any other liquid medium. The Gallery provides permit holders with an easel, stool, and drop cloth; private easels are not allowed. Visitors may sketch with pencils or other dry media in the galleries without a permit.
To participate in the copyist program, applicants must meet all requirements outlined in the National Gallery of Art "Rules Governing the Copying of Works of Art" and agree to an interview and a security background check; they must acknowledge in writing their acceptance of the rules. 
The issue of a copyist permit does not in any way constitute the National Gallery of Art's endorsement of a copyist's work.”
I will post my progress...

This is my first sketch of "Plum Brandy."  One of the things I really like about this piece is the feeling it gives me.  It is portraying loneliness.  It is a young woman in a cafe.  I don't know why she was there, but the painting makes me feel her solitude.   I love artwork that resonates a feeling.  

I love painting figures and love portraying emotion so this is a perfect start for my National Gallery of Art endeavor.  

Plumb Brandy
Edouard Manet

Here is the original.  After I sketched the piece a couple of times I worked with colors and just worked to match the color of the dress and background.  I noticed how similar the colors of the the dress, skin tones, and table top are.  I have been working on mixing the colors and getting ready for my first visit as a copyist to the National Gallery of Art.