December 30, 2010

The Northwest Current Article about the Foundry Show

I'm quoted in the Northwest Current (that's Northwest Washington, D.C.) in an article on the upcoming show at The Foundry Gallery "Celebrate Gay Marriage." As a curator of the show and the co-president of the gallery, I got to share some thoughts... some rambling thoughts... about the upcoming show. It takes a little time to load the pdf of the newspaper, but the article is mentioned at the bottom of the front page and appears on page 13.

December 28, 2010


Endless choices go into painting. With oil paint, you can think up an idea, like "what if the sky isn't so striped with clouds?" and brush out the distinct cloud shapes that dominated an earlier version. Those stripes are gone, and the shadows of the trees are less harsh, making what I hope is a softer contrast with the strong, hard-edged dark shadow in the foreground.

With the softening, I think some aspects of the painting work better... but looking at the earlier version, I miss some of the tension of those stripes. This is where painting alone in a studio has its disadvantages -- in a room full of other artists, people aren't afraid to share their opinions and advice can either help find a new solution or help affirm the choice that was made.

December 27, 2010

Farms in Maryland, updated

These paintings were both started months ago. The soccer field in St. Mary's County was a quick sketch, but evoked a lot of comments from people. It needed a lot more paint, but I wanted to retain the loose and fresh feel of painting on a windy day. I think that one's done.

As for the wagon and farm, the painting was started with a big, not-quite-silhouetted barn obscuring the left hand side (you can see it months ago when I posted its image). I hated that barn -- it was supposed to push you past it, but it just didn't work. I've been at that farm enough, stared at enough wagons, that today I painted out the barn and painted in the rest of the wagon and the white farmhouse beyond. I still want to work on making the painting parts work together more, so I hope I'll get more time to play with it.

December 25, 2010

Great Falls, now done & redone

The painting of Great Falls, started months ago, was just scraped down and awaiting either a complete repaint or, maybe, finishing. Working in the studio, with only my memories of Great Falls -- and a lot of time spent painting there -- I finished the painting.

December 24, 2010

Summer Painting, finally done

I finally had time today to work again on a painting I'd started this summer. The painting -- of a backlit set of pots filled with banana plants -- was a variation on a work I'd done a few days before, but this time with warm and cool colors reversed. On the second go-around, I didn't have timt to finish the painting and I thought it needed some refinement. Here's the new work and, for comparison, both its earlier iteration and the red/warm version. I think the warm painting as well as the cool, newly finished work will be in my upcoming show (with 3 other artists) at the Foundry Gallery in February.

December 12, 2010

Brunch at Julia's

I never paint anything I'm not looking at. Until today -- I painted, from memory, a scene of a brunch I went to last week. An artist friend invited a group of us to her exhuberantly decorated home. On the walls were her vivid abstract paintings. She set the table with a mix of teacups and plates collected from her travels and homes around the world.

What I remembered so clearly was the color of the room, light from the south-facing window, and the sense of energy pulsing from all of the people, the food and the pots, plates, glasses everywhere. A chandelier over the table was hung with glass grapes and ornaments.

December 6, 2010

Foundry Gallery Activity

I've barely had time to think about painting this fall -- not a good thing. Part of the problem is that I've accepted the position of co-president of the Foundry Gallery in Washington, D.C. The gallery business is tough and we are responding to the challenging economic climate with more events, more special shows to elevate the debate about art and the profile of the gallery.

Today I finished, with 2 colleagues, jurying a show we're holding in January to celebrate gay marriage. The submissions of work were inspiring! The discussions we had jurying the work were deep -- we only had the work to go on, no explanatory notes from the artists, so the interpretation of why images were chosen, palettes used, how the work would fit in the context of the show's theme -- and our choices will, I hope, be a great show next month.

I'm in a show in February at the gallery, one of four artists whose work will be in the main gallery. I shouldn't be writing this now, but up in the studio working!

November 8, 2010

Station Wagon, Farm

It was great to be back painting after a few weeks. And painting with oil. While traveling I had brought acrylic paints, pastels and drawing pens, but none were as satisfying to me as working with oil paint again today. It was windy at the farm, and the sheltered spot next ot this old station wagon was a good place to set up.

October 13, 2010

Scraping Away

I painted, scraped down and then have just started to put paint back into this canvas. I hope the weather holds for another go at this on Monday.

October 11, 2010

Agricultural History

One of Montgomery County's old farms, now preserved as an example of agricultural history.

October 7, 2010

One More Time

I went back to the scene of the painting I did 2 weeks ago, with the plan to repaint it, switching warm and cool colors. The banana plants were gone, replaced by fall mums. Not the effect I was looking for. I recreated them from a quick look at a few banana plants left in a nearby bed and my memory.

October 3, 2010

Drawing Fencers

I might as well have been trying to draw frogs catching flies. The fencers were moving pretty slowly and then blades clashed faster than I could see. I had to catch several fencers in motion to get one quick drawing done. It was interesting to try to work out the proportions of the body when the legs are in lunging position.

September 25, 2010

Soccer out in Centreville MD

Very hot out on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, where I got a quick sketch in of the soccer field and farm as the teams were setting up. Wind -- which did nothing to cool off the field -- came up in big easel-tipping gusts.

September 19, 2010

The Fencer

I haven't picked up a paintbrush for weeks.

Today my daughter posed for me, just 20 minutes, but enough for me to sketch in a large portrait of her in fencing costume, holding her mask and saber. Unbelievable happiness was the result. I have been thinking about painting her and other fencers, their graceful poses, their masked faces, the swift movement when they go from "ready..." to "fence!" Just a start!

August 26, 2010

Tremont Marsh, Maine

This is one of the most beautiful marshes, ever. Sorry, I haven't seen that many marshes, but I'm just sure. It can be violet and scarlet at sunset, blanketed in fog in the morning or reflecting the blue Maine sky with the mountains of the quiet side of Mt. Desert Island in the background. It takes a well-applied coating of bug spray to stand in this marsh and paint, but I'm a pretty fast painter and I know I'm done when the mosquitos have figured out there's a human around.


It's hard for me to express in words just how much I love the house that we rent in Maine. Thank goodness I have paint to say it for me. I have painted the house every year, at least once, for the past 12 years from every angle. The watercolor is one I painted probably 12 years ago when we first rented the house. This year, I worked on my view of the rugosa roses on the beach, looking up at the house. The rugosa rose painting is going to hang in the Foundry Gallery next month, for sale (1318 18th St., NW, Washington, DC), if you want to see it close up and personal. For the house itself, you'll have to go to Maine.

July 27, 2010

River View, Yellow Face

First, the good news. It was a beautiful morning and the paint was flowing. I'd been thinking about the geometric shapes you just randomly find in nature and the wedge-shaped swatch of grass in the river jumped out at me.

Now, as happens often when I paint, I drop paint brushes. This time, focusing on the painting, not the brush, I picked the fallen brush up, wiped the sweat from my face, kept painting... and then realized the brush had dropped into a nice blob of cadmium yellow light. My gloves were covered in it, as the handle of the brush transferred the pigment to my hands. I wiped my face on my sleeve, just to see if any had come off on my face and my red shirt was coated in yellow. I was completely distracted by the certainty that I was covered in yellow paint and cut the morning's work short. At the car, with my box of wipes and mirror, all I can say is that it was much worse than I thought. Eight wipes later, I was down to just having completely yellow hair at my temples and a certain sallow look to my face.

July 21, 2010

Chaos and Kayaks

Out at Reilly's Lock, the Calleva campers were loading up kayaks, playing "Liar" (which is the cleaned-up name of the game they were really playing!) and creating general chaos. It was also raining, which provided a convenient reminder that oil and water don't mix -- spots of rain dropped on my painting and the oil lifted right off. I gave up on the scene.

July 20, 2010


They were very creepy. The highlights on the left side of the photo here are due to paint shine, not color. When I do a little more work on the painting and retake the image, that should be cleared up.

July 14, 2010

Glen Echo Carousel, Rainy Day

This is the beginning of a new painting -- 24 x 36 -- at the carousel at Glen Echo. I'll be working on it more, a lot more, in the days to come.

June 27, 2010

The old Riggs Bank at Dupont Circle

Painting this morning at Dupont Circle -- that's the old Riggs bank, now a PNC, between Mass & Connecticut on the northwest side of the circle (for you clock people, that would be at about 11:00). The Sunday morning farmer's market is set up at behind the building and the yellow Sweetgreen truck is parked alongside the building. People were reading newspapers or just waiting on a friend (a la the Rolling Stones) seated on the bench that goes all the way around Dupont Circle.

I'm struck by the sameness of the urban scene -- could this have just as well been Barnes & Noble in Bethesda but for the color of the awnings? Yes, there are a lot of differences, but since both of those buildings are oriented the same (the B&N in Bethesda is between Bethesda Ave & Woodmont, but is also at 11:00 on the NW side of a crossroads that is big enough to be a circle), there's a lot of overall structure to the painting that recalls scenes set in Bethesda.

June 23, 2010

Small Painting, Long View

This is another tiny painting looking down the Potomac River from the Maryland side.

June 22, 2010

Tiny Paintings

These paintings measure 4" x 6" -- that's a very small painting for me. The idea is to have small paintings to use as reference for working in the studio on larger works another day.

June 15, 2010


I have painted this view of the Potomac River at Riley's Lock before. Today, though, I fought my usual temptation to enhance contrasts and instead kept the painting in a limited mid-range value, creating distance and movement by the use of warm and cool colors.

June 7, 2010

Trial and Error

I'm now into the third scraped and repainted version of this scene at Poole's store. I'm not sure I'm up for a fourth version, but I solved a lot of freshness issues in the flowers with the new "blue house" version, I think the sky is right now... but still... there were elements of the original idea that I'm not sure I shouldn't have held onto.

June 2, 2010

flowers for sale

I started to work on the painting of the store and flowers, but the sun was brutal and the painting just wasn't working. I moved over to the shade to paint the hanging baskets and flats of flowers from the other side. Much cooler, much better.

May 30, 2010

Dupont Circle -- A Gorgeous Morning

I'm encouraging artists to submit works for a juried show of Dupont Circle paintings sponsored by the Foundry Gallery ( Submissions are due by June 26, so this is a great time to paint. As a gallery member, my work isn't part of the show, I'm just encouraging others. This morning, Ruth Becker and I -- we didn't find Don or Lou, although they said they'd be there -- had the pleasure of painting in the circle.

I was agonizing about painting the roller bladers who sat on the circle and if they weren't a great compositional element, I don't know that I would have stressed myself with getting their images down in the 2 minutes they sat there. But they were, and I did.

May 26, 2010

From Fresh to Overworked in 45 minutes!

I got out to Poolesville late today and had 45 minutes to paint. The idea was a flash of inspiration and it started out as good as it gets for me. Within 45 minutes, it was almost high noon, shadows completely changed and the poorly mixed colors on my palette made the flowers in the hot sun look tired.

I'm going to scrape this down and repaint it -- the idea still works and much of what I was trying to do still makes sense, just didn't come through in my haste to get something on the canvas. Check back.

May 23, 2010

Foundry Man!

I conducted a painting demonstration at the Foundry Gallery yesterday and our gallery president, Ron Riley, posed for me as "Foundry Man."

As for the mini cooper painting from Wednesday, it was snapped up at an event where painting buyers were donating to Partners in Health to benefit their work in Haiti.

May 19, 2010

Good Day to Paint a Mini Cooper

Yet another gray day -- so why not a fun subject for a painting?

May 17, 2010

rainy at Sumner Place

It was raining and my view from under the shopping center overhang was a series of arches I was looking under. I pushed a lot of paint around on this one.

May 10, 2010

High Contrast Farm

Too high contrast? Maybe. I painted this in 50 minutes on a gesso board and stopped as both the shadows shrank to small sizes and the paint was too slippery to adjust without some drying time.

May 3, 2010

Raining Down

This was a real mood painting -- it was gray and rainy. I painted this from a walkway that was above where the umbrella holder was standing.

April 28, 2010

Cold, Fast

It was windy, I was painting all hunched up from how cold it was -- at the end of April! 45 minutes was about all I could take.