May 31, 2012

Lily Pond, Again

I think I could paint these lilies every day ... and I just might.

May 27, 2012

Lily Pond at Tregaron

Tregaron is a public garden I learned about just a week ago -- in the shaded woods that lead to Rock Creek Park, there's a lily pond and paths that wind around and down to the "grand staircase" that leads to the creek.  Klingle Road, which runs along the way, used to be a cut-through in the park.  Not long after I moved to DC, the road was blocked/washed out in a storm and it was never reopened.   I've been eager to paint there (if you can be eager after only a week) and today took the opportunity.
The lilies in the foreground were silhouetted and the lilies beyond variously in light and dark as the shadows shifted across the pond.  I have got to do this again!

May 24, 2012

Kimono in a Garden Setting

This is a small -- 9 x 12 -- sketch of the model at Brookside Gardens.  While I set out of flatten the setting, I think in looking at it now, I'd rather push back the pavilion across the pond and play up the water depth, not it's flatness.  Maybe I'll give this more time... later.

May 21, 2012

Kimono in the rain

It was raining today and the model rather kindly stood in her silk kimono under the eave of the little pavilion while we were all under cover nearby.  The proportions of the pavilion were modified in my painting.  It had a fairly large roof and smaller detail on top, so I reduced the roof (so much over the model's head -- it was too massive) and gave the detail a bigger role to play.

May 16, 2012


 Back at Peirce Mill today, this time with Jan and Marybeth. I got there early and set up for a close look at the mill and more distant barn beyond.  We were all having a grand time painting.

In my painting, I decided to eliminate the fence that runs along the side of the mill waterway. I also didn't paint the access road that runs behind the barn -- it's a busy enough scene as it is.  I need to let this one sit for a while to figure out what else needs to be done.

May 11, 2012

Rock Creek at Peirce Mill

I went back to Peirce Mill today and my painter friend Ed Miller joined me to work on painting the creek where it was dammed above the mill.  The top is my painting.

May 10, 2012

June Show at The Ratner Museum

You're Invited!

Peirce Mill

I went to Peirce Mill today in Rock Creek Park (yes, it's Peirce, not Pierce) to paint.  The mill is no longer working, but when I first came to Washington over 30 years ago, you could buy flour ground there as a demonstration of mill workings.

It was very windy and I had a big "sail" of a canvas, so I put the easel down very low to the ground and painted in the only direction that would allow me to protect the canvas from blowing into the creek, keep the sun from shining through the surface and give me any view at all.  The brushing is particularly funky because of the low angle of the canvas.  I need to fix that and fix the building, which I reduced in size by half just as I was getting ready to pack up.

I'd just been reading "Why Art Can't Be Taught" by James Elkins and his assertion that most artists are making ordinary, everyday art, not rare masterpieces.  And that it's a good thing.  I read it, I believe it, but at the end of the day, it feels a just a little sad.  On the other hand, if I got out to paint so often that a painting day was an ordinary day, I'd be pretty happy with that.

May 9, 2012

Start of a Pond Painting

I'm having trouble with the bottom of the reeds in this algae-covered pond.  They should be in clumps and instead they look like a massive upright group of grasses.  Fixing that will, I hope, solve what I think is the major issue with this painting.  I would like to have some reflection of the reeds in the pond, but the algae cover is way too thick -- I may make that up.

My paintings now up at Quatermaine's Coffee in Bethesda are generating a lot of fun emails and calls from people ... some of whom say they didn't realize I was a painter.  Funny how life can be so compartmentalized.

May 7, 2012

Farmhouse painting

 I made a few adjustments to last week's farm painting and started a new one today.  Just after getting my stuff out of the car, an 80 year old woman decided to park next to me and I had the unnerving experience of listening to metal crunch as she parked right against me.  Not too much damage to my car although it was clear looking at the her car that I was not, by far, the first victim.

Feeling grateful that it was only my car, not me or a crowd of people she ran into, I went over to the farmhouse to paint.  I'd toned my canvas gray yesterday and worked the darks and lights from there.  I was still feeling rattled by the car experience (as the 80 year old didn't seem to realize it happened, I didn't confront her) and stopped painting this far into it.

May 2, 2012

Farm Painting, 45 minutes in

I was just getting into this painting.. it was coming together so well... when the phone rang for an emergency.  And so it ends, at least for now.  The white areas are just canvas, but it's always interesting to think about how the value works in figuring out how they'll be seen when the painting is done.

People always comment on the how quickly I paint.  I know a lot of painters today were just getting set up when I got the call to leave.  And they plan on painting for hours.  I feel like I can never count on even getting out to paint and when I do, I'd better get to it.  This is why.