Ring, Sparrow, Phoenix

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Ring, Sparrow, Phoenix

24x 36 inches, Oil on Linen

I paint the flowers I grow.

I love interweaving the flowers grown in my garden into the paintings I make, taking the fleeting moment of a flower’s season into a more permanent experience. A flower in a vase will last only so long, but a flower in a painting will stay with you forever.

This painting is an ode to marriage. Celebrating the fidelity , the   The ring laying on the tabletop represents fidelity of love, the sparrow on the Pennsylvania redware pitcher symbolizes industriousness industriousness required to make a marriage good and the phoenix on the Imari bowl is a reminder of the chance for renewal and growth when being a part of something bigger than oneself.

Select 50 in the International Portrait Competition

 Friendship, 30 x 40 inches, oil

Friendship, 30 x 40 inches, oil

This week is the Portrait Society of America conference, here in Reston, Virginia, and it is with a sense of honor that I will be attending and that the double portrait of my daughter and her friend was chosen as one of the top 100 entries of this year's portrait competition where 2,733 entries were submitted.

After six rounds of evaluation they selected 23 finalists to bring their work to the conference for on-site judging, 27 certificates of excellence for special recognition and a Select 50 work that had distinction.  My painting, Friendship, was part of the "Select Fifty" that made it through the multiple rounds over the three-day jurying process.

I am so grateful that this portrait received this distinction. Friendship is a painting long in the making, and I was inspired to create a double portrait that celebrates Naomi's long-standing relationship with her friend. They have been regular playmates since they were two years old and are still great friends. The photo references for this painting were taken during a playdate in June 2016 when I asked the girls to pose for me and to have fun with it.

Spring Classes are Starting Soon

Narcissus Pink Charm, oil, 9 x 14 inches

I will be teaching three classes this Spring, starting just after Easter.    All have openings and if you are interested in painting a bunch of spring flowers, this is the time to do so!

WEEKLY ART CLASSES

Floral Still Life with Oils
Taught at the Arts of Great Falls
Wednesdays from 2 to 5 PM

Painting with Oils
Taught at the Arts of Great Falls
Wednesdays from 6:00 to 9:00 PM

Weekly Semi-Private Art Classes
Taught in my home studio and limited to a maximum of 5 students
Saturdays from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Idea-Sketchbook Archives: Daniel Sprick Workshop

By nature, I am an obsessive note taker. I have piles of “idea-sketchbooks” and every so often I will pull out an old one and read through my notes.

Recently I was reading through an idea-sketchbook from January 2013 and I came across my notes from a Daniel Sprick workshop I took at Studio Incamminati. I want to share some notes I wrote down during the workshop describing Daniel’s methodology and thought process.

Rory McEwen: The Colours of Reality by Martyn Rix

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Rory McEwen: The Colours of Reality by Martyn Rix

I first became aware of the work of Rory McEwen when I read this blog post on Katherine Tyrell’s Making a Mark blog. Then by coincidence a dear friend of mine gave me this monograph of his work, and all I can say is that I often lose an hour or more when I open this book because I spend so much time looking at each plate.

Rory McEwen’s career was long and varied, intermixing his interest in botanical art and jazz music. This book covers both, though mainly focusing on his art.

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I particularly like his stark compositions of flowers, how they are placed on backgrounds that are totally void of anything, thus really focusing attention on the minute details he captured and recorded. His technique most often employed watercolor on vellum, a method that employs a very dry application of highly saturated watercolor to its support.

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However, there is one small section that deviates from his typical technique, its of his exploration of watery watercolors and grasses. These images really capture my imagination, because of the variety of line and form in these pieces. Some areas of the watercolors were allowed to bloom and blossom, creating fuzzy and soft edges, and then there were areas of rigorous precision and edge, much like his more typical work.

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Living Seasonally and My Changing Studio Process

I am a homebody by nature. I love being home, working in my studio in my garden.

I also love the seasons of the year.

As an artist, I strive to always paint seasonally, and before this year, this always meant that I would paint what is blooming in my garden. Painting only from life. However when my family moved, my studio situation changed, and I no longer had a large northern facing window. Now my lovely and larger studio has only one window that is smaller in size and faces west. This change in the fundamental design of my studio layout has forced me to reassess my studio practice. And I am happy to share that I am adapting and really liking how it is changing.

I am still committed to recording the seasons with my paintings, but instead of painting the flowers that are blooming in my studio, I am going outside in painting in my garden.

 This year I’ve committed to learning to paint in plein air, and have been enjoying the immediacy of this painting practice. It requires intensive concentration for short spurts of time because the light changes so rapidly. In two hours the sun shifts in the sky, thus changing the angle of shadows and highlights, and even the color notes observed.

[ Image of azaleas, image of watercolor sketch of crocus and Hyacinth]

In the spring, I dipped my toe in sketching and painting oil sketches. 

[Image of foxglove, close-up and distant ]

As the summer has progressed, painting in plein air has become a part of my life. I paint a sketches regularly. Typically in the morning before I do anything else. It helps me connect with the season and slow down and observe how my garden is changing.

Exhibition: Artists for the New Century

Exhibition: Artists for the New Century

This past February I was surprised and honored when I received an invitation to participate in a special exhibition at the Bennington Art Center in Bennington Vermont.  The exhibition, Artists for the New Century, takes place every five years and the artists invited are nominated by the editors of American Art Collector, Art of the West, Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, and Southwest Art.  

Valuing Everyday Moments

Valuing Everyday Moments

Elevating everyday moments into fine art

In 2012, my husband helped me narrow down my art philosophy into this distinct and simple statement. Five years later it still holds true today. It is my goal to celebrate and live with intention, and to bring this sense of life to my creative process of painting.

In the last year so much has changed, but still this underlying principle holds, and I still come to art with the deep desire to share my love of simple things and elevate these experiences into fine art. 2017 has been a year of transition and growth, and today marks an important anniversary for my own path as an artist.

Creative Process: Oil Sketches

Creative Process: Oil Sketches

“Expression implies emphasis and selection”

I am not sure where I first came across this quote, however I had it posted in my studio for several years to remind me daily of this idea. To me the idea that “expression implies emphasis and selection” is what the creative process is all about. 

In order to synthesize my experience into a work of art, I need to investigate it and then choose how I will express my interpretation of the scene. 

Why I Teach Painting Classes

Why I Teach Painting Classes

When I first started painting with oil in late 2006, I struggled to understand and apply everything about the medium all at once, but when I switched my mindset from having to focus on everything all together to narrowing my attention to mastering one fundamental of painting at a time, things really began to take off for me.

Before that time, each painting experience had the potential of becoming emotionally discouraging and also a disaster in outcome, you know, making a bunch of mud. And in the beginning, the time I had to devote to learning to paint was precious, because I was still working as a full-time architect.

Creative Process: Morning Ramble

Creative Process: Morning Ramble

Morning Ramble, 20 x 16 inches

When I began this painting, I first completed a scaled color-study of the composition.Because I was working from a photo reference, I wanted to explore a few ideas and experiment on how I was going to simplify the busy and information filled background.

Something you may know about me, is that I am SUPER fascinated with detail, lots of texture, and complex shapes. However, detail and texture must be incorporated thoughtfully into a painting or else it will overwhelm the composition.