Monday, April 27, 2009

perfect weather

I love days like today. In my opinion, the weather today is perfect. I enjoy four a week with a little fog and rain mixed in.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

explosions of color

For our monthly paint out, the Washington Society of Landscape Painters painted at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC. This was my first visit to the Arboretum and I don't know what took me so long getting there. This is my fourth spring living in the DC area and I never discovered the place. Everywhere you turn there is a painting begging to be painted and it’s FREE.

I'm not a floral painter but as a landscape painter flowers are often element in my compositions; yet, today a flowering azalea bush became my muse. On a search for a suitable subject, I was hiking along the path in the azalea garden when I rounded the path and came upon an azalea bush that was glowing fuchsia in morning light—it stopped me in my tracks. The path before me was dappled sun puddles and the shadows were long. Going any further was pointless.

Knowing that the morning light changes quickly, I set up my kit choosing a smaller board (9x12). I began blocking in the piece and bypassed my usual underpainting because I didn't what to loose the light while the underpainting dried. The light was changing rapidly which spurred me on to paint faster.

Aside from the rapidly changing light, I was faced with the problem of not having the right value of pink for the highlights in the azalea bush. Instead, I chose a warm orange color in a similar value. Overall, I think it worked. How abut you?

If you've never been to see the azaleas in bloom, you must go and it's not too late to see them this spring.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the rebirth of spirng

Blooming flowers, longer days, cherry blossoms, sunshine, dogwood, sun showers, big billowy clouds against blue skies, drinking wine on the balcony with friends, and painting, what’s not to love about spring.

Admittedly, winters in the DC area are nothing compared to those of some of the other places I’ve lived, Chicago, Denver, and Milwaukee, but there’s the same sense of lethargic hibernation that occurs for me regardless of my domicile. Mostly, I don’t like to be cold.

So far this spring temperatures have been cooler and it seems to me that we’ve had a lot of rain. That hasn’t stopped the seasonal rebirth from occurring. The colors are spectacular as the budding trees glow their golden green in the sun and the recently barren earth bursts with a dappled array of color.

As I’m painting this spring, I reminded that my plein air kit needs an adjustment from a winter to a spring palette; swapping out the grayed hues for brighter greens and a larger variety of pinks, purples, and blues. It’s just another reminder of rebirth and growth. A time to venture into new landscapes and embrace the experiences that will shape who we are as people and artists tomorrow.

"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." —Pablo Picasso

Monday, April 20, 2009

fine art reproductions

In recent weeks, I was approached by a potential corporate client that is interested in my work. Unfortunately, they do not have a budget to purchase original works for their offices and have asked if I have or would consider having reproductions done of my work. For some, this may seem like a no brainer; and for others, Giclée prints are out of the question.

As an artist and former gallery owner, I’ve maintained a mantra, “always buy original art.” Art is my livelihood and I worry that doing reproductions of my work may diminish my reputation and the value of my originals. However, as a small business owner—yes, artists are small business owners—trying to make ends meet in this economic climate, I understand the importance in meeting the wants and needs of my existing clientele as well as the need to branch out to other markets. Moreover, I understand the need to produce works in varying sizes so that I am hitting a variety of price points.

In doing reproductions, I will be reaching out to different markets. There is a market for fine art reproductions. In fact, I know a couple who are financially able to purchase original art but claim that by collecting reproductions their collection is extensive and diverse allowing them to rotate pieces and not feel too bad about getting rid of something if it no longer holds their interest. Included in this group of collectors are those art lovers with limited discretionary income. Buying fine art reproductions allows them to live with works with which they relate that fits within their budget.

So, now that I’ve justified why I should have some reproductions done, can I overcome my negativity and reach out to a broader market? I think so.

There is an interesting article by artist Mamata B. Herland titled, The Impact of Giclée: A shift towards digital print in future art on Lux Art & Design's website.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

painting the Tidal Basin

This photo shows my value-based
under painting for "Tidal Basin"
a 16x22 pastel painting on
Wallis sanded paper.

And, the same piece
after adding some color.
This painting will rest
on a spare easel, which
allows me to study the
painting. Doing this gives
me the opportunity to
step away from the piece
and study it. It may set
there for a couple hours
or days. This gives me
space—physically and
mentally—allowing me
to critique the piece before
going back into it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This is a little (9x12) painting that I recently did where I was focusing on the light and shadow. No matter how much I paint or how often I study, I feel as if I will never “get it.” I suppose that is the nature growth. I will never stop learning.

The further I go, the sorrier I am about how little I know: it is this that bothers me the most. —Claude Monet

Thursday, April 09, 2009


For years I have done my own taxes to save money. This year is no different... or so I thought. I've spent the past week trying to get everyhing together to pay my taxes and I am amazed at the disorganization, my disorganization. What makes it worse is that I know better. As the business manager foe a design firm, I'm very organized and keep excellent records. What I now realize is that in my own business--yes, being a working artist is a business--I am as disorganized as I am organized at work. My advice? Don't wait until April 2010 to start working on your books. Get things set up now and keep them updated as you go.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


I was in awe at the beauty of this morning's sunrise. It stopped me In my tracks.

"The sky is the soul of all scenery. It makes the earth lovely at sunrise and splended at sunset. In the one it breathes over the earth a crystal-like ether, in the other a liquid gold." --Thomas Cole

Monday, April 06, 2009


Although the exhibition, 383: Viewing the Potomac, is over I'll continue to work on the theme as I paint the diverse Potomac River. Today, I took the show down, hauled the remaining pieces to the studio for storage until my May exhibition in Cumberland, Maryland and sighed—partly out of relief and partly in sadness. For nearly two years the show has been a part of my life. I thought about it constantly as I developed the theme, painted the pieces, and planned the exhibition. As the date drew nearer, it became more of a presence in my life. I'm relieved that it is no longer in my daily thoughts and sad that it's over. More important, I'm thankful for the support and opportunity. This adventure prepares me for all that I will do tomorrow and beyond as I pursue my dreams.

"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." —Oprah Winfrey

Friday, April 03, 2009

painting daily

I read an article about an artists' income survey. The researchers surveyed Canadian artists on income, education, and employment. Two things that really struck me were how little artists earn from their art, Canadian $20K, and how many hours they spend making art, 26 hours per week.

My first thought on both counts is, that's not enough. It's a shame that artists (all diciplines) must work second jobs to pay the rent. Second, that artists work at their craft less than three hours a day. That's practice time!

When in full swing, I'm clocking 40 hours a week painting. Granted, I don't have much of a life outside of the studio and my FT job, but I feel it is necessary for me to paint everyday to meet my goals. As I've said many times, all I want to do is paint.

So, let's get busy. Let's turn off these computers and paint.