Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The December All-Media Show at the Art League this month was juried by Maryland artist David Grafton. My painting called Young Dancer was selected. Sometimes I forget how competitive these monthly shows are; for example, this show had 737 entries and only 156 were accepted.

Over the holiday I went with my family to see the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery. The winning piece by Dave Woody is a photograph with the most beautiful light and color, but my favorite piece is a painting by Margaret Bowland called Portrait of Kenyetta. There is a youtube video of some of the award winners on the competition site and Margaret talks about how the painting came about. She talks about the different influences like the model putting on the wedding dress, thoughts about the Murakami show she had just seen and thoughts about our wedding rituals. I liked the part where she said that it is upsetting that women continue to participate in telling young women they aren't lovable enough as they are and that they have to make themselves more saleable by dressing up and purifying themselves. (photo of Margaret Bowland's painting from the portrait competition site)

A few weeks ago I went to the Corcoran Gallery of Art to see the Sargent at the Sea exhibit. It was great to see the key painting, En Route pour la peche (Setting out to fish), with many of the supporting paintings that John Singer Sargent did as studies. I've seen most of them in books, but it's just not the same as seeing them in person. As a realist painter, one of the things I struggle with is whether it is okay to paint a composite of different images in one painting and this is an example where it was successful. Another example in this show was the Neapolitan Children Bathing. This is the painting of the four naked boys on the beach, one with water-wings. The show had the separate studies that he did of the boys, so you could see how he put them all together for the final painting. (photo is from the Corcoran web site)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Art saves lives. For Halloween we usually make our own costumes. For my 12 year old daughter we were talking about a tornado with lots of tulle and cows, etc., but it just wasn't feeling right and things were a little tense around the Olson house. So, with about three hours to go I came up with an idea based on some artwork I had just seen at the Arlington Arts Center by Cynthia Hron. Cynthia had these large anamorphic shapes made out of zip ties that were very cool. I explained it to my husband and daughter and they took it from there to create a porcupine-ish costume. It was a big hit and everyone wanted to touch it. Once again, art saves lives.
(Cynthia Hron photo is from the

In September I attended a Carolyn Anderson workshop in Easton, Maryland. It was held at the Easton Studio and School through the South Street Art Gallery. Carolyn gave several demos throughout the class and of course made it look so easy. This was a good class for me because I have been trying to loosen up and be more painterly. Carolyn said that we need to change our mentality so that instead of painting a painting of a model, we should use the model to create a painting. (Photo is one of Carolyn's demos)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This month the Art League Show was juried by Berthold Schmutzhart who is a professor at the Corcoran School of Art. It was an all-media show and my painting Ellen was accepted.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Trip to Italy

I went to Italy in August with my husband and daughters for about 10 days. We started by staying outside of Florence in the Raffaello Family suite at the Villa Poggo Merili. It was so beautiful. There was a pool right up the hill from our patio that was surrounded by olive trees. We went into Florence usually twice each day and parked outside one of the main walls. We saw the Duomo (see photo of the ceiling), Uffizi, Boboli Gardens and Ponte Vecchio Bridge. I loved seeing the Birth of Venus by Botticelli in the Uffizi.

One day we went to Cinque Terre which is five coastal towns linked by a walking path and a train. We started in Monterosso al Mare and walked to the next town of Vernazza. It was a stunning view. We ate lunch there, swam for a few hours and then took the train back.

We spent the last part of the trip in Rome. We stayed at the Kolbe Hotel in Rome which had a contemporary interior and was located in the heart of ancient Rome. People can tell you about Rome, but you just have to go and see it yourself. There is no way to describe how enriched you feel after seeing all of the history and art. My favorite day was when we went over to the Vatican. In the Vatican musuem we went through the Raphael rooms and saw the School of Athens. Then we saw Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel which was for me the best part of the trip. Afterwards we walked over to St. Peter's Square and then over to the Castel St. Angelo. When we walked across the bridge with all of the angels on it, Ponte S'Angelo, they were filming a movie so we had to walk through all of the paparazzi to get across. On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the Pantheon and we just sat inside for a while.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I went to see the "Paint Made Flesh" show at the Phillips Collection today. I was very excited to see the show because it has paintings by many of my favorite figurative painters..Lucian Freud, Jenny Saville, Eric Fischl, Michael Borremans and Alice Neel. The show is up until September 13th, 2009. It's always great to see paintings up close that you've only seen in books. (photo is from the Phillips Collection web site of a Jenny Saville painting)

Black and White is the title of the July show at the Art League and the juror was Catriona Fraser, owner and Director of the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, MD. My charcoal drawing of my daughter got in the show and won an honorable mention. At the opening it was fun to see that several of the other award winners brought their children/models with them too. It makes you wonder if thats why artists have kids.

Monday, June 8, 2009

On Saturday I participated in the 4th Annual Jan and Dan Laytham Riverbend Park Paintout 2009. Riverbend Park is near Great Falls and I started at about 7:30 a.m. I found my spot near the Visitor's Center and had my painting in a frame for judging by 12:30 p.m. This year Armand Cabrera was the judge and my painting received an Honorable Mention for Composition. The show will be up for about 2 weeks in the Visitor Center. See Friends of Riverbend Park for directions.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Joy Turner Luke was the juror of the May All-Media Show at the Art League. My painting called Girl in Sunglasses was accepted. I have been experimenting with different things lately so it was fun to have this painting get in the show.

Monday, March 30, 2009

In March the Art League has a show called "Real/Unreal" and it was juried by Judy Jashinsky. Jashinsky is a well-known artist living in DC area. My painting, "Walking Woman", is in the show which is up through April 6, 2009.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

At the end of February I attended Jeremy Lipking's workshop at the Scottsdale Art School. It was an excellent experience for many reasons. The workshop itself was great because Jeremy paints differently than any teacher I've ever had and I learned so much from watching him. The students in the class were also top-notch. A few had work in the local galleries so I was able to walk over after class to see their paintings and several students were also teachers. The school itself is in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale with many restaurants, shops, galleries and hotels. The weather was perfect so I could walk around at lunch and after class. It felt good to get away from winter for a while.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rob Liberace took his classes (I'm in his painting class) to the National Gallery to see some drawings that he selected from their collection. We went up to the Prints and Drawings room to view them up close. What a treat to see them up close with no glass.

In the afternoon some of us got to go with Rob through the conservation rooms. Kristen gave us a tour. This is a picture of an Edouard Manet painting that they just cleaned laying on a large table. Now they are trying to figure out Manet's process and the models, etc. They think that the man on the right with the top hat was inserted later and is the same figure he used in the painting The Absinthe Drinker. Someone told us that the painting on the table was in Manet's studio when he died and his widow wanted to sell it. A potential buyer came and wanted to know if he could buy just the two young boys in the middle for a reduced price!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Art League's biggest fund-raiser is the annual Patron's Show. People buy tickets for $175.00 and in a random order select an artwork that has been donated by an art league artist. This year the drawing will be on February 15th. This year I donated "Muddy River Bank" which is a plein air painting that I did from the walking bridge at Columbia Marina.

In January the Art League had a show called "Let There be Light" and I had this piece accepted into the show. The juror was Cynthia Connolly and she is Director and Curator at Arlington County Ellipse Art Center.