Friday, December 10, 2010

Honorable Mention

It always feels good to be recognized so it was great to get an Honorable Mention for my painting of Desi at the December All-Media show at the Art League Gallery. The juror this month was William Schran who is the Assistant Dean of Fine Arts and Assistant Professor of Art/Ceramics at Northern Virginia Community College. It also feels good to go to the Torpedo Factory during this time of year because not only is it decorated for Christmas, but King Street in Old Town has lights up from the Masonic Temple all the way to Union Street. Festive!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trip to Paris

Just spent a very inspirational week over Thanksgiving in Paris with Eric and both daughters. We stayed at a small luxury hotel called the Hotel St. James near the Arc de Triomphe that was perfect for us. Our suite was big with two bathrooms and it was located right near a metro stop. It was low season so the only things we had to stand in line for were the Monet show for about 45 minutes and the Eiffel Tower for about 20 minutes. It was colder than D.C. but with our coats we were fine, it was never bitter cold.

We saw many of the main attractions: The Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Musee d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Pompidou Center, Champs-Elysees, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, Bon Marche (famous department store), Rue Cler (really cute open market street) and fortunately for us the huge Monet show at the Grand Palais.

It was really amazing to distill the imagery that we saw in the Louvre with most women bare-breasted no matter what else was going on in the painting and they were either touching themselves or another woman. If there was a child they were either sucking on their mother's breast or they had their hand there. There were many dead hares, raw meat and we lost count of how many dogs there were sniffing, licking, fighting and just hanging around. Oh, and I think we saw a baby Jesus with a mohawk. Of course we saw the Mona Lisa, but you can't really get an up-close look at her because she is glassed-in and roped-off. It was an overwhelming and mind-opening experience because everything was so beautiful and nothing seemed off-limits. My favorite sculpture was Psyche and Cupid by A. Canova. The Musee d'Orsay was the favorite gallery of the trip with so many impressionist paintings but I was excited to see a huge very intense Bouguereau painting called Dante et Virgile and happy to see an Antonio Mancini painting in person.

In addition to the in-town attractions, we took a day trip out to Versailles and went through the palace and gardens. There was a Murakami show going on and the sculptures provided a striking contrast to the centuries old rooms in which they were displayed. I wish we had allowed more time to wander around. It is so huge and we didn't have enough time to see Marie Antoinette's Estate where she would go to get privacy. The grounds went on and on. What a treat it would be to have time to wander around different parts of the garden each day.

We also had a very creepy trip to the catacombs. In 1785, the council of state issued a decree requiring the removal of all human remains from the cemeteries because of a public-health issue and they decided to store all the remains in the disused limestone quarries. This went on until 1860. It is a 45 minute walk through endless tunnels of human bones and skulls arranged in different patterns, very dark and sometimes wet with water dripping on your clothes, but totally fascinating.

On a miscellaneous note, we ate a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Joe Allen restaurant which is the Paris branch of the restaurant we go to in New York near Broadway. It was fun and very relaxing to celebrate an American holiday in Paris. We had some really excellent food in Paris, but our favorite restaurant (recommended by the Lukeman family) was Chez Janou. It was crowded and lively with old tiles on the walls and just felt very French and not touristy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

November Small Works

The November Small Works All-Media Show was juried by Emily Conover who is an adjunct professor of art at the University of Maryland. My painting of Katie was accepted. I had just finished it the week before during open-life and was glad that it dried in time for submission.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My daily vocation as a suicide

How inspirational it was to hear a lecture over at George Mason University yesterday by Sandra Ramos, a well-known Cuban artist. There has been a change in policy that allows Cuban artists like Sanda to travel in the U.S. which made this a real treat. Sandra gave a slide show titled Cuban Contemporary Art from 2000-2010. Many of the themes have to do with political and social issues such as migration, water and isolation, lack of freedom and other harsh realities of living in Cuban society. She showed some artist's images of bodegas and explained that they do not have large grocery stores in Cuba. Everyone goes to their local bodega (like a corner store) to get their rations. She mentioned several artists that try to incorporate art and society by connecting with different families and doing art-related projects for them, like painting a mural or embroidering a pillow. The galleries in Cuba are run by the government so there is a limit to what they will show. It is strange to realize that we can see controversial art works in books on Cuban art, that have never been shown in Cuba. When asked about the other arts, she said that it is hard for many of the arts because for instance if you are a poet, you need someone to publish your work and no one would take that chance. It's not the artist who gets punished, it's the publisher, or art gallery or theater who gets in trouble. In addition, Cubans do not have access to the internet so that is not a source of information or an outlet for creative expressions.
When asked what advice she would give to art students who are struggling with the issue of what subject to paint, she said that not all art should be political, art should be what is interesting to you.

Click here to see the youtube video of the Sandra Ramos Exodus show opening in Norfolk, VA at Mayer Fine Art.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Paint Rehoboth

This past weekend I participated in the annual Paint Rehoboth competition. We started with a reception on Thursday night at the Aerie Art Gallery. On Friday and Saturday the 30 artists in the competition painted all day. It was very windy on Saturday and I had to hold my easel with my left hand while painting with my right hand. I also got some sun. I have a nice apron string tan on my neck. I painted four paintings and then entered my two favorite on Sunday for the exhibit which was from 2 - 5.
I noticed that I am getting braver about my painting locations. On Saturday afternoon I painted Penny Lane which is a pass-through alley with lots of cute stores. There were so many people who stopped to talk to me while I was painting. The kids are awesome.

Curves Show

I had a piece accepted to the Curves show at the Art League Gallery in the Torpedo Factory. It was juried by Warren E. Perry who is a curator for the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibit contains works that are based on the human figure. My piece is called Jalene Sitting. I painted it in the open-life class that I attend weekly.

Sherrie McGraw Workshop

I attended the 5 day Sherrie McGraw workshop sponsered by the Council for the Arts of Herndon. It was held in Herndon at the Coomber School of Music which is this great old building space attached to a Barn. Sherrie did demos for figure and still life and students in the class could choose to work on either or both. I choose to work on figure the whole week. Sherrie is a good teacher. She took the time to talk to each one of us individually and worked with us on the things that were important to us. I was working on giving more space around the figure so it draws the viewer into the scene instead of my usual close-up view. I was also using Sherrie's palette of colors and the medium Maroger to see how it felt. I like using Maroger but I can't really use it in my studio at home or at open-life classes at the Art League because of it's strong smell.

At the end of the week there was a reception and Sherrie gave a slide show talk about the progress of her career throuhout the years. It was a great week.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trip to California

I just got back from a trip with my husband and youngest daughter to San Diego and Laguna Beach. We stayed in La Jolla at the Valencia Hotel for the first few days and then the Laguna Cliffs hotel at Dana Point. It was a great trip because we had a variety of experiences.

In La Jolla we really enjoyed walking along the beautiful rocky beach. There is a seal beach and we saw many fat baby seals (pups?). We had great weather so we hung out by the pool.

The picture is from the day we took the ferry over to Catalina Island. We took the bus up to the airport on the top of the island and walked back to town. It was a beautiful walk, but we were afraid we were going to miss the ferry back so we didn't slow down. Every time I stopped to take a picture I had to run to catch up! Apparently they brought over 14 buffalo in the 1920's for a movie and then let them stay. Now there are over 400 and they roam all over the island.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Elephants in D.C.

This week I was feeling a little depleted so I decided on a whim to go into D.C. to see the elephants walk through town on their way to the Verizon Center for the circus. I don't know why seeing things out of their element is so exciting, but it is. They stopped in front of the Capitol so we could take pictures. They were also joined by clowns and horses. It was just what I needed.

Chester Dale Show at the National Gallery

I love Washington D.C. because most of the museums are free. It is so nice to be able to pop in to see a show without feeling like you need to stay all day. I went into to see the paintings from the Chester Dale collection. There are paintings by Degas, Van Gogh, Manet, Picasso, Matisse, etc. and currently you can see the images on the National Gallery web site. For this exhibit I was allowed to take pictures so I took a close-up of Degas's Four Dancers. I love the way Degas doesn't feel the need to fill in every detail like on the dancer's arm.

HerStory vs. History

The Art League Show for March is titled "HerStory" and is meant to honor women throughout history including the present. The show was juried by Barbara Rachko. My painting "White Bikini" was accepted. Lately I've been going to open-life classes to paint models and then alternating that with painting from one of my photos. I took many photos this past summer in Italy.