Tag Archives: art

Hiking as Inspiration


This is a follow-up to my last post on Hiking the Rapidan and Staunton Rivers. One of the others on the hike asked what do I do with all the photos I take on our hikes: here’re some of their uses! The first two sketches were done on the hike, with water colors added in the studio. The third nature sketch I did from a photo you can see in the earlier post. The fourth and fifth water color sketches were also done in the studio from photos and are studies for larger works still in process.

Many years ago when I was still an eager young photographer, I was told “never stop taking pictures. Even if you don’t use them right away, you’ll have them for later inspiration.” At that time it never occurred to me that I might at some point use photos as reference for other art. As I moved into textiles, then watercolor, images captured years ago on film, and more recently on electronic media, retain their vibrancy and value.

Here’s an example of photo-influenced multi-generational inspiration. In 1953 my father was in Japan for a year with the Marines and took many slides as he traveled around the country. He mailed them home to us where we youngsters alternately endured and were fascinated by regular extended slide shows. In later he years gave talks in our school classes. In 2008 he scanned those slides and did a presentation for his retirement community. In 2011, he shared the scanned slides with me. I combined them with his notes and thru the wonders of the internet produced a book, at this point a period piece!

So, I always take lots of photos, use them, and/or save them. Who knows?!

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Developing a Painting

The Bon Air Artists Annual Show is coming up this weekend! I’m one of the exhibiting artists, so I’ve been working these past few months on getting work together. I’d originally laid out the one shown above back in August, hoping to have it done for the Unitarian Gallery show in September. But I couldn’t get up the nerve to paint it – I was scared of the wires.

In February I gritted my teeth, and started. I was still worried about the telephone wires, which is what attracted me to this image in the first place, along with the reflection in the cobblestones. But how bad could it be? If it didn’t turn out, I have enough other work by then for the show.

I made good progress, as you can see from the progressive images above, up until time to do the wires. So I let it set for awhile, and took it to the Bon Air Artists critique in early March. By that time I’d penciled in the lines. Suggestions I received where: leave as is; use a pen; use a twig. I thought on it some more and decided I wanted to paint the lines, but was unsure of how even I could make them. Finally I pulled a thin bead of water with a small rigger brush, then touched the water with a water soluble pen. Ink shot in both directions! This is cool! So I kept going. I’m pleased with how it came out!

Hope you like it. If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia are, please join us for the show this Sunday – admission is free. See you there.

ART: Enthusiastic, Energetic, Fun


Life is moving so quickly, it slips from my grasp; exciting events fade into obscurity. Let’s capture a bit of October’s enthusiasms…

At our October Bon Air Artist Association meeting Janice McMurray spoke to us of her art experiences with older adults, helping them maintain their individuality. Isn’t that a great definition of art? Everyone’s artistic efforts are theirs alone. Even if you’re copying someone else’s piece, what you wind up with is your interpretation.  This is why individual, original art thrills me – it’s a glimpse into another’s mind and heart, the closest we can get to telepathy.

In the first photo above are paper puppets Janice made. In one of her art sessions she had her students make puppets for Gone with the Wind, then they did a production of the story in 17 minutes!  Can’t you just see the class falling about themselves in laughter?!  The second photo is a small sculpture, about 5″ tall, made by one of her students, at the age of 104.  The ability to create is there, no matter how late in life you get around to tapping it. She published a book in 1990, Creative Arts with Older People, which is available on Amazon.

Later in the month I joined a bus load of art enthusiasts for a bus trip to the National Gallery.  The East Building has been recently reopened after an extensive renovation.  I hadn’t been overly impressed with that portion of the National Gallery in the past, but I wonder now if I hadn’t explored it sufficiently? The multitude of galleries tucked away in odd corners were filled with a myriad of serendipitous  delights. I highly recommend the current exhibit on the Concourse level: Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971. It’s up thru January 29, 2017. I was so happy to discover some of Matisse’s cutouts! I love their color and energy, but never expected to see the originals!

Inspired by McMurray’s enthusiasm and the National Gallery expedition, I approached our paint out with the Viginia Plein Air Painters this past Friday with cheerful anticipation.  I was not disappointed –  this eighth 2016 outing of the group was to a private Japanese Garden along the South Anna River cultivated by Junko Liesfeld, a gardening consultant with her own business, Zoen Garden Creation. The river water has been diverted to a pond and several streams that peacefully flow past beautifully scenic plantings, all meticulously maintained.  Our group of 30 plus artists set up their easels and enjoyed a quiet leisurely morning painting amid the lovely long fall shadows.

I can’t wait to see what November might bring!

Plein Air Richmond – Fast & Fresh

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I took a stroll along Cary Street this morning thru the area known as Carytown. Most of the shops were closed but restaurants were setting out chairs and preparing to open for brunch and early lunch. I was easily able to find parking – not always the case! And still there were folks on the street – its a lovely area of Richmond!

I was there to scope out possible plein air painting locations – Plein Air Richmond starts tomorrow with 30 invited artists from around the country, and will culminate next Saturday, June 25th, with a Fast and Fresh 2-hour painting session open to all in, you guessed it, Carytown! Let me know if any particular images in the slide show above appeal to you. Come out and paint, and/or support your favorite artists!

My plein air skills have a good ways to go before they top out, to say the least. I need every opportunity to practice. My easel, given to me by my resident design consultant many years ago, is checked out and ready. Just have to get papers and mats together and top up my palette! This will be a good warm up for the Cashiers, North Carolina, Plein Air Art Festival in July. They’re having a similar general participation paint out on July 15, which just happens to coincide with my summer jaunt to the mountains.  I can’t wait!

 

 

Exhibitions: Quilts, Photos, Watercolors!


Where did July and August go?! Here, at least, is what’s happening in my life in September! Early this morning I drove over to the Richmond International Raceway (RIR) to drop off quilts, and then swung by the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond to drop off photos and watercolors. The posters give the details on the two events.

The Richmond Quilters Guild Quilt Show happens every three years and I have three quilts that will be on display this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. The show promises to be excellent! The Richmond Times Dispatch has run two articles referencing the show: Decorate with Quilts, and Quilting Business Continues to Grow. Hope you get a chance to get by – along with approximately 300 quilts there will be vendors and a boutique.  Sales from that last all go toward Richmond Fisher House, a temporary lodging facility for families of hospitalized active-duty service members and veterans.

Next week is the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond’s annual Gallery Show. I’ve heard about this show forever as THE PLACE to sell and buy high quality art, but I’ve never been.  This year I decided to apply to show my photos and watercolors, and was accepted!  So check it out – I’ll have two framed photos on display and 25 matted photos and watercolors, all available for purchase.  The show opens on Wednesday evening and rumor has it that to see the best work you need to get there early!

In you’re in or near Richmond, Virginia, I hope to see you at one or both venues!

Veterans Impact Project

Yesterday I visited the third annual Art and Culture Expo here in Richmond – 75 art, performance, heritage and community groups. There were 24 performance throughout the day and interactive booths with the best of Richmond on display. If you didn’t get to it this year, put it on your calendar for 2015!

My daughter was there for Da Capo, a children’s musical education group whose choirs she accompanies.  I was providing support, and getting a taste of what’s going on around town.  I also was particularly interested in an effort Art on Wheels has had in the work for several years – their Veteran’s Impact Project. Our own neighborhood artist and good friend, James Robertson, built the ballista that was used by veterans and their family and friends to hurl representations of objects of significance to veterans against a clay panel. The panels were then cast and mounted. This was the unveiling of those panels!  They will eventually be on permanent display.

World Pediatric Project and Bon Air Artist Association

Artful Healing

Artful Healing

If you’re in the Richmond area, or would like an excuse to visit, join us for the first Artful Healing event on Sunday, March 23rd at the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond.  A portion of the proceeds from sales of the art that will be on display go toward the World Pediatric Project. For twenty years the Bon Air Artist Association held a Spring open air art show – the group felt it was time for a change!  I’ve been awed by the quality of Bon Air Artists pieces, and thrilled that some of my photographs will be included.  Hope to see you at the show!