Monday, April 28, 2014

Lincoln Memorial

After painting the Capitol many a times (I'm not sure there's a more beautiful building in all of DC), I found this gorgeous shot of the Lincoln as the sun was setting, and just knew I had to paint it.  It was a fun, quick (okay not really quick in artists standards, but it just moved faster than normal), albeit large painting (it's a 24"x48"), and it's just a fun shot and has a slightly different feel.  Maybe it's all the primary colors?  It just feels fun and vibrant!

Right now this piece is hanging at The Cooley Gallery, and the funny part is that at night, the picture takes on a whole new feel, as the trees and foreground disappear and the Lincoln Memorial and sunset pop out front and center.  Most artists cringe at bad lighting around their painting, and yet this painting has a personality all unto its own whether you have the best lighting or no lighting at all!  How often does that happen?!

Hope you are having a wonderful Monday!  I can't believe Spring is in full bloom!  I hope you are enjoying the gorgeousness that is the great outdoors!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tribute to Howard Behrens

Hope you had a wonderful Easter yesterday!  I had a wonderful day of church and house hopping (our whole family lives in the area), and passed out about 8 p.m. ha!  

This past week in the studio, I finished up reworking a Cayman cottage scene.  Once it's dry, I'll post a picture of the finished product!

Courtesy of HowardBehrens.com

In other news, this week was a bit sad as the man who inspired me to begin painting, palette-knife artist Howard Behrens, passed away at the age of 80.  When I was in college, I tacked prints of his gorgeous Italy scenes all over the concrete walls of my room, and they helped me to escape the stress of school when I gazed at them. 

After the school year ended and I came home for the summer, I had the opportunity to take over my brother's room and redecorate.  I really wanted the same feel as my dorm room, so I decided to attempt to capture a large scale Italian scene in the same vein as Howard.   Why I thought I could paint a large scale mural when I had never picked up a paint brush I have no idea, but I chalk it up to a God-given inspiration.  That started my love of painting, and now my full-time career, and I have Howard's beautiful artistic ability to thank for spring boarding that.

Bellagio Deja Vu Courtesy of HowardBehrens.com

Howard's paintings are absolutely incredible, and his use of palette-knife (read: metal knives instead of brushes) create a gorgeous texture that can only truly be appreciated in person.  While Howard was internationally known and loved, he was born and raised in the DC area, and he lived in both Potomac and Reston later in life.  His love of travel and passion for the impressionist masters of old led him to paint incredible scenes of the Mediterranean, Mexico, Italy, and beyond.  I personally loved his Italian scenes, specifically that of Lake Como, and because of his scenes, I found my way to Lake Como twice in the past few years.

My dear friend Susan and I both in Europe separately for work, and met up in Lake Como together!

Howard Behrens worked for the U.S. Government Printing Office for 17 years, all along the way painting at nighttime.  Slowly his paintings became world-renown and he was able to focus on it as his full-time job.  His hard work and dedication to his work inspired me that you could pursue your passion while working a 9-5 job.  I have no idea how he managed this for 17 years while raising four children, as I did it for about five and I can tell you it is quite tiring, and that's without kids!

While he lived close by, I was never able to meet him, and while I got close a couple of times, he was unfortunately very ill by the time I had a close enough connection.  I was sad to hear about his passing, but I am so grateful that God made his work cross my path, as it has shaped my life's work and was the vehicle by which God showed me part of what I was destined to do.

I hope you have an inspiring week and that you think about who in your life inspired you!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Recently I blogged about a painting I completed of Villa Monastero, which was inspired by a photo that I took while in Lake Como last year.  It just so happened that as we were walking back to the ferry to hop back across the lake from Villa Monastero, we stumbled upon this little restaurant with a classic Fiat 500 parked in front.  While the Fiat 500 has recently revamped its look and made a comeback within the past few years, the old Fiat 500 from five decades ago remains an icon of classic Italian cars, so it was the perfect shot to take with the car centered around all of the old buildings and historic landscape.

This picture isn't quite a miniature, but given the size of the Fiat 500, I decided to create this as a smaller work, being a 5"x7" oil on canvas.  I hope you enjoy!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014


Last year my husband Patrick and I went to Europe, where we took more pictures than I could possibly have imagined for the purpose of painting (check out a few pics in my blog here).  We had a wonderful time and while it was a complete and total whirlwind, it cemented my love for Lake Como, which if you've followed my blog at all, is a recurring topic of conversation.  I would LOVE to go there for a longer period of time instead of just a few days to really soak in the culture, food, and scenery.  It is really just one of the most majestic places on the planet.  Since coming home, I have painted a few of the pictures that we took there, one being of Villa Monastero, located on Lake Como in Varenna.  This scene is a 24"x36" oil on canvas.

Villa Monastero is now a convention center and botanical garden, and is also often used as the backdrop for fashion magazine spreads (not surprisingly).  The day we snapped this picture, it was a fair bit cloudier, but the flowers were just as amazing.  Funny thing to note...the sign behind the yellow roses is actually for a bathroom...ha!  We need bathrooms this beautiful in the U.S., wouldn't you agree?!

I hope this reminds you of your happy place, and if you are ever making your way over to Europe and need a great suggestion on a stop, shoot me a message and I'll tell you ALL the places to go and see in Lake Como!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Embellished Giclees: Before & After

For those of you who are unfamiliar, an embellished giclee is when an image of an original painting is printed onto a canvas, and is then embellished with paint by the artists hand.  In the end, the product is something that looks similar to a real painting, at a fraction of the cost of the original.  In addition, most giclees are run in limited edition, meaning that only one of a certain number will be created (in my case, usually 50).

The best part of an embellished giclee, though, is that it can also be customized to fit the needs of the home it will hang in.  While I usually embellish the same image in similar ways, I on occasion get a request to change up the colors slightly.  This was the case for my last embellished giclee, which was requested in warm tones with a sunset scene and calmer, reflective water.  See what a difference in mood the same scene can have in different colors?  I really love the way this one turned out, and think it's neat to have created something new and unique from an image that once looked so different.

And as an FYI, I am able to turn any original that I have created into an embellished giclee, so please let me know if you see an image you'd like to see turned into a giclee for your home!