Thursday, December 31, 2015

New website!

Happy New Years Eve!  It is a beautifully mild day here in DC, and also my anniversary!  I've had a really rough cold for the past week, but I'm excited that I'm going out to dinner tonight!  Yay!  

Here at the studio, I'm excited to share that I've developed a new website for my palette knife painting, so check it out below!  I had a good time with it as it's my first foray into Wordpress.  It's still being tweaked, so forgive any flaws, but it's for my palette knife painting and I'm excited to share it!

Be sure to sign up for the newsletters for details on the latest and greatest with the palette knife pieces!


Sunday, December 6, 2015


Noelle, 36"x36" oil on canvas

Happy Monday!  I'm having a fun time with ballerinas these days, and I had an especially good time creating my most recent dancer, mostly because of all the burgundy, pinks, and greens...she's very much in the spirit of Christmas!  Christmas is my favorite holiday, and of course given the time of year it's constantly on my mind.  Besides that, I just love these colors together year round!

Noelle is a 36"x36" oil on canvas in palette knife.  This is the biggest ballerina I've created so far, but I needed a square canvas for her position.  I hope you have a great week ahead and a Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Little Lion

Little Lion, 24"x24" oil on canvas

Happy Monday!  As promised, here is my latest sea creature, the lionfish.  As I've mentioned previously, Grand Cayman holds a special place in my heart.  There are a million reasons to love it, but for some reason it really feels like home.  In Cayman, like many other areas of the Caribbean, the lionfish has been introduced as a non-native species, and as a result, has been depleting natural fish populations as well as coral reefs due to its predatory tendencies. 

That said, Caymanian people are quite clever, and figured out that they are actually a very tasty fish, so spearfishing for lionfish has become a bit of a sport.  As a result of the influx of lionfish meat, many restaurants now have lionfish offerings on their menus.  I haven't tried it yet, but I'm really looking forward to it!

So here he is, this gorgeous striped fish with a bit of a checkered history, ha! I've seen one in person once, and I can say they really are majestic looking!  Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sir Turtle!

Sir Turtle, 24x24 oil on canvas

Wow, what an amazing weather day!  I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic under the gray skies last week, so this week has been pretty blissful.  I much prefer the sunshine to the rain, although we were a bit in need of some wet weather for the grass's sake.  Anyway, now that the sky is clear again, check out this underwater painting of this sweet little sea turtle. Sir Turtle as I like to call him (paying homage to the emblem of the Cayman Islands), is a 24"x24" oil on canvas.  I fell in love with his sweet little grumpy face and I love how dynamic he is headed toward you.

My aim is to make him a friend, I'm thinking this time a lion fish.  We'll see how that one goes, so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

It's a Wrap!

Well hello! I'm back up for air after wrapping up the ValeArts show this past weekend.  I'm really thankful we had it last weekend instead of this weekend with the rain, whoa!  It's crazy outside right now!  Stay safe if you're reading this on the East Coast!

The show was great, a lot of hard work but a lot of fun at the same time.  We had a lot of new faces (and regulars!) coming out to see the pieces, which always makes things more vibrant.  Above you can see a painting I was about to wrap up for a customer, a quick bin piece of Washington Harbor.  Below, you can see artists Jenna, Linda, and Kathy setting up for the reception we had on Friday night.  

Overall it was a wonderful experience, and next week I'm back at the easel!  With all of this cold rain, I'm going to mentally hop on over the Caribbean for my next piece or two.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ValeArts Show THIS Weekend!

It's been a busy week as the ValeArts Show is THIS weekend!!!  There will be all sorts of great art on display, including originals and reproductions by eight artists (myself included!).  I'll be working the morning shifts from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and will be at the reception as well on Friday from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.  
I hope to see you there!  If you want more info, check out www.valearts.com.  Below you can see my latest palette knife work on paper, an 8"x10" piece entitled Red Delicious.  All dry and ready to be framed!

Be sure to come on out if you're in the area and have a free moment, it would be WONDERFUL to see you there!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

ValeArts Show!

Wow, we're getting so close to the upcoming ValeArts Show!  Be sure to come out next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., with opening night hours on Friday from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. This is an extra special show in that we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the group.  Be sure to come on out, check out details below or go to www.valearts.com!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Elizabeth, 24x36 oil on canvas

Happy Tuesday and day after Labor Day!  Recently, my friend Liz came over and very graciously helped me get some great reference photos by posing as a model.  She is gorgeous and was an excellent ballerina, so naturally I was able to snap some great shots!  Here is the first of the series of ballerinas in which Liz posed, aptly named "Elizabeth."  I had a lot of fun with the skirt especially, so full and beautiful, even more fun than the fluffy white tutu I made Liz wear while we had our photo shoot.  Ha!

I hope you all have a wonderful day, and welcome Fall!  I'm excited about everything pumpkin, but in all honesty I'm really sad that the Summer is drawing to a close.  Summer just isn't long enough here in DC, even though it was 90 degrees today.  If I ruled the world, it would ALWAYS be 90 degrees outside!!!!  Hope your Labor Day was great and that you enjoy the short work week!

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Day at the Beach

A Day at the Beach, 22x28 oil on canvas

Happy Monday!  This past week I finished a piece that was close to my heart, a picture of my sweet babe on her first trip to the beach.  As you can see, I changed up the colors a bit to make them more vibrant.  I really enjoyed painting this piece since it took me back to that day...she had such a great time splashing in the water, and I admittedly spent most of my time attempting to keep her from putting handfuls of sand in her mouth.  Ha!

Next up on the easel is a palette knife sea turtle!  Stay tuned and enjoy this last day of August!  I love Fall but I'm going to be honest, I'm pretty sad that Summer is winding down.  It is by far my favorite season of the year as I love love love warm weather.  But with Fall comes pumpkin spice lattes and the start of the Christmas season, so it's just a trade off.

With September comes the next ValeArts show, which runs from September 25th-27th at the Vale Schoolhouse.  Hope to see you there, stay tuned for more details!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oh Baby...

A Mother's Love, oil on canvas, 22x28

A few months ago, I took a picture of my grandmother holding my sweet little baby, and it was just the most captivating picture.  My grandmother loves babies, and my little love has really taken to her as well.  My grandmother and my mom will come over on occasion and play with her so I can paint, and they just laugh and laugh in the next room over.  I tell you what, there are few things more delightful than multiple generations of laughter in one room together. 

I decided to try my hand at painting the picture I had taken of the two of them, and found that my grandmother is just too youthful looking, ha!  She ended up looking more like a mom than a grandma, and so I added some longer hair on her and have since titled it "A Mother's Love."  Maybe one day I'll take another shot at making my grandma, although I'm sure she probably prefers her to be painted sans laugh lines!

Hope you enjoy the piece and have a GREAT week ahead!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Waiting in the Wings

Recently, I've been having some fun painting ballerinas in palette knife.  Since I usually paint with a brush, the product is very different from my typical work, but I've been enjoying the expressiveness and freedom to explore color as well as the human form.  Above is my most recent piece, Waiting in the Wings, a 24"x36" oil on canvas.  

Sometimes I get asked where I get my inspiration from, and typically it's in the form of a picture.  This time, however, I actually posed for the picture!  You know what the best part of using yourself as a model?  You can shave off pounds with just a few strokes.  HA!!!!!!  I didn't don a tutu or anything, I just needed an understanding of how the hands would look fixing a bun.  Very simple picture but it was enough to get the painting going!

Hope you are having a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Taking Photos...

Happy Monday!  Today I started a new piece, which I should hopefully have a picture to show some progress this Friday.  In the meantime, I spent some time taking pictures of a few pieces I have completed.  So much time can be spent on taking pictures, professional photographers are no joke...they have some mad skills.  As I try to learn all about white balance and photoshop etc., etc., I feel a little overwhelmed at times!  So here above is a far away picture of the ballerina I've been working on.  Palette knife is especially difficult to photograph due to the texture of the piece, but I hope at this point I've gotten it down.  I've been working much of the evening at it and hope to have the final image soon, I just need to check it on a couple different computers to make sure I don't have it totally off!

I hope you have a happy, productive week ahead!!!!  See you Friday!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy Friday!

Oh man, Friday again?!  This week felt like a blur.  This week I finished up framing a commissioned painting and touched up an old painting to change the palette to a brighter one.  I don't have pictures unfortunately, one because the commission is a surprise, and the other is not yet done.  I'm hoping Monday to show more progress, so with that, I'll just say Happy Friday!  I hope your weekend is wonderful and hope to have more fun for you Monday!

Monday, July 13, 2015

All Done! Phew!

Italian Coast, 24x36 oil on canvas

I am really excited because I finished the Italian Coastline scene!  I haven't created an Italian scene for awhile, and I realized how much I missed it.  It's sort of like going on vacation in the sense that it's relaxing and eye catching, just a lovely view to engross myself in.

So here it is!  Next up, I'm changing up an already complete piece to brighten up the color palette, and then hopefully onto the next scene.  Stay tuned!

Happy Monday!!!!!!  Hope you're having a great day!

Friday, July 10, 2015

So Close!

Bon Bons...yum!

I am SO close to finishing up this Italian coastline scene...in fact, I am technically done with it, and it's going through it's first round of editing.  I call this finished painting my "first draft" since it's not ready to frame but it's pretty much done.  What needs editing you ask?  Well, I don't like the shape that the sea makes, so I need to change the curvature of it.  After that, I think I might be done barring no other editing!  I hope to post it on Monday!

In other news, I had the fun opportunity to check out an Amish Farmer's Market in Maryland today.  It was faaaantastic.  Everything was fresh, from the bread to the pastries to the fresh baked donuts. YUM.  Also, I love the Amish.  Even when I was little, my mom said I used to get a huge smile on my face when I'd see them, and today was no different.  I don't know what it is!  Maybe it's the pureness of their lifestyle and faith, or their work ethic, or calm demeanor, but they're just amazing to me.  I started rattling off questions to my mom and mother in law that I was curious about, but didn't have the heart to ask since I didn't want to appear nosy. 

So of course I ended up googling later, and while there are different sects of Amish, I learned quite a bit about the sect that runs this market.  First, as with most all Amish, no photos allowed, as it's believed a photo is a graven image, and is considered vain. So therefore the photo you see above is simply of bon bons, an inside joke between my husband and I about what I must eat all day. Ha!  Second, the women dress according to their age...the younger you are, the brighter the colors.  I was wondering about that this today, as I saw a wide variety of shades, most really beautiful!  They also apparently leave at 4 a.m. to get to the Farmer's Market by 6 a.m. to begin work for the day.  Wow!  As a natural night owl, I'm not sure I'd make it as an Amish person!!!!

Have a great weekend!  See you Monday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Painting Progress!

Progress so far!

I'm getting closer to finishing up this Italian coast scene, and hate to admit it but I am getting to an antsy point in the painting.  This happens with some of my larger detailed pieces...I start to get excited to finish it and feel so close but so far at the same time.  Usually this is a good sign that I'm closer than I realize to completing the piece, although it doesn't feel like it.  We'll see what Friday holds for my post and if it's done!

As far as the progress, you might be able to tell that I changed the color of the middle mountain.  I wasn't digging the blue-green color and decided instead to warm it up with a more yellow-green.  Right now I'm working on the building in the foreground, and then plan is to fill in the sidewalks, then the ocean, and then the beach.  Woo hoo!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth!

Hubby and Baby celebrating Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July!  I've been busy working on a couple things, including the Italian coastline painting I showed a couple pictures of the other day, and hope to have a picture of the progress for you on Monday.  In the meantime, the plan is to have a low key fourth of July; eat some burgers, watch some fireworks, wear some red, white, and blue.  I am not sure what it is (maybe it's the blog forcing me to jot down my thoughts!) but I'm especially grateful to be an American this year. It's a blessing to grow up in this country, to have so many opportunities and freedoms, to be able to paint just about whatever I want whenever I want.  It's a wonderful, wonderful thing and I just feel grateful!

On this July 4th I hope you are feeling grateful for the freedoms you have, and if you're reading from abroad, what do you love about your country?!  The world is full of fabulous places with their own wonderful culture, I'd love to hear about it!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Italian Coastline

Good evening!  It's still Monday (by a hair), so I'm successfully keeping on with my challenge of posting every Monday and Friday for the next month.  I started a new painting last week, and I thought I'd share the progress!  Above is one of the first times I stepped back from the picture, and below is after filling in the mountains and starting the structure.  The scene is an Italian coastline (as you can tell by tel by the blue block in the lower left hand corner - that's water!), and I am taking pictures continuously through the process so I can continue to share my progress.  More to come!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Already?!

Happy Friday!  Per my new challenge, I'm blogging today in an attempt to write on both Mondays and Fridays.  This past Monday I wondered what I'd accomplish by Friday, and to be honest, this week wasn't the best.  I had a painting that I started, and totally messed up.  As in totally, completely messed up.  It was the ballerina I had talked about starting on Monday, and not only was it just not right from a perspective perspective, but it wasn't even captivating.  You know what?  It happens sometimes.

Productivity wise, I delivered an embellished giclee this week that I framed in a super cool dark wood frame.  Frame delivery day is always like Christmas, especially when buying brand new frames.  That was the case this week and I was really excited about what I got!  

Well sadly, I don't have a lot more to say so far.  I'm back at the easel this afternoon, so hope to have something more for you Monday!

Have a GREAT weekend!!!!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Challenge...

This past week, I went to the beach with my family.  It's always nice to get away from the hustle and bustle and have nothing on my to do list except for walk the beach every day.  Going to the beach also helps me to clear my mind, and assess where I am on a lot of levels.  While I feel rejuvenated and can't wait to tackle some new things (especially art-wise), I realized that my blog has been lacking a lot of late.  My once a week Monday post has slowly devolved into posting more sporadically, which I don't like.  Somehow, the week sneaks up on me and Monday comes and goes.

So I've decided to challenge myself.  For a month (since that's the amount of time it takes to create a habit and not too much pressure), I'm going to post every Monday and Friday.  Just like any good product, it takes time to create good art, so subject matter can be tough sometimes to drum up.  So sometimes I'll write about what I've accomplished, and sometimes I'll write about what I didn't accomplish, and sometimes I'll just blog about myself so you can get to know me better.  But the point is, the goal is to blog.

So with that, welcome to the first day of the challenge!  As I mentioned before, I went to the beach last week with my family.  It was particularly special since this was the first year that baby girl came along (not in my belly).  She loved the beach and the pool, and had some of the best naps of her life (she was a sleepy bear after all the fun we'd have everyday).  Overall it was really relaxing and while I wish I could have spent another week there, it's fun to be home and back at the easel!

Art-wise, this week I'm going to start a new ballerina in palette knife, do some framing, and see what else comes up.  Stay tuned for Friday!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Five Great Gift Ideas for the Artist in Your Life...

Courtesy of dickblick.com

There I stood at my goodbye party as I stepped away from corporate America and ascended into running my own business as a fine artist.  My coworkers were kind enough to get me a going away gift of a Michaels gift card and a tube of blue oil paint, the same royal blue as the Volkswagen logo, where I worked in the Product Planning department for several years.  I sat there and thought to myself, "Hm, a new color!  I've never used this one before." I was hesitant to use it at first as it was out of my palette, until one day I struggled with the right color for a bright daytime sky.  Now I can't even imagine painting without this blue in my palette, it's gorgeous!  What a thoughtful, lovely gift I received on multiple levels, which brings me to my blog about five great gift ideas for the artist in your life, specifically an oil painter (since that's what I know best!)   So here they are, in random order...

1. A Unique Color of Paint

Given that I started my story about getting a unique color of paint, I have to push this gift idea.  Make sure to know the artists medium (aka, acrylic, oil, watercolor, etc.), and don't worry too much about getting the best brand.  Just get whatever color strikes you best in your budget.  You'd be surprised, many artists remember how they acquired a unique tube of paint, and attach fond memories to them.  And don't be afraid to go wild, either!  Neon green, sure, why not?!  It'll be fun to see it applied when they find the perfect subject matter, and I bet they'll not only remember your gift but certainly thank you for it years later!

Courtesy of dickblick.com

2.  A Funky Sized Canvas

For those of you who don't know, I love painting very large and very small.  How small?  Think the size of a credit card!  And if it weren't for the fact that I just so happened to pick up a few small canvases at Michaels on a whim, I wouldn't have realized that painting so small could turn into such a big passion.  When it comes to the artist in your life, check out their work and study what size they create most often.  Is it medium sized pieces of standard sizes (11"x14", 18"x24"), smaller pieces, larger ones?  Go out and buy the opposite!  They will be befuddled for certain as to what to do with it, but you will stretch their muscles and they'll love you for it.

Feeling like your artist friend paints every size?  Go for a funky shape.  Think square, extreme landscape (ex., 12"x36"), just make sure it has four corners for easy framing!  And if that's still not a viable solution, go for something really wild, like getting board instead of canvas!  It's such a fun gift idea and remember, artists are creative, they love to expand their breadth and depth and a funky canvas is the perfect challenge!

Courtesy of dickblick.com

3.  A Different Shaped Brush

Again, if your artist is like a lot of artists, they'll go through brushes quickly.  And usually once an artist finds their stride, they won't deviate from it much, which includes the brushes they select.  If you're stumped on an idea, walk down the aisle of your local arts and crafts store, and pick out the craziest looking brush you can find.  I recommend some type of fan shape (see above) or the kind that looks like a big oval, you know, the old school makeup brush type.  Two very unique brushes that have a TON of applications.  Again, you can go expensive or cheap on this, whatever's in price range!

Courtesy of dickblick.com

4. Artist's Apron

Art is messy...like, really, really messy sometimes. Many artists just relegate certain outfits to becoming painting only outfits, but that said, sometimes an artist doesn't have the luxury of wearing old sweats, especially if they are doing a demo or teaching a class.  Enter an artist's apron.  They come in universal sizes for the most part and a wide price range, and are certain to be used...you really can never have enough aprons to protect your outfits, especially since they usually end up covered in paint, get stiff, and need to be tossed eventually anyway.  If you're feeling generous, get a smock!  A smock with sleeves is also an awesome gift, especially in the Fall and Winter.  You can find aprons at your local arts and crafts store or online!



5. Art Cases and Bags

Sounds random, but if you want a fool proof gift, go for an art case or bag.  Artists make paintings to display them, which means transporting them.  Art cases and bags help to protect art and I really cannot emphasize this enough, you can't have too many.  Seriously.  These things are the equivalent of hair ties for women...always a need for them, always scrambling to find one.  Just be sure to figure out what size your artist works with a lot, as a teeny tiny bag may be useless if they only paint large.  And also keep in mind frame sizes.  An artist who works in 24"x36" often but then frames large will typically need something more along the lines of a 30"x42" bag to accommodate the frame and artwork.  Find art bags online, I recommend Dick Blick: http://www.dickblick.com/products/star-products-biyomap-art-protection-cases/#photos

So there you have it, five great, fool proof ideas for the artist in your life.  Have you ever gotten your favorite artist a successful gift?  What was it?!  I'd love to hear it!

Monday, May 11, 2015


This past week I breathed a sigh of relief as I finished up a couple of projects, including touching up the nursery mural I was working on as well as delivering a painting and a commission I had recently finished.  Unfortunately, I can't share the commission since it's a surprise wedding gift, but I took videos of the finished product of the mural as well as a cool light show of the painting I delivered.

I'm so glad I got a chance to see the nursery fully decorated when I came to do the touch up...the decor she chose looks INCREDIBLE!  The wired light fixture casts a shadow on the wall that looks like the tree has extended to the wall where the cribs are located, and the rug and bedding makes the room so nice and cozy.  Totally a dream nursery!  When watching, I highly recommend muting the video, baby girl Hannon joined me for the touching up and during the filming decided she was ready to GO.  Ha!

The video below is of a recent painting I created called "Waiting in the Wings."  When I delivered it, we shot a really cool video of what you can do with paintings when you change the lighting on it.  This is an LED light that changes color via remote control shining directly on the painting.  Since the original painting was mostly white, it reflects the changing colors really well.  Apologies for the slight shakiness, I'm still practicing my video skills!

Hope you are having a great Monday!!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Vale Show!

Happy Monday!  It was a busy couple of weeks with the ValeArts Spring Show last weekend!  I had a really great time at the show and got a chance to meet a lot of people who came through the door looking for great art.  

The group is incredible at maximizing the space available at the Vale Schoolhouse, with art on walls, flats, bins, and tables.  Above you can see a new palette knife piece I recently finished of a ballerina hanging on the wall while a woman looks at bin pieces available by artist Jenna Klimchak.  The artists place pieces throughout the room to keep it interesting.

Above is the artists' table, where members of the group put out information about themselves as well as portfolios of their work and small original pieces available.

The reproduction room greets you as you enter the schoolhouse.  On the walls are original works of art and on the tables are reproductions in the form of prints and note cards.

Overall it was a wonderful show and while it's a whirlwind weekend from set up to break down, it was really wonderful!

Monday, April 20, 2015

This Weekend! Vale Arts Show THIS Friday-Sunday!

Happy Monday Everyone!  Don't forget to come on over to the Vale Schoolhouse this weekend!  There will be fantastic original art as well as prints and note cards from nine fabulous artists (if I do say so myself :-P).

Doors are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., with the opening reception being held Friday from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.  

As always, it is free and open to the public, so come on down!  There is a kids craft table outside and plenty of fun to be had.  Hope to see you there!!!!

ValeArts Spring Show & Sale
Vale Schoolhouse
Corner of Fox Mill Road and Vale Road
Oakton, Virginia

 Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fun with Winnie the Pooh!

Well I just wrapped up a really fun project, a Winnie the Pooh mural for a twins nursery in Maryland.  If you haven't seen much of my other mural work, it's because I really don't paint walls very often since I'm an oil painter by trade.  That said, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to paint this large scale mural.  It scales three walls, with the name of each baby on the fourth wall over their cribs.

We decided on a classic Pooh theme, and connected the three walls to make it feel like one large scene with the oak tree in the middle.  Above you can see Pooh being pulled out of Rabbit's House.

Here is a close up of the scene!

On the far wall, Roo hangs out with some butterflies.  Like most commissions, it was really fun, and painting that large was a great challenge, in addition to painting in acrylic as opposed to oil.  Acrylic dries very fast, so shading can be really tough sometimes.  I'm used to putting paint on canvas and being able to play with it for days!

So what do you think?!  I would love to hear it!

Hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying this gorgeous weather!  Ahhhhh I breathe a sigh of relief when I see the first Spring blossoms!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Quick Fix! The Dreaded Dented Canvas

Photo Courtesy of Laptopstolullabies.com

Whether you are a professional artist, hobby artist, or art lover, you may have encountered the absolute dreaded canvas "dent," when a stretched canvas is inadvertently rested on something that creates pressure on a particular part of the canvas, creating a bubble or dent in the canvas like in the picture above.  This may have happened to you as an artist, or even as an art owner, moving art around for hanging.  So now what?  A ruined canvas?  Not necessarily!

Simply take a very damp paper towel or sponge, and wet the back of the dented part of the canvas (not the front!!!!).  Make sure that the dented part is wet, although don't feel the need to totally soak it.  A spray bottle of water also works well in this case.  After you dampen the affected area, simply place in front of a sunny window and the fibers will naturally tighten and in most cases, the dent will disappear. In some cases, there may still be a slight ripple, which can be removed by simply re-stretching that part of the canvas (a frame store can also do this for you if you aren't experienced in stretching).

Voila!  This works for both linen and cotton canvas, so have no fear, a solution is here!

Did it work for you?  Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mark Your Calendars! Vale Arts Spring Show April 24th-26th

Recently I had the honor of becoming the newest member of Vale Arts, a group of artists that shows twice a year at the Vale Schoolhouse in Oakton, Virginia.  Being selected was an unexpected and wonderful surprise, and is a great motivation to keep at the easel as the first show of the year is coming up, April 24th-26th!

The show is located at the Vale Schoolhouse, a one room historical site built in 1888, and features original art from ten artists.  

Here are the details below, check it out!  As always, admission is free and children are welcome!

Where: Vale Schoolhouse 
3124 Fox Mill Road, Oakton, Virginia 
(Corner of Fox Mill Road and Vale Road)

When:  Friday, April 24th, Saturday, April 25th, & Sunday, April 26th

Hours:  Friday, April 24th: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday, April 25th & Sunday, April 26th: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Opening Reception: Friday, April  24th, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. - Food & Drinks Provided!

Hope you are loving this gorgeous weather, I know I am!  Sixty-five and sunny today?!  Yes please!  Hope you have a great Monday and an even better week ahead!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Time Lapse!

Yesterday, I think Spring may have finally sprung as it was 60 degrees.  It was so balmy I left my jacket behind and basked in the lovely warm weather.  The snow is starting to melt and I feel very happy to have it warm again.  As much as I love DC, sometimes I'm not sure why I don't just live in the Caribbean!

When I created my most recent piece of Georgetown, I had a lot of fun playing around with time lapse photography to capture the painting.  There were several gaps and I'm still working on the best angle to capture painting in the future, but it was really fun!  Check out the link below!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Morning in Georgetown

Morning in Georgetown, 32"x48" oil on canvas

Happy March!  How is it March already?!  The past two months feel like they have been a whirlwind! Recently, I had the opportunity to create a scene of Georgetown and the Key Bridge for a family who lives and works in DC.  This was certainly a large painting (four feet wide!) and right up my alley since I love love love painting large scale pieces almost as much as I love painting Georgetown in general.  Having gone to graduate school there and living in Virginia at the time, I used to walk across the Key Bridge almost every day (except when it was pouring, then I'd take the "GUTS" bus), and it helped to clear my head after a day of learning!

The piece hanging on the wall!  Lovely!

I framed the piece for the family and helped to hang it...above you can see the end result!  They were so wonderful to work with and I love the location...right over the sofa in the family room and next to a painting with a complementary vibrant palette.  Love it!

It was a big week of commissions as I delivered an embellished giclee of "Capitol Glow."  I framed this one as well (although I can't take any credit for the great taste in selecting a perfect frame for both of the pieces above!), and I love the way it hangs in the formal living room between the windows.  It is also a 32"x48".  Just goes to show how a large piece doesn't necessarily need a lot of space on either side of it to fit perfectly and look spectacular!

Hope you are having a wonderful Monday and staying warm.  It's about 40 here today and somehow it feels very balmy.  I guess that's what happens when you've been living in a snow globe for the past month!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Best Things to Ask (and not to ask!) an Artist, Part II...

A much happier dog today...better weather, time to play frisbee!

Last week I posted Part I of  best things to ask (and not to ask!) an artist.  Now this week, Part II!  Hope you enjoy and that it helps to make you look suave and knowledgeable in front of your favorite artist!

6. What does your daily work day look like?
Instead of: It must be so nice to be free all day!

This is a great question to ask, especially a full-time artist.  It may be hard to quantify since working for yourself means never really having a set schedule, but it's a great question for a couple of reasons.  First, you're acknowledging that it's a work day.  Working for yourself (in any business) is especially tough because while you make your own schedule, if you aren't productive, you don't get paid!  I, like many artists, keep a pretty strict schedule out of sheer force, which means no time for putting the paint brush down to go out and about during the day.  Second, it's just an interesting question, and I bet you'll find most artists don't automatically say "paint."  There's so much that goes into a business itself and into a finished piece of artwork, it's amazing how much time it will consume!  It's a great question and usually what you'll get is some wonderful insight into all that goes into getting a painting on a wall!

7.  Want to grab breakfast or a quick lunch sometime?
Instead of: We should hang out during the week!

Courtesy of The Oatmeal

I know that sounds counter intuitive to the last question, but all small business owners also need to see other humans.  It's easy to hole up in the studio and not get out or see anyone all day.  The Oatmeal has a great cartoon about the joys and downfalls of working at home, and I love the part above where work-from-home guy's English starts to fall apart (sadly this can be true!).  While it's tough to get away for a long lunch, an early morning breakfast, or a quick lunch somewhere is great!  It's a wonderful opportunity to practice grammar (kidding, kind of!).

8.  What is your favorite color palette?
Instead of:  Wow, that painting is really (insert color here)!

This is a quite impressive question to ask coming from a non-artist since you're using art language in the question.  While it may seem obvious from a visual perspective that an artist favors a certain color, you may get an interesting response as to why an artist has their favorite colors.  A lot of artists love to use a certain palette, or are extra inspired by certain colors, or have just begun using a few new shades!  I have a few favorites in my arsenal that I use frequently, but I am always trying to explore new colors.  This is also a great alternative to pointing out the usage of a certain color, since sometimes this can throw an artist off.  I went to a demo once where the artist said she was called out by a group of students for using a lot of purple in her landscapes...she didn't really realize it and I think to this day wasn't sure if it was meant as a compliment or a put down (I say compliment, her works are breathtaking)!  Point is, you never know!

9.  What are your favorite scenes to paint?
Instead of:  What is your favorite painting?

Surprisingly, it is considered a no-no for an artist to tell you what their favorite painting is.  I know it sounds odd, and while an artist totally has a favorite piece or two, you are never allowed to know which ones they are.  Why?  Because to a working artist, it can lessen the quality of the other pieces to a buyer when in reality all the pieces are going to strike viewers in different ways for different reasons.  Also, some pieces just flow, others have to be constantly worked at, etc. etc.  So the process can make an artist love a painting more than others, which bears no reflection on the finished product.  To ask what their favorite scenes are to paint gives great insight into an artists personality, style, and passions, and is just an awesome question!

10.  What is your dream for your career?
Instead of: When's your next show?

There are a million paths an artist can take, and there are a lot of different reasons an artist paints.  Some for love, some to pay the bills, some for both!  It's neat to see where an artist would love to be in their career eventually, it gives a lot of perspective on the artist, too, and it's a really thoughtful, open ended question.

So, what kinds of questions do you love (or hate!) to answer in your job?!  And for the artists out there...what did I miss?!  Anything you love to answer (or cringe at)?!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Best Things to Ask (and not to ask!) an Artist, Part I...

We are all awaiting the snowstorm to come tonight, and so right now it's just a little gray and very, very chilly (even the dog has retired for the day!), and since I just finished a painting, I thought I'd jot down some quick thoughts on conversing with an artist about, well, art!  

First, if you're reading this, I applaud you.  I love it when people go out of their comfort zone to ask others about their passions, especially when it's a subject matter they are new to.  At the same time, though, it can be hard!  What kind of questions do you ask?  What could be taboo that I don't know about?  So many people just choose to stay mum, but if you're reading this, fear not!  Here are the first five things to ask (or not to ask!) the artist in your life...and if you find you have asked the "taboo" questions, fear not!  This post is not intended to shame!  Most artists know that it's the heart that matters behind the question, and none of the "taboo" questions are actually even that bad!  So! Here they are...

1.  What was the Process in Creating that Painting?
Instead of: How long did that take you?

Color blocking (the blue is where the water will be).  A very important step in the process!  

It's very natural to ask an artist how long it took to create a painting (I certainly have asked it myself), but an even better question to ask is about the process.  Why?  Many artists tend to balk when asked how long a piece took them since they are unsure of the motivation behind the question.  Many times it's benign curiosity, but a calculation of the artist's hourly rate and a judgment on the value of the artist's time can be quickly done if provided the answer to "How long did this take?"  This calculation is especially deceptive when considering costs, which typically includes a 40-50% gallery commission, and what adds up to hundreds sometimes in framing, paint, canvas, and transport.  In addition to being a more insightful question, asking about the process gives the artist the opportunity to tell you about the amount of time it took in his or her response if they choose and you'll learn something new about what it takes to create a masterpiece!

2. How is the Show Going?
Instead of: Did you sell anything?

Shows are a big deal to an artist.  Artists will paint pieces specifically for the show, and it requires a large investment in both time and money.  Ultimately, the goal is to sell something (or lots of somethings!), and it doesn't matter if this is the first or five-hundredth showing, sales are extremely exciting.  So asking the simple question of how a show is going allows the artist to sidestep the sales aspect of it if they are disappointing.  This then enables the artist to generate a positive (if fluffy) response to the show overall, and you both can avoid that awkward "No (insert sad face here)" just in case it isn't going so hot!  Ha!

3. What Are You Working on Right Now?
Instead of: How's your art going?

Mid-process painting

Sometimes it can be really hard to sum up how an artist is feeling about their "art" at any given moment.  That said, there's always something on the easel, and it can easily springboard into a larger conversation about why it's being created, what the art is intended for, etc.

4.  What Artists Inspired You to Paint?
Instead of:  You remind me of this artist, don't you think?

Howard Behrens, my inspiration to begin painting.  Courtesy of HowardBehrens.com

This is a great question for a couple of reasons.  First, it's a really interesting question, and is really sincere and thought provoking.  In addition, you will get a brief glimpse into what an artist dreams about for their career, and if you do a little research about that artist, you will definitely earn some brownie points!  Second, it's a great question to ask instead of telling an artist what their work actually resembles.  Has anyone ever told you that you look like someone and you just cringe?!  Art is the same way.  There are some very famous artists out there in the world who artists actually intentionally avoid trying emulate.  So if you just so happen to bring one of those up, it may come across as an insult when it's never intended to be one!

5. Ask: Do You Sell Prints?
Instead of:  Your work is really expensive!

It's definitely not an insult to admire an original and ask if there is a print of it available.  And bear in mind, asking the question does not obligate you to buy a print if available either.  Said correctly it could come across as a high compliment, "Wow, what a masterpiece!  Do you sell prints?  It seems only fair to share it with more than one person."

Hopefully that was at least a little insightful!  Stay tuned to Part II next week!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Victory along the Wasatch

If you've seen some of the work on my website, you'll see that I love doing stadium scenes.  I'm not sure if it's just because I'm an extrovert or if I just appreciate all the excitement that game day brings, but I tend to jump into stadium paintings.  The picture above is my latest scene, "Victory along the Wasatch."  The original, painted for my Cougar friend Matt (who also provided the photo - thanks Matt!), is a 24"x36" oil on canvas.  If you are interested in a print or an embellished giclee, check out my shop here!  

And if you want to check out what the embellished giclee looks like, watch the video below!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Birth, New Berth

Maria and Wrigley

Well hello again!  It's been a bit quiet on my end from my usual weekly post, but for good reason.  While it wasn't completely intentional to have multiple life changes at once, my husband and I found our dream house, put our townhouse on the market, and had a baby all in the same month!  Needless to say things were a bit hectic and thus the blog was ignored for a bit.  But alas, the fog has lifted, I'm back in the studio on a more full-time basis, we are settled into the house, and my sweet baby girl is getting into more of a routine.  Our sweet pup, Wrigley, has also settled into the new home and into big sisterhood nicely after realizing we haven't forgotten her (we had a few weeks of either hunger striking, or worse, taking a large scoop of kibble in her mouth and throwing it all over the floor for me to clean up, ha!).

New studio space...the before picture

Since I keep my studio in my home, it was essential for me to have a dedicated space to paint, so when we walked through our now home for the first time and saw a tile sun room, I knew it was the right place for us.  Above is the before picture with the former owner's furniture...soon to come is the after picture!  Right now I'm still in process of organizing so stay tuned.

Getting back into the swing of things has been surprisingly refreshing...recently I completed a Caribbean beach scene commission during Christmastime, and created a stadium scene for a BYU grad.  I'll be sure to post a picture next week!