Lake Ridge Park

Yesterday, I spent a steamy slice of the day at Lake Ridge Park. The lake is a small section of the Occoquan Reservoir and they offer canoes, kayaks, a boat ramp, snacks, picnic tables, and facilities.

It is, in short, plein air heaven.

Click on the following for the pictures I uploaded in my plein air album; in the sidebar there is an interactive map to find the park.

Finding it very convenient, I painted next to this boat shed, which was the source of great shade past 2pm.

Photographs of my painting, an oil, are forthcoming.


Two Bits

If you're in the Kingstowne area, please drop by the Kingstowne Library to view my exhibit before Friday.

Also, if you're local to Northern Virginia and interested in painting plein air Thursday, August 6, please let me know. I am working up a group outing for the day, perhaps in Lake Ridge.

Photo is of Hidden Pond at Meadowood on Gunston Peninsula.


Maryland Pastel Society Summer Meeting

This weekend's MPS meeting featured a framing demonstration which was followed by stations for experienced individuals to critique other members' paintings.

The framer was Julian A. Manelli, the owner of Mat About You Gallery and Custom Framing in Ellicott City, MD; he's an experienced conservator as well. I thought it was wonderful that instead of framing a piece, he deconstructed and unframed a piece that he'd put together for a MPS member a few weeks ago.

He also deconstructed some framing myths as well. I'd read that pastels should be sealed, because opening doors suck the air out of the room as well as the framed paintings. This entails making a sandwich of glass, matting (if applicable), spacers (if applicable), artwork, and foam core by putting tape around the edge of the unit. Manelli does not use this method, because he feels that inside the painting is an ecosystem that needs to equilibrate so that condensation does not occur.

This framer always puts linen or other tape around the inside of the frame's rabbet and any fillet, because they could convey acid or leaf flakes to the art. This is the back of the frame; apologies for not getting a shot of the gold leaf front. He also inserts spacers so that there is no movement of the glass.

On this piece, because of the fillet used to preserve as much of the edge of the painting as possible, he used a cut out in the foam core and his backing was merely watercolor paper. Here he peels away the watercolor paper to reveal the back of the painting, the fillet, and several layers of foam core.

He is lifting out the fillet and painting from the surrounding mat and foam core. Notice the acid free tape inside the fillet.

Here he is pulling away a bit of the watercolor paper to show the lip of the back side of the mat and the build up of foam core for the fillet to rest.

Although it would have been great to see a hinged piece framed, he felt that there are so many techniques and supplies available that it would have been difficult to pull off in that setting.

He mentioned a 60% UV glass he bought a large stock of as the company was going out of business. He only offers it to artists, so ask for it when you go. He gives great price breaks to artists; this complicated and beautiful frame job was only about $100. For size and price comparison, I'd guess the frame was about 18x24".

One last framing tip: do not use alcohol solutions to clean the glass. Use microfiber and lighter fluid. Yes, a small amount of lighter fluid.

Manelli also showed secure flat storage units that can be made at home. They're layers of foam core with a bottom, plus a removable top fastened in the corners by velcro.

The passion Manelli has for framing certainly shows in his work. He'd be worth a road trip!


Musical Interlude: A Different Kind of Culture

For the second year, my 11 year old son has participated in Vienna Summer Strings, a daily camp lasting almost four weeks which features a final performance for the six age groups participating. He's taken violin for two years in school as well, so this summer camp makes it so that there's at least one thing he doesn't forget each summer!

This short video clip is of the purple group playing Nightrider by Meyer.

He's near the middle here, just to the left, and has the beautiful, patina-darkened violin which belonged to his great grandmother.



I love photography and pursue it as avidly at painting, although I've never attempted to show.

Just like it feels like a waste to have my own paintings languishing on my own walls, I would like to put some of my photography to better use and share it for both the beauty and for your painting pleasure. If you do paint from one, please let me know and see it! I hope to make this a regular feature.

These photos are from my recent workshop weekend with Poly. The first is at the farm in Leesburg, VA. The second, well, I took my life into my own hands parking next to Rt 7 near Sterling to tale the photos. The last is at the merge point of 28 and 66 in Centreville.


Maya's Pastry and Cafe Rotating Exhibit, Lorton

Kingstowne Area Artists Association installed a new quarterly exhibit at Maya's Pastry and Cafe at 8998 Lorton Station Blvd near the VRE. Come by to check out the new pieces and to have some pastries or ice cream.


Workhouse Opening

Join us for a Wine and Cheese Reception at the Workhouse Arts Center featuring pieces from the Workhouse Artists Associates and the Workhouse Artists Guild.

Visit the Workhouse Gallery in W-16 from 2-4pm on Sunday, July 19. Also take some time to visit the Workhouse Artists Studios from noon until 5pm. I will be serving upstairs in W-16 as the docent from 2:30-5pm; come entertain me!


Workhouse News

How fun! My painting of Tanner's Ridge made the cover of the July 2009 Workhouse Arts Center Insider. Many thanks to the Workhouse marketing staff.


Misty Morning

Begun as a 25 stroke painting, Misty Morning was a product of a Sara Linda Poly workshop in May.

The first day, I painted near the house and studio of Glenfiddish Farm Pottery in my attempt to stay shaded. On the way out heading home, I noted the tree-lined drive would be great for painting, so I went there directly on Sunday and was joined by many others.

Of late, I keep being reminded how important it is to paint with the board and the colors in the shade, both pastels and oils. If the work isn't created in the shade, it is often garish once out of the sun. For me, working in the direct sun has become a waste of time. I will find a composition I like, but if I can't engineer shade somehow, I will take a picture for later and find something else to paint that day. I truly wish umbrellas worked for me, but I have not had luck with positioning them. Further, one kited my French easel, breaking it, so I still hold a grudge.

Below is my set up for this workshop's series of paintings. The clipped on car shade worked well. I also appreciate the versatility of the EasyL Pro, which can tilt both the painting surface as well as the painting in order to seek shade.

When I was painting, I was facing 180 degrees from what is pictured, so it was out of the sun.

You might recognize the cedar bush. Completed on site...
Misty Morning
Oil on Board


Pond on Thompson Road

On vacation for the holiday, we stayed in a hotel with a very pretty view of a pond with cattails. In fact, my son exclaimed from our room's window, "Hey Mom! You can paint from here!" I tell ya, I am raising him right. I painted from the hotel property and even the owner came out to inspect.

Next to the pond were field upon field of Virginia's cash crop, according to my son's history lessons: tobacco. Perhaps I'll come back to a picture of it next winter. I'm sure I'll come back to one of the many pictures I took of hay bales, a subject matter I am obsessed with.

Painting under an ornamental plum tree, I was able to clip the car shades to the branches without damaging the tree. It worked very well in keeping my painting and palette shaded.

This pond actually backed to I-95, but it is amazing what a little artistic license can accomplish. It is my first gallery wrap attempt and it went better than expected. Careful travels kept the sides pristine.

Pond on Thompson Road
Oil on Canvas Gallery Wrap


Kingstowne Library and Workhouse Exhibits

Lights! Ambiance! Library?

It's very exciting to have a wall, a lush, pretty, soft wall of my own! I populate this stretch real estate at the Kingstowne Library from July 1-31. Included are pastels and oils ranging in size from 5x7 to 11x14. My bio is informative, educating the world about the beauty of en plein air painting.

Come by and see. It's in Alexandria at the corner of Beulah and Telegraph, made possible through my affiliation with Kingstowne Area Artists Association. Sincere thanks to my son for his assistance in hanging.

Also, check out the new exhibit in W-16 at the Workhouse which begins today as well. The opening reception will be July 19 from 2-4 and I am the upstairs docent that day from 2:30-5. Come visit me! This exhibit runs through August 15; I have an oil and a pastel on display.