This is about the funnest award I could receive. Just the other evening evening in a talk to elementary-aged PTA Reflections winners and their families, I enjoyed what Bronia Ichel, fellow Workhouse Artist and retired school art teacher, had to say about creativity. She stressed for the children to keep their creative spark alive, but also emphasized that having a creative spark exercised at all will make them a better auto mechanic, engineer, or doctor, if they choose not to pursue art directly. As you will see, being creative and applying it is a hallmark of my life, even during the years of biochemistry lab work.
I received this Kreativ Blogger Award from Janice Warriner, who creates beautiful soft, impressionistic oils. Thank you.
First, I must tell seven things about myself (non-art, but I fudged) and then I will select seven creative bloggers to honor.
1) I have lived in Virginia for 21 years; of them, 12 have been in Northern Virginia. I love it here.
2) I have four cats. They are stair-stepped in age, oldest is four and youngest is five months, although I didn't rescue them in that order. They are each black and/or tuxie.
3) I first learned to sew the month I turned five. I made a sleeping bag for my Barbie and I still have it.
4) I learned to crochet and knit when I was six. Crocheting stuck, knitting did not, although I have tried many times since. When I was little, I used to follow complicated patterns and make shawls for my great grandmother.
5) I loved coloring books and rarely drew. My son loathes coloring books and draws all the time.
6) My first pastels were a large set of Yarka and I purchased them as my marriage was ending, me optimistically hoping they'd help me with income as a new divorcee as I transitioned away from watercolor. Several years after outgrowing them and adding other varieties, plus a bunch of training, I am very happy with the choice.
7) I am so passionate about art that, in addition to talking about it all the time, I dream about it, too. All aspects. Often, it keeps me awake, so I don't even have the chance to dream. I am an art geek, but I guess that part is no secret.
Now for the seven bloggers whose sites I would like to select for the Creative Blogger Award. After you have received your award, do the same. You will need to copy the above award and put it on your blog. Tell seven non-art related things about yourself and then choose seven bloggers to give the award to.
1) Ariel Freeman is a fellow Workhouse Artist and has a studio at Libertytown in Fredericksburg, VA, where she teaches. She works in both pastel and watercolor, often with a boldness that defies her quiet personality. However, I know her innards defy her outtards, as any trauma RN in the ER must have the boldness that Ariel depicts in her work! Now if only I could get her painting en plein air. She is a member of MPS.
2) Lesly Finnpaints in pastels and oils in New Zealand. I have read her blog for many years; her work is quite varied. She maintains an art blog list at artblogs4u and I enjoy the hits I get from it.
3) I've read another blogger for years as well. Steven Givler is an Air Force Officer who does watercolors of his assignments across the globe, often including deserts and combat environments, but often changing with his lifestyle. I was an Army Officer's Wife for many years, exposed to more structure and rules than not, but his (laid back Air Force) sensitivity as an artist and a person is shown in his paintings as well as his adopted cats in Saudi.
4) Another relatively local artist, Jennifer Young, is a fellow member of MAPAPA. She does oils en plein air, both around the world and right at home in Richmond VA. We are going to span the distance and hook up one day to paint, so help me! (Jennifer, come to the MAPAPA Annual Meeting at the end of January!)
5) A pal of Ariel's, Elizabeth W. Seaver, also works at Liberytown in Fredericksburg and is an appreciated reader. A printmaker and painter, her pieces are festive and uplifting. And yummy.
6) With several incarnations and side blogs, I have read Sarah Wimperis' muddyredshoes for years. Her treatment of light is incredible and I wish I showed her drive in keeping up her sketch book. Funny, fellow MAPAPA member, Jane Ramsey, featured a link to muddyredshoes on her Facebook wall. I couldn't type, "Me, too!" fast enough.
7) Seeking out a new blog just for this purpose, here's Mike Beeman, an accomplished pastelist who is a daily painter. Check out his blog, too, for his great blog roll in the sidebar. And now he's in my sidebar.
René PleinAir - I first saw his work on Wetcanvas and marveled at how many shades of gray he could work into a cold Dutch landscape. Postsecret - It'll make you laugh and cry, probably at the same time.
If I subscribe to your blog, consider yourself awarded, please. I only read the best! Or if you have a blog to suggest, please do.
Much of my work is done en plein air, French for "in the open air." People often associate it with the Impressionists, but the move to paint outside preceded them by a number of decades. The trend to appreciate landscapes as a genre at all was new for the time.
Several characteristics contribute to the distinctive beauty of en plein air painting. They are generally smaller in size in order to be able to capture a scene in a single sitting. Because of the time limit and environmental factors such as the sun and shadows moving, they often lack extensive details and might appear slightly fuzzy or unfinished. Lastly, they tend to have a freshness and spontaneity which makes them impossible to compare to traditional and methodological studio work. That said, my own studio work tends toward the same feel as en plein air, which then identifies my overall style: softness with an edge.
My aim when painting en plein air is for alla prima paintings, which roughly translates for me as "what happens outside, stays outside." It adds another level of difficulty to the work.
These are some local places for landscape painting; most are within an hour of the Beltway. Look here for the complete album, a couple hundred views from my photography collection, which are mapped here.