Chicory & Queen Anne's Lace

Some media lend themselves to do overs. I will admit to taking bad advice in the past, which led to do overs of work I was relatively comfortable painting. Even as confident and stubborn as I can be, one just never know how persuasive an outside influence can be.

Here is a do over done over again. I guess I need to be happy that I was led astray, because I then led myself to fix it, a painting with freshness and luminosity that gracefully hides the work it took to get there.

Chicory & Queen Anne's Lace
oil on board


Beehive Oven

The Workhouse was created as a progressive prison about 100 years ago. Its purpose was to be self-sustaining; among other things making bricks from the rich local clay which became a commodity, an enduring measure of the prisoners' work. These bricks can still be seen all around Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Ironically, this institution, which unsuccessfully began as the experimental "Prison Without Walls," made walls as its livelihood.

There were nine brick ovens on the property and this one remains in what is now Occoquan Regional Park. Here are some interesting pictures of the oven, to include what it looks like inside and outside, plus there's a diagram about how the huge kiln worked.

This pastel began with a watercolor underpainting on site. When there, the day repeatedly turned dark and light. If there was light, it was dappled on a mottled surface. What a great challenge this became!

Filling in some much needed pastel, the painting flourished with color and definition.

Beehive Oven
soft pastel on mounted Wallis


Kingstowne Library Solo Show

Running through April 16, I have a new show of 20 pieces simply called "Pastels and Oils" at the Kingstowne Library in Alexandria. The opportunity is courtesy of the Springfield Art Guild. Please inquire at the library's Information Desk and they will unlock the meeting room for you to see my work. Then let me know what you think! It is my largest show to date.

Here's a virtual tour. It is so much fun being able to share these images of framed pieces, so I get to offer an additional take on my work. Further, it is wonderful to see them displayed together, as they compliment each other very well.


Boy Scouts Art Merit Badge

This weekend, I was the counselor for the BSA Art Merit Badge for the first time. In anticipation, I have been collecting art supplies for them which are fit for a fine artist.

My first six victims, um, Scouts were from Troops 1076 and 859, to include my son. We enjoyed a prolonged tour of the Workhouse, where we began with the Second Saturday celebrations and the works in W-16. From there, we went to other buildings in which there were 3-D specialties, for example glass, ceramics, fiber, and woodworking. We lucked into glassblowing and wood turning demos. I also swung by special 2-D topics I thought they'd enjoy, like the canvases decorated with razor blades and oils of billiard balls, plus the urban-oriented graffiti stuff of a new Workhouse artist, Sean Donlon, a 2006 Eagle from a nearby HS. SCORE! An Eagle Scout fine artist who could talk to the boys and show them new things to do with their skateboards' decorations.

Although the tour was slotted to last only an hour, the Scouts and their parents chose to stay at the Workhouse two to three. I couldn't have been happier.

On Sunday, the Scouts completed the creative portion of their merit badge in a local library. Following are the requirements. They make for a tight three hours: six pieces in five media, plus communicating about them and more.
  1. Tell a story with a picture or pictures or using a 3-D rendering.
  2. Do ONE of the following.

    1. Design something useful. Make a sketch or model of your design and get your counselor's approval before you proceed. Then create a promotional piece for the item using a picture or pictures.
    2. Design a logo. Share your design with your counselor and explain the significance of your logo. Then, with your parent's permission and your counselor's approval, put your logo on Scout equipment, furniture, ceramics, or fabric.
  3. Render a subject of your choice in FOUR of these ways:

    1. Pen and ink,
    2. Watercolors,
    3. Pencil,
    4. Pastels,
    5. Oil paints,
    6. Tempera,
    7. Acrylics,
    8. Charcoal
    9. Computer drawing or painting
  4. With your parent's permission and your counselor's approval, visit a museum, art exhibit, art gallery, artists' co-op, or artist's workshop. Find out about the art displayed or created there. Discuss what you learn with your counselor.
  5. Find out about three career opportunities in art. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
Next time, I will make sure they have their ideas for #1 and #2-1 ahead of time. For #3, I decided to work on the concept of value before rewarding them with color. They drew an illuminated baseball with four different media: charcoal, sets of pencils, sets of gray scale hard pastels, and sets of colored hard pastels. They progressively knew their subject matter better and better, to include nuances of reflections and variations within the shadows. Supplied with wipes for their fingers, it was otherwise a no mess workshop with no water or oil media.
For the final requirement, I pulled out my handy deck of cards, Careers in Art, had them each choose three to discuss. We wound up with preferences for everything from a Cake Decorator to Political Cartoonist to a Glassblower to a Police Sketch Artist.

As you can tell, I had a blast! Can't wait for the next installment in April.

PS - This post gets an awful lot of traffic. I would love an exchange of information to find out what you put together and what might work for us in the future. Thanks in advance. 

These days, I am teaching the merit badge in the Springfield Mall Community Room which is run by Springfield Art Guild. There is a gallery space there, so the class will be completed in one session. Make requests for your group and I will check availability for the space. It generally runs about 2.5 hours, depending on size.

I am available to do this at other locations. Note that I need a room and tables, plus will require  time at a nearby gallery, so it may add an extra session. If I must drive a distance, the fee may increase as needed.

Please note that blue cards are should be obtained in advance from your Scoutmaster.


THE Painting Exhibition

Still Point Gallery has announced the finalists for their competition, THE Painting Exhibition, and I happily had two pieces make the final cut. It's an honor to be among such beautiful work. Please visit the exhibit and look for my two on page six.


Kelly's Art & Frame, Alexandria

Swing by Kelly's Art & Frame in Alexandria for this month's rotation featuring over 35 artists. Her beautiful gallery is located at 510 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314 or phone 703-549-3313.

Works will be on view March 1-24. I have three on exhibit.



I find that people are either geometry and trigonometry types or algebra and calculus types. Or neither. I loved math growing up and I had a greater affinity for algebra and calculus. In all honesty, geometry and trigonometry seem to have a greater place in our lives, so I've worked on the concepts.

Geometry is what you want to make of it, however its conception centered the workings of a wave, highlighting an antique geometry book's image. The physics are delicate to make a wave tip over; this shows the balance between that delicacy and the grand spill.

I'm sure it's a theme I have yet to complete.

Or just ignore all that and see an eye. Your choice.

mixed media


Spendor in Solitude

Nearby Heron Pond offers so many opportunities for painting. With its comfortable walking path encircling the water, it becomes a great place for exercising residents and painters alike.

This pastel was begun with a watercolor underpainting on location.

Solitude in Splendor
soft pastel on Pastelbord

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