Readying for the Featured Artist show!

Got a nice write up in the Connection for Fairfax Station and Clifton:  

Associate Artist for the Month: Bonnie Ferguson Butler. Butler is an en plein air artist who lives and paints in Lorton. She is the Workhouse Associate Featured Artist for June. Her show, on display from June 9-July 4 and entitled 10 Mile Radius, will feature local landscape paintings created in pastel and oil. Each location is 10 miles or less from the Workhouse.
I am so excited to show this much new work together! See you in Building W-16 at the Opening June 12 from 6-9, with my Artist's Talk at 7:30. I will be there several times on the weekends during the month as docent, too, and will post when I could be there to meet you. Or let me know and I maybe I could give you a personal tour!



It is time to begin presenting some of the pieces slated for my show, 10 MILE RADIUS: Landscapes Near The Workhouse. I am so excited by and proud of this body of work and I invite you to come by to see it.

Near the far southern end of my 10 mile radius, Neabsco refers to the sandstone formation named by the Native Americans and located on the Potomac in Prince William County, VA. The feature is within Leesylvania State Park, homestead of Lighthorse Henry Lee, grandfather of Robert E. Lee. To locals, the area is called Freestone Point.

I've often wondered how much farther out the point extended, as people would come from far and wide to procure the sandstone; this work relates to a photograph I took not long ago. It has been great fun painting a local, and perhaps obscure, landmark which has been a cherished free stone destination for centuries. For us, the park has been the location of many Junior Ranger camps and overnighters for years. I consider the rugged beach and its breeze to be my instant vacation each time I go.

soft pastel on Pastelbord with watercolor underpainting


Meadow, Left and Meadow, Right

I usually paint en plein air or from photographs. That's not to say I lack imagination. Instead, it means I haven't run out of material I can actually see yet.

Meadow, Left and Meadow, Right are a diptych from my imagination. I enjoyed having a whole as well as each piece with good composition. Even though my Featured Artist show at the Workhouse next month is bearing down on me, I took the time for some small pieces, as I may be back at DLA/Ft. Belvoir next month and those lovely folks bought a number of small works which I must replenish!

This duo has a watercolor underpainting, especially evident in the sky, on UArt 400 grade. Overall size is 4x12.

Meadow, Left and Meadow, Right
soft pastel
4x6 each on UArt 400


Cape May Wetlands

I call them zigzag paintings. A single color is roughly drawn across the width of the surface to create a building block in adding more layers to the painting of a grassy scene.

This is my interpretation, which is a bit less linear.  John Carlson is always whispering in my ear to make things atmospherically correct and to properly convey distance, for which strictly using zigzag strokes would not work for me.

Yet. I'm sure I'll try more.

Cape May Wetlands
pastel on Pastelbord


Cape May Inlet

My second plein air piece of Easter weekend was painted at Cape May State Park. This is looking over the marshes where the birding and wildlife observation deck is.

Honestly, there's nothing better than a well placed picnic table in the shade!

On Pastelbord with a watercolor underpainting, this piece glows with its use of complementary blue and orangy yellow.

Cape May Inlet
pastel on Pastelboard


DLA at Ft. Belvoir

This week was a hoot.

Like my fellow vendors, the folks at Defense Logistics Agency HQ at Ft. Belvoir are real gems. They're mostly a bunch of military geeks, but they certainly appreciate Fine Art. I was an Army Wife for 17 years, so I had a feel for their lingo, but I loved that they had a feel for mine.

Plus they made purchases, which was very helpful for my new status as a vendor there. In fact, I have a new week added, June 21-25, to my established schedule of November 1-5 and December 6-10.

Soon I'll be showing off the completed painting I almost finished while there; below is a middle stage. Created for my 10 MILE RADIUS show, it's an offbeat vision of the nearby oil storage tank facility, the petroleum guy's dream and the defense guy's nightmare, and I certainly heard from both. One petroleum geek, um, specialist said his artist wife would never let him buy this painting. I countered that because it is Fine Art, she would embrace it, that it would be the perfect compromise for them both.

Of course, I think it would be lovely in his office.


GLPS National Show

Exposure to the premier pastelist in the country (world?) is invaluable for many reasons.

Last fall when I was in Richard McKinley's workshop through Maryland Pastel Society, I showed him some photographs of my work, per his instruction. Known far and wide as a very positive and gracious person and instructor, Richard is obviously very passionate about pastels. When he literally, just between you and me, squealed over one particular painting, I knew I had something special. Before long, I learned he was slotted as the juror in Michigan, Land of my Mother, for the Great Lakes Pastel Society National Show; I felt it was a good 'worlds colliding' moment.

Hence, Barrett House Meadow is on display in Midland, MI from May 8 through August 1, 2010, with the opening on June 11. If you're in the area, please stop by and let me know how you enjoyed the show. The location is Alden B Dow Museum of Science and Art of the Midland Center for the Arts on 1801 W. Saint Andrews in Midland, Michigan.

If you see some Yoopers, they're probably my relations.


Cape May Canal

On a recent trip to Cape May, NJ, I was able to fit in two plein air sessions, plus was inspired at home to paint a third piece.

This is the first, the scene from Seashore Bridge Road looking toward the canal which connects the Delaware Bay to the west and the Cape May Harbor to the east.

The sky was laden with moisture, a palpable element I had to pick up as I put in the atmosphere. In addition to pastel variations, much of the texture is from the support, as it is a pumice surface I laid on hardboard with a brush.

Cape May Canal
pastel on board, watercolor underpainting on pumice



From May 12 until June 13, my oil, Long Shadows, will be hanging in the Workhouse's first juried exhibit, Greenspiration, which is defined as being "challenged to define, defy or deny GREEN." To me, that means that anything goes!

The Opening will be on May 16 from 2-4pm at the Workhouse's W-16.

I'm thrilled that I will simultaneously be Featured Artist downstairs as well as a Greenspiration participant upstairs. Come by and see one of my largest collections on public display ever.