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
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.