6×6 Paintings – Help Me Decide

So several years ago when I first started experimenting with watercolor Falls Church Arts did a 6×6 to 12×12 show where they wanted all works to be square and in that size range. I painted two 6 inch x 6 inch paintings from photos taken in Wintergreen and Italy and entered them into the show. They were accepted, which was nice, but when I look back at them now I think how far I’ve come.

I decided I wanted to reuse the frames, so I set out to paint two new 6×6 paintings. I didn’t like the first two I did so I started painting more and before I knew it I had seven 6×6 watercolor paintings. All have good and bad points, as with all paintings. I can’t decide which two to put into the frames. I thought I’d share them all and let my readers help me choose.

The first one is from a photo I took several years ago of a stream running through a field not far from where we live. The photo was taken in the early spring, and the real problem with this one is that I tried to change seasons to summer, but didn’t change the large trees in the foreground. In the photo they were just barely leafing out, so they ended up looking like dead trees. I tried to add more leaves to one of them, but the result is not the best. I still like the peaceful feel of the scene.

The second painting, which was really done simultaneously with the first, was from a photo of Three Ridges from the valley. I changed the house on the right to a barn, but not a very good one. Plus it’s too far right which hurts the composition. In my opinion, this one is just ho-hum.

After I did these first two and didn’t like them I decided to try some things that were more ambitious. Both were scenes I’d done before, but not in this form factor. I’d also been practicing some techniques that I thought were well suited to these subjects. I like these two better than the first two, but don’t let my opinions influence you. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that art is very personal. People like what they like.

One of the things I’d been practicing was rocks, trying not to over obsess with the photograph and just letting the shapes and groupings form as I painted, sort of like doodling. So I did this scene of the stream that is in our backyard. It’s fun because of the light dancing through the trees. I used white acrylic paint to make the little rapids pop.

There’s a waterfall on Route 56 in Rockbridge County that is on private property but the owners have generously let people stop to photograph and enjoy the scene. I recently heard that they had stopped allowing this because some people had been destructive, which is very sad. In this painting, I had fun with the deep shadows behind the falls and the spatter of the spray, using white gouache. It was a happy accident that I got a misty feeling along the edges of the falls and the surface of the water.

Having done those two I was on a roll, starting to have fun with the small, square form factor. I liked the fact that I could knock them out relatively quickly, so I just kept going.

There is a barn that you can see from Route 29 in Greene County that is beautiful in the morning sun with a backdrop of the Blue Ridge. I’ve never gotten a good photo of it because there’s no place to stop. All I have are a few bad cell phone photos taken from a moving car. I used one of those as the inspiration for this next painting, but I modified the scene a lot. I added the cows, the truck, and the road. I also changed the trees in the front. Unfortunately, the resulting composition isn’t the best. The barn is too much in the center, breaking the rule of thirds. I like the effect of the mountains. They represent one of those situations where the watercolor painted itself.

This next one is of Afton Mountain Vineyards. I’ve done this in oil and watercolor before, but set out to do this one quickly. I took a very different approach with the sky than my usual technique. I let the hard edges define the whites. The result is more dramatic and less subtle than my usual skies, but I like the result. I may try to use it more often.

Finally, I decided to do the cub creek barn again. I recently watched a video from my favorite online instructor, Steve Mitchell from the Mind of Watercolor, where demonstrated using a nib pen to apply watercolor to detail a painting. I used that here. I really like the technique and I’m sure I’ll continue to use it a lot.

Those are the seven I have to choose from. Let me know which two you like best.

In other news (I really need to blog more often so my posts aren’t so long), I have two paintings in shows this month. The first is one I did a couple of years ago from a photo I took on Tilghman Island. This is in the Falls Church Arts All-Member Show, which runs through March 8th.

The second is in the Shenandoah Valley Art Center’s monthly member show, which is themed “red” this month. I painted this specifically for the show. The photo is the same one used for the painting of the cub creek barn above. It was taken in the late summer, so I needed to drastically change the seasons, and the color of the barn to make it fit. I’m pleased that I’m getting better at using some artistic license to change the material I’m working from, although sometimes I’m more successful than others. This painting is on display at SVAC through March 3rd.

September 2019 Shows

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I have four paintings in two different shows in September and October. That’s a first for me and I’m very excited.

My painting Paris Barn, was accepted into a juried show at Falls Church Arts. The juror is Glen Kessler, a Rockville Maryland based landscape painter. I’m always proud when my work is accepted into a juried show.

The reference photo for this painting was taken by Breck Carter, and was posted in the Exploring Virginia group on Facebook. It was used with permission from Breck.

Paris Barn – 14×10 Watercolor

This show will be on display from September 14th through October 13th at the Falls Church Arts gallery located at 700-B W Broad Street in Falls Church City.

I also put three works into the member show at the Shenandoah Valley Art Center in Waynesboro VA. This is not a juried show, but SVAC represents many fine artists and I’m always proud to have my work displayed with theirs. I chose all travel pictures for this show.

Venice Canal – 9×12 Watercolor

The first is a painting I did of the canals of Venice. This was done from a reference photo I took in 2011.

The second is a picture from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The reference photo for this was taken during our visit in 2018.

Isle of Skye – 12×9 Watercolor

The third is of a church on Mykonos in the Greek Isles. This reference photo was taken on our recent visit in July of 2019.

Mykonos – 5×7 Watercolor

This Show will be on display from September 7th – October 30th at the SVAC gallery located at 126 S Wayne Avenue in Waynesboro Virginia.

I hope that if you live near either of these locations you’ll be able to visit the shows.

 

All-Member Show at SVAC

Last Saturday evening I went to the opening of the All-Member Show at the Shenandoah Valley Art Center.  This is my first All-Member Show in this new venue.  I was delighted to see how well attended it was. 

Piper Groves, the director of the center, announced the awards.  I didn’t win anything, but didn’t expect to.  There were many fine works from which the judge could choose, and art is very personal.  There is one final award, the audience choice award, that will be based on votes received from the viewers of the show.  I don’t expect to win that one either, but I did see one lady stand by my painting and write down the title and my name on her ballot, so I know I got at least one vote and for that I am pleased.  My painting looked lovely hanging in the hall.

Week after next I go to Nimrod Hall.  I have not been for the last two years and this will be the first time ever I’ve been for a whole week. I will share my experiences here when I return. 

New Galleries and Venues

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Since we’ve moved to Central Virginia full time I’ve been looking around for galleries and organizations with whom I can partner. I’ve had a great relationship with Falls Church Arts during the past four plus years, and I’ve learned so much from them. I will likely maintain that membership, and hopefully still show there occasionally when I can work out the logistics, but they are now 150 miles away, so I need to find something new.

The Rockfish River Gallery is in the valley just a little north of Nellysford in the Rockfish Valley Community Center. It is focused on showing the works of local artists. They are an easy stop along Nelson County’s famed “151 corridor” where there are many wineries, breweries, cideries and other sites to see. I have placed two oil paintings and four watercolors there and I’m looking forward to seeing how much attention they get. Below are the paintings that can be seen there.

In addition, I’ve joined the Shenandoah Valley Art Center in Waynesboro. They are an organization similar to Falls Church Arts. They have a gallery in downtown Waynesboro and run exhibits as well as provide space for member artists to show. I’ve just joined so I don’t yet have anything on display, but hope to begin participating soon.

If you are visiting Central Virginia, please take the time to drop into these two venues where hopefully you’ll be able to see some of my work on display.

East and West Art Exhibition

I entered three recent watercolor paintings into the East and West Art Exhibitions at Falls Church Arts.  This show will run from August 19th through September 23rd 2017 at the Falls Church Arts Central Gallery at 700-B W Broad Street, Falls Church VA.  This show was a curated show and based on the number and quality of the works they received they could only accept two entries per artist.  

The show opening is on August 19th. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend.  

Here are the three works I entered:

Summer Leaves

Summer Leaves (Selected)

Spring Storms in Stoney Creek

Spring Storms in Stoney Creek (Selected)

Butterfly 2

Butterfly (Not Selected)

 

 

Eighth Annual Falls Church Arts Plein Air Show

I’ve been absent for a bit.  I actually have several posts I need to write, including one on my trip to Paris that included a trip to Giverny, but for now a quick update.

This weekend was the judging of the 8th Annual Falls Church Arts Plein Air show.  I was only in town to paint two weekends for the timeframe of the show (mid-April to mid-June). One of those was cold and rainy, the other I agreed to gallery sit at the new gallery.  I got creative and sat out in front of the gallery and painted Kensington Corner. The finished product was only minimally realistic because I only painted what I liked.  I painted the clock and the bus stop and the trees and flowers, but not the roads and only minimal detail in the buildings.  I kind of liked the result, and so did someone else, because the painting sold at the showing on Saturday. It was bought by a lovely couple who very thoughtfully viewed the show and chose two paintings to buy, one being mine.  I hope they get many years of enjoyment out of it.  

I have been so busy that I framed the painting in haste, and did not scan or photograph it.  I will need to remember it from the iPhone photo I took of it in its frame.
Kensington Corner
This show has several cash prizes.  I did not win anything, but below are the well deserving and very talented winners.  
Winners

15th Annual Falls Church Arts All Member Show

Falls Church Arts is opening a new gallery, and its just two blocks from our Falls Church home!  In the past they’ve always shared Art Space with Creative Cauldron, Falls Church’s theater group. So exited that they are getting their own space.  The grand opening is Saturday night with the 15th Annual All Members show.  
Show Announcement
The new space is in the retail portion of The Kensington, which is a senior living building that has just been completed in Falls Church. The building owners are very excited to have Falls Church Arts as a neighbor because they see it as a good fit with their residents.  

I have entered two paintings in the show. Depending on space availability one or both will be included.  I will also be at the opening gala!  Below are the two paintings and yes there is a vineyard theme 🙂 

Afton Mountain Vineyard oil

Rockbridge Vineyard Chairs

Snowy Fairway Watercolor, etc.

It’s been a while since I posted anything. I have been painting and doing other art related things, just not posting for various reasons.  

One reason I haven’t been posting is that I’ve been challenging myself in watercolors.  As I’ve always said, they are much harder than oils. I’ve been doing more wet in wet painting and they just never turn out. My clouds look to heavy to float and my trees and leaves all run together. I know I will get better if I keep practicing, but I have accepted that it will take a long time.  

A couple of days ago I painted a scene from a photo I took a couple of years ago.  I did not do a lot of wet in wet in this painting, outside of the sky. Maybe that’s why I’m happier with the way it came out.  Snow is difficult because you need to leave the white white.  There is no opportunity for error. I did mask some of the tree branches and one ridge on the ground that I wanted to really stand out. It was fun because it’s a nice winter scene.
snowy-7th-fairway-stream-2

I also sold a print to someone who found me on the Internet, which is a first.  She bought a copy of the Rockbridge Vineyard Chairs that I did for my friend Kathy a few months back.  She wanted to give it as a Christmas gift to her sister-in-law who lived in Rockbridge County.  They had visited the winery together.  She told me how she searched to find me, but I have been unable to repeat it such that this painting comes up.  Still I’m very happy she found me. 

EPSON MFP image

The one other fun thing I did before the holidays. I showed my paintings with Falls Church Arts at the Falls Church Farmers’ Market. I didn’t sell anything, but several people took business cards.  Maybe I’ll hear back from one of them.  Regardless, it’s good exposure and I had fun. 

market-display

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  I’m taking the next few days off from my day job so maybe I’ll have something else to post soon. 

6×6 to 12×12 Show

I have two paintings that have been accepted into the juried 6×6 to 12×12 show at Falls Church Arts.  The clever name means that all works need to be square and between the size of 6×6 inches to 12×12 inches.  That makes it interesting because these are not sizes that I, nor most of the showing artists I learned at the opening, normally paint in.  It means that we needed to paint specifically for this show.  Up until now, I have not painted with a show in mind.  When shows come up that I have an appropriate work for, I enter it.  So, this was a completely different perspective.

I knew the show was coming up and happened to be in a local art store and thought to buy some watercolor paper that was 6×6 and wood panels that were 6×6 and 12×12.  That was on a Saturday afternoon. I came home and looked up the entry date, only to find that it was midnight Sunday – the very next day!  Realizing that doing oils on the wood panels in time was out of the question, Sunday I set out to paint watercolors.  I originally planned to paint three, but I got two pretty good ones and was running out of time, so I stopped.  I got the entry in on time and both paintings were accepted.

The first is a painting of the town of Spoleto from a photo I took on my recent trip to Italy.
6x6-spoleto

The second is a view from the golf course in Wintergreen.  This was actually from a photo that I took in the early morning hours.  The trees were actually dark silhouettes.  I decided to recolor for autumn and it came out quite nice.
6x6-autumn

Both paintings will be on display at Art Space (410 S. Maple Ave.
Falls Church, VA 22046) till December 3rd.