Monday, March 30, 2009

"Bowl of Strawberries" Fresh Off the Easel

I finished "Bowl of Strawberries" today. I'd set it up as a secondary still life for last Tuesday's class ... but I was the sole taker for this scene. Tomorrow's my last day of class for this session. Sign up now for the next session that starts mid-April at the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts web site. Classes next session will be held in a terrific new space downstairs from the Artists' Atelier (the studio I share with 14 other artists). This Friday, join me and other teachers and artists from the Atelier for First Friday, 7-9pm, to register for classes, look at our latest work, maybe buy a piece (?) and enjoy some light refreshments.

If you can't make it this Friday, visit me in my new space downstairs from the Atelier. I'm bound to be working in one space or another at 1144 Walker Road, Great Falls, either Suite D or Suite G. I'm ridiculously excited about it. Come see if it's contagious.

"Bowl of Strawberries", oil on Senso linen, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

web site:
phone: 703.403.7435

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Italian Street Scene Painting in Progress

I was working on "Caffe Bar" today ... and it's almost done. Maybe tomorrow. I love the shadow patterns and dynamism of the strollers on this one. See other similar paintings on this blog and on my web site. See the gallery/places page.

It's been a busy few days. I've taken out additional gallery/studio space from the Artists' Atelier and have installed lighting and painted it for a grand opening this coming Friday. Come to First Friday, April 3, 7-9pm at 1144 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA, Suites D (the new downstairs space housing the Great Falls School of Art and two new studios) and Suite G (the Artists' Atelier: working studios and galleries of 15 artist -- including me). In Suite D, see the new studio/gallery space and meet some of the teachers at the Great Falls School for Art. For a full bulletin and registration form, go to Great Falls Foundation for the Arts web site.

This past Friday, I spent about 4 hours picking out frames for my most recent paintings. It's hard work! The work, though, looks phenomenal in these new frames. Just in time for the Grand Opening. My framer is FrameMasters in Fairfax, VA. Check them out.

And, the April edition of American Art Collector, page 51, shows my painting "Sunday Morning" that was selected to be part of Salon International 2009 in San Antonio, TX at the Greenhouse Gallery. "Sunday Morning" looks great in what happens to be my favorite art magazine.

"Caffe Bar" work in progress, oil on Senso linen, 20"h x 16"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

web site:
phone: 703.403.7435

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Classes at the Great Falls School of Art: Sign Up!

Registration for classes is going on now for classes starting mid-April. The Great Falls School of Art (part of Great Falls Foundation for the Arts) will be conducting Spring classes in its new space: 1144 Walker Road, Suite D, Great Falls, VA. Go to to download the Spring bulletin and registration form. New for the Spring:
Children's and Teen classes
New Space
New Adult Classes
Meet some of the teachers on First Friday, April 3, 7-9pm

Some of the Classes being offered include:

Still Life Painting in Oils
Jill Banks

Still life painting is the ultimate teacher – learn how to achieve glorious color, draw with paint concentrating on simplifying forms into abstract shapes, and how to construct compelling compositions. The instructor will set up multiple still lifes for each class and teach students how to design their own incorporating some of their favorite objects. This is a great class for artists of all levels – from beginners to advanced. Information on the instructor can be found at: and on her blog at Supply list will be posted.

$300 plus $20 materials fee
Tuesdays, 9:30am-12:30pm, April 14 - June 9

Introduction to Sculpture
Kathleen Hedges

An introduction to sculpture explaining armatures and creating a clay work using an armature. This class is appropriate for beginning and continuing sculpture students.

$350 plus $75 materials fee
Thursdays, 10am-1pm, April 16 - June 11

Oil Painting from Your Favorite Photos
Adrienne Kralick

Learn to compose and create beautiful oil paintings from photo references that interest and excite you. This lively class is tailored to help each student at their own level whether beginner or advanced, with an emphasis on the concepts and painting techniques that can be learned from great paintings throughout history. Demonstrations and handouts are customized for the specific needs that arise during each session as the paintings progress. Additional information on the instructor and supply list can be found at

$300 Fridays, 9:30am-12:30pm, April 17 - June 12
$300 Sundays, 1:00pm-4:00pm, April 19 - June 14

Pop In & Paint
Adrienne Kralick

Enjoy a night out painting among other artists and friends. Bring your paints and whatever you want to work on and the instructor will be there to help you with problems, guide you along the way, give a critique or lesson based on your particular needs. . . just ask. Information on the instructor can be found at

$35 per class, Fridays, 7:00pm-9:30pm, no registration necessary April 17-June 12

Introduction to Watercolor
Linda Jones

This course covers the basic techniques in watercolor such as washes, wet into wet, dry brush and other brushwork, color mixing and composition, working with transparent watercolors and gouache. The course is suitable for beginners and continuing watercolor artists wishing to work on their technique. Each class will include handouts, photographs, still life, flowers, etc. A materials list will be provided. Information on the instructor can be found at

$300 Mondays, 1:00pm-5:00pm, April 13 - June 15

Download the full class bulletin and registration form

Upstairs, Downstairs: First Friday April 3, 7-9pm

First Friday: April 3, 2009, 7-9pm

Join us for this special First Friday with the
Grand Opening of New Studio & Gallery Spaces
and the Great Falls School of the Art
at 1144 Walker Road, Suite D, Great Falls, VA
Teachers will be on hand (that includes me) to talk about our classes and you can register on the spot. Classes start mid-April. Classes for kids and teens are being offered for the first time. Download a course bulletin and registration form at the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts web site.
I will have just moved into my second studio spot there that I'll be sharing with Francie Vecchi ... and Adrienne Kralick will have just moved into hers. Come visit.

Then, go upstairs for more terrific art in the studio and galleries of the Artists' Atelier. Atelier artists include:
Jill Banks (me)
Brenda Drake
Jennifer Duncan
Elaine Elinsky
Jenna Klimchak
Walt Lawrence
Michaela Mansuino (Just joined the Artists' Atelier: welcome, neighbor)
John Francis McCabe
Mehrnaz Moussavi
Heidi Mraz
Mary Orr
Margaret Power
Judith St. Ledger-Roty
Mollie Vardell
Francie Vecchi

The Artists' Atelier is located at 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA: upstairs from the Great Falls School of Art. Open hours are Wednesdays & Saturdays, noon-4pm and the First Fridays of every month, 7-9pm.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Croissant and Plums" Becomes "Cup of Tea"

I made a major, much-needed modification to this painting today. See my earlier version and gasp. Phew!

Other news: registration is going on now for Spring classes offered through the Great Falls School of Art that start mid-April. Sign up for my "Still Life in Oils" class that I teach on Tuesdays, from 9:30-12:30. Classes run 9 weeks. There are also children's classes -- offered for the first time and plenty of other interesting classes for the beginning to advanced student. Download a course schedule and registration form here.

Also, I will be taking out additional studio space in the space below the Artists' Atelier. The Great Falls School of Art has leased this new space for classes and there are two very nice new studios. Adrienne Kralick will be moving into the other studio and I will be sharing this second space with Francie Vecchi. Come see our new space starting April 3. 1144 Walker Road, Suite D, Great Falls, VA. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays, noon-4pm, and the First Fridays (starting April 3) of each month, 7-9pm. Also open by appointment. Call (703)403-7435.

"Cup of Tea", oil on Senso linen, 20"h x 20"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Aunt Nell" Red and White Chalk Drawing

This morning I finished up this drawing of husband Randy's Aunt Nell. I toned the paper with a watercolor wash and then drew in terra cotta Verithin pencil. Usually that gives the appearance or red chalk Old Masters drawings ... but only if the paper is then coated with a mixture of shellac and denatured alcohol. Since I didn't coat the paper, the Verithin pencil marks looked too weak. I figured out a solution, though. I pulled out the chunks of real red chalk I had bought from Zecchi's (a fantastic art supply store) in Florence, Italy and managed to get just the effect I was looking for.

The drawing will be gracing the cover of a book being written about Aunt Nell. My drawing is a gift to Randy and his Dad who are going through a very rough time right now. I love you.

"Aunt Nell", red and white chalk, 9.5"h x 6.5"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"L'Auberge Chez Francois" Restaurant Painting Finished

Today I revisited a painting of the Great Falls restaurant, L'Auberge Chez Francois. I'm glad I did. This isn't the greatest photo because the camera caught some of the glare from the medium I used (Gamblin's Neomegilp), but I think you can tell the difference between this version and the one shown in an earlier post. As mentioned in that post, this is the third painting I've done of the interior of this restaurant.

"L'Auberge Chez Francois", oil on Senso linen, 16"h x 20"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Morning Sunshine": Wet Paint!

This is one of the still lifes I set up for class today. Definitely an orange, sunshine-splashed scene. Cantaloupes make great subjects.

I'll write more later ... but thought you might enjoy seeing today's creation. The class, as usual, was doing great!

"Morning Sunshine", oil on Senso linen, 11"h x 14"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.


Monday, March 16, 2009

"Croissant and Plums" Painting Continued plus Spring Class Registration

I worked today on "Croissant and Plums" trying to finish it up. The rush is due to: 1) aging plums and a petrifying croissant, and 2) the need to clear an area for my still life class tomorrow. I probably got far enough today to disassemble it. Still, I have more to do to finish it so you get the sense that you can pick up that croissant and have it for breakfast.

Registration is going on now for Spring classes through the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts. My still life class lasts 9 weeks and is on Tuesday mornings, 9:30-12:30, starting in mid-April. I'll give info in a day or two on the classes being offered.

"Croissant and Plums" work in progress, oil on Senso linen, 20"h x 20"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

Web site:
Latest news and paintings:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Painting "Rainy Day Market" on a Rainy Day

Today I worked on the flowers and more on the baskets and fruit. This is one of those paintings that I could keep painting on indefinitely... but I won't. These market paintings ("Limoni", "Rialto Market" and "Rainy Day Market") are a real joy for me. There's something so generous, abundant and hopeful about them. It's my personal antidote for the current economy and difficult times.

See more of my still lifes, market and street scenes in the gallery section of my web site: and right here, on my blog.

This one's not quite done, but almost.

"Rainy Day Market" work in progress, oil on Senso linen, 30"h x 24"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My New Web Site's Up!

After working REALLY hard on this ... my newly renovated web site is up and running! Whew.

Take a look. See

The latest news and paintings will still be found here on my blog, so keep checking here as well.

I just received my online version of American Art Collector magazine's April issue. My painting "Sunday Morning" can be seen on page 51 as part of the Greenhouse Gallery spread on Salon International 2009 that opens April 11 in San Antonio, Texas.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Croissant and Plums" Painting Started Today

During the Still Life class I teach during the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts, I started this painting of a rather large croissant and some red plums. It's a continuation of a theme I started with "Sunday Morning" - one of the painting that will be exhibited as part of Salon International 2009 to be held at the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, TX in April. See my earlier post about that event.

"Croissant and Plums" work in progress, oil on Senso linen, 20"h x 20"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

Monday, March 9, 2009

"Rainy Day Market" Painting Continued

Excuse my recent absence from the blogging world ... but I've been working on a redo of my web site. That should be going live by tomorrow. This time around I tackled building it "myself", instead of utilizing web expert and friend, Christine Flack. She's still been helping me out, though, with some much needed technical assistance.

But, today I had to get some painting in. So here you see "Rainy Day Market" in progress after spending two more very full painting days on it. I probably have two to three more days to go.

"Rainy Day Market" work in progress, oil on Senso linen, 30"h x 24"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"Rooster and Geraniums" Painting Finished

In an earlier post, I naively said that I had teeny, tiny tweaks to make to finish this painting. Wrong. I worked on it another full day, plus had it professionally photographed by Greg Staley. See my earlier post for a comparison. What I worked on: intensifying the contrast to help you feel the light. This is pretty great looking in person. Come see it at my studio.
1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA. Open First Friday nights, 7-9pm and Wednesdays and Saturdays, noon to 4pm.

"Rooster and Geraniums", 14"h x 11"w, oil on Senso linen, copyright Jill Banks 2009.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Pretzel Stand" Continues ...

Sorry about the lack of posts this past week. Here's my still-in-progress "Pretzel Stand" painting that I worked on today. There's still work left to be done, but it's getting close, I think.

I took a quick trip to Hilton Head last week with a quick stop in Charleston. I'll give a report on some terrific galleries sometime soon.

This coming Friday is First Friday again! Come see me and my 14 artist colleagues this Friday night, 7-9pm at the Artists' Atelier, 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA 22066.

Where can you see my work right now?
At my studio in Great Falls: Open Wednesdays and Saturdays, noon-4pm and the First Fridays of every month, 7-9pm ... and by appointment.

Plus, Chasen Galleries in Richmond, VA and Chelsea 32 Art Group in New York City, NY.

"Pretzel Stand" work in progress, oil on Raymar panel, 24"h x 18"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009.