Friday, July 30, 2010

"Tranquility" Accepted into Catharine Lorillard Wolfe's National Exhibiition

You'll see new paintings and works in progress here soon ... but I think I need that week-long nap I hinted at in an earlier post. I painted all day yesterday (ten hours) and about five today before pooping out. Zzzzzz.

Good news arrived in the mail today. I got a fat (much better than thin) self-addressed envelope. One of my favorite portraits, "Tranquility,"  has been accepted into the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club's (CWLAC) 114th Annual Open Exhibition to be held at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY from October 5 to October 29. This is my second acceptance into CWLAC's  Annual Exhibitions ... and I look forward to returning. A reception benefiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art is on October 15 from 5:30-8:00pm. These are terrific events: elegant, and warm and friendly at the same time.

The Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, one of the oldest women's art clubs in the country, was founded in 1896 in honor of Miss Wolfe, a prominent New York philanthropist and art collector. She was the only woman among the 106 founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Find out more about the organization on their web site:

For the Open Exhibition, each applicant could submit one image to be accepted/declined by the jury of selection. It's always tough for me to pick out what work is the "right one" for a particular exhibit. I need to check dates of the exhibit and know that work isn't promised or needed someplace else at the time. Usually, it means pulling the work from active marketing as well. Not many people want to buy a painting and loan it back to me for an exhibit.

A jury selects pieces for awards from the actual work -- so once the exhibit has been hung. My piece, "Tea with Anne," won the Casey Memorial Award for a Human Family Theme in the 112th Annual two years ago. Winning that award and attending the awards reception at the National Arts Club (where my painting was projected up on a big screen) is one of the big highlights in my art life.

Only one day left to see my "Painting the Town" solo show at the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066! It comes down Sunday noon-ish.

Now, back to my nap.

"Tranquility," 30"h x 24"w, oil on linen, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Phone: 703.403.7435

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Painting at the Old Brogue, Day Two

Today, I pulled out my paintbrushes again at the Old Brogue Irish Pub (760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066)... where my "Painting the Town" show hangs thru July 31. This turn at my easel was a good bit more challenging than last week's. I feel a little funny posting my progress ... looks a bit like an abstract at the moment ... but I promise it will turn out just fine.

Okay, here it is.

Every time I paint, I learn a lesson. As an artist, I think all things are possible. I think I can do anything ... at least, anything art related. Every problem has a solution. I just have to figure out how and give myself a chance to learn any necessary skills. This attitude comes from creating something out of nothing on a regular basis. Each hard-earned success along the way gives me the confidence to face the next challenge. It's a great phenomena.

The lesson's coming up.

Just last week, I created my first-ever painting done from life with non-model subjects at the Brogue. That was the "Tea Party" of two women shown in yesterday's post. It worked. I could handle all the factors out of my control. I could go with the flow.

But, that was of two women. In a corner. Simple background.

So, today, for my second-ever paint it from life attempt I choose six wonderful women (my mom and her Stratford House buddies) having lunch near the window with the backdrop of Katie's coffee shop's gear and goodies. Even I have to admit that's impractical.

What I've found is that I simply cannot pass up an opportunity like painting my mom having lunch with her friends. I do not currently have the skill set I need to do a great job painting that scene in three hours with six animated subjects, but I will be able to turn this into a beautiful painting and I have their conversations to fill my brain when I work on it again ... using a ton of photo references to help guide me a bit. If I keep doing work like this ... working from life under changing circumstances ... eventually I'll have the skill set to create such a painting on the spot.

Tomorrow I'm painting there again ... this time starting at 10am, with three sons of one of the Brogue's patrons as my subjects. Should be interesting.

This life as an artist requires constant leaps of faith. I've taken so many of them,  I'm often not aware that I'm leaping. Like today. Like tomorrow.

Today's lesson: Keep jumping. 

With the show coming down on Sunday, I'm hoping that buyers of those beautiful paintings and drawings start calling and emailing me. It's time. What are you waiting for?

See you tomorrow?

You can view my "Painting the Town" show online on my web site: and see more on my Gallery Pages.

"Mom and Friends" just barely begun, 16"h x 20'w, oil on Senso linen, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Phone: 703.403.7435

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Tea Party" Continues and My New Studio Digs

The last two days I've been painting in my new -- not quite ready -- home studio. A little about our new (older) house. It's offered its full share of challenging surprises. The home we left, which husband Randy built, had to be the best maintained house on the planet. Everything worked. Light bulbs got changed. Air filters were fresh. Mouldings were caulked when necessary. Etc., etc. Here, it's almost funny. The list of what doesn't work is too long to mention here. But, just for an example... the bathroom downstairs didn't have toilet paper. I go get some and put it on the toilet paper roll holder and the holder falls to the ground. A similar result follows us everywhere. The house has beautiful bones. It will be beautiful ... and functional. But, it's sure going to take awhile.

The lower level (basement) is terrific ... and it's the area I had slated from the beginning for my home studio. It did have dark purple carpet through most of the space, and tile in another. We tore up the purple, perhaps on home ownership day two. Today we picked its replacement. I could easily offer workshops in what will be the newly carpeted space (big with nice light!) -- but will need to cover it up. My main personal space is a tiled area near a French door and windows. Despite the undone chaos around me ... I can tell this will be a great space to work. I really love it.

So, my work in progress for the last two days is the piece I started at the Old Brogue Irish Pub last Wednesday. I plan to paint there again tomorrow (Wednesday, July 29, noon-4pm) and some time on Thursday. These aren't really demos -- because I feel funny talking too much there while I paint -- but you're welcome to come, say hello, ask questions, watch, as you like. Find me somewhere at the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066. That's where my show "Painting the Town" hangs for one more week. (It ends July 31... so if you haven't seen it yet, GO!)

I've put up info on August workshops and Fall classes on my Web site. I'll be teaching portrait painting and drawing and still life painting in the Fall. Please sign up quickly. And, August workshops start next week. Let me know if you want to take part in those. Go to my web site:, classes page for more info.

"Tea Party" is a work in progress. I will work more on the figures in particular and check colors/mood tomorrow. "Tea Party" work in progress, 20"h x 16"w, oil on Senso linen, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Plus, a view of the nice part of my new digs.

Phone: 703.403.7435

Monday, July 26, 2010

Catching Up ... Rain and Receptions

I'm ready to catch my breath.

The Friday night Closing and Awards reception at the Salmagundi Club was really fantastic. I had a smile on my face the whole night ... except perhaps when husband Randy was kindly trying to capture my photo for this blog. I am so uncomfortable, weird, squirmy, etc. whenever a camera comes around. What a nerd. I shouldn't include it here ... but maybe the shame of it will teach me to try harder to be a better subject next time. Maybe?

The artwork in the show was gorgeous. (The show's over ... but I'm sure all the art continues to be gorgeous.) I know, by reputation and admiration -- not personally, many of the artists accepted into the exhibit. It felt great to have my work hanging up on the wall among such distinguished company. Plus being one of the award winners, to boot! The jurors must have had a hard time choosing!

The reception was packed. Salmagundi Club President Claudia Seymour had a hard time holding the attention of a chattering crowd ... but managed to get through it. Fun music (great trio), great time getting to know some of the other artists, just a happy few hours.

Elizabeth Pollie, an artist I've been following through Raymar and Fine Art Views Bold Brush online competitions, won Best in Show there for her painting "Grand Promenade." To the left is my snapshot of it -- her work. The photo's not great but the painting is. See more of her animal paintings, and horse and carriages on Elizabeth Pollie's web site:

Something else I appreciated about the evening is that people really seemed to have connected ... and noticed ... my painting. It was hanging fairly low on the wall, so hard to see in a crowded room, but every time someone asked me which work was mine, it was clear they had seen and liked/loved it. Pretty good, right?

 I've included a couple of photos of other paintings from the show... figuring you'll be just as impressed as I was. Congrats to all!

One last note on Friday night. Randy and I went out to dinner at this very pleasant Italian restaurant ... and with the hot night decided to eat inside rather than on the sidewalk. Inside just meant there was a roof overhead rather than an awning since the whole restaurant was open to the outside. Mid-meal, the skies opened up and it poured. Looking out at sheets of rain, car lights blurred, moving umbrellas and puddles ... and back to people engaged in lively conversation, comfortable with friends and family ... may have just been the true highlight of that night. It's another image -- memory -- burned in my brain. You know what that means? Someday, a painting it will be.

I thought this post would also be about yesterday's reception at the Old Brogue for my "Painting the Town" show. Later. I need to go paint.

Phone: 703.403.7435

Friday, July 23, 2010

Painting at the Brogue

Last Wednesday I enjoyed the day painting inside Katie's Coffeehouse at the Old Brogue ... and managed to get a nice start on a painting of two women enjoying tea in my favorite corner. Perhaps like all painting days, this one was another experiment. This is my first time painting such a scene from life without hiring the models. I wasn't asking them to stay still ... I just wanted to capture a real scene ... so I didn't know what to expect. It worked! I'm positive I'll do more of this. It's perfect for me.

I'll go back to the Brogue to paint again ... probably next Wednesday and Thursday. I'll let you know the time.

Yesterday I was working on new house stuff and printing and packaging the art cards that all my guests get (while they last) at the reception for my "Painting the Town" exhibit this coming Sunday, July 25, 2-5pm at Katie's Coffee at the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066. Bring your art-loving and art-collecting family or friends! See my web site for an online view of the 13 drawings and paintings you'll find in the exhibit.

By the way ... this has been my favorite exhibit opportunity so far. The response has been overwhelming. The Old Brogue and Katie's Coffeehouse are favorite neighborhood gathering places. I love having my artwork in this wonderful spot ... in front of so many friendly eyeballs. Thanks Carmelita for setting up such a great area to paint in Wednesday and thanks Mike Kearney for giving the artists of Great Falls a place to connect to the community.

Randy and I drove up to New York today ... and in a few minutes I'm getting changed to go to the closing reception and awards ceremony at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, NYC. I'm receiving a Certificate of Merit in Oils tonight. Yea! Yea! Yea!

Note, I cropped part of myself out. That's easier than dieting. I'll give you a better view of this first day of painting as soon as I can.

Phone: 703.403.7435

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Watch Me Paint Tomorrow and Web Updates

I just (finally) updated my web site so you can view my "Painting the Town" exhibit online -- AND click on each of the images to enlarge/get more info. So take a look. Again, if you've been there before.

Plus, I updated my resume with the latest good stuff that's been happening this summer.

I'll be adding info on Fall classes sometime in the next day or so ... so check back.

Randy and I were stripping wallpaper today. This house stuff's time-consuming! It needs to get balanced out with more time with Winsor & Newton.

You're Invited... My current plan for painting or drawing at or around the Old Brogue is tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday, July 21), 1-4pm and one or two more days next week. I'll post specifics here. You're welcome to come and watch ... and talk to me any of those days. I can't wait! (Katie's Coffee at the Old Brogue Irish Pub is where my "Painting the Town" exhibit is hanging through July 31, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066.) Send me an email if you'd like to be painted into the scene ... and willing to model for me.

"Pizza and Pesce", oil on linen, 8"h x 10"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009 is one of 13 paintings and drawings in my "Painting the Town" exhibit viewable online on my Web site: ... or see it in person during one of my painting sessions or reception (Sunday, July 23, 2-5pm) or any time before the show closes on July 31.

Phone: 703.403.7435

Monday, July 19, 2010

"NYC Street" Continues and Great Falls Sketch

After any disturbances of my regular painting and drawing routines, I have to retrain myself for a bit. One of the benefits of experience is knowing how to ease back in to more serious work. I grant myself a break ... knowing that my first painting session just won't go smoothly. On Saturday, I worked on a commission I'm doing ... all day ... only to wipe out most of that effort at the end of the day. That's okay.  It helped that I thought of the day as a warm-up ... I wasn't frustrated by "wasting" that time. It wasn't wasted because just painting put me in better shape for yesterday's painting and what I'll work on today. (And tomorrow.) Attitude matters.

Yesterday, I started the day sketching on a bench in the Great Falls Village Centre (Great Falls, Virginia ... near where my studio, the Artists' Atelier, is located). Eventually the bugs drove me back to the studio.

At the studio, I returned to "NYC Street." I'd been working on this one right before I had to stop to pack and concentrate on our house move. This is a large one (30"h x 40"w) ... and the greater size creates its own hurdles. It is so much harder to finish a big painting. There's always an area that needs work. (This one still does.) Changes you make to one part of the painting dictate more changes to other parts. Quite a cycle.

Both pieces would fit into my "Painting the Town" show at the Brogue. It's honestly just my state of mind at the moment. Street scenes, New York, Great Falls, home and adventure. Yet, I think the next painting "up" is a beautiful vase of sunflowers that's my ray of sunshine amidst the moving mess in our new abode.

Come to the reception for "Painting the Town" this Sunday, July 25, 2-5pm, at Katie's Coffee at the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066. The exhibit runs through July 31.

Also, my painting "Rainy Day in NYC" is in the Salmagundi's Club Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition which closes this Friday, July 23 after the awards reception, 6-8pm. I'll be there, receiving an award (yea!) at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003.

From top: "NYC Street" work in progress, oil on linen, 30"h x 40"w, copyright Jill Banks 2010.
"Totte Bean Shop in Great Falls", sketch & wash pencil with wash on Zecchi's paper (from Florence, Italy), approximately 8.5"h x 5.5"w, copyright Jill Banks 2010. If you're interested in learning this technique, sign up for my August workshops. Get more info on my web site:, go to my classes page.

Phone: 703.403.7435

Friday, July 16, 2010

Award at Salmagundi's Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition

Yip-di-do! A highlight (big one) amidst boxes and cleaning and lugging and stairs (moving locally!) was a phone call I received yesterday from the Salmagundi Club. My painting "Rainy Day in NYC" won a Certificate of Merit in Oils in this really prestigious show. Welcome to Cloud Nine.

I'd honestly been thinking that given how hard I've been working on this move, I really ought to win some sort of award in this show. It wasn't a logical thought. I know (deep, deep down) that toiling at carrying and packing boxes does not directly translate to winning over a juror's heart at an art show. Still...

The awards reception is next Friday, July 23, 6-8pm at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003. (212) 255-7740.

This has been a great art summer -- in terms of recognition. (A better art summer if I had more time for painting, too!) In June, I won Best in Show for "On High" at artReston Annual Fine Arts Exhibition (sponsored by the League of Reston Artists). Last week, I heard that "Birds of a Feather" was a finalist in The Artist's Magazine's Annual Fine Art Competition ... and now "Rainy Day in NYC" wins the Certificate of Merit from the Salmagundi Club. By the way, I didn't win an award (at all) in 2009 ... so it was a long "dry spell" ... that I'm glad to have broken. I have, as a major goal, winning Best in Show, or First Prize, or whatever exhibitions call their top prize ... in competitions like this. Each accomplishment is an additional encouragement to improve. Reach higher. Paint, paint, paint.

Sunday, July 25, 2-5pm is the reception for my "Painting the Town" exhibit at Katie's Coffee at the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066. I hope you can come to the reception ... but if not, my solo show of 13 paintings and drawings of urban life in Italy and the U.S. is on exhibit through July 31. The space is a busy coffee shop by day and restaurant by night. Hours are long -- early and late -- so drop by when you can. I'd also love to show you around if you want a "private" tour. Just call me: 703.403.7435 or email me. Or take a look at the show online on my web site. Less fun but perhaps more practical if you live in Timbuktu.
"Rainy Day in NYC", 18"h x 24"w, oil on Raymar panel, copyright Jill Banks 2010: awarded  Certificate of Merit in Oils, Salmagundi Club's Annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition (and FAV 15 in the BoldBrush Online Competition sponsored by Fine Art Studio Online in April 2010.)

Phone: 703.403.7435

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Moving and Glitches

Moving and glitches. Aren't they synonymous? With our closing/move date looming (two days), life's consumed with closing doors and "protecting" contents from one day to the next ... like baggies, shampoo, forks, glasses, keys, cell phones, etc. Ever tried to snack on ice cream without a spoon, napkin or bowl?

Art's suspended for a few days, certainly. I hope to have a paintbrush in my hands by Sunday.

Glitch of the day: Verizon managed to turn off our Internet service three days prior to our move. (Not nice!) Means I can't update my web site, send out/respond to emails easily (or quickly), or post to my blog without hanging out at Panera (where I am now). It's making me cranky. (Lack of sleep's helping that cause, too.)

Since I can't paint ... here's a previous painting done during a painting workshop in Easton, MD. Called "Delivery" ... the pile of boxes seemed apropos. I had actually been painting two hired models posed looking into the window when these delivery trucks showed up. I have to be flexible as a painter. Hmmm. Perhaps that's the general lesson of the day.

Phone: 703.403.7435 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Birds of a Feather" Finalist in The Artist's Magazine's Annual Competition

"Birds of a Feather," the image I chose for my "Painting the Town" show card (that's arriving in mailboxes all across the country this week), has been selected as a finalist in The Artist's Magazine's 27th Annual Art Competition. This is my third time making the finalist cut in these competitions. Interestingly, each time I've done that, it's been in a different category. This time, I was selected in the Landscape/Interior category. My name will appear as a finalist in the December 2010 issue.

Previous finalists include "Alan" in the Portrait/Figure category (2005) and "Max" in the Animal/Wildlife category (2008).

The winners have already been chosen -- so I won't be getting top honors this year -- but it is an honor to be chosen as a finalist in this competition that draws over 10,000 entries each year.

Amidst my house move (packers/movers arrive next week), my only slightly facetious next post on the "Pleasures of Packing" is rattling around in my head. Bet you can't wait.

By the way, I updated/changed info on my single-day workshops held now on August 14, 15, 16, 22, and 23. See my web site:  classes page, for more info. I also added supply list info for that and my still life workshop (August 3-5). I hope you sign up!

"Birds of a Feather", 18"h x 24"w, oil on linen, copyright Jill Banks 2010: can be seen at my "Painting the Town" exhibit at Katie's Coffee in the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066 through July 31. Reception: Sunday, July 25, 2-5pm. You can view images of the show on my web site. Don't just view that page, though. Take a look through my gallery pages for my Places, Market, Portrait, Still Life and Drawing galleries.

"Alan", 30"h x 24"w, oil on linen, copyright Jill Banks 2005.
"Max", 12"h x 12"w (I think), oil, copyright Jill Banks 2008.

Phone: 703.403.7435 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beautiful Day at the Great Falls Farmers' Market Today

I couldn't have asked for a better day ... perfect weather, plenty of appreciative visitors, a painting purchased, plus lots of people interested in one thing or another. It's always hard work -- figuring out what to bring and hang and setting up the tent and display. Four hours later, we're breaking it back down.

The painting that sold, "The Donut Line-Up," was one of my favorites. (I do have quite a few of those.) But, this painting brings a smile to my face every time I think about it. "The Donut Line-Up's" purchaser had seen it at my booth last year -- and had really wanted it. It, for her, is tied to childhood memories, the Dunkin' Donut days. She decided today that she'd make it hers. Yea!

The other fun thing about today was directing people to my show "Painting the Town" at the Old Brogue, right around the corner from the Farmers' Market. (See the show, "Painting the Town" online here.) Plus, I was getting tremendous feedback from people who saw it already. How wonderful is that?

I'm proud of this show. There are only 13 pieces in it because that's what fit into the space ... but each one is special. They are the cream of the crop.

Plus, the Old Brogue is the place everyone gathers in Great Falls. Like "Cheers." Everybody knows your name. They're always glad you came. If the town had a mayor, the Old Brogue's proprietor, Mike Kearney, would be it.

The show hangs from July 1-July 31. The reception is Sunday, July 25, 2-5pm at (Katie's Coffee at) the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066.

Two photos: one of my booth and one of (husband) Randy resting on the grass. (We loaned our lawn chairs out to son Sam and his fiancé Michelle for the weekend.)

"The Donut Line-up", oil, 4"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2009. Sold. See more of my still life paintings of food (among other things) in the still life section of the gallery on my web site:

Happy 4th of July!!!

Phone: 703.403.7435

Friday, July 2, 2010

"Painting the Town" Show Up!

Really quick ... because I have to run.

 Randy and I hung my "Painting the Town" solo show of drawings and oil paintings of urban scenes from the U.S. and Italy at the Old Brogue Irish Pub, 760 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066.

Show runs July 1-31 with a reception: Sunday, July 25, 2-5pm. I plan on painting there ... maybe giving a demo a few other days in July. Check my web site for details. You can view the whole show on my web site... but it's better in person.

I may be changing my "Painting (or Sketching) the Town" workshop dates/times ... so contact me if you're planning on signing up.

Phone: 703.403.7435