Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Rewarding Pursuit

"Tea with Anne" -- portrait of Anne Heilman
Remarkable things keep happening. On Sunday night about 9pm, I got a call from Anne Heilman, the 100-year-old subject of my award-winning portrait "Tea with Anne." ("Tea with Anne," shown at right, won the Casey Memorial Award for a Human Family Theme at the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club's Annual Exhibition held at the National Arts Club in NYC in October 2008.) Anne's a fellow artist, friend of my mom's, and someone who has become a great supporter and follower of my art. My mom (my most avid cheerleader and great volunteer art agent) had sent Anne printouts from some of my latest blog posts including the post about being accepted into the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe exhibit this year ... and the post about painting my mom and her buddies at the Old Brogue. Anne got a huge kick out reading up on my exploits, and gave me a call.

She can't figure out how I find time to paint. (I make time for that activity -- it's priority one.) Liked the fact that I knew my new (older) house had nice bones. Loved the painting start of my mom & friends at the Brogue. Reminded me that she expects my paintings to end up in the National Gallery of Art.

It just feels good. Having people, like Anne, cheer me on. Appreciate what I do and show genuine interest in what I'm up to.

This is hard, but incredibly rewarding work. The rewards are in the process of painting, in creating something new and enjoying the finished work, in talking with people about my art, in getting someone else excited about art in general -- making it, collecting, enjoying.

I love it when someone else joins my "art clan." At my reception last month, one couple came from Gaithersburg to see my show at the Brogue, and told me seeing my work was well worth the drive. They wouldn't have missed it. Many others came from my parents' church (where my mom made an announcement about the event -- yea, mom!) and they became new supporters. One sent along a web site address of a painter who reminded him of my work ... that he wanted me to see. A fellow Great Falls Studios artist sent me an email last night with a photo of a diner scene that might inspire me. One collector has a Jill wall in her house: of artwork and postcards from my shows and framed note cards. (I get a kick out of that!) I get a lot of help and inspiration from so many... and the greatest inspiration is knowing that there are people enthusiastic about what I love to do.

It takes a lot of people to "feed" an artist -- spiritually and financially -- both important. I count my blessings. Thank you!

I hope you keep passing the word, inviting friends, family and neighbors to take a look online (on my blog or my website) or come to an event. It really helps ... and I greatly appreciate it.

Now it's time to get back to painting.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435
For info on Fall classes: www.jillbanks.com/jillbanks/Classes_3.html
Great Falls School of Art registration form: www.jillbanks.com/jillbanks/Registration_Form.html

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"New York State of Mind" Painting Continues ... Plus Courses/Workshop

Busy day today.  I worked on some changes to a commission of mine in the morning before heading off to the Artists' Atelier (the studio I share with 15 or so other artists in Great Falls) for our scheduled open hours. (The studio at: 1144 Walker Road, Suites D&G, Great Falls, VA 22066 is open every Saturday, noon to 4pm and the First Friday of every month, 7-9pm.)

I decided that "New York State of Mind" (see an earlier post about this painting's development on day one) would be my project of choice for noon to 4, and swore to myself that as soon as 4 o'clock rolled around ... I'd pack up and get back to my home studio to work more on the commission. Four o'clock came and went. I ended up literally tearing myself away from the studio, and this painting at about 6:45. Knowing how much I really wanted to keep on painting, I left it there so it wouldn't lure me back to it tonight. I'd end up working on it all night long.

It is so hard to stop painting for lots of reasons.

The biggest reason for me is that even though the painting develops/evolves as I paint it, I know what it's going to look like finished from the very beginning. I have a vision of it perched in my head. I'm excited about getting there. Can't wait to see it ... on canvas ... and share it with the rest of you. I think that if I just keep painting...

It's also hard to stop because ... 1) it's so much fun and 2) as soon as I put my paintbrush down, I see something I need to change or fix.

Tomorrow: Join me for a "Sketching the Town" single-day workshop in Reston Town Center from 10am-3pm for $95 (check made out to Great Falls Foundation for the Arts and filled out registration form). Get more information on my web site on the Classes page -- but you have to send me an email at jillbanks1@aol.com to confirm that you're coming and to get the exact location.

And ... I'll be teaching two classes this Fall through the Great Falls School of Art: "Painting and Drawing the Portrait" on Mondays, 10am-1pm starting September 13 and "Still Life Painting in Oils" on Tuesdays, 10am-1pm starting September 14. Both classes cost $300 each (plus supply fee for still life objects for the still life class and model fees for the portrait class -- to be paid directly to me at the start of class) for a nine-week session. Class size is limited but there's currently room. I hope you sign up!! For the portrait class in particular, sign up in the next few days. This helps me a lot in planning for the class and hiring models. I'm looking for models for this class (and in general) ... all sorts of people ... anyone capable of holding a pose for three hours with pretty frequent breaks. Male and female, young and not-so-young, all races and ethnicity. If you happen to be a puppeteer, gardener, guitar player, writer, avid reader, bellydancer, storyteller, etc., let me know, too. I want students to paint and draw you as you.

Get more information about both classes on my web site on the Classes page. There's a link to my supply list and registration form there, too. In both courses, I teach to the student's individual level. One of the benefits of my classes for the intermediate and advanced student is I gladly pass on information on contests, workshops and learning opportunities, exhibit opportunities and practical "how to's" such as marketing ideas, framing, varnishing, studio setup, etc.

"New York State of Mind" work in progress - day two, oil on Senso linen, 40"h x 30"w, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to Three Sons in the Brogue

This post is a few days late getting to you... I've been too pooped to post. After a good night's sleep last night, I'm a new person. I'm really ready to paint today. So here are my thoughts from three days ago. Better late than never.
That donut practice helped. (See yesterday's post.) Painting was FUN today. Troubles were few. I didn't want to stop. (That's not that unusual.) I get to the point in the painting that I'm deeply intrigued by it. I want to see where it's going to go. The painting just seems to unfold.  (The painting looks better than the photo reveals. Wet paint makes it look splotchy -- but it's not.)

Still, I did have to stop to make it to an art appointment... so I have more to do on this piece. But, I enjoyed making progress.
See "Painting at the Old Brogue, Day Three and Progress" for my earlier post on this painting's start.

Still "Untitled" work in progress, 16"h x 20"w, oil on Senso linen, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

I am going to be holding my "Sketching the Town" workshop this Sunday, August 22.  Go to my web site, click on Classes for more information and definitely let me know if you're planning to be there!!! Email me with any questions.

Plus, now is the time to sign up for my Fall classes in portrait drawing and painting (Mondays 10am-1pm starting September 13) and still life painting in oils (Tuesdays 10am-1pm starting September 14). Class size is limited. My next post will include more info, too, but again, go to the Classes page on my web site for a course description, supply list, and link to a registration form. Don't wait!

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435

Monday, August 16, 2010

Donut Painting

After a few days of struggling, I returned to something easier. No pressure. Another donut painting. (See the still life section in the gallery pages at www.jillbanks.com to see more paintings of food, among other things.)

Last year I went on a binge of donut painting ... creating a whole series of little depictions of donuts, cupcakes, candies and the like. They are great for changing gears, easing tensions,  and just having fun.

This one's called "On the Edge Donut." In the last post, I talked about going big. Large canvases. This latest one's 5"x5". How's that for consistency?

If you're near Alexandria, VA ... I hope you make it a point to stop in to see the 'Scapes Annual Landscape Exhibit at the Art League Gallery in the Torpedo Factory. My painting "Rainy Day in NYC" won Best in Show and is hanging in a very nice spot waiting for you to take a look. The show continues until September 6 at 105 No. Union Street, Alexandria, VA.

Register for Fall classes. I'm teaching "Still Life Painting in Oils" and "Portrait Drawing and Painting" through the Great Falls School of Art. Go to my Classes page on my web site for more info. 

I'll write more soon. I painted another little one ... of my sister-in-law Cindy ... today. So maybe you'll see it tomorrow.

"On the Edge Donut", oil on canvas, 5"h x 5"w, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rainy NYC Street Painting Start Today

The paintings I'm working toward finishing needed a break today. And, I'm so entrenched in this "painting the town" groove that I started a new, rainy, New York City, street scene. The three paintings lining the floor in my home studio that require more attention are all small, all 16"h x 20"w. (That's just this studio ... I have many, many more in progress ... that are waiting to call me back to business.) And, for the last few days I've been staring, intermittently, at the gigantic (currently empty) mantel and two-story fireplace in our new house's family room. Time to go big.

I feel like doing that in general.

In honor, too, of my painting "Rainy Day in NYC" winning the top prize and selling at the Art League's 'scapes show this month ... I returned to the rainy day, New York City theme. The award reception is Thursday night, August 12, 6:30-8:00pm in the Art League Gallery (at the Torpedo Factory), 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA.

This one is perhaps temporarily called "New York State of Mind". It's 40"h x 30"w. Here you're seeing it in three different stages, painting day one, about six hours of straight painting time. (Add about two hours of thinking, composing time before I started painting.)

I started with a thin application of Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine Blue to lay in my darks and rough in the sketch. I'm working on a Senso clear acrylic-primed linen canvas that has a medium tooth. By thin application, I just don't load the brush with too much paint and I let the tooth of the canvas keep it from getting too thick. I also don't draw (with paint) any more than I have to. This is a guideline for myself only ... and I'll be making decisions later about how far to develop each section of the painting ... so no use putting in too much "stuff" now. By the way, that gray rectangle at the top of the photo for Step One is the shadow cast from my easel. Oops. No going back at this stage.

Step two I start putting in some of the lights in thicker, opaque paint. This is when I start grasping how large this canvas really is. I keep mixing pretty large puddles of paint... and they keep disappearing. This is actually a bit different than what I normally do. I'm going to start this painting with more solid shapes with little variation in hue, temperature and value within each area. Subtleties will come later as I need/want them.

Step 3: I just keep adding more paint. I don't allow myself to get bogged down in any one area of the painting. No details!!! Throughout I keep looking for abstract, simple, interesting shapes. Those shapes are what correct the drawing.

See more of my urban street scenes in the Places section, Gallery Pages on my web site: www.JillBanks.com.

I've been painting this in my newly expanded studio space downstairs in my massively under renovation house. No matter what problems the rest of the house has -- this is wonderful space to paint in. I've taken over two areas that flow into each other with fantastic light (and ventilation) from windows on three sides, tall ceilings so I can paint tall paintings, and tons of room so I can back up and really get a good look at my painting as it progresses. It doesn't get any better than this.

I'm probably done painting for today. My feet hurt and I have other art business to attend to. But, it's been a fun day in the "office."

"New York State of Mind" work in progress - day one, oil on Senso linen, 40"h x 30"w, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Rainy Day in NYC" Sold Today & the Great Falls Farmer's Market

Just a few minutes ago, I got a great call from the Art League Gallery that my "Rainy Day in NYC" award-winning painting sold today. It's still in the show -- paintings remain there until the 'scapes exhibit ends on September 6. There is an Opening Awards Reception on Thursday, August 12, 6:30-8:00pm where I'll be receiving the Chameli and Amiya Bose Memorial Award for best oil or acrylic painting on canvas. Here's an excerpt from the Juror's Statement about "Rainy Day in NYC":
I like the handling of the paint and light. The abstract quality is really nice. I love how the patches of color come together to make the painting work. The composition and perspective are excellent.
           - Joey Manlapaz, artist & faculty member of Corcoran College of Art & Design, juror
Read the rest of the juror's statement on the Art League's blog.

And to think I was worried about not drinking coffee out of my "lucky cup" this morning.

I spent the morning at my booth at the Great Falls Farmer's Market today. Artists from Great Falls Studios (a merry band of 90 artist members who live and/or work in Great Falls) take turns at setting up an individual booth at the Farmer's Markets on Saturdays. This was my second time there this year, and I'll do it one more time on Saturday, September 25. It's a lot of work to set up/take down... and I was, sort of, dreading it. (I'm worn out from our house move/ongoing renovations.) Still, it was thoroughly enjoyable. A musician soothed right next to me. And when I wasn't talking to someone, I was drawing "Jennifer's Pastries", the very popular booth right across from me. You should have seen their pies fly out of there. My paintings weren't moving as rapidly... but they were well appreciated.

I'll show you "Jennifer's Pastries" later ... when (and if) it has more substance. At the moment, I don't think you'd be impressed. That's a sign that I had plenty of folks to talk to.

One of my favorite moments this morning was overhearing a conversation a dad was having with his very young daughter. He asked her "how she knew that painting ["Birds of a Feather" shown in the upper left of my booth] was of New York City". She replied "because of the pretzel stand." Obviously, she spends her time in NYC the same way I did as a kid. I also talked to her about those pigeons. She once fed pigeons her pretzel. Maybe that's why they're hanging out near the pretzel stand in my painting. Never thought about that.

One more thing I thought about after another conversation. I forget to mention some key points regularly. Here's my laundry list (in no particular order) of the things I want you to know about buying from me:
  • You are always welcome (locally, at least) to try out a painting in your home for a day or two -- to see where it would look best and decide if that's the one for you. Or I could bring the painting to your house to help you find the right spot. Or suggest something else. 
  • Frames can be changed. Don't pass up buying a piece of art that you love because the frame's too large or the wrong color or wrong style for you. I take pride in framing my art well ... but I'm far more interested in your getting the piece that you love than your sticking with the frame I've selected. It's about the art.
  • You can purchase my work over time. You suggest the payment plan that works for you. I really just want my art to go to loving homes. (It's in a lot of those already.) While you're paying it off, I get to enjoy living with it.
  • You are not seeing everything I have painted/drawn ... that is available for purchase ... ever. It's impossible for me to include everything on my web site, in a show or in my portfolio. I am constantly creating. Request a personal showing. I would be so flattered. Give me an idea of what you love that I've done ... and perhaps why ... and I'll arrange to show you works that I think you would also love. Or I'll just talk to you about the direction I'm taking right now and show you works on and off the easel. I really value you as collectors or potential collectors. The better I get to know you, the happier I am.
  • You can commission a work. So, if you love my work, but nothing is the right size/shape/color/etc. for you, talk to me about your space and wishes.
  • I accept MasterCard and Visa.
  • Do you know how wonderful it is to live with original, beautiful, inspiring art all around you? To have it greet you every day?

In a few minutes, husband Randy and I will return the screens and tent, unload my paintings at the Artists' Atelier (the studio I share with 15 or so other artists in Great Falls, VA) ... and then hopefully go out and celebrate. Won't that be nice?

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Painting at the Old Brogue, Day Three and Progress

Make sure you check out both of my posts from today. (This one and the one about winning Best in Show in the Art League's 'scapes show.)

My "Painting the Town" exhibit is now over. (I'm sad about that.) This post got lost in the shuffle of my disrupted life. (House renovations, move, camping out, picking out plumbing fixtures, etc.)  But, here it is.

I painted for three days at the Old Brogue while my "Painting the Town" show was up. On day one, I painted two women enjoying tea. On day two, I painted my mom and five of her Stratford House friends having lunch. While I was in there painting on day two, a fellow Old Brogue patron inquired about my painting her three sons in the same corner as my tea ladies. We decided to make it a date, and her sons showed up the next morning.

When I got there at around 9:30am, a group of people were sitting in the corner and fellow artists from Great Falls Studios were gathered from what I wanted to be my vantage point for their regular Thursday morning get-together. I was supposed to be painting at 10am. (That wasn't going to work.) Colleen and her sons showed up right before 10 and they grabbed the corner seat and I kept working on my setup. The scariest part was not having my bag with brushes and some of my supplies. If life wasn't in an uproar, I would have been better prepared. I managed to find one brush ... a little one. Still, a too-small-brush was a whole lot better than trying finger painting.

By the time I was set up, the guys had already eaten and now were left to hang out in the spot for me to capture them. I occasionally took photos -- but every time I pulled out my camera, they'd all pay attention to me instead of each other. Not what I wanted. The youngest was in constant motion. Really. When I pulled up the photos on my computer, it was hysterical. Like a mini motion picture. I honestly have no idea how I even attempted this. What's funny too is that I was only vaguely aware at the time of just how much activity was taking place. I was focusing on one part or person at a time, composing, getting a sense of the whole scene. The main evidence of difficulty is that the youngest son had a few heads on my canvas. I decided to wait until later to pick the right photo to retrofit him into the scene. I had to think about it.

All three days were so much fun. Each day was a painting start, with much more time to be put in later from photo references and memory in order to finish them. All were done without asking anyone to be still and when each "party" was over I would continue to paint in the spot, then concentrating on the walls, table, dishes, etc. The Brogue is such a pleasant place to be. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to other visitors and the Brogue staff about my show, this painting, the process, etc. I think it was good for their business, too. Certainly intriguing to customers. I was in there painting, while someone else is writing on their laptop, reading a newspaper, catching up with friends, taking a break.

Painting in this natural a setting and situation is a much different experience, too, than painting from a photo reference. It was less about getting the drawing down for one split second. I acted more slowly. Feeling my way and capturing the passage of time. So much more interesting.

I've included a series of shots here, from a sketch when the guys were still in their seats to one a few hours after they left to the painting after I'd worked on it more for a few days from photos and memories. I still have a lot of work to do -- and it's a poor photo, but wanted to post anyway. (Sometimes I can't help myself.) I hope you enjoy.

And, if you are a restaurant owner or know one who may be interested in having me paint on location there, email me. I'll try to bring my brushes next time.

"Untitled" work in progress, oil on Senso linen, 16"h x 20"w, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435

"Best in Show" in the Art League's 'Scapes Show

So cool! Last night (husband) Randy and I dropped off two paintings during receiving for the Art League's monthly juried shows ... something I haven't done for a VERY long time. This month's show is the 'Scapes show of landscapes, urban or rural. Since I took down my "Painting the Town" show this past Sunday ... I had plenty to choose from. My kind of theme.

Tonight, on my way home from the studio,  I asked Randy to call to find out if I got in and what got in. (Only one can make it.) I did get in. And won Best in Show, the Chameli and Amiya Bose Memorial Award. The winning painting: "Rainy Day in NYC", the same painting that just won an award at the Salmagundi Club's Painting and Sculpture Exhibition in NYC. The 'Scapes show juror is Joey P. Manlapaz whose bio appeared in the August Tidings, the monthly Art League newsletter.

Juror: Joey P. Manlapaz was born in the Philippines and came to the US as a young teen. She received her MFA in painting from George Washington University. Manlapaz exhibits extensively in the US and has received numerous accolades for her unique form of painterly photorealism. Her solo exhibit in Spring 2009 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art featured her Reflections series, highly complex paintings of reflections on glass storefront windows in DC. Manlapaz maintains a studio in Capitol Hill and is a faculty member at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Her work can be viewed at www.joeymanlapaz.com.

When I came home (from plumbing fixture shopping), I looked at her web site. Interestingly, she's created a wonderful series of Reflections, scenes through windows. I'm personally fascinated with reflections. Take a look at "Through the Window" or "Randy and Me" in the Places Gallery on my web site: www.JillBanks.com. You'll see some similarities, I believe.

This is the third time I've won Best of Show at the Art League. The first was in July 2005 for "Alice with a Bad Case of Wanderlust". Second was in November 2008 in the Small Works show for "Orange Peeled."

I love the Art League. It's where I studied for years under master artists Robert Liberace and Danni Dawson, and where I took many of my first steps as a budding professional artist in their monthly juried shows. It's also where I had my first gallery solo show "Place Settings" in January 2008. (I was one of 10 solo show artists juried from the 1000+ members for 2008.) They nurture artists. That's a good thing.

Art League membership costs $70 per year and artist members can submit two pieces each month during regular receiving to be juried for exhibit. Receiving is on the first Monday of each month, 6:30-8:30pm and Tuesday, 10am-noon. (There are some exceptions. Check their web site.)

The awards reception is Thursday, August 12, 6:30-8:00pm with awards announced at 7:30pm. I hope you join me there! (There is the ART LEAGUE, 105 No. Union Street, Alexandria, VA  22314.

I was PAINTING today. Yea! You'll see progress in a post sometime on Wednesday. (Now today.)

"Rainy Day in NYC", 18"h x 24"w, oil, copyright Jill Banks 2010.

Web: www.jillbanks.com
Blog: jillbanks.blogspot.com
Email: jillbanks1@aol.com
Phone: 703.403.7435