Monday, February 28, 2011

Laura Nichols is Face #57

"Laura Nichols: Face #47", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Laura Nichols, Great Falls Studios president and founder, potter, egg lady, etc. ... came to sit for me today. The plan was that I would go to her ... since her new puppy Casanova's bladder control is still developing ... but with rain and her husband's help, she came to me.

I struggled all day on this.

As nice as my sitter was, I still don't think I've got her. It's better. It's not all wrong. But, it's not all right, either.

It was fun to spend time with Laura, though. And paint her sitting in front of me. That is what this project's about ... but I still want to see Laura staring back at me. Hmmmm.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mary Suib Is Face #56

"Mary Suib: Face #56", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Mary Suib came to sit for me today ... and we had an awfully lively conversation. Mary's an actress and I was struck with the similarities between theatre and visual arts. For example, performing is something she simply has to do.

We talked about our "highs'" being when we really touch people ... leading them to cry or laugh or hold onto something that we do.  How those "highs" are rare ... but a feeling that we're always seeking.

Mary really works at all aspects of her craft including marketing herself as an actress to get the roles, perform memorably, which in turn helps her get more and better roles. Sounds familiar.

While I was painting, Mary was acting for me ... changing her voice to project a different personality and mood. It works. Pretty interesting when you can change yourself in an instant into someone else. I wondered how you deal with that knowledge. Do you work then on projecting a better you?

Mary with the painting. I love this photo! Gives you a hint about the day.
She studies people just like I do but for a different reason. We imagined a coffee shop filled with painters imagining how to paint the patrons, actors imagining how to play their parts, writers conjuring up their lines.

Again, today I was a little off. Needed to adjust and did.

100 Faces Project Page Updated on My Web Site Two Days Ago - Take a look
Read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts and on my web site: on my 100 Faces Project Page (link to it from my home page). 

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lena Pedlikin Is Face #55 Today

"Lena Pedlikin: Face #55", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Lena, age 14, is Adrianne Pedlikin's (Face #20) daughter ... and the two of them arrived today ready for me to paint Lena.

Adrianne kept quiet almost the whole ... pretty lengthy sitting ... something she managed because she' brought along a book to read (on her sixth Kindle). The idea was to keep the conversation between just Lena and me. So, primarily that's the way it was.

Lena's takes lots of honor classes, just joined the track team and has participated in the drama club as a freshman in high school. She was giving up her day to sleep in. High school start times are cruel. Not too far into the sitting, Lena checked her phone for the time and mentioned lunch time at school. Usually, my sitters get treated to coffee, tea or water and I starve them through the sitting. I've been on the 100 Faces in 100 Days diet for 55 days now. But I couldn't do that to Lena. Luckily I had something closely approximating her regular lunch on hand including Vitamin water, an apple and a peanut butter sandwich (on cinnamon-raisin bread though). Lena's mom lucked out, too, with some leftover shrimp and grits I cooked up for last night's dinner. Tomorrow's sitter probably won't fare as well. (Juggling anything ... like grocery shopping and cooking ... with painting a face a day is very, very tough.)

I was a little off today ... declared the painting done ... but it didn't pass the Adrianne and Lena test. She looked much older and something was amiss. So I pulled it over to the mirror along with Lena and that solved the puzzle. Poor Lena had to sit awhile longer as I moved up her mouth and chin to find Lena's face. So about a half hour longer and it was done. Met with approval. Phew.

In a few minutes, I'm heading off for dinner to celebrate my husband Randy's birthday at Cesco Trattoria in Bethesda. The restaurant's chef and owner, Francesco Ricchi, is the husband of Elaine Sheetz -- who modeled for my portrait class last Fall. Anyway, we're looking forward to some wonderful Italian food... yum.

"Jack's Tulips" New Painting Started
Last night, I did start a new painting ... of "Jack's Tulips" ... flowers that arrived via Jack Platt (Face #52). I put them in a beautiful ceramic vase brought back from Florence and they sit at my kitchen window. So I'm painting that at night and you see the reflections of the flowers in the pitch black window. Pretty. It also used to have two bananas in the scene. My daughter, Sarah, ate one of them. Oops. We'll see where that goes and hopefully I'll show you that soon.

100 Faces Project Page Updated on My Web Site Two Days Ago - Take a look
Read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts ( and on my web site: on my 100 Faces Project Page (link to it from my home page). 

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Janet Armour is Face #54

"Janet Armour: Face #54", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Janet and I spent a comfortable, easy afternoon together getting Face #54 to appear on its 12"x12" board. My initial scribblings (with the darks in Transparent Earth Red and French Ultramarine Blue) didn't look much like her so once I had the clues I needed, I tackled color and the lights. So, Janet didn't get to see it too early on. I waited until I thought she'd see herself.

As much as I intend to document my progress developing the painting, it's easy to forget to take photos until I'm well into the process. There is ...  always ... lots to juggle and think about.

Janet and I talked about family, dealing with hardships, and breaking from our past work lives. Once both of us "quit" our careers, we realized just how much we didn't want to go back to those roles/tasks/thoughts. I think we're both good at moving on, adapting to new lives and treasuring newly found freedoms. Janet realizes that the time is now to live life to its fullest and that realization organizes her priorities. A smart way to simplify decision-making.

As I was painting, Janet was thinking about what I might be doing behind the easel. I think she was more curious about that than most of my other sitters. With others, I'm the person at the other end of the conversation and they are less aware of my "job" as painter. Janet's observant. Looked at everything around her. She'd completely cleared her schedule so she didn't need to worry about getting someplace and I didn't have to worry about finishing within a certain timeframe. That was relaxing.

Face #54 emerged steadily, easily. What's getting interesting for me is that as I paint face after face, each alla prima portrait gets more and more distinct. Likenesses get stronger. I adapt better. That said ... I hope I paint as well tomorrow.

I tell my sitters I don't see perfectly. I'm not 20/20. Not bad, but I don't see the details which is just as well. I just don't think details matter ... and they may just get in the way of a good painting. It's this non-close-up, generalized, undetailed view that I believe gives a true "picture" of the person.

Janet and I were both happy with the end result and the journey.

Next Up
Tomorrow's sitter is the 14-year-old daughter of another one of my faces.

100 Faces Project Page Updated on My Web Site Yesterday - Take a look
Read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts (there are 54 of them starting January 1) and on my web site: on my 100 Faces Project Page (link to it from my home page). 

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Thursday, February 24, 2011

John Smith Is Face #53; 47 Alla Prima Portraits To Paint

"John Smith: Face #53", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
John Smith was one of my very early volunteers and he picked ... a good while ago ... this particular date to sit for me. We had an excellent time from beginning to end, and although I didn't bring out his inner George Clooney, he approved of both the process and the painting.

This is actually the third time he's been painted because he hangs out in artist circles. (Watch out for that. We're always on the lookout for faces.) His previous two painting sessions were caused by Tricia Ratliff, an artist friend of mine.

John's painting took exactly three hours with breaks and a leisurely stroll down to my home studio. The painting came together naturally, comfortably. I wish I could figure out why that is some days and not others and package that knowledge up. But, no. The secret remains with the painting gods.

My grisaille sketch. This is how the painting started.
John Smith with the painting of Face #53
I really am working at doing something different with this 100 Faces in 100 Days Project. I'm in training to be able to paint the subjects I want to paint ... from life. My goal is to be able to paint groups of people ... in comfortable settings ... without anyone posing or staying still for me so I can capture "real" life. Maybe that can work? Should be fun trying.

John and tomorrow's sitter, Janet, are a couple. John told Janet to prepare to have fun sitting and told me to be prepared for Janet to try to usurp my kitchen. She loves to cook and doesn't have enough space at her place. (Ours is pretty darn nice.)

Okay, time to wash brushes. Slow down. Take it easy. Get ready for tomorrow.

Read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts (there are 52 of them starting January 1) and on my web site: on my 100 Faces Project Page (link to it from my home page). 

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Deck of Paintings: Jack Platt Is Face #52

"Jack Platt: Face #52", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Jack Platt was my reluctant sitter ... having popped into my Great Falls studio while I was painting my dad (Face #11). My dad had been another reluctant sitter so I knew how to handle his "kind." When asked whether he'd like to volunteer his face for my 100 Faces in 100 Days project, Jack worked at switching the topic of conversation about 15 times in a few minutes. Like I wouldn't notice.

I kept persisting ... asking and Jack walks out the door. From out in the hallway, I hear him mutter resignedly that he'll send me an email.

When I get the email, he tells me that he's willing to volunteer and that he'll sit with a paper bag on his head ... his best pose. All this from a guy whose face I'd love to paint.

The painting in progress. Note: this is the painting shown in natural vs. tungsten light
He showed up at my door today with the peace offering of pretty red tulips. Very, very nice.

I loaded him up on coffee and he sat, talked, joked, enjoyed himself. He was here for exactly four hours and recognized himself at each stage of the painting. One of his discoveries was that paintings all make sense from across the room ... but close-up you can see how the painting is constructed. All of a sudden, close-up the painting becomes a series of brushstrokes, thick and thin, in broken color. He was fascinated with the idea that the painter is close to the painting (where it looks like patches of broken color and dabs of paint), yet can pull together this illusion that holds together from a distance. We took a look at the paintings of Joaquin Sorolla (my favorite painter) who mystified me in the same way. Sorolla worked on a very grand scale and the size of his strokes were huge. It's hard to fathom how he could figure out what the whole painting would look like as he was working on it bit by bit.

Jack and the painting. A good-looking pair. Doesn't he look like he's up to something?
I've mentioned this before ... but while painting my listening skills are just pretty good. Jack would be a great person to sit down with for another four hours (at least) without a paintbrush in my hand so I  could listen really well. His stories are as interesting as his face and I would benefit from his perspective. He's lived all over the world and gathered insights about people, culture, history I'd love to hear. He mentioned being a collector of heroes and I like that idea. Who are they and why are they heroes?

I'd like to see the house he and his wife had built out of nothing but a vacant piece of land. A house on a berm.

Jack was glad he volunteered. Enjoyed his time sitting and being painted. Liked looking at it coming together. Jack figures that I'll make it to my 100th face ... since I'm more than 50% there. When I've painted Face #100, he thinks I should treat myself to a nice dinner out. Okay.

Read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts (there are 52 of them starting January 1) and on my web site: on my 100 Faces Project Page (link to it from my home page). 

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Christine Flack Is Face #51

"Christine Flack: Face #51", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
I was very happy today to get a chance to visit with Christine. Christine is Bailey's (Face #16) mom ... and she used to work with me ... long, long ago.

We had fun chatting but my painting wasn't going so well. Glitch, glitch, glitch. I know Christine's face ... sometimes a problem ... and she just wasn't peeking back at me on my canvas. She's expressive. Laughs very easily. I must have been pretty funny. I tried to paint her mouth closed ... but both of us knew it just never was that way.

She sat for a long time and eventually I sent her away go I could face my painting demons all by myself. She had been there not to have the perfect painting of herself created ... but for the two of us to enjoy each other's company. Which we did. But, I still needed to find her face in those puddles of oil paint.

So I worked away. I took quite a few photos ... fashion click, click, click style ... and her face looked different in every frame. Completely different ... but there wasn't a single photo with her mouth closed. I gave in. If I was actually going to paint an alla prima portrait of Christine the way she really is ... she was going to have a smile on her face.

I see her in there better now.

Funny thing was, today, Christine kept "seeing" herself on my canvas as reflected in my studio mirror. But she also saw it wasn't as clear when standing in front of the painting.  That means something was right all along ... just not everything.

Face #52 ... tomorrow ... is one of my reluctant sitters. I did a lot of negotiating to get him to volunteer. I think he has a great face. Let's see how paintable it is.

Addendum: Christine writes a blog ... and you can read some of her comments from today and yesterday there at
Plus, here's an excerpt from her email to me...
"I LOVE IT!!!! I'm right there looking back at myself. I can't wait to see me in person. It feels kinda funny talking about myself like this...but I look vibrant and fun. I always find it very interesting to hear what other people think of me (it never seems to match my own opinion). Not that what people say is bad, just different. I love what you see in me. You have always brought out the best in me.

I had so much fun spending the day with you. I miss it."

Christine's a person I love to be with and really admire. She's truly great. Someone you should meet.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Monday, February 21, 2011

Half Way There! Barbara Marhoefer is Face #50!

"Barbara Marhoefer: Face #50!", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Today was a wonderful day! Perhaps my most leisurely day of 2011 -- the only "real" thing to do on my agenda was to paint face #50 ... who happens to be Barbara Marhoefer, Ben's (Face #49) grandmother, my diligent and quick learning painting student and my parent's (Faces #8 and #11) neighbor. One of my sitters suggested that when I do exhibit all of these paintings together ... that I should run string from one painting to another to show all the ways (that I know of...) these people interconnect. I love being around Barbara. She's one of those great spirits. I'd be willing to pay for one of her grins.

There's a whole lot to her.

Having her as one of my students is a learning experience for me. She regularly writes me notes/emails after a class to tell me what she learned that day. It's nice to have a recap and often I didn't even realize that what she learned was something I was "teaching."

Last semester, it was Barbara who brought in the magnolia leaves, pods and gourds ... that I also painted to become one of my favorite still lifes. Barbara would go "find" some magnolia leaves and pods each week to replenish their withered friends. This semester she brought in all this citrus including Meyer lemons back from Florida with her ... along with a painted bowl with tropical motif (fish) ... that's turning into this powerfully happy painting for her and fellow student Francie.

Barbara Marhoefer, Face #50 with her painting
Barbara was (a little) worried what we'd talk about during the sitting. If you are one of my future sitters ... and you're worried about this ... quit thinking about it. It's a piece of cake. There's just lots to talk about and it's easy, comfortable, fun.

Barbara's an accomplished writer and researcher ... among a host of other things. She wrote a book about her town on the Eastern Shore (MD) and we talked today about her fascination with pioneers of all kinds. I feel another book percolating ... bubbling up ...

Today was wonderful. It felt as good to get back to my faces project as it did to step away from it this weekend to concentrate on (son) Sam and (now daughter-in-law) Michelle's wedding. I've accomplished a great deal already this year and February's not even over. I have 50 faces ... now painted ... to look at, ponder and enjoy.

Barbara mentioned that having now painted 50 faces, I would know that I could complete this project. I actually never doubted that. I just embarked on this project knowing I'd reach the end but didn't know the "journey." It's been absolutely wonderful so far. Such a treat for me ... and such a treat for a whole bunch of other people including readers, sitters and friends of my "faces."

I am not caught up on a painting a day ... but will accomplish 100 faces in 100 days. If something ... like a very, very special wedding, or snow or the flu, etc. mean I can't paint (a face) one day ... I will catch up another. I'm two faces behind but not for too long.

Read more about my (Jill Banks, Face #100) 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on this blog (all posts since January 1, 2011) and on my web site ( on my 100 Faces Project Page. (I need to update with Face #43 on... sometime soon.) All paintings are created alla prima (painted all at once) from live sittings by my volunteers who give three to four hours of their time (approximately) in exchange for the experience and to be part of my project. (And to help me do what I love to do ... paint them!!!!)

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ben, Age 13, Is Face #49

Ben next to "Ben: Face #49"
Ben, age 13, sat for me on Super Bowl Sunday ... helping me to "double up" on sittings so I could take this weekend off. Ben is the son of one of my students and he was so much fun to be around. First, I love that people of all ages are volunteering for my project. Second, Ben is a fun, interesting, fascinating person to be around. Plus, an extra ... I really like his mom and enjoyed their interaction tremendously. My "minor" volunteers come with relatives in tow ... so my project turns into a study in relationships and personalities ... automatically.

I will get a proper photo of just the painting very soon. We just arrived back from (son) Sam and (daughter-in-law) Michelle's wedding ... so I haven't had any prep time. All of that went into making tent cards for the rehearsal dinner, clothes shopping. seating arrangements, contemplating, celebrating and the like. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding. The best parts were that family and friends gathered together to celebrate Sam and Michelle; a beautiful ceremony in which my choked-up son managed to get through vows he meant from the bottom of his heart with Michelle encouraging and supporting him through it in her kind way; and all the care, time, and attention the Anonicks (Michelle's parents) put in to throwing a terrific wedding ceremony and reception. It was fun and heartwarming at the same time.

Back to Ben. He sat for me patiently and talked. I'd squint at him and he'd look back at me so directly and honestly ... like sending me signals how to paint him. He was involved thoroughly in the process and interested in it. He hadn't seen a painting develop before and he got a kick out of it. He really liked the finished painting. A hit! He helped make it so.

Thanks, Ben! You rock.

Tomorrow I'm back to my faces project for ... drumroll please ... Face #50!!!!!

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sam and Michelle's Wedding Day and Face #48

Sorry for the two days’ of silence. I’m enjoying and busy with all the festivities/family time surrounding my son Sam’s wedding/marriage to Michelle. The big day is today! I’ll tell you all about it later.

We’re staying in this wonderful spot … but I’ve been Internet free. Today’s post is coming to you via Panera.

Come Monday, I’ll be two days’ behind on my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project … but that will be caught up with two sittings in one day … twice … sometime between now and April 10.

"Doris Leadbetter: Face #48", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
My greatest thoughts for today are about how thoroughly HAPPY I am about Sam and Michelle’s marriage. These are two terrific people … and to know them is to love and admire them. They epitomize youth at its very best … goodness combined with endless energy. How great is that?

Face #48: Doris Leadbetter
In preparation for this weekend (I didn’t bring my paints – it’s time off), I painted two of my faces in advance.  Doris Leadbetter agreed to sit for me on an afternoon when I had some extra energy. Doris’ daughter Jenny played softball with my daughter Sarah at Langley, and Doris was the mom who always knew what she was doing. She was in charge of snack sales, scoring, awards nights, etc.

Our conversation during the sitting reflected our changing lives … with grown kids and changing roles. As today I’m taking on the new role as mother-in-law, both Doris’ son and daughter are getting married soon and she’ll be adopting that title, too.

Doris is looking to rediscover her creative side. She’s long been involved in the arts movement in Great Falls … and just wants to pick back up on that somehow. I encouraged that. Surprise, surprise. To everyone: take a class, try something new, build a new passion. All you have to do is make a small start.

Adding To Our Family ... And Being a Mother-In-Law
Welcoming Michelle into our family means I'm now a mother-in-law.
For some reason, I’m thinking that I’ll be a pretty good mother-in-law. Michelle’s mom and dad are terrific … so Sam’s getting great in-laws. Sam and Michelle are both incredibly capable … they won’t get an overdose of advice. I’m more likely to ask them their opinion. I’ll help whenever they both want it. I love them both … and will welcome whatever time they spend with us. I hope that’s lots, of course … and they seem to plenty willing to share themselves.  They are so much fun to be around.  I realize they now have plenty of relatives, friends, obligations … all that. We’re lucky to be part of their family.

My goal is that communication will be very open … both ways. 

I'll post Face #49 tomorrow ... of Ben, age 13 ... once I return home. Plus, some news from the big weekend. Lots of joy!

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Richard Kelly Is Face #47

"Richard Kelly: Face #47", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Richard Kelly took the hot seat today ... sitting for face #47 of my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project. Richard's one of the foremost collectors in the U.S. ... and I've come to know him through his involvement as board member with the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts. Naturally, we talked a good bit about art. But, also about his family. His two sons who I would say he's rather nuts about. His wise wife.

A couple of funny stories about Face #47. Richard brought donuts and I consumed a few. That's definitely unusual for me. (I avoid gluten most of the time.) I ate one at first. My stomach growled and rumbled. I figured I must need another. Same thing. Finally I realized that the donuts themselves were causing the disruption. It wasn't about being hungry. The rest of the box left with Richard.

Checking out the painting ... almost done.
I showed Richard my painting in its very early, roughed in, messy stage. Perhaps that wasn't a good idea. I usually do this to show my sitters the process. Sometimes they see themselves then. Sometimes not. I think it was at this stage that Richard said something about doubting that it could look like him  in the end. I think the reason that he said that was because I showed it to him prematurely ... and he wasn't used to watching a painting come together. Maybe? But I took this comment, positively, as a challenge. Any time someone has doubted whether I could do something, I work very, very hard to prove I can. Richard figured out that I was an excellent candidate for negative reinforcement. For the rest of the session, the painting remained in "hiding" ... waiting for me to declare it done.

By the time he left, Richard did figure that his son would recognize the painting of his dad up on my wall ... which was a good thing. But I worked some more on it. Remember that negative reinforcement thing. (I hope my next 53 sitters won't try it.) So, I'm anxious to hear what Richard thinks now. It definitely seems right to me.

Oh, and I tried something different on this one. I was disturbed that Richard looked "washed out" by the background color which blended with his hair. I darkened the background a little bit and the painting looked so much better.

Read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts (the project started January 1 and I announced it in posts during late December) and on my web site, 100 Faces in 100 Days Project page.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Diane Slafsky Is Face #46

"Diane Slafsky: Face #46", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Diane was one of my very first volunteers ... emailing me right after I announced the project. Pretty brave woman! It took awhile before she sat for me ... because I painted her kids first, and she was incredibly flexible. It took some juggling to sit for me today. On her part.

Diane's very easy to talk to, open and thoughtful. I already knew she is a great mom since I witnessed it while her kids sat. I think she's also a bit of a philosopher. We'd talked about how amazing "regular" people are in that they manage the really hard parts in life. (Her words were better.) But, this project keeps hitting this home over and over again. So many people leading life with integrity; caring for loved ones; thoughtfully raising their kids; steering their lives in good directions; dealing with unhappiness or discontent or illness or whatever by figuring out a way to make the best of their situation; caring for ailing parents or kids with special needs; saying and doing what matters. Extraordinary daily acts.

One of the funny discussions was that both of us consider ourselves private people. (We were talking about Facebook which I'm a bit leery of  ... but that I'd like to reconnect with people from my past.) So, here I am writing a blog ... and here she is the subject of it. Something, perhaps, might be wrong with this picture.

I could write more and may. But not tonight.

See you tomorrow.

As usual you can read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier blog posts (the project started January 1 and I announced it in posts during late December) and on my web site, 100 Faces in 100 Days Project page.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Monday, February 14, 2011

Scott Anger Is Face #45

"Scott Anger: Face #45", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Happy Valentine's Day!

Scott Anger came to sit for me this afternoon. He enthusiastically volunteered his "face" for my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project after seeing the crowd of faces growing in my studio. Scott (and his wife Mary) are familiar supporters and collectors of art. He sits on the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts board ... and has been at an awful lot of my art events. I bet their calendar's crowded.

He believes this is a great project for the community. Another way to involve people in art and with artists. I think connecting each of my sitters, young and old, to meeting, talking with and getting to know an artist isn't a bad way to start.

Scott and I had great conversations from beginning to end. One of our topics was about soul searching -- on figuring out who we really want to be, what do we love to do, what do we need to change about ourselves. I've had that conversation with myself. Many times. Scott has, too.

I'll skip some of the stories ... but the sitting was comfortable and lots of fun. Painting was pretty easy, but with a late afternoon start ... I was working with failing and complicated light. A challenge.

Posing for My Portrait Class
One more thing ... today for my portrait class, our model was delayed so I posed for the class ... a standing, funny pose. It seemed like everyone was having a good time and it was fun to be on the other side watching them squint and smile and sketch like crazy. Patti Chisholm seemed to be "going to town" and I asked her to turn her canvas around so I can see it. Nope. I believe that was her reply. It was fun to see them. Quite a collection.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Sunday, February 13, 2011

James (Jim) Devine is Face #44 Today

"Jim Devine: Face #44", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Jim Devine, husband of Joan Devine (Face #34), came to sit for me today ... bright and early for me. Joan encouraged him to volunteer -- thought he'd enjoy the experience -- and I think she was right.

For anyone new to my blog, 2011 is the year of my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project. I'm painting alla prima (all at once, wet-into-wet) paintings of one hundred people of all ages, sizes, shapes, kinds who volunteer to sit for me, with sittings lasting approximately 3 to 4 hours. Sitters aren't paid. I keep the painting for exhibition(s) and a future book. Sitters don't need to keep still or in a particular pose and we talk to each other the whole time. Volunteers learn something about the process of painting a portrait or painting in general ... or what life's like as a professional artist ... and I get the chance to paint a bunch of alla prima portraits from life and get to meet a lot of new people and know others better. It's been fantastic!

Jim's an avid "doer", a very active guy. He's completed tons of triathlons. Loves to ski. Runs. Swims. Cycles. (Okay, I know those go along with the triathlon business.) Practices yoga. After he sat for me, he was headed off to get fitted for a new bike ... a reward for himself having battled a bout of cancer, chemo, etc.

The bike fitting was supposed to be at 1pm today but it was pushed off so that I'd have plenty of time and less pressure to paint Jim's face. Having a relaxed schedule is probably in everyone's best interest. Nice for the sitter, and nice for me. Nice for the painting, too. I do appreciate it!!

Jim (and Joan) take an interest in art, attending art events in the communities where they've lived. Jim's artistic endeavors include making stained glass -- cutting glass and soldering it. The two are good at just seizing the moments and opportunities around them... or creating new ones. I get the idea that one of them finds something interesting to do and the other is always saying "yes, let's go." What a great way to be.

It's funny having had both Jim and Joan sit. I heard part of the conversation twice ... just from a different angle ... and I need all the reinforcement I can get. This multi-tasking painting/talking/listening thing works better sometimes than others.

I haven't been thinking much about what I'm learning in the painting arena. I think a whole lot more of what I'm learning about people. There have been so many surprises talking to my sitters. It's the "can't judge the book by its cover" thing. I keep coming across amazing individuals in all sorts of different packages. Makes me want to talk to everybody!!!

I better stop posting and start relaxing. A VERY, very big week ahead. (My son, Sam, and Michelle will be married next Saturday!!!!) Jim asked me if I was "ready" to dance. I'm ready. Just not prepared.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Saturday, February 12, 2011

8-Year-Old Jack is Face #43

"Jack: Face #43", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Jack, age 8, came to sit for me today. My 100 Faces in 100 Days Project is part experiment ... to see how "possible" it is to engage and paint somewhat moving targets ... of all ages. The experimental nature of it seems more evident with young sitters. I do occasionally consider what a mom thinks when I suggest a three to four hour "sitting" for their kid. I can imagine the conversations going on in households around here. ("What? Is she nuts?" comes to mind.)

What's nice about sitting for a painting ... versus sitting for a photo shoot for a painting ... is that the subject is involved in the process. It gives insight into what goes into developing a painting. It gives the sitter a chance to relax and become his/her self. 

Kids race (and parents race) from one activity to another. Homework's substantial. Running a household is complicated. Weekend's are jam-packed. I'm really grateful that Jack's mom and dad made time to bring Jack here to spend the morning with me.

Part of what I do is talk to my sitters -- to learn about them and interact. To teach and listen. Jack doesn't talk a whole lot. He's quiet and I don't hear very well. Interesting.

What I now know about him is that he likes to watch TV and play video games. He loves skiing and roller coasters. He's a daredevil of sorts ... within reason. His plan is to ride the fastest rollercoaster, and the biggest.

Jack brought along a book, "The Battle of the Labyrinth" by Rick Riordan and Jack's mom and dad took turns reading it to him (and me). We both enjoyed it. I was struck while being read to how much I turn words into visuals. I hadn't really thought about that before. I could see each scene. A tribute to the writer but also a weird way my brain works.

This painting proceeded well and easily and then I got hung up in the finishing process. I couldn't do that "live." I'm sensitive to when I've pushed (a sitter) as far as helpful. At a certain point, if a sitter's tired or I'm not progressing in the painting, I "call" the session and finish up from photographs and memory. I had a little more to do on this one when I walked Jack and his dad to the door ... but it was time.

I'm glad that Jack agreed to sit. He had to work hard today. (So did I ... but it was my idea.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Danni Lougee is Face #42 Today

"Danni Lougee: Face #42", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Danni Lougee (Face #42) is a friend of Cindy Hargroves (Face #21) who found out about my project from reading Cindy Grisdela's (Face #4's) blog. Cindy Hargroves brought Danni by to see my wall of faces at my studio ... right before they attended African dance class. So, I didn't know Danni before other than a short "hi" when she'd come in to look at my wall.

There's something really special about this African dance class ... sounds like a bunch of wild women letting loose. (I wouldn't mind taking part in that at all.) At least, I'm pretty sure that Danni's letting her dancing spirit out in full force.

Danni told me about her great birthday party that her husband threw for her inviting a big group of her favorite girlfriends and their spouses ... with a dj and a dance floor. Her African dance friends and instructor were there and Danni's husband asked the dance teacher to lead the group in one of their dances. Danni was thinking ... when viewing the size of the dance floor (not large) ... that her husband hadn't seen them dance before. (Wild, crazy dancing takes up some room.)

Face to face
I loved how open Danni is ... she's comfortable talking from her heart, meeting new people (like me). Her favorite thing to do is to spend time talking with her girlfriends, having coffee or lunch, or at various get-togethers. She has a lot of friends ... also remarkable because she's only lived in the area for three years (moved from Dallas and before that Seattle). She loves to find connections to other people and builds on those. She collects people.

Danni possesses a wonderful free, positive spirit. Arrived at a good place enjoying who she is and what she's doing. She's comfortable and confident in her own skin.

We had a good day. I took a bit longer than normal but neither of us was in any sort of hurry. We were on Italian time.

Tomorrow, 8-year-old Jack will be sitting for me.

Sam and Michelle's Wedding Fast Approaching

My son Sam (Banks) is marrying Michelle Anonick on Saturday, February 19. Very exciting!!!!! This is one truly wonderful couple. As one of the moms, I can feel the emotional roller-coaster starting. Hard to believe that my little kid is going to be standing up at the altar saying "I do." I'm really, really, really happy for them ... but I'm also seeing Sam's smiling round cheeks going round on his toy train. You know?

I can't wait to see what these two do together. They make a great team. Perhaps this 1+1 makes 50, or something like that.

I'm ahead two faces ... so I'll be posting those during two of the wedding days. I'll catch up two more sometime before the end of my project ... so it will really be 100 Faces in 100 Days. I believe I have 100 volunteers. Now, it's figuring out who sits when. (Scheduling is tough.) If you've offered to sit and I haven't nailed down a date for you ... let's try to do that. (Another email to me would help.)

Web Site Just Updated

All of my 42 first faces are up on my website (on my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project Page) with links back to each sitter's individual post.  Check it out.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Walt Lawrence Is Face #41 ... Amidst a Ruckus in the Studio

"Walt Lawrence: Face #41", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Walt Lawrence and I have been a bunch of co's together ... co-chairpeople of the Great Falls Studios Shows and Exhibit Committee (going back a few years), co-emerging artists (he as a photographer and me as a painter), co-exhibitors (Walt and I spent lots of years next to or across from one another at art shows), and co-studiomates (at the Artists' Atelier, shared studio space at 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA). The two of us ... again, for years ... somehow got to be the fearsome duo who put out signs throughout Great Falls for the latest exhibit and shows. We've hung lots and lots of shows together ... and he's the only person other than my husband who realizes that it's extremely important to raise or lower a piece by that 1/4-inch I'm requesting.

One more challenge. Working without light on the easel.
Walt was slow to sign up to sit for my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project. My husband Randy thinks he remembers Walt saying something like "no way" when asked if he was going to become a "face." When he realized that I want to talk to people throughout the sitting, he vowed to be the first person to keep completely silent. Tough customer.

He enjoyed giving me a hard time. This painting turned out great and it's 100% Walt. As usual, we enjoyed each other's company. He sent me an email that "Today was a total gas." And, he really likes the end result. Ta da!

Ruckus At The Atelier

For today's sitting I had planned on painting Walt in the downstairs (from the Atelier) school area ... while letting Greg Staley photograph bird and other art upstairs for Great Falls Studios artists. (You really need to read this blog daily to keep up.) When I got there, though, Walt informed me that the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts board (confused yet?) was meeting downstairs ... so we'd have to figure out a spot in the Atelier to set up to paint ... face #41. The gallery area (an alternative spot to paint) was the designated photo shoot area  ... so I used my studio area, turning my easel around from its usual spot. Voila! It was perfect.

Except... I'm glad I don't need peace and quiet. Get a bunch of Great Falls Studios artists in one area and they go a bit wild and crazy. At least it was pretty darn entertaining for Walt. We did witness some fantastic bird art coming in. Cindy Grisdela created a wonderful, quilted pileated woodpecker. Jon Fisher created a wood relief tree of birds. Linda Jones experimented with mixed media creating a bird with flower parts. Laura Nichols sculpted a ceramic wall relief with a Great Blue Heron. (Obviously I wasn't solely focused on Walt's face.) There's a bird exhibit planned for June at the Great Falls Library. Should be quite a show. The Atelier has a bird exhibit going on ... now through the end of March of art created by Atelier artists.

All the ruckus did really add to the fun. Not that I needed that.

See you tomorrow ... I hope!

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mollie Vardell Is Face #40 Today: 60 More To Go

"Mollie Vardell: Face #40", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Quick post ... just because I turned a relatively calm day into a full one and now it's time to relax.

Mollie Vardell, fellow painter and studiomate (actually Mollie's the one who MADE the Artists' Atelier shared studio happen), came and sat for me today. Mollie is the past president of the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts ... and is looking forward to the day when she can ... just paint! She's done so much for the community, family, friends.

She's also looking to move out of the area sometime in the next few years. Open up a new chapter in her life. Mollie's spent a lot of years calling this home, and it will be hard to leave, but it's still clearly exciting. She and her husband, Michael, are scoping out new potential homes and communities for just the right spot.

Read more about Mollie and view her art at:

Good news! I went shopping today at Plaza. New paints. New brushes. A really big sigh of relief!

See you tomorrow. Next in the chair: fellow studiomate, photographer Walt Lawrence. He's warned me that he's going to set up a tripod to photograph the work in progress. Hope it goes well.

Read more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on my web site and on earlier posts. 40 Faces painted ... on day 40 of 2011. I have got to do a LOT of scheduling for the next few weeks VERY soon. I have openings this weekend and next week that I hope to fill with my existing list of volunteers ... so if you've asked to sit for me and you're available ... let me know. Thanks!

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Trish Gaitan is Face #39 Today

"Trish Gaitan: Face #39", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
It's tough to be original on these titles. I guess that's obvious.

This morning I taught my Still Life class. While teaching is tough on "top" of a life of painting and life, it's also fantastic. I have the greatest group in both of my classes (Still Life and Portrait) and everyone looks forward to class day and enjoy each other ... plus learning ... plus, I think, hanging out with me. It's a real joy. Today was "super" great because Barbara Marhoefer, one of my students and one of those people who's great to be around, returned to class for the first time this session. She's been in Florida and she set up a Florida still life replete with a bowl she carried from there to home to be painted ... only to have slipped and fell when she got home. So it's been glued together... minus one triangle and will make it into what looks to be a full of life, happy, citrusy painting.

Trish Gaitan with painting
This afternoon was dedicated to painting Trish Gaitan, who is a friend of Tina Learned (Face #5) ... who I met at this past First Friday's reception for the opening of Tina's show and the Bird Show at the Artists' Atelier (my shared studio at 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA). Trish was happy to become a part of my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project. It just seemed interesting to her, something different, unexpected. Trish has an MFA and has concentrated on the design/graphics end of the arts spectrum but loves painting, appreciates art, wants to get back to it someday. I used to live a "corporate life", running a business, meeting with clients, managing people. What I do today is so different. Through Trish's eyes, I realized that coming to be painted ... sitting in a professional artist's studio and getting a glimpse into this unusual way of life is an interesting diversion. A treat. Hopefully, inspirational in some way.

I could write a lot about today. I really enjoyed my time with Trish and it was truly inspiring for me and thought-provoking. But ... I need some rest, relaxation. Down time. So. I'll do that.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Monday, February 7, 2011

Anjanette Murphy is Face #38 Today... Plus Peppers Painting

"Anjanette Murphy: Face #38", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Anjanette Murphy came to sit for me today to become Face #38 ... after my portrait class. I did work on this some after our sitting ... but enjoyed our time spent together.

Anj is embarking on a new life ... and we talked about house renovations, kids, art (Anj is a painter), thoughts about art in Great Falls, my project, etc. She has a lot going on, many recent changes, but she manages to keep her sight on the big picture. She's enjoying being happy and knows things will fall into place in due time.

I think she enjoyed having time not running from one place to the next. Time to sit is pretty precious.

That sounds pretty good to me, too.

Find out more about my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project on earlier posts and on my web site, on the 100 Faces project page.

Picking "Pick-a-Peck Peppers" Back Up

"Pick-a-Peck Peppers" work in progress, oil, 24"h x 36"w, Jill Banks
Saturday I returned to this market painting after a many faces hiatus. I'm not done ... as I said in a previous post ... but felt like showing you a glimpse of something else. It's almost impossible for me to fit in painting other subjects on top of a "face" a day ... but I'll show them when the chance pops up.

I have created many paintings in my market series ... and all of them reside in new homes as of December 2010 ... so this is the latest, only available, and still not done ... one of these. I REALLY like it.

To see more of those market paintings, see my web site:

It will be awhile before I get back to it ... again ... but it will be fun when I do! Incredible colors!

Time for bed ... again.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nancy Keane is Face #37 Today

"Nancy Keane: Face #37", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Nancy Keane, artist and student (and mom and tennis player and world traveler, etc.), came and sat for me this morning. Having nothing to do with my sitter, I was sluggish. So a great face took me awhile. I actually scheduled two sittings today ... one for the am and one for late afternoon ... and as Nancy left, sitter #two arrived. I'm looking to get ahead a bit so that you'll continue to see a face a day, every day. Hmmm. Who thought this through?

(My photo from today wasn't great... My camera settings have seemed off for a week or so. I'll try again soon.)

Nancy and I had a good time together ... as I knew we would. She's someone I really like and respect whether she likes it or not. Everyone sitting knows that I talk about the sitter ... parts of our discussions or what conclusions or thoughts those discussions lead to ... in the blog post about them. Not all the time, but sometimes, Nancy would say something and then say, but "that's not for the blog." Funny. But I respect that, too. It's just between you and your painter.

This week, Nancy heads for India for what's bound to be an amazing trip. We talked about other travels, why she goes where she goes. I learned a bit. One, Nancy figures out what will be enjoyable about a destination for her husband and her son ... making sure everyone has some highlight for the trip. (India's not a family trip ... just her and a girlfriend.) Second, she works to bring something back from each place. A special custom or food ritual ... like mint tea from Morocco or making limonade a la Paris.

Sounds like a good idea. One of my favorite comments from Terri Parent after she "returned" with her husband from a trip to Italy ... is that they"never left Italy." They brought it home with them. Why not?

Nancy was interested in the process from beginning to end. Taking photos of the painting all along the way. No matter whether my sitter is an artist or not (Nancy is), I want him/her to experience the work in progress. This is a collaborative process. So much more fun when there are two workers: both sitter and painter.

Time for bed.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jane Anne Houser is Face #36 Today

"Jane Anne Houser: Face #36", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Jane Anne Houser became Face #36 today for my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project. Jane Anne is Bob Gilbert's sister-in-law. Directly after Bob sat for me, he went out for a family dinner with all the in-laws and talked about my project and Jane Anne was immediately intrigued ... and wanted to sign up. She's beginning a new chapter, studying art, after retiring from teaching Middle School at Longfellow and Cooper. Studying art is just one of her pursuits. Enjoying her 7-month-old grandson is another. (There's plenty more.)

Jane Anne sat for me upstairs at the Artists' Atelier (where I share studio space with sixteen other artists at 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA) ... which happened to be a pretty busy place today with many of us (Walt Lawrence, Elaine Elinsky, Jennifer Duncan and Michela Mansuino) in working away and quite a few visitors coming in to check out all the work, our birds exhibit (artwork related to choosing the official Great Falls bird), and visit. My sitter fit right in and enjoyed the working studio environment.

Jane Anne viewing the finished painting of Face #36
I showed her the painting at various stages ... even at about 15 minutes in. Just because it was developing so naturally. She is easy to paint. (Not all of us are.) Plus, she came to enjoy the process and very pleasantly surprised with the results.

Jane Anne commented that she was amazed at how calm I seemed painting. By now, I've had plenty of practice to get rid of any potential jitters and I really love talking, painting, enjoying my sitter's company. Everyone seems happy to sit ... encouraging me to take as much time as I need. I'm pretty confident everything will turn out just fine. I hope it will. I also figure that both sitter and painter (me) are in this together. If the painting doesn't turn out, we'll have shared a very nice, different experience.

Wall of Faces Day 36. My husband's face is the one missing. Still getting operated on.
In the end today, Jane Anne loved the experience and the painting. Really loved it! It made her feel really good about herself. That's the ultimate reward for me. (Not that I need one.)

Very, very nice day indeed.

One more thing. I painted on "Pick-a-Peck Peppers" this afternoon ... a painting I started before this project. Sorry, no photos of it because my camera card is full. I'm not done ... but it was fun to paint something other than a face, too. A treat. And, I applied some knowledge learned from my faces project to this new market scene. Very cool.

Randy and I went out to dinner tonight at the Old Brogue Irish Pub to enjoy studiomate Elaine Elinsky's solo show there. It looks wonderful, and we weren't the only guests enjoying the view. Check it out throughout the month of February.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trina Myers is Face #35

"Trina Myers: Face #35", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
I've got to run for First Friday at the Artists' Atelier, open 7-9pm tonight at 1144 Walker Road, Suites D&G, Great Falls, VA ... but I'll be back later to give an update on Trina's sitting.

'Til then, then. Please check back.

I'm back. (Saturday)

Trina's taking my still life class. She's an incredibly exuberant, vibrant person. During her sitting, she said her husband concluded she ran at two speeds ... full speed ahead and asleep. I'm not sure I'm up to capturing full speed. (Not sure how to paint that.)  This is a quieted version of vibrant. Can you still tell?

Trina's someone you want to be near. Around. And, hope that her energy is contagious.

We had a great talk, about life in general and specific. We talked art and workshops she's taken. Looked for those common threads between teachings. We talked "mom".

The painting's small... weird optical illusion. But, Trina and painting.
I'm not certain about this ... but it seems when we're really in the middle ... age-wise ... we actually have the opportunity to get pretty wise. It seems the perfect opportunity to learn from each other. Gently guide, when invited, our kids. Really "get" our parents and understand their journey. Appreciate it all. Embrace being human and all it entails. I hope that it brings out the best of us.

Trina wasn't focused on the painting ... just the process. I was slow, figuring it out, and didn't rush to reveal it in its various stages. She was really patient about that. She really didn't see it until I declared it done.

I like what I did ... and this is Trina at one moment ... but not at her most Trina-est. I sure enjoyed our time together, though.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Tranquility" Accepted to Salon International; Joan Devine is Face #34 and More

Good day today!

Joan Devine is Face #34
"Joan Devine: Face #34", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Joan volunteered her face after hearing about my project in a roundabout sort of way. Joan saw art quilter Cindy Grisdela's solo exhibit at Maison du Vin, a beautiful wine store that features Great Falls artists' work in its tasting room. When Joan then went to Cindy's web site ... and read about Cindy Grisdela (Face #4) sitting for me ... on her blog, Joan decided this might be an interesting thing to do. Okay, long intro and hopefully fairly accurate. (I listen at about an 85-90% level while painting. I miss a few facts.)

So, Joan and I didn't know each other. After settling in a little bit, I point to the chair that's my sitter's "throne" for awhile. No one knows exactly what to do, how to sit, what's expected of them. I don't direct ... I just want to get at what's natural and comfortable for each person. I imagine it seems a little strange. Photographers give specific instructions ... like "say cheese", angling our shoulders, chin down, look here, etc. They are looking for your most photogenic posture and expression. I want my sitters to relax and show me glimpses of themselves. (Showing me lots of themselves is even better.) I watched Joan become herself.

Joan's independent and capable ... and daring, too. She makes herself try new things or reach for new challenges. (Like sitting for me.) She and her husband are outdoorsy -- enjoying kayaking and skiing. She expects to keep up. (I can't imagine being able to keep up physically in such active sports. Actually, I didn't need to add the adjective "active.") She talked about a trip to Alaska (we talked travels) ... and being on a boat with a school of orcas coming near ... with a sole otter swimming among them. Joan's up for adventure.

A recurring theme is that none of us feels "older" as we age. We're the same people inside and our vision of ourselves includes us at all ages. I remember a story my dad told of going to one of his high school reunions ... entering the room ... and thinking that he'd come to the wrong place. There were a whole bunch of old people in there. Probably there were a bunch of young people in there with older people's faces.

When I was done with the painting and Joan came to look, she told me that it was the only picture of herself she can remember liking. She clearly saw herself in it ... but for each "reveal" my sitters are seeing a different side of themselves. One they're not accustomed to seeing. It's not a couple-of-seconds' view, trying to find your "good side." But, somehow it does.

Salon International 2011

"Tranquility" Accepted into Salon International 2011
Today, I found out that "Tranquility" was accepted into the very competitive Salon International 2011 (see a list of accepted entries/artists here) exhibit that's being held at the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, Texas in April. Yea! I was hoping for that one. Greenhouse is a beautiful gallery that represents the "cream of the crop" and entries are juried for acceptance by the gallery owners and staff. So, nice to be accepted! Awards jurying is done once the paintings have been shipped and hung in the gallery. (Daniel Greene is the awards juror.) This is my second year having work accepted into this beautiful exhibition.

Great Falls Connection Article
An article on my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project, written by Alex McVeigh (Face #26), is in this week's edition of the Great Falls Connection. You can download a PDF file here (click on Great Falls to download, see "Capturing 100 Likenesses" on page 5) or see the online version here.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frank Gugino Becomes Face #33: One-Third of the Way!

"Frank Gugino: Face #33", oil, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
My eye is on the journey for my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project -- not on getting through. Still, in the last 33 days, I painted 33 faces and got to know 33 people better. So, a special occasion today. Another milestone.

Frank Gugino (Face #33) is Patti Chisholm's (Face #17) husband. Frank is now officially added to the list of people who commented that time flew by.  We talked about a whole bunch of things ... family, cooking, background, work, art (Patti is a professional artist), interests, travel, and a little bit of history (one of Frank's passions). Plus, I got a recap of Frank and Patti's adventures in Italy when Frank was able to get acquainted to some relatives in the town his grandparents had emigrated from to the U.S. I'm listening and talking while I paint -- but I miss parts of the discussion, and repetition helps.

Photo time.
We talked about artists going off in all sorts of new directions ... constantly. Always trying new things. Spouses often encourage a continuation in one direction ... creating more of those pieces that appeal most strongly to them ... or others. That makes an awful lot of sense to all non-artists. If we stuck to one thing (a subject matter, media, process), we are apt to get better at it. (I'm improving through my 100 Faces in 100 Days Project.) But, we need to be thrilled by what we're doing. There needs to be variety and change, too.

The last time that I really stuck closely to one theme (subject matter or idea) was in preparing for my solo show at the Art League, "Place Settings" in January 2008 of people (friends, family, strangers) enjoying each others' company over a meal (restaurant and cafe scenes). If I hadn't had to present a proposal, get juried in and be held "accountable" by the Art League gallery staff, I wouldn't have pursued such a defined focus. The paintings in that show still remain as some of my favorites. My best. So the discipline paid off for me -- but it was difficult and I was dying to pursue other genres in the end.

We're tough to herd. We can learn by sticking to something. We thrive on variety, challenge and change.

My 100 Faces in 100 Days is "herding" me  (I'm accountable to you by resolving to do this and these daily posts). I am learning by painting one face after another. And, I'm challenged everyday with a brand new face and person to get to know.

Adam's Art Class Tunes into the Blog

When Adam's (Face #32) mom offered to show Adam the blog post starring him earlier today, he told her he'd already seen it. Adam told his Art class teacher about sitting for my Faces Project and she pulled up my blog. It was a hit ... and fun for him.

The Bird Show

"Wild Turkey", oil on linen, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
Today, Randy and I hung the rest of the Bird Show at the Artists' Atelier, 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA. Atelier artists painted/photographed/created artwork that spotlights seven bird candidates for the official town bird. Candidates include the pileated woodpecker, Great Blue Heron, Eastern bluebird, wild turkey, red-shouldered hawk, American goldfinch and a ruby-throated hummingbird. Studiomate Jennifer Duncan created a piece with all seven of the birds hanging out together ... in a way. Got to see it. An opening reception is this coming Friday, February 4, 7-9pm. The Atelier is also open Saturdays, noon-4pm. Stop in and see the birds ... and my wall of, now, 33 faces.

"Eastern Bluebird", oil on linen, 12"h x 12"w, copyright Jill Banks 2011
I put two paintings into the show ... so far. My thought is that we would keep adding to it. Great Falls Studios and the National Audobon Society are behind this search and vote for an official town bird. There are many art-related activities up Great Falls Studios' sleeves. Check out their web site: for more info on the Wings Over Great Falls project.

See you tomorrow with a fresh Face!

100 Faces in 100 Days Project:
Phone: 703.403.7435