Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Torpedo Factory Dock" Plein Air Painting and Ice Cream Stories

"Torpedo Factory Dock," 8"h x 10"w, oil on Raymar panel, ©Jill Banks 2011
Painting on the Waterfront
Well, today I took a nap. But, that was after a morning painting session with the Art League Plein Air Painters at the Waterfront in Alexandria, VA. I imagine I was the first one there as I walked all around and didn't see a "painter-like" soul. I set up under the gazebo/pavilion near Chart House, figuring that would keep me dry and shaded ... hopefully.

As you might know, there's been a lot going on in my painting life lately, and today those busy days took a bit of a toll. My worst mistake was making the trek to Alexandria minus the piece that attaches my EasyL palette/easel to the tripod. What that meant is that I had to sit on the ground to paint with my panel below eye level... versus stand and have the panel just where I want it. That meant creaky bones, a bit of discomfort, but I was still happy to be painting in a beautiful spot.

Some of the youngsters at the Social
Going back to the same locale over and over is eye-opening. I'm not going to paint the same subject from the same vantage point ... so it forces me to reach a little. Think. Find something hidden.

I started a second painting today, but only got about half way there. The view changed dramatically all morning with moody clouds to sun trying to peek through. It was fun to witness and follow with my brush.

I had a few visitors. Not nearly as many as last week, but I talked to one woman from Sweden who had just moved here. She loves to paint and wanted to find out more about who we are and how she can join us. (Anyone can join who is a member of the Art League.)

What's not to love?
Another woman told me that as soon as she got home (to California) she was going to do what I was doing. Her husband had bought her an oil set as a present ... as painting was something she always thought she would enjoy. We talked about brushes, how to start the painting, and I encouraged her to just give it a try.

The Ice Cream Social
Yesterday's event for my "100 Faces in 100 Days" exhibit was my favorite. Period. My dad was fixing sundaes to order ... and what the day meant is that no one had to apologize to or drag their kids to an art event. Everyone wanted to be there! It was truly a celebration. My pretty educated guess is about 80 people attended the two-hour social. We know we went through 60+ spoons.

Loading up on extras
It seemed fitting that my very social, community-based project should have a fun, casual, cool open house. Whole families came. Everybody enjoyed themselves. It would have been hard not to. Sundaes were started by my dad, but sundae eaters could add their own helpings of gummy bears, m&m's and nuts.

My dad's made plenty of those ice cream sundaes for me growing up. We had maraschino cherries and whipped cream in the fridge, sprinkles in the pantry. Always prepared to celebrate an "ordinary" day.

Charlie, Andrea and Christina Loulakis and my "kid," Sarah Banks
I took photos of many of the kids and one wanted me to take a photo of me. I'm always camera shy. I wished I'd had my picture taken with him, though... because he wanted it. I've got my flaws.

I do wish everyone could have been there!

I talked to one of my very fine faces about the project in general and my book. She offered to write about her experience as a sitter, her own perspective of the project. Of course, I gladly accepted. I think this is part of the magic of the project. I have the benefit of emails and a journal entry and my own recollection of the sittings of my 100 faces. Would anyone else like to contribute to the story?

Mom and Dad (who were the hostess and host of the Ice Cream Social) -- Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You brought a lot of smiles yesterday. It was a truly amazing, wonderful day!

For everyone who came -- thank you for celebrating with me! Yea!

August 3 - 31: "100 Faces in 100 Days" on exhibit at the Artists' Atelier, 1144 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA. Open hours: Wednesdays through Saturdays, 12:30-6:00pm.

August 8 to August 19: Three of my drawings will be on exhibit as part of the Salmagundi Club's Annual Photography and Graphics Non-Members Exhibit in NYC. This prestigious, 140-year-old arts club is located in a beautiful brownstone at 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. Through the years, the Salmagundi Club has been the gathering spot of such luminaries as Childe Hassam, William Merrit Chase, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and many others. It's a pretty incredible spot. So ... if you're in NYC any time soon ...
"W&OD BBQ" won 1st Place in the Reston Century T-Shirt Art Competition

August 3-September 5: 'Scapes Exhibit at the Art League, 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA. My entry, "A New York State of Mind," won Honorable Mention.

Sunday, August 21: At the Registration Pavilion for the Reston Century Ride, Reston Town Center, Reston, VA -- with prints of "W&OD BBQ", the first place winner in the T-Shirt competition that will be worn by 1200 riders in the race this day.

To read more about the 100 Faces in 100 Days project on my web site (, go to the 100 Faces Project Pages 1 and 2 where you can see all 100 of my volunteers. Click on the paintings, and go to my blog post for that person's sitting.

100 Faces in 100 Days Project Page 1 (faces 1-54):
100 Faces in 100 Days Project Page 2 (faces 55-100):
Phone: 703.403.7435


Jerry Stocks said...

The painting of the Torpedo Factory Dock is wonderful. I would love to write about "our" experience of sitting for you. Would you believe those two little boys started school today and grandma starts on Thursday. Yes, this old lady is going back to college.

Jill Banks said...

Wow, Jerry! Congratulations! I remember that you were talking about it. I don't think you carry around an idea very long before acting on it.

I'd love to get your perspective on the experience. That would be wonderful!