Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Paintings Are In ... At Out & About Norfolk

"Chrysler Museum Memorial Garden," oil, 16"h x 20"w, ©Jill Banks 2011
This morning, I turned in three of my paintings ... just under the wire for the Out & About Norfolk Plein Air Painting Competition. The 37 juried artists all had two (and a half -- if they had the energy) days to paint wherever we wanted within the Norfolk city limits. I painted in three spots. The first was outside of the Chrysler Museum (I'll talk about that amazing place later) in the Memorial Garden. That's where I froze my patootsies off and almost blew away for about five hours on Thursday. Because I'd painted there from 9:15am to 2:30pm on Thursday, I went back on Friday morning to reestablish lights and darks ... as they were when I'd started it the day before. The painting was too big for me to have clearly established those patterns for the entire painting the first morning... especially under such challenging conditions.

By the way, yesterday -- when Randy and I were out at Waterside -- we talked to another painter, Bill, who painted from inside his car on Thursday. Smart move. I'll be interested in how other pros handled the day when we meet up at the reception this (Saturday) evening. There is much that just comes from experience -- merging what you like to paint with what's best to paint in the current conditions.

On Thursday late afternoon, I started "Eat at Joe's at Waterside" which looked a lot like a jigsaw puzzle. I returned to give it another shot as my third entry yesterday. I'm not sure what I think about it -- but I did turn it in. You may see it later.

"Elephant at the Norfolk Zoo," oil, 10"h x 8"w, ©Jill Banks 2011
Yesterday afternoon I painted in the Norfolk Zoo ... a fantastic place that I wish we had in the DC area. I could have painted in a ton of spots there. They have a great train for tots and their adult companions that ran around the zoo. We ate lunch before heading for a space for me to set up my easel ... and I kept looking at families coming up the path with the sunlight on their backs ... up to the railroad crossing signs. I needed to paint there around noon, though, for the best light. When I returned to the spot mid-afternoon, its luster had been tamed a good bit.

What I thought I'd paint were the lions. They take long naps in the sunshine, right? It appears I was wrong. The two males and one female moved around a good bit. If they weren't moving, I couldn't get a good enough angle. If they were lying down and paintable, they'd roll around to scratch their backs. The result: I have a painting with hints of the many lion gestures of the day.

When they were no longer in view at all, I moved to the elephants and there I was able to capture what I think is a pretty great portrait of an elephant. I used two models for this ... as my first one decided to take on a different pose and spent the rest of my painting session swinging his trunk to and fro, performing a little dance ... for some reason. My second model was a good distance from me. I'd love to be at a safe, but closer, distance to get a better view. I didn't realize they had such long eyelashes and peach fuzz on the tops of their heads. They did have a huge contingent of admirers.

It did take a bit of convincing to get permission to paint in the zoo. I will say that people, especially the kids, really got a kick out of my being there. I was in my pthalo'ed, now a bit scary looking smock -- so I clearly was the token artist of the day. People took real interest ... and I was part of the educational package for parents. I  met many shorter (younger) artists who I think were heading home to paint some animals of their own.

After the zoo, we headed back toward Waterside ... for more painting on "Eat at Joe's at Waterside" and we were finally lured away (to call it a day) by some great music coming from the Waterside Fountain Garden. Two performers were playing & singing our kind of songs with the sun setting behind them over the Elizabeth River. We sat in deep cushioned chairs. Watched kids dancing. It was the first time I really relaxed in a few days. Pretty terrific end to the day.

So, this morning, I touched up and photographed my painting entries. Randy framed them and we dropped them off, just before the 11am deadline. Tonight, from 6-9pm is the reception and Wet Painting sale at the second floor at Waterside. In the meantime, we're hanging out and seeing a bit more of the city.

Next up, either a nap or the MacArthur Museum.

National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, NYC, Awards Reception, Friday, October 28

National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, NYC, October 4-28

The Art League's October All-Media Membership Exhibit,  105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA. My charcoal drawing of "Oscar" was juried in and will be on view through November 7. "Cubanelle and Roses" is in the Bin Gallery.

American Artists Professional League 83rd Grand National,Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, NYC, Nov. 1-11

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):

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