Friday, May 23, 2014

"Carnival's In Town" Painting Plein Air in Vienna...

"Carnival's in Town," oil, 12"h x 16"w, ©Jill Banks 2014
Vienna, Virginia.

Before heading to Cumberland MD for next week's Mountain Maryland Plein Air competition, I've been painting on location in different spots each day.  Remembering last month's trip to Italy, it takes a good chunk of painting days in a row to loosen up, get comfortable and hone in on what you really want to capture. Hopefully practicing at home will spare me those four or so days at Mountain Maryland. Otherwise, I'll be finally warmed up just as the competition ends.

The Arts Club of Washington and an Unexpected Concert
Today took me on several adventures. Randy and I headed for DC to see studiomate Bobbie (Roberta) Beasley's exhibit at the Arts Club of Washington before it closes on May 31. We got there and lunch was about to be served in the rooms where Bobbie's work is on exhibit. That meant we could go wander through the rest of the club -- but not into the rooms we wanted to see. A little bit of coaxing gained us entrance. Phew! Bobbie's is a beautiful exhibit in an elegant space.

A step or two up from the dining space a free, open to the public concert was about to take place -- with an enthusiastic gentleman inviting us to stay and enjoy. Which we did, but only after asking how long it would be -- thinking about that parking meter. A half hour exactly. Well, turned out it was a long half hour... and Randy raced out to feed the meter inbetween the third and fourth (final) operatic "act."

Interesting and enjoyable way to spend the first part of the day.

Painting the Afternoon Away
So the rest of the day was spent painting in a park in Vienna, VA. I park and wander. The carnival was setting up in town for the Memorial Day Weekend. That was my colorful subject ... the carnival not yet sprung to life, but on its way. It perhaps looks a little wild. Hmmm. Complex subject and I was having fun experimenting with it.

Ignoring Omens
"Made in the Shade," oil, 16"h x 12"h,©Jill Banks 2013
A man was enjoying his art, playing the guitar and singing in one corner of the park as I was setting up to paint. There have been a few glitches in my plein air gear lately. This afternoon -- all sorts of stuff kept happening. One side of the easel seemed to be getting shorter, meaning my palette and canvas were now on a diagonal. I go to fix the leg of the tripod and stuff starts sliding off. Then the easel is falling over. Then I'm on the ground trying to hold what's left up. Good thing this was just the beginning. Set it up again. Then the back leg of the tripod is suddenly getting shorter. Two legs taped later, realizing that the guitarist must have thought this was my first time out painting -- and it was time to paint. Not a good, graceful start.

Still, it was a peaceful, enjoyable afternoon. As usual, I met some young art enthusiasts that make painting more fun than it already is.

Headed home.

By the way, the carnival was set up all around where I'd painted plein air last fall. I'm not sure exactly what will be on view in my booth for Art on the Green in Great Falls, VA for the outdoor festival May 31& June 1 -- but "Made in the Shade" painted footsteps from "Carnival's In Town" is a strong contender. (Are you coming to the show and want to see something in particular? It can be arranged... I'm always guessing what you want to see in my booth. Guidance is most welcome!)

Hope you can come enjoy the art that weekend. And this one!


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News from the Easel (This link takes you to the subscription page.)

May 27-May 31: Mountain Maryland Plein Air I join 29 other artists juried from around the country to capture Cumberland MD and surrounding areas in this plein air competition and exhibition. Second time around.

May 31 & June 1: Great Falls Studios Spring Outdoor Art on the Green Festival  Two days with my work under a tent in the Great Falls Village Centre, corner of Georgetown Pike and Walker Road,  Great Falls, VA. Husband Randy will hold down “the Fort” on Saturday while I finish up at Mountain Maryland and then I hope to see you on Sunday, June 1!
March 5 - December: Richeson75 Still Life and Floral 2014  Two of my paintings: "Honey Bunny" and "Garden Girl" were chosen as finalists in this online competition and exhibition. 75 total works were selected for this exhibition from entries/artists worldwide. See the exhibit at

Paint with Me in Italy: August 3 to 10, 2014. For more info, itinerary and links to register, see the classes page on my web site. Great folks are signing up to join me on this wonderful adventure. I hope you can, too!  

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