Friday, June 26, 2015

Visions of "America the Beautiful" and "Home on the Range"

"Mountain Market," oil, 12"h x 16"w, ©Jill Banks 2015 painted this afternoon at the Farmer's Market in Telluride, Colorado
Since April, my life as an artist has brought me to the Pacific Coast (Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove for the Plein Air Convention), Virginia Beach (for the Boardwalk Fine Art Show last week), on a driving trip through the heartland between Northern Virginia and Chicago (for the Old Town Art Fair two weeks ago) ... and now to Telluride, Colorado for the Telluride Plein Air competition. Yesterday, en route to Telluride from Montrose, a field was filled with relaxing elk ... a new sight for me.

"Shimmering Sea," oil, 5"h x 5"w, ©Jill Banks 2015: Painted at the Boardwalk show
Each journey has reinforced just how grand, how beautiful this country of ours is. Telluride is breathtaking. (It's so pretty in every direction, I'm having a heck of a time choosing what to paint.) So were the farms I passed throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana.

Out the window and all around have been spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties, fruited plains, ... and sea to shining sea.

Plus those "antelopes" from "Home on the Range."

So here are the first two verses of "America the Beautiful" by Katherine Lee Bates.

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
I painted at the Farmer's Market in Telluride today.  A further reminder of the bounty we enjoy. This is my third painting here. If painting #1 and #2 look okay to me later, you just might see them soon.

I'm here early for the Plein Air event, working to get used to the high altitudes and surroundings before the competition begins.  Good thing, too. A couple of factors make painting here a challenge. While I'm accustomed to changing light and shadows outdoors, here it seems to be a new pattern every minute. Mountains get in the way of mountains casting their presence every which way. Challenge number two is the intensity of the light. It's so strong that my eyes "wear out" quickly and all darks seem to disappear. Hopefully, each day will be an improvement over the one prior. In any case, I'm very happy to be painting.  And, in such a beautiful place. Yea!!!!!!

Two More Pieces of News
1) I was interviewed by Bettina Lanyi from the Washington Post for an article on adult art classes. She wrote a really nice article that was slated for publication on June 26 in the Arlington/Alexandria (possibly Fairfax) Local Living Sections.  You can read it here:
2) Sunday, October 4, 10am to 5pm: meet me at my booth at the MPA McLean Artfest. I'm not sure exactly how many years this annual outdoor juried art festival has been going on ... but they have nicely said yes to my application for all but one of them.  And, I've said yes back.

Thanks for reading!


Phone: 703.403.7435

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See the Events page for more info/updates
June 29-July 5: Telluride Plein Air, Telluride, CO.  Juried as one of 32 artists who will spend the week painting this very cool town lined with Victorian houses, bustling street against a gorgeous mountainous backdrop.
July 11-12: Wickford Art Festival, Wickford, RI
July 18-19: Westport Fine Art Festival, Westport, CT
September 19-20: Alexandria King Street Festival, Old Town Alexandria, VA
October 4: McLean MPA Artfest, McLean, VA
October 16-18: Great Falls Studio Annual Studio Tour, Great Falls, VA (I'll be at the Artists' Atelier, 756 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA)
December 3-6: One Of A Kind Show & Sale, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL

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