Friday, March 3, 2017

Giving Myself A Kick in the Smock

"Corner Bistro," oil, 8"h x 10"w, ©2017 Jill Banks

Occasionally, I'll run into a streak of time that no ideas come to me ... there's nothing calling to me to paint.  There are many potential inspiration robbers ... like a full schedule of other work and family-related items or many days teaching (or preparing), applications to fill out, etc.  I've had big canvases on my easel -- then started and erased the work -- not quite ready to commit.

At plein air competitions I've participated in -- at which artists are "plopped" in a place and expected to figure out what subject in the surroundings speak to them -- the biggest struggle we all face is what to pick, where to unpack the easel and go to work.

I Should Know Better
The fact is, something that looks ho-hum perhaps at the moment might become enchanting shortly,  Something simple belies magic upon a closer look.  All those hours hunting for just the right spot would be better spent standing still -- looking all around, finding the unexpected star instead of wandering by.

So, instead of trying to find that perfect image to inspire me, I dug around in my unfinished work pile and spent a good portion of the day painting on a plein air piece created in a park in Paris. (You'll see that one on tomorrow's blog post.) Then, I painted "Corner Bistro" -- a spot a block up from that park -- only this one is from photos and memory of the late afternoon light.  It was freezing that day and I was bundled up. The bistro seats were mainly empty except for a few diehards who apparently didn't notice the cold. I didn't carefully choose my image but did consider all the usual suspects that are thought through when preparing to paint. I also went small and will create lots of these until that a-ha moment returns along with that "I NEED to PAINT THAT" attitude.

Had fun. Feel better.

See more paintings like "Corner Bistro" in the Places Gallery on my web site.

Open Hours at the Atelier, Saturday, March 5, 10am to 2pm

Stop in and see me, please!  756 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA. Lots of work in my studio wanting a good home.

Right after that ... I'm off to the River Bend Country Club as the exhibiting artist for Celebrate Great Falls Winter Wine Tasting event.  Anyone want a painting to go with that Cabernet? As usual, I'm overdoing it ... with plenty of work to adorn screens and easels. Happy to be invited to show! It's a fun evening ahead.

Spring Classes are Open For Registration

Classes are taught through the Arts of Great Falls School at 756 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA.  Spring class listings including Evening Paint, Plein Air Landscape and Still Life Plus are on my web site.  It's a little confusing with listings still up there on current classes and upcoming ones ... but dig a little and I bet you'll figure it out. Have any questions, please email me at  See my listing of all classes here:

Two Art Fairs Officially on the Calendar for 2017 
Acceptances have started to roll in ... Hope you'll mark your calendars.
May 20-21: Northern Virginia Fine Art Festival, Reston, VA
June 2-4: Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Festival, Philadelphia, PA

Thank you for reading and your support... Hope to see you soon!


Best in Show -- BoldBrush Painting Competition September 2016 for "Daily Special" -- Hip Hooray! More info here.   

Finalist, January 2017 Sedona Art Prize for "Scene at the Bar."
Here's the page with the 12 Top Paintings for January 2017 selected by artist Robert Burridge:
and then travel around the site from there.

Blog: For my latest news and works, visit or subscribe to my blog Life as an Artist at


(Please like that page if you like it...)

No comments: