Post “Turkey Festivus” Activities

Norman Rockwell. “Freedom from Want”. 1943.

In my house growing up, we always had the tradition of going to the museums the day after Thanksgiving. And since we live in the Washington DC area and most of the museums are under the Smithsonian umbrella, that often meant free entertainment for the whole family! What’s not to like about that?

Here is my list of current must-see art exhibits open the day after Thanksgiving. Consider it an alternative to Black Friday, more educational and a lot less expensive then running up those credit card balances.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective @ the NGA

Ai Wei “According to What?” @t the Hirshorn

Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge @ The National Portrait Gallery

The Civil War and American Art @ American Art Museum

Work in Progress (WIP)

Work in progress on a commission for my father–a portrait of him and my son.

I thought it would be a good idea to post a WIP shot of my latest painting commission (click on the photo to enlarge it). Notice the faint vertical and horizontal lines all over the grey primed canvas? They are grid marks. I transfer images to canvas the old fashioned way because I don’t want to skip out on any of the drawing–especially if I am working from a reference photo as I am doing here. I lay in the initial drawing with Conte pencil and then make the lines more permanent by going over it in oil with burnt umber. Then I jump right into painting the local color thinly because I want to achieve the “fat over lean” recipe. Normally I build up the entire canvas at the same time which is what was taught to me back in art school, but I have come to realize since then that a lot of realist painters paint one section at a time trying to get as far as they can in one area with the time they have available (in more of an alla prima way). So I plan on trying that approach here.

I see my “process” as kind of a moving target. I am always tweaking it in an effort to achieve better results in a shorter amount of time. “Stream-lining” it if you will. So don’t be surprised if a couple months from now you check in on another WIP only to find I have changed things up considerably. Its the way I roll baby, try and keep up.

2012 “Expressions” Portrait Competition Finalists

Judge and acclaimed artist Kurt Schwarz standing beside his beautiful painting “Lina”. It is a tradition at the Expressions Competition that the jurors and judge display their artwork leading into the finalist galleries. Think of it as a visual display of their qualifications. I’d say Schwarz here is qualified enough, wouldn’t you?

Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the opening for the 2012 “Expressions” portrait competition at Artspace Herndon. This is my second year as a finalist and I can proudly tell you that the caliber of this year’s show is exceptional. The jurors, artist Tricia Cherrington Ratliff and Caron Broadway Moody, of Broadway Gallery did a wonderful job pairing down the 107 submissions into a show of 25 portraits showcasing a strong display of technical achievements. Of those 25, Judge Kurt Schwarz had the difficult task of selecting the winners and after much admitted deliberation, awarded 1st place honors to Mark Giaimo, “Portrait of Marlis” (oil), 2nd place honors to Lorena Selim, “Waiting for Mr. Right” (oil) and 3rd place honors to Gavin Glakas, “Decisions (My Wife Jasmine)” (oil). Two Honorable Mentions went out to Suzanne Vigil, “La Rue” (colored pencil) and Ron Primm, “Dray” (oil).

Below are just a sample of the paintings on display, including one of my own (click on the images to enlarge them). The exhibit will be up through December 9th. Click here for directions and a link to the Artspace Herndon Website.  If you live in the DMV it is a show not to be missed!

In the center, Honorable Mention Suzanne Vigil “La Rue” and on the right my painting “Independence Day”.
Close up of my painting, “Independence Day”.
First place honors went to this painting by Mark Giaimo, “Portrait of Marlis”. Unfortunately my picture of it is a little blurry–the original thankfully, is not.
On the left is the 2nd place honors winner Lorena Selim, “Waiting for Mr. Right”.
On the left a painting by Eric Westbrook. In the center a painting by Patricia McMahon Rice.
On the left, 2nd place honor winner Gavin Glakas, “Decision (My Wife Jasmine)” and on the right a painting by Christine Lashley.
On the left, Honorable Mention winner Ron Primm “Dray” and to the right another painting by Patricia McMahon Rice.
In the center “Sleeping Angel” by Jill Brabant.

Who’s the Man? Jeremy Mann!

“Phosphorescent”. 36″ x 36″. Oil on Panel. Artist, Jeremy Mann.

Last Friday I attended the opening of Jeremy Mann’s “The Realness” show at the Principle Gallery in Old Town Alexandria mostly due to his hype as American Artist Magazine’s, “25 Artists of Tomorrow”. And you know what I found out? He more than lives up to it!

Mann is what I would call a “painter’s painter”. His paintings completely seduce you with his play on textures, predominantly tertiary color harmony and lost & found edges, all while maintaining a strong level of realism. He is known for working with non traditional tools such a squeegees and brayers (that last one I wrestled out of him) as well as his brushes.  Mann admitted to me that he likes to use which ever tool will achieve the most ambiguous mark as in “how the hell did he do that?” Personally I find his work extremely inspiring because getting more “painterly” with my technique is exactly what I am gunning for now. You can be sure I have already placed a couple of brayers in my Amazon shopping cart.  I am sure Mann would be thrilled to know this.

I managed to take several detail photos of his paintings to share his brilliance with you (click on the photos to enlarge them). What I did not manage to do was write down any of the titles. Luckily the Principle Gallery’s website provides all those great little details!  Want to see more of The Realness show than what I am showing you here? Then check out their link at

“Phosphorescent”. Detail. Artist, Jeremy Mann.
“Phosphorescent”. Detail showing brayer marks and other textural applications of oil paint. Artist, Jeremy Mann.

“After the Storm”. 48″ x 48″. Oil on Panel. Artist, Jeremy Mann.
“After the Storm”. Detail. Artist, Jeremy Mann.

“Still Moments in Teal”. 21″ x 21″. Oil on Panel. Artist, Jeremy Mann.
“Still Moments in Teal”. Detail showing beautiful lost & found edges around hairline. Artist, Jeremy Mann.

And to see more of Mann’s amazing work visit his website @

Reception for the 2012 Expressions Portrait Competition @ ArtSpace Herndon

Do you live in the DMV area and are itching to get out and enjoy a great new art opening? Then please come join me on Saturday November 10th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm at ArtSpace Herndon for this year’s “Expressions Portrait Competition”. I am thrilled to announce that I am again a finalist–which is quite an honor considering the caliber of the artwork is always first rate!

My entry for this year is the “Independence Day” painting. Last year’s entry, my painting “Conner on Summer Break”  took 3rd place honors and is gracing the front of the 2012 invitation.

For directions click on the ArtSpace link below. And please say hello if you do make it out!