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Refreshing Citrus

This week, I was excited to announce my series: Citrus!

This year I made a conscience decision to create a new series, straying from my usual beloved sweets.

I wanted to focus on nourishment and even more specifically, what nourishes me. While I do have a sweet tooth, I am a VERY healthy eater. My diet is chuck full of fruits and vegetables. With that in mind, I start every day with with a cup of warm water and lemon.

Why warm water with lemon? Aside from the immune boosting Vitamin C from the lemon, the lemon water is a great digestive and detoxifying agent that cleans out the liver. I started this tradition almost a year ago and feel fantastic! The citrus smell is also a great refreshing scent in the morning.

I wanted to share my new love of lemon water and what better way than with my art. My first 4 paintings of citrus are all refreshing takes on the fruit, floating in water. I have many more of these painting planned, including a large-scale version. So be on the look out later this summer for more. In the meantime start tomorrow with a cup of warm lemon water and check out my latest series here.

Citrus Pond, oil on canvas. 18×24.

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Tell Me More About Resin

What is Resin?

Resin is a viscous substance that cures into a solid, waterproof material. Resins are typically used for varnishes and adhesives.

Why coat artwork with resin?

Epoxy resin is strong and durable and adds a new modern element to my paintings. It also enhances the color, adding an extra dimension of interest.

What are the steps to applying artwork with resin?

Once the artwork is 100% dry there are 4 steps to applying the varnish.

  1. Mix the resin with a harder for at least 2 minutes
  2. Pour the resin evenly onto the artwork and spread with a knife as necessary
  3. Heat the resin with a flame to remove any unwanted air bubbles
  4. Cover the artwork and let dry for 24 hours

I have started my resin work series with 5 sweet paintings ranging from my beloved macarons to ice cream to rainbow cake. The high gloss of the resin really adds a great dimension to the work. I created a video of each piece as the shine and light add an extra element that is captured in person (scroll to the bottom on each resin work on my website for the video). So far these pieces have been a terrific hit, as I only have 2 left! Which is your favorite?

“Rainbow Cake Extravagance,” 2019. Gouache and ink on aquabord covered in resin, 5×7.

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The Sweet Side of Disney

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to be able to capture and summarize an important aspect or love in someone’s life. These could be French macarons, a childhood home, or a wedding cake, but what they have in common are moments or places that truly mean something to the art collector. Well, my recently completed commission is probably the most fun, happy, and delectable commission to date, and the best part, it has such meaning and love to my clients!

There are people who love Disney and then there are people who LOVE Disney! My friends and clients love to travel and Disney is truly their happy place. There are no trips to many to the Happiest Place on Earth and their goals include visiting all the Disney theme parks around the globe.

The vision for their kitchen was a happy reminder of their amazing Disney adventures all topped of with a delicious, frozen, Disney-themed treat! From Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii with, of course, Mickey-shaped shave ice, to the legendary Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World with (the gold standard of all Mickey Treats) the chocolate covered ice cream bar, to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private Island in the Bahamas, complete with pineapple-swirl Dole Whip (my personal favorite).

Looking at these make me happy too! Please excuse me while I go book my next Disney vacation!
Best,
Jen

P.S. My client is an amazing Disney Travel agent, if you too are in the market for a fabulous adventure, I am happy to pass along her contact info to future travelers.

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Cake of Significance

What does a wedding cake symbolize?  Well, tradition says it symbolizes good fortune and fertility.  Thus, It should be made of good quality ingredients to symbolize a long-lasting, rich, and happy marriage.

I recently had the honor to recreate a very special wedding cake, not with sugar and flour, but with oil on canvas.  For this cake, symbolism went way beyond the baked ingredients.  As a surprise to her husband on their 21stwedding anniversary my client wanted to give a nod not only to their wedding, but also their 21 year journey as a couple: to the places the lived and the experiences they have had.   So, while the cake is the same form, the flowers on this painting cake represent different states they resided together, along with some florals from her bridal bouquet.  Furthermore, the background pays homage to the church tapestry where the couple exchanged their vows.

Thank you for allowing me to immortalize your journey thus far!  Happy Anniversary!  Cheers to many, many more!

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Ready Set….PAINT!

Construction at my house is ALMOST finished (yes, I keep saying that as the finishing work keeps dragging on) after just passing the 6 month mark.  September was my time to get my painting on.  There is no better way to get my act in gear than an awesome challenge!

For my challenge, a series of French Macaron paintings were requested of me from SR/A Interior Design’s LA Collection for their gallery and special Pop Up event this Saturday, September 29th at Ascend Martial Arts in Chevy Chase, MD.

I had the best time with this colorful group.  Even though I have painted many dozen macarons before, I feel I learned even more from this set. My goal was to emphasize color and turning in space.

 

Take a look at my latest French Macaron paintings below and come visit me and check out the Art x Art Pop Up Show this Saturday from 2 – 5pm at 6936 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD!!

After the Art Pop up,  my paintings will be available at their LA Collection Gallery at 7020 Wisconsin Avenue,  Chevy Chase, MD.

 

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Artsy Map of Kensington

Labor Day weekend starts tomorrow and the the best art show in the DC area commences!  Be sure to visit the 2018 “Paint the Town” Art Show and Sale at the Kensington Armory (3710 Mitchell Street, Kensington, MD).

One of the requirements for each participating artist is to create a piece of artwork based on the 20895 zip code of Kensington, Maryland.  This year, I wanted to do something a bit different and extend beyond my comfort zone.  I follow and greatly admire the whimsical, colorful, and abstract maps of different regions. Therefore, I wanted to follow in their footsteps and create one of Kensington, MD.

Of course, I had to give myself an extra challenge and create the map using a limited palette.  Therefore, I restricted my colors to alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, cadmium yellow, black, and white.  It is amazing the variety of color you can mix from just a few colors.  See the image of the final product below of “Map of Kensington,” 2018, oil on cradled panel, 20×16.

It is a great show, so please come out and check out my work in person, along with tons of other local and very talented artists.  It is a great opportunity to support emerging artists and decorate your blank walls!!

“Map of Kensington,” 2018. Oil on cradled panel, 20×16.

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Alla Prima Gouache Painting

“With experimentation comes surprise and discovery,” says Kim Lee Kho.  I knew I would be away from my studio for the month of August, so I decided to partake on a journey into the unknown – water media.  After attending James Gurney’s fantastic lecture in April at the Yellow Barn and following his alla prima paintings, I selected gouache.  Gouache is an opaque watercolor consisting of natural pigment, water, and a binding agent.

It was a bit hard for me to navigate at first, as I am used to the laws and nature of oil paints.  The fluidity of the gouache and its rapid drying speed were the most challenging.  Once I got the hang of it, I quite enjoyed it and find myself longing to take out the paints and see what they can do.  Plus, the ease of the clean up was a huge perk!

I did find that the fluidity did not allow me to get the detailed lines I crave in my art, so I added archival ink to the artwork.  The thin lines added a new depth and definition to the pieces.

My parents spend months planning and planting their phenomenal garden on Cape Cod, which became my muse.  Every year I visit, I tell myself that I should paint their garden.  Well, this year I finally did it and the gouache was the perfect medium to explore its awesomeness without fearing my oil paints would ruin their house. 🙂

Contact me if you are interested in purchasing any gouache & ink on paper works.  Otherwise, they will be for sale at the Kensington, MD “Paint the Town” Labor Day art show!

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Home Studio vs. Art Center Studio

For years I have been longing to get an “official” art studio within an art center; however, could never justify it with my young kids schedules.

Well, this spring I finally got my chance to see what I have been missing. During my home construction journey, I sublet space at the Artist & Makers Studios in Rockville, MD for the past 3 months.  Already knowing the rest of my studio mates and a large number of resident artists, it became my refuge in the chaos of my construction.

Having now experienced a home studio AND an art center studio, I better understand the pros and cons of both.  Depending on each artists goals, personalities, and limitations one option may be better than another.  Below are the pros and cons, so you can decide which best fits your lifestyle-

ART CENTER STUDIO

Pros:

  • Sense of community and camaraderie
  • More exposure of your art
  • More opportunities arise, as you are more visible (i.e. exhibition opportunities, workshops)
  • Impromptu critiques with fellow artists
  • Exchange of knowledge with other artists (i.e. techniques, classes, exhibitions)
  • Opportunities to see new materials or borrow material

Cons:

  • Monetary cost
  • Harder to concentrate with people constantly in and out
  • If share your space, it might not be as you left it
  • Commute to studio space

 

HOME STUDIO

Pros:

  • Always as you left it
  • Have access to the studio at any hour
  • No commute – can pop in and out
  • Monetary savings
  • Depending on your house, a quiet place to work without interruptions
  • All art supplies under one roof

Cons:

  • Isolating
  • Have to be disciplined, house can be distracting with chores and laundry
  • Make more of an effort to be apart of the greater artist community and seek opportunities
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Inventing a Still Life with Susan Abbott

Continuing education is an important part of any job and art is no different!  I try to take at least one workshop a year to make sure I am constantly learning, especially from artists that I greatly admire.  This year I had the privilege of taking “Inventing the Still Life” with Susan Abbott, a fabulous Vermont based artist known for her bold, colorful landscapes and inventive still live paintings.  For those who want to learn more about Susan’s work, click here.

Susan came down from snowy Vermont to a snowy March in Washington, DC to teach the workshop at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA.  Susan’s approach to the workshop was filled with fabulous art history lessons and useful exercises.  These teachings helped everyone better understand the placing of objects in the still life space, in order to create a continuous webbing throughout the picture plane.  Focusing on opposing forces: lights and darks, negative spaces, and complimentary colors are intricate to Susan’s work and the exercises she had us do, really drilled that into us.  The exercises included limited palette compositions on a flat, black picture plane and taking a photo of a simple geometric objects and using 9 colors from an art postcard to insert into image, along with a pattern.  I definitely gained a new appreciation for the famous Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, as Susan used his works as some prime examples of the concepts she wanted us to learn.

The last two days of the 4 day workshop were focused around creating our own unique still life.  I could not resist once again painting my favorite sweets from my childhood.  This time instead of French Macarons I decided on Salt Water Taffy!  The bright colorful candy with the the quirky wrapping was so fun to paint (and yes to eat – I just had to ingest my subject).

Below is my finished painting from the workshop, “Oceans of Salt Water Taffy,” 12×16.

 

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Deep Thoughts on Construction, Spring Cleaning, and Studio Closing

This is kind of how I feel currently….”Chocolate Blunder” 24×20. Part of the “Insane Studio Sale”

We moved into our house in July 2007 with lots of vision.  For the past 10+ years we have been dreaming of what our 1966 house could be…a better flowing layout, a dream kitchen, a main-floor bathroom without 365 degree floor-to-ceiling degree mirrors (I am not joking).  It always seemed so far away, but time crept up on us and it now the moment to embark on this major house face-lift.

While so exciting and the end product is going to be spectacular, I never guessed cleaning out the house and closing up my studio were going to be so physically and emotionally difficult.  The amount of stuff from serving plates to kid toys we have amassed over the years are substantial.  Having to say goodbye to the baby toys and kids art supplies made me cry, I am not going to lie.  While my kids are still young, they are not babies anymore and we have no need for doll strollers and duplo legos.  Then, dealing with the look on their faces when they figured out what of their toys were missing after one of my many massive cleaning binges was heartbreaking.  We will all get over it.

The most scary part has been cleaning out my painting studio. I am not 100% there yet, as I have 5 more days to finish this task, as time is ticking and I am procrastinating.  Moving out my paintings and coming to the realization that for the next several months (maybe up to 6) my sanity space will be unavailable.  It is the place that is solely mine, where I go to work on my art and ruminate with my thoughts.  My art routine and practice will be thrown into upheaval. I admit, I am nervous I won’t come back to it.  Or when I do I come back I will not be the same artist (for good or bad).

With all my nervous energy I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons.  I have been threatening for years to bone up on my drawing skills, try my hand at plein air painting, and enter more art competitions.  Now is the time.  With everything in upheaval, I might was well embrace the chaos and push my own artistic skills.  I am “leaning in” and have signed up for several different art classes, including drawing and plein air painting.  Additionally, I am taking a 4 day intensive art workshop with the amazing VT based painter, Susan Abbott that begins in a week.

I don’t deal with chaos well and with no first floor, no kitchen, no studio, there will be chaos.  My current mantra is “at the end of the project it will be worth it.”  The house will be everything we dreamed it could be and I will be a stronger (but maybe different) artist.

In the meantime, please take advantage of my chaos and packing and enjoy my “Insane Studio Sale” with paintings at almost 75% off…all framed, ready to hang, and free shipping.  I have added a couple additional paintings and extended this sale until Wednesday, March 14th at which point the studio will close and everything will be moved out.