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Holding Myself Accountable

This Summer I published a post where I made 6 Summer resolutions to myself and promised you, my dear readers, to  stay accountable and report back on my progress.  So alas, it is into October and summer has long past.  It is time to review my progress in this week’s post.  Without further adieu, let’s see how I did:

1.  Read the 6 art books that I so desperately wanted to read and have been sitting on my desk for 2 months or more (including the super boring guide to new camera)

Done!  With time to spare for a couple fiction books that also had been sitting on my kindle for an embarrassingly long time.  The highlight?  “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield – it really gets into how creatives think and how it takes grit to keep going and succeed.  A must read for creatives of any kind.

2.  Paint, small, alla prima, loose paintings from still life set ups, not photos

So, I had grandiose plans for this one of lots of small alla prima paintings.  I did one.  It was hard and found myself suddenly scheduled with deadlines.  I definitely want to come back to this, especially since I was overly ambitious and already prepped the boards to paint on.  Fall goal?

3. Visit the National Gallery of Art….by myself!  Not distractions, no conversations, just me & art

Check!  YAY! Despite painting deadlines and crazy camp schedules I spent a day at the National Gallery of Art at the end of July – ALL BY MYSELF!  Heaven.  Below is one of my favorite paintings there – its John Singer Sargent’s “Repose” and I could stare at the paint on her dress for hours.

4.  Do yoga 2x a week and exercise more.  Not a resolution, a goal.

This might be the one I am most proud of.  After dabbling in yoga for years and then quitting when it became difficult to get to classes or hurting myself, I was counseled by more than one doctor to take up yoga religiously.  Advice taken.  I have been going to vinyasa yoga 2 times a week for the past 4 months and not only do I feel fantastic but I actually have awesome arm muscles!!!

 5.  Paint my entry for the super fun Kensington Labor Day Art Show

Done and Done!  This was such an amazing show this year and winning “Best in Show” Bertha Club award was just icing on the cake.

         6.  Clean out the old baby toys from my house

Bitter sweet chore – but done.  The best part is I was able to send all my kids baby stuff to my brother in Minnesota who is expecting his first child at the end of this month!  Thrilled that all strollers, furniture, and beloved toys get another lease on life.  I am embracing the next phase.

Now on to Fall goals….
Honestly,  I have only one at the moment – managing my newfound time (aka both kids in full day school) effectively.  I am sure there will be more to come.  Well, and getting back to the alla prima goal…

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LOTS of ART this Labor Day Weekend!

Mark your calendars…My favorite art show of the year is this weekend in Kensington, MD!

The “Paint the Town” Art Show and Sale at the Kensington Town Hall/Armory opens on Saturday, September 2nd and runs through Monday, September 4th (check flyer for specific times). This show is packed with tons of amazing local artists, fabulous original art, prints, notecards, and even a plein air competition.

The most unique feature of this Art Show is that in order to participate, each artist is required to submit one piece of artwork based on the 20895 zip code of Kensington, MD.  Walt Bartman, the Founder and Director of the Yellow Barn and co-founder of the Griffin Art Center in Frederick, Maryland and internationally collected landscape artists and renowned local instructor is this years judge.  He will be awarding several prizes in various categories.

I have been following Baklava Couture on social media for a while now and have adored watching the journey of this women-owned business with a fabulous eye for appealing social media posts, farm-sourced ingredients, local farmer’s markets, and authentic Greek baked goods.  Lucky for me Baklava Couture’s headquarters is located in Kensington (their fabulous baked goods can be purchased at farmer’s markets around the DC area) and could not think of a better place to inspire this year’s 20895 painting.

Katerina, the owner and founder of Baklava Couture, is amazing and lovely!  She invited me into her kitchen to take hundreds of reference photos for my painting and talk to her a bit about her business and inspiration.  I was thrilled to be able to show her the finished painting before she embarks on a trip to Greece to see family, find new recipes, and lead a Farm-to-Table Heritage Tour of Crete for a group of very lucky Washingtonians.  I hope to be able to work with her again in the future!

In addition to my “Baklava Couture” painting, I will also have 4 other paintings available at the “2017 Paint the Town” Art Show, including “Thin Mint Craving,” “Oyster Love,” “Mac Stack,” and “Raspberry Hamantaschen.”  Additionally, I will be selling select giclee prints, my French Macaron coasters, and Capital Palette notecard sets.

Not enough art for you?  Glen Echo Park is also hosting its 47th annual Labor Day Art Show.  See link for details.

Happy ART shopping this weekend!

 

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New Year’s Resolutions, Summer Goals & Creative Spirit

First alla prima painting of the summer

On New Year’s, we set a series of resolutions.  Then six months quick pass, warm winds blow, and summer is upon us.  Three glorious months of gorgeous weather, trips to the beach and/or pool, and thoughts of what to accomplish in the lazy, dog days of summer creep into our heads.

Summer goals are different beasts than January 1st resolutions.  Resolutions are decisions to either firmly do or not do something, summer goals are ideas we would like to accomplish  These goals are typically events or activities that have been pushed off during the busy winter and spring months, when life is barreling at full speed.   These goals can come in all forms from giving away outgrown kids toys, to reading the stack of books on your nightstand, to taking the watercolor painting class that you did not have time for during the year.

Summer is a great time to finally slow down a little, dust off the cobwebs, and indulge in something you want to do, but have avoiding for one reason or another (fear, time, rejection).

I thought I would share my summer goals, and perhaps I will inspire you to set some too!

  1. Read the 6 art books that I so desperately wanted to read and have been sitting on my desk for 2 months or more (including the super boring guide to new camera)
  2. Paint, small, alla prima, loose paintings from still life set ups, not photos
  3. Visit the National Gallery of Art….by myself!  Not distractions, no conversations, just me & art
  4. Do yoga 2x a week and exercise more.  Not a resolution, a goal.
  5. Paint my entry for the super fun Kensington Labor Day Art Show
  6. Clean out the old baby toys from my house

What are your summer goals?  I would love to hear about them?  I hope some of those goals foster creativity and relaxation, in the true spirit of summer.  At the end of the summer, I will check in and let you know the status of my goals.

 

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Artists have MAJOR Attachment Issues

“Chocolate Blunder,” 2015

I am trying to get over my attachment issues.

It is no secret that people get attached to objects: a favorite ratty old t-shirt, a high school sports trophy, a college beer poster, a favorite pair of out-of-style shoes.

Artists are no different with their artwork.  In reality it takes a great deal of comfort, strength, and security to let a painting go.  Even if an artist receives oodles of money in exchange, the loss of that part of themselves always seems to sting.

After putting my heart and soul into a canvas, my mother has joked with me over the years, “How do you part with your baby?”  Honestly, it has taken years to overcome.  The best advice I received on the topic is: the next painting will always be better, no need to hold on to this one.  Create it, learn from it, move on.

There is a creation cycle:

Each step takes different amounts of time with each unique artwork.  I could spend months working on a painting and the second I finish the last paint stroke and put the brush down, I have already let go and don’t need to see the work again.  I got what I needed from the piece and it fulfilled its purpose.  Then other paintings take a couple of short days to work into existence, but then I drag my heels on sharing it with the public and letting go, as I am not done studying or enjoying it.

An interesting idea I learned from a podcast featuring the talented artist, Connie Hayes.  She explained that she keeps 10% of all the works that she creates. The paintings she keeps might not be her best, but they were the transition pieces where she tried something new and learned the most.

Learning to let go is a skill that can be used in so many facets of life.  Concentrating on letting go within my art has definitely spilled into personal life and has been very beneficial.  I have learned to rely on my learned skills and not ponder if I could ever paint a painting similar to one that has come before.

Breathe.  Let go.  Create again.

“Lindor Treat,” 2016.

 

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A Taste of France in DC

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘French Market?’  Baguettes? Lavender?  Linens?  I am sure you will not be surprised when I tell you – I think of French macarons!  French macarons in all their colorful, sweet, classy, and unique glory.

DC area residents do not have to travel to Paris or Nice to experience a fabulous, open-air French market.  This weekend, Friday April 28th through Sunday, April 30th France is coming to you!  Take a short trip to Georgetown’s Book Hill district to indulge in French delicacies and festive atmosphere.

I believe French macarons, in all forms, should be celebrated at a French market.  Therefore, I am beyond thrilled that six of my mini macaron paintings will be included (and for sale) in this weekend’s 14th Annual Georgetown French Market in connection with Susan Calloway Fine Arts!

Details:  Friday, April 28 & Saturday, April 29 10am-5pm, Sunday, April 30 12-5pm. Georgetown’s Book Hill neighborhood (1500-1600 block of Wisconsin Ave).

Enjoy French pastries, live entertainments, children activities, french macarons, and be sure to visit Susan Calloway Fine Arts to see my unique take on my favorite subject – the french macaron!

Bon Voyage!

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Coming up BLANK!

Spring break ends tonight in my house.
There has been spring cleaning.
Passover and Easter have left many delicious sweet treats to consume.
The weather is nice, which means lots of playground visits.
Lots of macarons have been painted on easel.
Two awesome commissions await me.

As for blog topics? I am coming up blank.
Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Questions?
I submit to you, my dear readers.

Photo from my recent visit to Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC.
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Its Good to be Busy!

Whew! I am tired.  It was a fun and busy weekend, so I am going to leave you with a short post and some pictures of this weekends art festivities.  Other highlights included standing in line with the rest of Montgomery County to buy kids sneakers on a Saturday, changing my 8 year olds earrings, and my son starting T Ball!

    1. Friday night I was honored with first place (in the miniature category) at the Women’s Club of Chevy Chase’s Annual Art Show by the very talented painter and judge Eric Westbrook.
    2. Sunday was the fabulous opening reception for my spring show at Glenview Mansion, along with Sara Liebman, Barbara Bell, and Coriolana Simon!  There was a great looking crowd, that was constantly flowing through the galleries, but in the two minute break I was able to get some pictures of the space with my work.  In case you missed it, the exhibit it open until May 12!!
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It would be SO cool if…..

I sometimes wish that I had a time machine and could whisper to my younger self that dreams do come true and hard work pays off.

Twelve years ago, I got married in April in the elegant, historic Glenview Mansion in Rockville, Maryland amongst cherry blossoms and art.  I remember thinking, wow, that would be so cool if I exhibited my art here someday.

Well, someday turns out to be this, Sunday, April 2, 2017.

In 2005, I lived in DC, worked in corporate finance, and religiously attended my weekly painting classes at The Art League School at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA.  I painted once a week for 2 hours.  Nothing more.  It was my hobby and release.  I could not envision a life beyond that.

Fast forward twelve great years and I have a show opening at the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery.  Sixteen of my delectable works will be showcased and on sale along with three other artists:  Sara Liebman (mixed media), Barbara Bell (watercolor), and Coriolana Simon (still life photography).

Come experience the charm of where I got married!  I would love for you to join me on Sunday, April 1st from 1:30 to 3:30 and toast my wish coming true.  Share in the magic of this amazing gallery and historic venue.  The spectacular budding cherry blossoms also add a little extra wonder.

For more information on the event click here.

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The Year the Cherry Blossoms (mostly) Quit

Tidal Basin’s Cherry Blossoms on March 16, 2017

Well, it seems that this year the national cherry trees and mother nature got into a nasty battle, leaving the cherry trees a bit worse for the wear.  A warm winter led to early blooming and a mid-March snow crushed the blossoms.  What does that leave?

Less cherry blossoms.  Only half the blooms survived and should (hopefully) peak later this week.  They are inspirations and money makers for so many sectors of Washington: from cupcakes to tourism to bars.  Is the cherry blossom spirit dead?

Cherry Blossom season is a big deal in Washington, DC!  Everyone looks forward to the arrival of the pastel, pink flowers, signaling spring and the warm weather to come.  A huge festival even celebrates the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan, who graciously gifted us  the 3,000 cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin in 1912.

“Cherry Blossom Squared,” 2016. Oil on canvas.

The cherry blossoms have been a huge inspiration to me, as well as many other artists, so I thought it appropriate to pay homage to them in this post.  Looking for a cherry blossom fix?  Here are some suggestions:

1.  Pop-up Bar dedicated to everything Cherry Blossoms: Cherry Blossom Pub (1841 7th Street, NW)

2.  My favorite flavor Georgetown Cupcake:  Cherry Blossom and Cherry Cheesecake

3.  Drink of choice: Cherry Blossom martini

4:  There is a macaron for that too:  check out @BettyRockerSweets and Olivia Macarons

5.  Artwork:  Cherry blossom season can last all year with a bloomed cherry tree on canvas

DC’s Notorious Cherry Blossoms, 2016. Oil on Canvas.

I am a Washington transplant  and one of the reasons I bought my house was the 4 cherry trees adorning my front yard.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will bloom this year, as they are later bloomers than the type on the Tidal Basin.  As the snow melts and the buds form, watch my instagram page for pink updates: @jkb.art.

 

In the meantime, I was lucky to be invited to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Pink Tie Party Fundraiser, celebrating all things that (should be) pink in DC right now.  I will leave you with some pics of the awesome event.  Viva the cherry blossoms!

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Packing my Bags and Moving to Napa!

I am moving to Napa Valley.  Or Sausalito.  I have been very fortunate to have been to many beautiful places in my life (South of France, Italy, The Algarve, Crete) and now I have one more location to add to the list: Northern California.

For my big birthday, I was so lucky to celebrate, first in the the hip city of San Francisco and then on to Napa Valley.  Amongst the wine tasting and great meals, I truly fell in love with the landscape.

The blue/purple mountains surround the warm, rust branches of the grape vineyards, and then are set against the chartreuse green grass.  It was truly breathtaking!!  I spent most of my time painting the landscape in my mind.  And it was not even peak season.

No, no, it was not the wine talking!!  As anyone who knows me well, probably finds great humor in me vineyard hopping, as I am not a big drinker, to say the least.

The artist in me is ready to pack my easel, palette, and canvases, and move to Napa.  I would retire my still lifes and reinvent myself as a plein air painter in order to soak up the glorious scenery and enjoy each season of the wine making cycle.  The East-Coaster in me might even get past the fact that it rains and its sunny at the same time.

For now, I dream.

Western Excursion by Slidely Slideshow

March 13, 2017