Friday, November 25, 2011

Autumn View

When I looked at this bank of soft weeds with a pond and mountains beyond, I saw a chaos of visual information. There was something special and alive about that tall, central weed, so I let go of expectations about composition, jumped in, and trusted intuition. (Barbara and Meg were painting nearby, Barbara up the gravel path, Meg amid the apple trees — see below.) Oil on stretched canvas, 20" x 16", framed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Moorman's River View

I finally spent some time today doing the last touch-ups to this oil painting, the fruits of several days spent by the Moorman's River in Sugar Hollow outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. My last day of studying this bit of greenery by the river, August 23, I was applying a few final brush strokes and enjoying the light dancing off the wind-blown ripples when the rocks started vibrating beneath my feet. There was the sound of a distant, massive explosion. Eileen was painting a couple dozen feet upriver from me, and she and I exchanged a silent glance for the 30 seconds or so until the event passed.

We both agreed that if something major had happened, eventually a car would happen up the remote hollow, stop near us, roll down the window, and tell us about it. (Eileen, it turns out, had first thought like me that D.C. had been hit by "the big one," but had dismissed the idea when she remembered Congress was not in session. Good thinking, Eileen.)

About 10 minutes later the car came and rolled down its window. We concurred with the gentleman that it must have been an earthquake. He explained he was heading up the road to check on the 77-foot dam, half a mile upriver, that was holding the Sugar Hollow reservoir at bay. As he drove on, Eileen and I exchanged deadpan expressions, then quietly went back to finishing our paintings. Nothing else made much sense.

Once within cell phone coverage on the road home, I got a text message from D.C., then a phone call from France, loved ones asking if I was okay. From France? Back home, the Internet explained: The 5.8 earthquake, rare for our region, had been felt in 22 states — and we, in our spot below the dam, had been about 50 miles from the epicenter. In my absence, my house and my dog had been shaken and stirred. Up a hollow by a sparkling river, the gentle vibration had felt like the most natural thing in the world. I'd like to think that this painting holds a bit of the energy of that day.

Oil on stretched canvas, 24" x 36".

$895 framed, plus shipping. Email me

Saturday, November 19, 2011

By the Moorman's

It has been very therapeutic for me, doing paintings that involved flowing water. After some 16 years of earning my living as a freelance writer, the sunlight feels amazing, and there's nothing I love more than driving home after a workday with spots of oil paint on my clothes — shades of my childhood, when dried oil paint on the private-school uniform was a badge of honor (at least for me and my sister, it was).  This is one of a series of paintings done last August by the Moorman's River, up Sugar Hollow outside of Charlottesville, Va. The leaves were sprouting from the base of a tree trunk at river's edge, the water flowing beyond them. I had painted in the little fish that kept dancing past, but in the end kept them subdued. (Eileen was painting up river from me, and took the photograph below.) Oil on stretched canvas, 20" x 16".

$360 framed, $20 shipping

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Into the Forest

The filtered sunlight was beautiful in this spot by a path along the Meadowcreek Parkway, a long-awaited roadway into downtown Charlottesville that is not yet open to traffic — only to pedestrians, and to plein-air painters like my friend Eileen and I, who went there a few weeks ago to study the autumn views. The trail winds along secluded woods and over pedestrian bridges. I finished this painting yesterday with a few touch-ups — now, on to some other nearly completed paintings. Oil on stretched canvas, 16" x 20"

$360 framed, $20 shipping

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pond at Miller School

This is a second painting done during an En Plein Air event at Miller School of Albemarle, Virginia — now on display at the school through Dec. 16. Oil on stretched canvas, 16" x 20". SOLD

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lotus Pond

Miller School of Albemarle, Virginia, had an En Plein Air event last weekend. I was attracted to the jumble of fading lotus plants and cattails in the pond below the main school building there, in part because of their complexity; I felt like immersing myself in the fray. This is one painting of two I completed that will be showing at the school from Oct. 24 through Dec. 16. (Opening reception is this Monday, Oct. 24, 6-7:30 p.m.) Looking forward to seeing the pieces by Meg, Barbara, Nancy, and Eileen on display as well! Oil on stretched canvas, 14" x 11" — SOLD

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Plank Road

Meg had a commission out in Batesville, and invited Barbara, Eileen and me to join her on the property. A pleasant Monday afternoon, sitting in a sunny field painting, children running around asking good questions. ("How do you do that?") Gouache on watercolor paper, 9" x 12".
SOLD - placed in the collection of Molly Shadel, Virginia

Time to get a few more painting photos up here ... this has been a very busy time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hidden Pond

Earlier this week Eileen and I went and painted by this beautiful pond, hidden between buildings at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. I suspect few people know the pond, with its two fountains, ample water lilies, and picnic table, even exists. Oil on stretched canvas, 16 x 20. SOLD

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Riverview 2

This was done in part on a beautiful, sparkling day by the Moorman's River, out painting with Eileen in Sugar Hollow west of Charlottesville, Va. I was working on it about an hour before the famous East Coast earthquake (the oil I worked on during the quake will be posted as soon as it's finished). We were perhaps 50 miles from the epicenter and less than half a mile downriver from the 77-foot dam at Sugar Hollow Reservoir. Needless to say, the dam held. Oil on stretched canvas, 20x16

$360 framed, $20 shipping

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vineyard Road

Done on a September morning in 2010 at Seven Oaks Farm in Greenwood, Va. Not visible: fellow painters Meg, Karen, and Eileen, on the other side of the fence to my right, painting a gorgeous view of Mirador Farm in the distance. This painting will be in a group show, "Five Women Who Paint Together," Sept. 2-30, 2011, at the Gallery @ 5th & Water, Charlottesville, Va.

Learn more about us and our show — and RSVP if you'd like — at

Monday, August 8, 2011

Koi Pond 2

Meg West and I painted together the other day up at the koi pond at Serenity Ridge, different angles of the same subject. We started early but the oppressive heat soon set in. I returned the next day, and again later. Oil on canvas, 20" x 16"

$360 framed, $20 shipping

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guinea-Bean Arbor, Monticello

Climbing flowers of guinea beans, painted with late-afternoon sun in my eyes at Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop garden at Monticello. One of several paintings now hanging at Java Dragon Coffee Shop in Charlottesville, Va. — the opening is tomorrow (Friday 8/4)! Oil on canvas, 14” x 11”, framed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

White Hall Vista

This was another painting outing with Meg and Eileen, on a cool spring day before all this hot weather set in. I was skeptical when Meg suggested we could paint from our cars to stay warm, but found it surprisingly comfortable. We were parked in the lot of the White Hall Community Center, looking out past fence and field to the house and mountains beyond. This is another one for the "Side by Side" show Sept. 1-30. Oil on canvas, 9" x 12".

Saturday, July 30, 2011

View From Carter Mountain

A few weeks ago Meg West invited me to join her up at Carter Mountain Orchard for a painting outing. I set up on the back deck of the shop, and this painting was the result. If you're ever in Charlottesville, it's worth a visit to this orchard, one of my favorite views (and energetic centers) of a beautiful part of the world. In fact, it turns out that Carter Mountain Orchard's second annual Peach Festival, complete with free hayrides, is going on there today and tomorrow. See; it's on the road to Monticello, look for the sign on the right.

This painting is one of several now hanging at Java Dragon Coffee Shop, Preston Plaza, Charlottesville. It's apparently a good representation — as soon as I hung it, a customer said "That looks like the view from Carter Mountain."

Oil on canvas, 16" x 20"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Show at Java Dragon

I just finished hanging a show of my latest artwork at Java Dragon Coffee Shop in Charlottesville, Virginia. It will be up through the month of August. A couple of customers just came in and oohed and ahhed, which makes me happy! The opening is planned for Friday, August 5, 5:00-8:00 p.m..

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

By the Koi Pond

When I began painting this patch of delicately flowering vegetation in the changing light, I could only trust there was a composition there. Somehow a painting emerged. Painted en plein air alongside the koi pond at the Serenity Ridge retreat center, Nelson County, Va., June 2011. (See also "Koi Pond at Serenity Ridge.") Oil on canvas, 20" x 16"

Window Flowers

I painted this in early December 2010 in my friend Eileen's studio, as a homework assignment for a painting class with Rick Weaver. Oil on canvas, 12" x 9".  

SOLD - placed in the collection of Rogelio Jaramillo Flores, Mexico

Rick is an excellent instructor — he teaches the same way he paints, continually exploring, fresh, insightful, with amazing dedication and discipline and a strong attention to composition and to an understanding of "what the painting is about." He's a consummate pro; see his work at his Website:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

View From Lama House

I painted this a few weeks ago (June 2011) at Serenity Ridge, a Tibetan Bon Buddhist retreat center in Nelson County, Va. It's a view from the back porch of the lama house, not long before the start of a three-week summer retreat. Oil on canvas, 20" x 16"

Meg West and I plan to go soon up to the retreat center to do more painting, hopefully adding to the artwork we're to present in our upcoming group show "Side by Side: Five Women Who Paint Together" — Sept. 1 through 30, 2011, at the Gallery @ 5th and Water, Charlottesville, Va.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Valley View, Highland County

From a fall 2010 painting trip to Highland County, Virginia, with fellow plein-air painters Meg, Eileen and Karen: a view of the valley, painted from the roadside in the warm afternoon sun.
The glitch in the upper right is not in the painting, just the photo. Awaiting PhotoShop ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Monticello Spiral

On March 12, 2011, my dad and I took a couple of folding chairs up to Monticello to enjoy a sunny, breezy taste of early spring atop Jefferson's "little mountain." My father wandered the grounds and then read from his history book; I painted these unidentified little flowers just outside the back entrance. An idyllic afternoon. Gouache on watercolor paper, 9" x 12"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Evening Grasses

Done last fall 2010 in Highland County, Virginia, during an outing with Meg, Eileen and Karen. We had already gone out for two serious painting outings that day, and this little gouache was done just after our ritual evening rum smoothie — painted on the fly as the sun was dipping behind the mountains. Gouache on watercolor paper, 12" x 9".

Monday, July 18, 2011

Koi Pond at Serenity Ridge

This landscape painting is the fruit of a few days in June at the Serenity Ridge retreat center in Nelson County, Va.: a little waterfall at the koi pond next to the caretaker's cottage. The only indication of the healthy, active carp within is a splash of red at the bottom. Oil on canvas, 28" x 22"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Morning at Chiles Orchard

This is one of a number of paintings that will go in an upcoming group show this September at the Gallery @ 5th & Water, Charlottesville, Va. From a Sept. 6, 2010, outing with Meg and Eileen at Chiles Peach Orchard, parked among the trees. Cool morning, gorgeous views, and freshly fallen fruit on the ground. A heavenly way to start the day ... Gouache on watercolor paper, 9"x12"