painting brightly colored flowers in acrylic again


I’ve been away from my easel for far too long, busy with life’s chores.  It’s nice to be back in front of the canvas with my flowers and the bright colors that I love.


hanging out with Paul Cezanne

after Cezanne 2

I went visiting yesterday to see my old friend Cezanne at the National Gallery of Art where an exhibit of his portraits is on display through July 1st.  I took my Caran d’Ache neopastels and made a couple drawings in front of portraits of his wife Hortense.

What an education!  How I could stand there all day and gaze at the delicate colors of his paintings.  Or, how I aspire to standing all day admiring his art.  Standing with the box of pastels tucked under my drawing tablet makes one a bit weary, but I must build up my stamina because the pictures are absolutely glorious.

Below is the wikipedia reproduction of one of the paintings I saw yesterday.


after Rodin in smooth lines

after Rodin crouching figure Hirshhorn garden

My meetup group visited the Hirshhorn Museum recently.  Outdoors in the sculpture garden I made drawings after Rodin.  The Hirshhorn is home to some brilliant works of art, but the pressure on modern museums to try to produce something uncanny is great.  Consequently there’s always some head-scratching exhibit dominating the place.  Currently at the Hirshhorn it’s not one exhibit, but nearly the entire building that’s dedicated to head-scratching.  And there wasn’t much to look at that holds any purely visual interest.  Purely — visual — interest — you know, the sort of thing that your eyes just want to linger over because the sensation of looking is so mesmerizing.

It’s strange.  I wonder sometimes if the people who have trained themselves in modernity-in-quotes have forgotten how to see?  Rodin is right there in the garden.  He produced sculptures of great visual beauty that are full of emotion also.  They’re even provocative — and are thus so in a genuinely enduring fashion.  But the managers of the Hirshhorn’s hapless collection cannot seem to make the connection.

Ah well!

Rodin had more in the way of ideas and imagery than I knew what to do with.  But I spent my bit of time gazing at the face of his crouching woman and made my drawing above.

in praise of chocolate

chocolate plant Botanic gardens mar 18 18

When I was recently visiting the Botanic Gardens with my drawing group and I suddenly realized that I was standing beside a venerable, magnificent, and wonderful-marvelous chocolate plant (Theobroma cacao) — well — I had to draw it.

You don’t consume as much chocolate as I do and just walk blithely by such a significant, such an important — nay! ESSENTIAL plant without paying your respects.

How I wish I’d had time to draw it in more detail — because — chocolate!

Gad About


When I’m not at the easel, I sometimes still encounter art.  I was walking in the city and stopped inside St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington DC where I encountered these beautiful angels.  This was my first visit to the famous cathedral with its beautiful mosaics.  Here’s another view.



indoor “plein air”

tree at Botanic garden mar 18 18

I went sketching with my sketching group to the Botanic Gardens at the foot of the United States Capitol.  Inside the enormous greenhouse you can do “plein air” sketching indoors.  Great option for cold weather for the faint of heart non-outdoors-persons like myself — though for the record the weather the day of our visit was magnificent!

Above is my drawing using Caran d’Ache Neopastel of a tree growing in the corner of the main gallery.


buffalo face Q street

Can’t paint all the time.  Washington DC warmed up over the weekend (brrr, still remembering those temps in the teens that we had a while back!).  So I took a walk.  Visitors to DC might recognize this buffalo as being one of the ones who decorates and guards Dumbarton Bridge (on Q Street).

There are four buffalo sculptures created by Alexander Phimister Proctor on the bridge.

Here’s a view of the whole buffalo.

Buffalo Q street bridge

Part of the Edward Everett House — now the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence — can be seen behind him.

If you should wish to use either of these photos to draw Alexander Phimister Proctor’s buffalo, feel free!

Seeing Wolf Kahn again

wolf kahn at addison ripley
Wolf Kahn

We got to Addison Ripley Gallery a second time to see the Wolf Kahn exhibit  before its last day Saturday, January 13.  Kahn is 90 years old.

His beautiful, intense, evocative color so deftly handled is a joy to behold.  It’s wonderful inspiration for me particularly now when I’m painting landscapes. The small but powerful painting above is one of our favorites.

I saw the exhibit the first time just after Christmas.  The link is here: