Monday, December 27, 2010


Blue Jay, oil on panel, 12" x 12"

Here is a recent painting of a Blue Jay that flew into an on coming car this past summer.  My daughter and I witnessed the poor bird's accident while on a walk together.  As you may know, I have been painting dead birds for at least a decade.  The first dead bird was a Mourning Dove left as a prize by our cat.  After that first painting, people started to bring me their cat kills and dead bird finds.  I see these birds as fleeting gifts of infinite beauty.  It is a challenge and honor to try to capture that beauty.  You can find a few examples of my previous bird paintings on the still life page of  my website.  Unfortunately, most of the birds were photographed using old school 35 mm slide film.  Remember that stuff?  Well, those slides don't scan so well and those paintings have found good homes long ago.  So I don't have very good images to share with you.  I guess I'll just have to keep painting new ones.  :) 

Blue Jay, oil on panel, 12" x 12" (detail)
Blue Jay, oil on panel, 12" x 12" (detail)      

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Architects + Artisans

Thank you to Cheryl Wilder who wrote a very nice article on my work and the Women Painting Women exhibition and On Expedition in Charleston.  You can read the article by visiting Architects + Artisans.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Teaching at RICA

I am so very excited to share that I will finally be returning to teaching! For several years I taught the foundation level classes (such as Fundamentals of Figure Drawing, Fundamentals of Painting etc) at Laguna College of Art and Design. As life happened, I had to turn my attentions away from teaching and I have very much missed the classroom and energy of my students ever since.

It is with great honor and anticipation that I announce I will be teaching a Contemporary Realism in Oil Painting class at the Raleigh Institute of Contemporary Art, starting January 9, 2011!  This four week class is for all levels of artists interested in exploring the concepts and techniques of contemporary realist painting. Using a variety of subjects (still life objects, figure or objects of the student's choice) we will learn the basics of composition, value relationships, color, form and space as well as more advance techniques of oil painting.  We will be meeting every Sunday, 12:30 - 3:30, January 9 -30, 2011.

Due to RICA's great success and popularity it has now out grown its original facility.  In January, please come visit the new, beautiful space right in the heart of downtown Raleigh at 424 S. Dawson St (between Davie St & Cabbarus St.)

Raleigh Institute of Contemporary Art
424 S. Dawson St
Raleigh, NC  27601
(919) 800-0208

For more information on RICA please visit the website or to find a complete list of class schedules and to sign up click here (my class is listed all the way at the bottom).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Birth of Impressionism at the Frist

William Bougureau's Birth of Venus, oil on canvas, 120" x 86", 1879.

This past long holiday weekend, the family and I made our way to Nashville, TN to see the beautiful exhibition at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts called Birth of Impressionism.  This exhibition displays 100 paintings from the mid to late 19th century which are from the collection of the Musee d'Orsay.  In comparing the contemporaneous academic and realist paintings of that time period to the paintings of the avant garde, this show seeks to show the evolution of Impressionism as a reaction against the Salon.  

In walking thru this exhibit I kept finding myself drawn more to the examples of academic realism, the accepted Salon paintings or the earliest examples of Impressionism.  I found myself rushing through the last two rooms of typical Impressionistic landscapes, trying to avoid looking too long at what my daughter brilliantly described as "scribble, scrabble".  I've included some images of some of my favorite works from the show (many of which I first saw at the Musee d'Orsay in the summer of 1997).

Alfred Stevens, Le Bain, oil on canvas, 29 7/8" x 36 5/8", 1867

Henri Fantin-Latour, Victoria Dubourg, oil on canvas, 36 3/8" x 29 7/8", 1873

Henri Fantin-Latour, Antoine Vollon, oil on canvas, 11 7/8" x 7 1/8", 1865

Emile-Auguste Carolus-Duran, Lady with a Glove, oil on canvas, 89 3/4" x 64 1/2", 1869

Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers, oil on canvas, 40 1/4" x 57 5/8", 1875

This show is definitely worth a trip to Nashville to see these amazing paintings before they return to their home in Paris.  The Birth of Impressionism continues through January 23, 2011.  The Frist has also posted a short video of visitor reactions to the exhibit that you can view by clicking HERE.  A favorite quote from the video a gentleman speaks about The Floor Scrapers painting "It said to me, that we are worked on by what we work on".

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Few Shows in December

I am happy to share that my work will be included in a few shows this coming month.  First, at Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, in Santa Barbara, California the following North Carolina landscape is included in their Winter Salon, 2010 continuing on through January 30th
 Old Laurel Creek, oil on panel, 10" x 8"

Also, included in another annual group show, which they cleverly call 100 Grand (100 works of art for $1,000 or under) Sullivan Goss will be showing my Southern Draw'l painting of model Kat.  This exhibition runs December 2, 2010 - February 27, 2011.  Here is a picture of the painting in its brand new, hand made, cherry frame that my husband and I collaborated on (he designed the molding, measured and cut; I glued, assembled, stained and varnished).  
Figure Study, Kat, oil on panel, 12" x 9"

Lastly, I will have four of my recent still life paintings included in the Green Hill Center for NC Art's Winter Show, which opens with a Collector's Choice Gala event the evening of December 4th and continues through January 15, 2011.  If you are interested in joining me for the Gala, tickets may be purchased by clicking here.  You can also view some of the 500 works included in this 'best of NC' show by clicking here.  My paintings included are as follows:

Nest, oil on panel, 8" x 8"

Heirloom, oil on panel, 10" x 10"

Kidney Beans, oil on panel, 8" x 8" 

Sugar Bowl, oil on panel, 8" x 8" 

Since this is Thanksgiving weekend, I feel its appropriate to say how grateful I am for what has proven to be an amazing year for me.  I have had my work shown all around this glorious country, included in various important collections, I have had several opportunities to travel, and to paint with some of America's best artists.  As always, I am humbled by all the love and support that my friends and family continually offer.  Thank you!       

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Expedition - Sullivan's Island

Distant view of Charleston, oil on panel, 9" x 12"

I have purposefully been avoiding this computer.  It's not that I don't want to be blogging, but instead that I have been saving my wrists due to a very painful bout of carpal tunnel.  I hope you've missed me (whom ever you may be). :)

So much has been going on this Fall, that it will be impossible for me to recap it all for you.  I will quickly say, that my artist lecture at Green Hill Center for NC Art turned out well and the Opening Reception for the People You May Know exhibit at DAC was very well attended.  I am honored to have been a part of both exhibitions that focus on North Carolinian artists.  You may find more information about each in the respective posts below.

What I would most like to share with you because it is at the forefront of my thoughts these days, is the recent week long painting trip that I, along with the help of fellow WPW contributor Diane Feissel, organized for a dozen of the artists included in the Women Painting Women exhibition at Robert Lange Studios (more on that amazing show in a future post).

The following were the On Expedition 2010 participating artists (click the names for links)
Alexandra Tyng – Narberth, PA

Alia El-Bermani – Cary, NC

Catherine Prescott – Harrisburg, PA

Cindy Procious – Chattanooga, TN

Diane Feissel – Philadelphia, PA

Katherine Stone – Toronto, ON, Canada

Linda Tracey Brandon – Phoenix, AZ

Mia Bergeron – Chattanooga, TN

Rachel Constantine – Philadelphia, PA

Sadie Valeri – San Francisco, CA

Terry Strickland – Pelham, Alabama

Stefani Tewes –Laguna Beach, CA
I am tempted to give you a blow by blow detailed account of the week, but to save my wrists and to also avoid the pitfall of a diary style post, I will point you to the very informative posts already created by some of my fellow painters.  You can read poetic tellings and see pictures of us at work on Sadie Valeri's blog; Diane Feissel's blog; Alexandra Tyng's blog; Mia Bergeron's blog; and Terry Strickland's blog.

Instead, I will share with you all the (good, the bad and the ugly) paintings that I created during this week.  These paintings primarily ended up being "quick studies".  We had intended a few repeat sessions with models, but due to illness and the abundance of so many wonderful things to paint in the Charleston area, this didn't ever happen.  The painting at the top, is one such quick study of the view from Alhambra Park in Mount Pleasant, SC.  This waterway seemed to be a busy inlet for most of Charleston's shipping industry as I witnessed several HUGE cargo ships pass this very spot several times in the span of about an hour and a half. The channel must be quite deep here because these ships seemed to pass so close to the marsh that I could see a lot of detail and I instantly felt dwarfed.

Lucy Seated, oil on panel, 12" x 9"
This painting of a local model named Lucy, was the very first I did of the week.  Most of us arrived late Thursday afternoon, went to a very late night kick off party, and then woke up bright and early on Friday morning to transform our designer dream beach home into a live/ work studio for 12.  Lucy arrived at 9 am to a very comfortable large studio space that had once been a living room.  

Porch View, oil on panel, 8" x 10"
I believe Porch View was painted in the afternoon after Lucy had departed and before the Opening Reception (which was jam packed) of the Women Painting Women show at Robert Lange Studios.  It is a very quick study of our amazing location, right on the beach of Sullivan's Island.

The Gibbes Mausoleum, oil on panel, 10" x 8"
On Sunday, upon the recommendation of local artist extraordinaire, Mary Whyte, we ventured with model in tote to the phenomenal Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.  We quickly decided to disband the model, as there were so many wonderful subjects to paint in this historic cemetery which was originally chartered in 1850 and designed by noted South Carolinian architect Edward C. Jones.  I was so overwhelmed with the amount of interesting subjects to paint -a man made lake with a resident gator, the many excellent examples of fine 19th century iron work that surround several historic family plots, the statues of fallen confederate soldiers and the many beautifully designed headstones - it took me over an hour to just decide where I was going to set up.  At the time, I was frustrated with my self for wasting precious painting time, but in the end, I'm glad I took my time to choose the perfect spot.  I ended up in front of the Gibbes family Mausoleum.  The Gibbes were a prominent Charleston family and in fact the local art museum is named after them - The Gibbes Museum of Art.

Lauren at Magnolia Plantation Pond, oil on panel, 20" x 16"
The next day, I took our crew over to Magnolia Plantation and Botanical Gardens which is an incredible plantation which was founded by the Drayton Family in 1676.  It is currently the oldest public garden in America which first opened its garden gates in 1870.  Catherine Prescott, Stefani Tewes and I quickly set up with our wonderful model Lauren only a few feet into the grounds near the schoolyard pond, while the rest of the artists traveled further into the gardens and found some beautiful settings to capture.

  Study for Threshold, oil on panel, 12" x 9"
Here is another painting of our model Lucy.  I had expected this to be a two day painting, but as I mentioned above, Lucy unfortunately got ill, and was not able to come the second time - therefore the unfinished face and hands.  The setting is the upstairs porch doorway of local artist Shannon Runquist's beautiful home.  Shannon was my local liason to all things Charleston!  She helped me find models and locations and even showed the group the perfect example of Southern Hospitality by hosting the most delicious oyster roast (with shrimp and grits as well, of course).  Yum!  Thank you for all your help, charm, hospitality and fun Shannon!  

Lauren Seated, oil on panel, 12" x 9"
The last night we were in the house we invited Lauren over for our last painting session.  We ended up painting quite late into the night as well as hosting an impromptu party and champagne toast for the wonderful folks Robert, Megan Lange and Carri Schwab who run the beautiful Robert Lange Studios. 

I'm sure I have forgotten to mention somethings from the week - But this is all my wrists can bare at the moment.  I'm sure there will be more realizations to come.  I'd like to thank all the wonderful people who helped make this week such a great experience for so many artists - To those family members that helped me make this a reality, there are no words great enough to express the deep gratitude and love I feel for you.  
Thank you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

RADIO Interview!

I am so very excited to share with you an interview that aired today on a local NPR station - 88.5 WFDD's Triad Arts Up Close.  David Ford did an amazing job condensing our 30 minute conversation into an eloquent interview about my work as well as my philosophies on Art.  This interview coincides with an Artist Lecture that I will be giving at the Green Hill Center for NC Art in Greensboro this Wednesday October 20th at 5:30-6:30.  I will be talking about my work in general as well as my layered vellum drawings that are included in the Drawing Revisited exhibition. 

Thank you to David Ford for a wonderful first experience!  I am so honored to be on your fantastic radio program.

You can hear the interview by clicking "listen" on the following link: Triad Arts Up Close

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

People You May Know

(my painting Public Restroom pictured bottom left)

People You May Know a contemporary portraiture exhibition at the Durham Arts Council opens THIS Friday October 15th from 5 - 7pm in the DAC's Allenton and Seamans Galleries.  The exhibition will continue thru January 9, 2011.  Artists included in this exhibition are Daniel Allegrucci, Dave Alsobrooks, Maria Brubeck, Jacob Cooley, Alia El-Bermani, Titus Heagins, Dipika Kohli, Beverly McIver and Marianita Stevans.  

This exhibit has all ready gotten much attention from the press.  Here is an article that was featured in last weeks Durham News that pictured one of my paintings.  And here is another article that hit the paper today that includes several quotes from an interview of me on my work and the state of portraiture.  There are several other articles expected as well as a film crew on site at the opening reception.  It should be a fun night.  I hope you can join me.

If you care to read a previous post about this exhibition you can find that here
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's Elementary

On Sunday, I had the distinct pleasure of working with two parents who have a child in my daughter's class.  Earlier this year, I was approached by the school's Art Teacher, who asked if I would be willing to do a video interview on portraiture for 3rd - 5th graders.  Well an interview turned into a video demonstration of a how I would approach the portrait in charcoal.  I asked one of the moms from the class if she could volunteer her time as my model.  She not only offered that, but also the very skilled hand of her husband, a professional film maker.  Whoa - no pressure now!  The three of us managed to have a fantastically funny and productive afternoon.  I was able (between out-takes) to present some pretty big concepts and technical approaches to the portrait, yet in an easily digestible way for any 3rd grader to understand (hopefully).  Here is the drawing that was created for the demo.  All in all, I think I had about 2 hours in on this drawing.  It will be fun to see the full edited version of the video and especially to hear of the children's reactions!  How amazing to be a part of something for our future artists.  Thank you to my fantastic model and her camera man.  Also, I am quite grateful to Mrs. M for the wonderful opportunity and for her extraordinary efforts to share her love of Art with our children.

Portrait Demo, charcoal on paper, 24" x 18"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Twenty-Four Hours

Joaquin Sorolla, Vision of Spain 

Thursday was a full, wonderful day of inspiration and the joy of great friendship.  I headed to Philadelphia so that Diane Feissel and I could meet up with our other dear friend Sadie Valeri in New York City.  We started our day in upper Manhattan at the Hispanic Society of America.  This Museum/ Research Library, founded by Archer Milton Huntington in 1904, is devoted to the arts and literature of Spain, Portugal and Latin America.  The beautiful Beaux Arts building, constructed in 1904 on a farm originally owned by artist John James Audubon, was created specifically to house the Hispanic Society of America's impressive collection.  In May of this year, they finished renovating the fantastic Bancaja Gallery which has housed Joaquin Sarolla's Vison of Spain murals since 1926.  These 14 monumental canvases (commissioned specifically for the Hispanic Society) surround you when you enter and each represent a different facet of Spanish life.  This free museum is a real hidden treasure.
 Diane in the center of the Hispanic Society of America

 Joaquin Sorolla's Vision of Spain Murals

After feeling full on inspiration, we set out to fill our stomachs before heading to Arcadia Fine Arts a gallery in SoHo, at 51 Greene St NY, NY.  Sadie has one stunning piece included in their Small Works exhibit.  It was a wonderful opening reception for a beautiful show filled with small jewels of paintings, drawings, and photographs.  Small Works will be on exhibit thru October 13, 2010.

Sadie Valeri, The Wave, oil on panel, 9" x 12"

 Sadie, Me, Diane at Arcadia Fine Arts Small Works exhibit.

We ended the evening with more food and friends.  It was a truly wonderful twenty-four hours!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Green Hill Opening Photos

Here are a few photos from the Opening Reception of the Drawing Revisited exhibition at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art.  It was a lovely night with some friends from Raleigh and a huge turn out for the show.  It was so packed I wasn't able to get any decent shots of the show overall.  I will however be going back and will take more shots of some of my favorites from the exhibit as well as the beautiful space.  Thank you to artist Susan Martin for taking these few .photos.  Her net drawings are really beautiful and intriguing as well as very hard to photograph.        

To see a previous post on Drawing Revisited you can click here.  Thank you to Edie Carpenter, Mario Gallucci, and Emily Shank for this wonderful exhibit.    

Artist Kiki Farish and myself

Friday, September 3, 2010

Autumn Fun: Part III

I am so excited to share the last bit of fun I will be having this Fall!  Perhaps you are aware that I am a contributor to a fabulous site called Women Painting Women?  If you haven't all ready, please make your way over to this wonderful online collection of high quality figurative paintings that happen to all be done by women artists.  The WPW site sprung from an online conversation, that prompted San Francisco artist Sadie Valeri to highlight contemporary women artists working in the figurative tradition.  Soon after, Diane Feissel and myself became contributors to the blog to help maintain the ever growing collection.  We are so excited to announce the first ever Women Painting Women exhibition which will be held November 5-31, 2010 at Robert Lange Studios, an amazing gallery in Charleston, SC.  There are over 45 artists included from across the globe!  RLS really has pulled out all the stops on this show, making sure that the Art comes first!  I am so proud to be hanging in such great company!  Here is a post on the gallery's blog that lists all the artists included as well as mentioning a six page article featured in ArtMag.  And here is one more brief article on this exhibition in the Charleston City Paper.

Jennifer Balkan, Poof, oil on birch with map fragments and ink, 30" x 30"

As if that weren't exciting enough, we at WPW have been working hard to coordinate a weeklong painting retreat for a dozen women artist whom have all been featured on the site.  We will be staying on Sullivan's Island, just outside of Charleston to paint the figure in the beautiful marshes and beaches of the Low Country.  Then in March of 2011, the works created during or inspired by this trip will be exhibited at Notion Fine Art in Laguna Beach, CA!  

The artists included in this inaugural Women Painting Women retreat are:

Alexandra Tyng - Narberth, PA
Catherine Prescott - Harrisburg, PA
Cindy Procious - Chattanooga, TN
Diane Feissel - Philadelphia, PA
Linda Tracey Brandon - Phoenix, AZ
Lisa Gloria - Aurora, IL
Mia Bergeron - Chattanooga, TN
Rachel Constantine - Philadelphia, PA
Sadie Valeri - San Francisco, CA
Stefani Tewes - Laguna Beach, CA
Katherine Stone - Toronto, Ontario
Alia El-Bermani - Cary, NC

I hope you will be able to join us for the opening reception at Robert Lange Studios on November 5th from 5:30-7:30!  It is sure to be a stellar event.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Figure Painting

Becoming, oil on panel, 24" x 24"

Here is my most recent figure painting.  I literally just finished it last night.  For those of you who have found me on Facebook, you may have seen a very early stage of this painting (even earlier than the grisaille below), and then again last night I posted the "finished" version on there.  However, if you look closely there are a few tweaks I made after seeing it on Facebook.  Often times, I don't see errors within my paintings until I see them condensed for me on the computer screen.  Another good tool for finding problems in paintings is to look at them in a mirror.  Now, if only I could remember to use these tools before I share my work with the public.  Ah well.

  Becoming, oil on panel, 24" x 24" (in progress)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Autumn Fun: Part II

 Public Restroom, oil on panel, 20" x 30"

The next portion of autumnal fun will be another fabulous invitational show which is being curated by Barclay McConnell at the Durham Arts Council.  The title of the exhibition is People You May Know: Contemporary Portraits.  I am so pleased to have four of my portraits included in this exciting exhibition that not only celebrates the fine art of portraiture, but also seeks to celebrate the characters of our everyday life that often go by overlooked.  Other great artists included are Beverly McIver, Titus Heagins and Jacob Cooley.  This exhibition will run October 8th, 2010 - January 9th, 2011 with the Artist Reception to coincide with Downtown Durham's Third Friday ArtWalk on Friday October 15th from 5-7pm.  Thank you to Barclay and the DAC for including my work in this wonderful exhibition. 

Durham Arts Council: 120 Morris Street Durham, NC 27701  919.560.ARTS  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Autumn Fun: Part I

This Autumn is going to be packed with great exhibitions and adventures for me.  I am so looking forward to the coming crisp air because with it will come a flurry of activity.  I am so happy to share with you that I will have my work included in several prestigious invitational exhibitions here in North Carolina as well as a group figurative show that is near and dear to my heart in Charleston, South Carolina.

 Images left to right by artists: Tamie Beldue, Kreh Mellick and Alia El-Bermani

First off, in September I will have three of my layered vellum drawings included in an exhibition titled Drawing Revisited at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art.  The Opening Reception is September 10, 2010 5:30 - 7:30 and will continue through October 29th.  "Drawing Revisited is a major survey of North Carolina artists working in a medium which in the digital age may appear to be a slow and intimate art form.  Drawings from more than fifty artist, both renowned and newly notable will be on view.  Over 200 works on paper in graphite, watercolor, artist's crayon, wash, charcoal and ink will attest to the ongoing vitality of drawing.  Related programs will include lunchtime artist's talks, figure drawing workshops, and an audio tour for children and families."  In fact, I have been asked to give an Artist's Lecture on my work on Wednesday, October 20th at 5:30.  I will be presenting 'slides' of my work both painting and drawing.  I am quite honored to also have been chosen as one of the artists whose image was reproduced for the invitation you see above.  

 Artist Proof, Julie, charcoal on layered vellum, 38" x 25"

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my "Layered Vellum Drawings" I think I should explain.  This series of large scale, charcoal drawings investigate the concept of layers.  I am interested in the physical layers of my chosen medium as well as representing the internal, psychological layers of my sitters.  Each complete drawing is made of up several (as little as two and as many as four) drawings on separate sheets of vellum, which are then flattened one a top another to create the final image.  Often, I have included symbols such as pattern and still life objects to further represent my subjects.  As with painting, the under layers of these drawings are not always as clear as those on the surface.  This in fact, is an intentional use of the semi-transparent vellum.  The further the layer recedes from the viewer, the more ghosted the drawing appears.  It's a nice physical representation of the deeper layers we all have obscured within us.

Layered Self Portrait, charcoal on layered vellum, 94" x 45"

Colin, charcoal on layered vellum, 38" x 25"

200 N. Davie Street, Greensboro, North Carolina 27401 

If you are near Greensboro, I hope you will be able to join me for either the Opening Reception on September 10th or the Artist Lecture on October 20th.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

N.E.W. Works Exhibition at VAE

I am pleased to announce that my painting Space Between will be included in Visual Art Exchange's 21st Annual Never Exhibited Works show September 3 - 23, 2010.  The juror for this year's exhibition was Steven Matijcio, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, NC.  I hope to see you at the Opening Reception on Friday September 3rd 6-9pm. 

 Space Between, oil on panel, 36" x 48"

Friday, July 9, 2010

In Progress: Southern Weeds

These two paintings are still in progress. They are two of a triptych which shows three different stages of the blackberry bush in my back yard. The weather here has scorched the bush, so unfortunately, now I will have to finish these up from photos. It is not an easy thing for me to switch from working from life to using photos, especially on this newer subject matter. With the figure, I have had enough time painting in front of the real thing, so that I know what information I need to ignore in photos. But, with the botanicals, I become overwhelmed with so much information and details within the photos which aren't as apparent to the naked eye. Also, colorwise, I need to find a way to tie these two (and then the third) together a bit more.

 Blackberry Blossom, (In Progress), oil on panel, 8" x 10"

Blackberry Fruit, (In Progress), oil on panel, 8" x 8"