Go to our Website!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Last Class - Capturing the Outdoors at Abbott's Mill

The weather was gorgeous (if a bit on the warm side) when we met at Abbott's Mill yesterday afternoon. A bit too warm for sketching the barn and the mill, as the hillside was bathed in sunlight when we arrived. No problem though, we wandered down one of the "boardwalk" paths that wind their way through the wooded grounds and found places to sit and sketch the plant life.

We gathered at the end of the day and everyone shared their work, as we had done each of the 4 weeks. It was delightful to hear how well they had enjoyed the class and the things they took away with them. It was my pleasure to do it and I enjoyed the company of these hard working artists! They should all be proud of themselves!

A few shots of my class lost in their journals:





Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Capturing the Outdoors at The Towers B & B

Today is the fourth and last session for the workshop I've been teaching – "Capturing the Outdoors in Pen and Color" – offered by Mispillion Art League. They will meet me out at Abbott's Mill Nature Center to put everything they learned into practice for the full hour and a half. On that site they will be able to sketch and paint the architecture of the Mill and barns to the foliage along the trails and wildlife that calls this lovely place home. It's been a lot of fun and I hope they all learned something that will help them as they continue in their artistic life.

Last week the weather held (although the sky was a bit threatening) and we were fortunate enough to be permitted to hang out at the beautiful Victorian "Towers" Bed & Breakfast. Thank you to Dan and Rhonda Bond for opening their lush and lovely gardens to my "artist/students." I couldn't think of a better place to capture the outdoors!

The wrought iron chairs in the garden made a very comfortable way of getting close to nature!


There were many nooks and corners to settle into, some just sat on the brick path!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Third Mondays: Puerto Rican Art and Cuisine:

Every 3rd Monday of the month at 6:30pm, Mispillion Art League opens its gallery to members and the public to hear from local artists and organizations. It's a nice social event - free - entertaining and educational and generally enjoyed by those who attend. Last night José Weidner-Ahorrio, a talented Puerto Rican-born artist and member of the league gave a presentation on the art and culture of the country of his birth. This was a little teaser for the 2-day workshop he is giving at the art league this weekend that will also include cuisine to sample and recipes!

José Weidner-Ahorrio


The island of Puerto Rico


Mispillion Art League's class this weekend:
Puerto Rico: An Appreciation of the Art, Culture, and Cuisine (for ages 15 & up)
May 21, 22, 5-8pm Fri.10am-1pm Sat.
Delve into the art, culture & cuisine of Puerto Rico through discussion, short films, exhibits & handouts. Authentic, traditional Puerto Rican cuisine will be prepared for all to sample. Recipes will be shared. Instructor: José Weidner-Ahorrio**
$60 MAL members, $70 non-members
Limited to 10 people
For information call the Mispillion Art League at 302-430-7646

Puerto Rican Funeral song - for young African children in Puerto Rico who died


The audience


Art of Puerto Rico


José's acrylic painting "I Have a Secret" won "honorable mention" at October's Gala

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Watercolor Journaling Workshop - Millsboro

Yesterday, I taught a Watercolor Journaling Workshop at the Millsboro Art League, in Millsboro, DE about a 30 minute drive south of here. I gave a workshop here in October and was delighted when Joyce asked me back to do it again. There were a few faces from the last class and several new ones. In all, there were nine student/artists who came to learn about this fun activity. I always bring lots of show and tell stuff - my journals, how-to books and examples of published journals and the materials I use - travel watercolor kits, pens etc. We spent some time in the classroom talking about it, reviewing materials, I did a demonstration and we put on our hats, grabbed our bags and headed out.

Sketching at St. Mark's


Watercolor Journaling at St. Mark's Episcopal Church and Meditation Gardens


Sketching at the Labrynth


Just two short blocks from the Art League is St. Mark's Episcopal Church built in 1870, the oldest existing house of worship in the Town of Millsboro - but the congregation traces its roots back to 1717 in Dagsboro. The Labyrinth and Meditation Gardens were completed in 2007. The gardens are fashioned after a cross, with the four corners representing the medicine wheel of Native American culture - a white garden in the north, yellow, east; south is red and black (represented in blue) is west. The four natural elements are represented by earth, water (a passive fountain), wind (soothing wind chimes) and fire (3 lamps). The gardens are maintained by volunteers, who were busy working when we arrived and were delighted that we had come and told us all about the labyrinth and the gardens.

The Labyrinth


After a break for lunch we gathered again at the gallery and then headed over to the park for more sketching - this time just in pen so they could have the experience of drawing outside and painting later, from memory and notes.

We returned to the gallery around 2pm to complete the paintings, with me emphasizing the writing they include and the memories they create. I always get such a warm welcome in Millsboro, it's a pleasure to go down there and give this workshop and hope they'll ask me back again!

Back in the gallery/classroom


Plein Air Paint Out Rehoboth Beach

Thought you might want to see some of the paintings I did during the Plein Air Paint Out in Rehoboth Beach last weekend. The literature for the event said artists would be out "from dawn to dusk" - I can't say that I was there that long each day, but I arrived around 7:30 and quit around 3pm each day. I produced 6 - 9 x 12 watercolors - not all of which do I want to show you! Substrates (canvas, paper etc) were stamped the night before at an artists reception at the Airie Art Gallery and you were required to turn in two finished paintings completely done in the outdoors (no cheating and working on it at home!). Both paintings had to be matted and framed and wired for hanging and an exhibition was held on Sunday morning at the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts and will eventually be on exhibit at the Rehoboth Art League, when a current show comes down at the end of the month I believe. For information, call the Art League at 302-227-8408.

Yellow Iris (I did this at the end of the second day, couldn't resist)


These are the two I submitted on Sunday for the exhibit:

Porcini House (I loved the colors of this restaurant at Second and Wilmington Avenue)


The Lion on Wilmington Avenue (a wonderful little niche with iris growing and lovely shadows)


I'd love to know what you think.

The artists who took part in this paint out are some of the finest artists in this area. According to the Cape Gazette: "Prizes were presented Sunday, May 9, at the Rehoboth Beach Paint Out Awards and Exhibit reception at the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts. The awards judge was Ryan Grover, curator of the Biggs Museum of American Art and Delaware by Hand Board member. First place went to Steve Rogers for “The Black Pine.” Lesley McCaskill won second place with “Chairs by Silver Lake,” and third place went to Ray Petersen’s “Pine Tree at Pine Forest.” Honorable mentions were given to Michelle Marshall, “Gordons Pond Around the Bend”; Jim Rehak, “Beach Fence II”; and Michelle Byrne, “Painting by the Blue Moon.”

I was honored and humbled to be included in this exhibit with these amazing artists.

Abbott's Mill Nature Center

Abbott's Mill Nature Center, with its preserved, working mill, is one of our favorite spots here in Milford. It's a wonderful peaceful place and we enjoy walking the trails and boardwalks over the wetlands and through the woods while leaves rustle over our heads and the sounds of birds singing fills the air. The bridge has been out since a storm last year and it is necessary to take a detour to get there now. We wondered if they were ever going to work on it and noticed construction vehicles and equipment when we were there the other day. I hope that means they are going to fix the bridge. The detour isn't too bad although it does take us a bit out of our way, it's worth it when we get to to this lovely place, just minutes from home.

Reflections on Abbott's Mill Pond


Path through the woods


Leaves on the pond


Bob hiking the trail


from the Delaware Nature Center website: "Located along scenic Abbott's Pond just southwest of Milford, the Nature Center manages the 313-acre Milford Millponds Nature Preserve for DNREC. This diverse nature preserve supports a variety of forested, field and wetland habitats along Johnson and Tantrough Branch. Hiking trails, boardwalks and teaching stations provide unique education opportunities discovering the natural wonders of Southern Delaware. Trails are open to the public as well."

Abbott's Mill Nature Center: 15411 Abbott's Pond Road, Milford, DE 19963, (302) 422 - 0847

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Watercolor Journaling Workshop

I'm teaching a watercolor journaling class today at Millsboro Art League, 203 Main Street in Millsboro, DE. There are about 10 people signed up and the day looks to be a good one (fingers crossed -no rain!) Better get going now!

Here's a little sampling of some of my watercolor journals.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to my two Moms

My mother and her sister married brothers and we all lived together in a big two story house. So, while I was growing up I felt like I had two Moms. Lucky me. Sort of like "Good Cop-Bad Cop" - they balanced each other out! Seriously, my mom - all 5'1" of her was tough and Aunt Celeste a softie (to me, anyway) - but I knew they both loved me and that was was what counted.
Here they are in their youth - so beautiful and full of hope for the future!

Happy Mother's Day Moms!

Aunt Celeste (L) Mom (R)


I just wish I had appreciated my Mom more when I was younger raising my own kids. I thought I was so smart with all my modern ideas. It was only much later I realized how much she knew. I guess that's as old as motherhood itself, but it's one of my greatest regrets.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rehoboth Beach Paint Out

(excerpted from Rehoboth Art League's website)
Participating artists in the Rehoboth Art League (RAL) and Rehoboth Beach Main Street’s Paint Out event will be working in their choice of 13 area locations.

“Plein air is in part a spectator sport,” says RAL executive director Karen McGrath. “We want visitors to find and interact with the artists as they paint. This becomes part of the arts festival weekend experience we’re developing.”



The designated artist areas are:

Beach block Rehoboth Avenue
Second block Rehoboth Avenue – First to Second Streets
Third block Rehoboth Avenue – Second Street to Lake Avenue
Boardwalk north end – Grenoble to Surfside Place
Boardwalk south end -- Newcastle to Queen
Silver Lake – on Lake Drive and Bayard Avenue
Lake Gerar
Rehoboth Art League campus
State Park north of North Shores – Gordons Pond
Funland – Boardwalk at Delaware Avenue
Grove Park – Grove Street and Rehoboth Avenue
Baltimore Avenue – Boardwalk to Second
Wilmington Avenue – Boardwalk to Second

Thirty regional artists have been juried into the event, and from dawn to dusk May 7th and 8th they’ll be “painting out” from the boardwalk to Gordons Pond. Maps will be available at the RAL gallery, the Rehoboth Beach Main Street office and various local businesses.

On Saturday May 7th the beach blocks of Baltimore and Wilmington Avenues will be filled with the bright tents and wares of local artisans from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. MOSAIC’s Second Saturday Art Walk will move earlier in the day from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday afternoon, May 9th, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. is the big event of the Rehoboth Arts Festival Weekend with the Paint Out Awards and Exhibit Reception. The event is at the Rehoboth Theatre of the Arts, Baltimore Avenue. The Paint Out work will be on display and awards presented. Enjoy wine, mimosas, light fare catered by Eden, and live jazz ($20 per person), while you shop for your favorite painting. This year’s awards judge is Ryan Grover, Curator of the Biggs Museum of American Art.

Hope you'll come out and enjoy the festivities!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In Arizona and the American southwest, they celebrate this Mexican holiday that commemorates a battle in Mexico’s war for independence mostly by eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas and Mexican beer. Maybe I can talk Bob into going out for Mexican food tonight? I could really go for a margarita.

Here's how we celebrated Cinco de Mayo when we lived in Sicily!

Bob, a beer and a margarita. It's Cinco de Mayo!


A woman at La Cantina, checking out the handsome waiter.


We should have taken a "before shot." Here's the "aftermath."


If you want to read more, go to: http://www.vivacincodemayo.org/history.htm

Monday, May 3, 2010

Plein Air Painting Workshop - Day 2

Yesterday was Day 2 of the two-day Rehoboth Art League's Plein Air Painting workshop with Denise Dumont along Surf Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. A great group of painters gathered and painted together with Denise's expert one-on-one instruction in this beautiful beach area, about 30 minutes from our home in Milford. At the beginning of the day Denise demonstrated again, showing us how she first uses her view finder to select the subject for her painting, then does a thumbnail value sketch (of utmost importance!!!) to set up your composition and values and then blocks in and paints. Her finished paintings are amazing - so loose, strong compsition and color.

Our finished paintings were displayed and critiqued at the end of the day yesterday back at the Art League and there were some amazing paintings on the wall! I can see that I need to keep practicing to come up to the level of such fine painters as Lesley McCaskill and Marcy Wheeler, just to name a few! It was a humbling experience.

My paintings are small - 8" x 6" -- I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew! I know I need to work on my color mixing and get some larger canvases. Soon, I hope. I'm working my way there.

Beach Study #1


Beach Study #2


Beach Study #3


Me, working intently! Taken by fellow painter, Jean Bowers


Denise demonstrating her thumbnail value study


Blocking in Shapes


Blocking in Colors

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Plein Air Painting Workshop

Yesterday was Day 1 of Rehoboth Art League's two-day workshop with my favorite living oil painter, Denise Dumont. Denise used to have a workshop above the blacksmith's shop in Lewes, Delaware and I met her through the Rehoboth Art League. She now lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. She is not only an incredible oil painter, she is a warm, kind and generous person and a terrific teacher, encouraging all of us to paint, paint, paint and giving constructive criticism along the way.

I had a great time yesterday and look forward to more today. I wish it was longer, but with my 4-week class with Bill Patterson at Mispillion Art League and this, I think I can stumble along on my own with this new medium (for me). It's so much fun!!

Me - covered in paint but happy as a clam!


Denise demonstrates how she gets started


The class out painting on Surf Avenue, Rehoboth Beach