Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Woman's Choice

A Woman's Choice
by Jane McElvany Coonce

We hung a new show at the Northern Virginia Art Center in Crystal City.  It's a beautiful show, and it's worth going to see.  I have several pieces hanging there and also some shrink wraps.  (The shrink wraps are from my earlier posts - the night scenes that I did recently.)  One of my pieces is a trompe l'oeil piece I did called "A Woman's Choice".   Trompe l'oeil means "fool the eye".  It's painted to look like the shoes are in a wooden shelf.  The idea behind this painting is that a woman who wears these shoes might be like the woman in  the painting by John Singer Sargent, Madame X.  When John Singer Sargent painted the woman in the black dress, he had the strap hanging off her shoulders.  This caused a great scandal and almost ruined his career.  He had to repaint the piece with the strap back up on her shoulder.  In my painting, I put in some rosary beads. I figured that the owner of the shoes might get "scandalous, and she may need the rosary beads to save her from the same fate as Sargent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lover's Lane

"Lover's Lane"
 by Jane McElvany Coonce 

I've been taking a break from my oil painting and doing some acrylics.  They are fun to do, and I can do a piece in one sitting.
I did this one last night.  I call it "Lover's Lane".

Basically what I do is I use a special type of watercolor paper.  I put gloss medium over it to keep it from being absorbent.  When that dries, I use three transparent colors ( phthalo blue, Magenta, and Yellow Orange Azo) and do an abstract underpainting.  I add a lot of water so it's very light in color.  After this dries, I add a 2nd coat of the 3 colors.  Sometimes, I take a paper towel and dab it off.  It leaves an interesting texture. (That's the texture you see in the people's pants.)  After that dries, I draw with water-soluble crayons and sketch in my figures.  Then I begin painting and having fun. I don't cover up all the abstract underpainting.  The shirts, the pants, and the umbrella are the abstract painting showing through. Sometimes I follow the photo, but other times I just let myself go wild.  I never know how it's going to turn out.

If it doesn't turn out, and that happens sometimes, then I just put another coat of the 3 colors over top of my mistake and start over.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rainy Night Scene Series

"Shopping in the Rain"
by Jane McElvany Coonce

Sometimes I take a break from oil painting and work in acrylics.  My style is totally different in acrylics than they are are in oils.  First of all, in oils, I probably use at least 15 different colors.  In acrylics, I only use 3 colors plus white.
The acrylic paintings have a much more contemporary look.  They are looser, and I also stray from the photo I am using.  I use the photo as a suggestion and let my creativity take over.  In an oil, I always have in mind what the painting will look like.  In acrylics, it's always a surprise!

"Midnight Stroll in the Rain"
by Jane McElvany Coonce

I did three acrylic paintings this weekend.  I needed some shrinkwrap for the gallery.  Shrinkwraps are paintings that are matted but not framed.  It helps keep the cost down to the buyers.  Generally, shrinkwraps are either watercolor or acrylic.  Oil paintings aren't usually matted and are usually on stretcher bars so they don't lend themselves to the shrinkwrap format.

I've done quite a few of these rainy night scenes in acrylic.  I have put them at The Art League at the Torpedo Factory in the past and they have sold like hot cakes.  So I have decided to try them out in the new gallery, The Northern Virginia Art Center, located in Crystal City in Arlington.  I'll let you know how it goes.

"Night Reflections"
by Jane McElvany Coonce

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Swap Meet

At the Swap Meet
by Jane McElvany Coonce

I want to thank all of you that came to the Northern Virginia Art Center to see the paint-in.  I started a city scene in oil, and I'll put it up as soon as it is done.  I got a good block in, but it's hard to work fast when you are also talking to all the visitors.  It was fun, and I hope we do it again.  It brought in a lot of lunch-time visitors.

The painting "At the Swap Meet" was done from a photo I took in Missouri.  My friend, Dianna, took me outside of St. Louis to a swap meet.  If you've never been to a swap meet, it's a really interesting experience.  It's like a gigantic yard sale in the middle of nowhere with not only people's junk, but also their chickens, peacocks, doves, turkeys and other assorted animals.  This little Amish boy was kneeling down and looking at the birds.  I loved how the light hit his hat and he stood out so clearly against the red trailer.
I started this as a demo in my Adult Ed class, and I didn't think it was going to turn out.  But I took it home and worked on it some more, and I think it's captured the essence of that swap meet scene.

The most interesting thing about a swap meet is the people who attend.  I felt like I was a person examining all the "interesting animals"at the zoo.  The people that attended could have given me the idea for 100 more paintings.  The hardest part was taking their pictures without them noticing.  I got caught a couple of times and received some rather dirty looks.  It was still great fun, and I even got a few bargains along the way.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paint In this Wednesday, Aug 15

Great Oaks of Easton
by Jane McElvany Coonce
Tomorrow is a big day at the gallery.  We will be having a paint-in, and I will be one of the participating artists.  I will be there from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm.  I will start a painting, and if I'm lucky, I'll have it well under way by the end of the session.

I'm planning to do a New York scene in oil.  I took many photographs when I was up there in April.  Come watch me develop a painting from a empty white canvas to an action packed scene.

There will be dessert and refreshments, so stop by if you get a chance.

The painting to the left is a little plein air piece I did up in Easton.  It's small, but I like how it turned out.  It's hanging at the gallery along with several other pieces of mine.

The Northern Virginia Art Gallery is located in Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  It is located in the shops along Crystal Drive and 20th St.  There is a garage on 20th St.  Park there, and I'll give you free parking vouchers so you don't have to pay anything.  Hope to see you. (And wish me luck!)

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Paint In" - this Wednesday at the Gallery

Cafe at Night by Jane McElvany Coonce
(5inches x 5 inches) oil
This Wednesday, Augus 15, the Northern Virginia Art Center, is sponsoring a "Paint In" during the lunch hour.  I will be one of the artists that will be participating.  We will set up our easels and paint something ( I haven't decided what) but people can stop in and see the painting develop.  We will be demonstrating  from 11:30 to 1:30.  Maybe I'll start a new night scene or a city scene.  They are always fun to do.

The gallery is located in the Crystal City Shops on 20th St. and Crystal Drive.  There is a parking garage on 20th St. in between Jefferson Davis Highway and Crystal Drive.  Park there and the gallery will give you a free parking pass.  If you haven't seen the new gallery, here's your chance to see this fabulous gallery as well as observe me in action.   There are a lot of great places to go for lunch, too.  You can make it a "field trip."

The painting above, "Cafe at Night", is a small painting that I put in the show this month.  I have several others which hang along with the works of 40 other artists.  There's jewelry, glass and pottery , too.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New August Show at the Northern Virginia Arts Center

Sidewalk Cafe by Jane McElvany Coonce
The Northern Virginia Arts Center  has it's August Show up.  If you haven't been over to our new gallery, it is a must see.  It's located at the Crystal City Shops on Crystal Drive and 20th  St.
The gallery is right new to Au Bon Pain.  There is free parking if you ask the gallery director for a coupon which she will gladly give you.

 I have several painting in the August show.  The one above is a cafe scene and was done from a photograph I took in Vancouver.  The project  I had my students do this summer was to do a scene where people would be in the landscape. It could be a cafe scene, a farmer's market, but something that had a landscape and some people in the landscape.   This is a painting I started as a demo, and I liked how it was developing so I finished it up in my studio.

The show will hang until Aug 25 and then a new show will go up for September.  The gallery hours are Monday - Friday , 10 am to 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 to 2 pm.  We are closed on Sunday.
Hope you can make it before Aug. 25.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Marina Haze at The Art League

Marina Haze by Jane McElvany Coonce

Today was receiving down at The Art League in the Torpedo Factory.  An artist can submit two paintings to be juried, but the judge can only select one.  This is to give more artists an opportunity to show.  I think it's a great idea.  There were almost 600 entries and the judge can only take around 120 paintings.  So competition is tight!  I enter my new Key Bridge/Georgetown painting and "Marina Haze", the painting I did up on the Eastern Shore.  I was surprised when he selected the sailboats over my bridge painting, but that's the way it goes.  You can never predict what a judge will pick.
I'm thrilled to have my piece in the show.  The show is called "Scapes" and it's only landscapes.  The show will hang for the month of August, so if you get a chance, stop by and see one of the most popular shows of the year.  The Art League is located in Old Town Alexandria in the Torpedo Factory.  It's located at the corner of King St. and Union St.  They are open 7 days a week, 10-6.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Key Bridge Afternoon

Key Bridge Afternoon by Jane McElvany Coonce
 I finally finished the Key Bridge painting that I started over a month ago.  On a previous post, I showed you this painting when it was about 1/2 way done.  I finally finished it just in time for the "Scapes" show in August.  The Art League, down in the Torpedo Factory, always has a landscape show in August.  It's there big show of the year.  There are hundreds of entries so no one is guaranteed to get in.  It's always up to the judge.  I've got my fingers crossed that it makes the cut.  An artist has to develop a thick skin, though.  Rejection is a big part of entering juried shows.  Artists has to tell themselves that it is only one person's opinion.  I've entered enough shows that I don't take it personally anymore, but for beginning artists, it can be a real spirit crusher.  I still keep my fingers crossed every time I enter a show, though.

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