Thursday, February 26, 2015

Big Sky No. 2

Georgetown Under the Big Sky No. 2
oil painting by Jane McElvany Coonce
So here's my 2nd "Big Sky Painting".  This time , I used a photo I took when the sky was brilliantly blue, which doesn't happen very often in Washington.  But when it does, the sky is gorgeous!
Although I'm not a meteorologist, I think these are cumulous clouds.  The interesting thing about sky is that it reflects in the water; on a blue sky day, the Potomac is as blue as can be.  On overcast days, it's a bit more murky looking.  I don't know if you have driven down the George Washington Parkway recently, but the water is white!  It's totally frozen over.  It's actually quite pretty.

My next sky painting will be an evening sky with clouds.  It's my favorite so far.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Big Sky Series- No. 1

Big Sky Over Georgetown No. 1
oil painting by Jane McElvany Coonce
I've started a new series called the "big sky" series, and I'm incorporating it into an old series of the Key Bridge and Georgetown.  Each semester in my classes, I try to think of a new project for my students to do.  Some people have been in my classes for years, and they need new ideas to inspire them.  This semester I decided to do "big skies."  In this type of painting,  2/3 to 3/4 of the painting is about the sky.  In a normal landscape, the sky is usually a backdrop for the main event.  However when the sky is the focal point, the artist focuses on the sky and the clouds and has them make the big statement.  But I still can't escape my favorite bridge and my favorite subject.  So I put a small Key Bridge and Georgetown in the distance to show how big the sky is in comparison to our world.

I have to say these "cloud paintings" are becoming addicting.  I'm really enjoying them.  I've done day scenes with white cumulous clouds and evening scenes with wispy purple clouds.  I'm trying to get 6 done for a show in April at the Gallery Underground.  I will be the featured artist that month and I wanted to have a theme.  So I will do the unveiling of my big sky paintings at the April reception (although you are getting a preview of what will be at the show.)  Mark your calendars for Friday, April 3 at the Gallery Underground in Crystal City.  The Big Sky paintings will be up for the month of April.

I will put more of my big sky paintings up in the next few days.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aunt Mildred

Aunt Mildred
watercolor by Jane McElvany Coonce
I started a watercolor portrait a few weeks ago.  After taking a watercolor portrait workshop sponsored by the Arlington Artists Alliance Academy, I decided I'd better practice what I learned.
I'm going to do a series of watercolor portraits of woman (and possibly men) in hats.  This is the first one in the series.  I love Aunt Mildred's hat and how dressed up she was for this photograph.  I knew it would be a great painting if I could pull it off.  I've been wanting to do this portrait for over a year, and I finally got enough guts to start.  It was so much fun.  I finished it yesterday during the snow storm.  See, snow is good for some things!

Now I'm ready to start my next "woman in a hat" painting.  But after that, I don't have any more ideas.  So if you've got a great hat, I'd love to come and photograph you in it.  You can be my next Guinea pig.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pen and Ink sketches of Italy

Italian Door Front and Windows
pen/ink and watercolor
by Jane McElvany Coonce
When you travel, sometimes it's hard to take all of your equipment with you.  For an oil painter, it's really difficult because you can't take mineral spirits on a plane which means you then have to find a store at your destination that sells it.

Traveling with pen and ink and watercolor is a good solution.  You can fit a small sketch pad in your purse, along with a permanent ink pen and a small travel watercolor set.  In a half hour, you can sketch a scene.  Later on, you can go over your pencil lines with a permanent ink pen.  Then you can put in the color and have a great sketch of the place you just visited.

This is a sketch of a doorway in Umbria.  The Italians have flower pots and flower boxes everywhere.  Home fronts are beautiful.  This was a beautiful door front in Todi, a darling town where many Americans live.

pen/ink and watercolor
by Jane McElvany Coonce
The other sketch is of a storefront in Amsterdam.  I couldn't resist the red awnings.  Traveling with a sketch book is a great way to capture the scenes of a trip without lugging a ton of equipment.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


watercolor by Jane McElvany Coonce

I had a big surprise today.  I went over the the gallery to meet up with a friend and head down to the Richard Estes show at the American Art Museum (which, by the way, was mind blowing. Tomorrow is the last day to see it.)
When I walked into the gallery, I was told  my painting, "Nandina, had sold.  It's a watercolor I did when I was studying the leaves and berries of a gorgeous scrub that grows out my front door.
It was with joy and sadness that I heard this news.  I was thrilled that someone loved it enough to buy it, but I was sad because I loved it, too, and had planned on hanging it in my dining room after it made the rounds in several shows.  But I'm happy that a friend of mine, Sandra Hill, bought it.  So I can still see it from time to time when I go over to her house.  This happens to artist at times.  You do a painting that you don't care if it ever sells because you like it so much and don't mind keeping it.  It doesn't happen with every painting because we really can't afford to own all of our own paintings.  So there are always those select few that you miss after they are sold.  Nandina is one of them.

After I got home from the Richard Estes show, I learned that I sold another painting, "Rehoboth Night", at Stifel and Capra.  I think today was a lucky day.

Rehoboth Night
watercolor by Jane McElvany Coonce

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