New auction! "In Autumn Light", original oil 6x6"

This marks my inaugural post for my first auction of my fall sale. First up this week is a sweet little original oil painting of the First Baptist of Church on Virginia Street in Ashland, Virginia. This auction is listed for 7 days and ends on Sunday, November 5th at 8 PM EST and 5 PM PST. It is offered at a fraction of my retail price, so head on over to my auctions page to read all about it and place a bid if you are so inclined. I hope to post at least a couple of these auctions for small originals each week for the next few weeks, just in time for the holidays. Thanks for looking!

"In Autumn Light", original 6x6" oil painting. SOLD!

"In Autumn Light", original 6x6" oil painting. SOLD!

A new start in 2017

Happy New Year everyone! Yes I know that's a bit late, but we are trying hard to shake off the fun and lazy days of winter break and get back in the routine of waking up early to report to work and school. Since my daughter was home on break, I gave up on the idea that I'd get any real work done and took that time off leading up to Christmas to devote to family. As much as I love painting, I had such a sweet time hanging with my daughter.

Nevertheless, there is a time and a season, and now I'm back to work and it's time for some art! We are settling into winter in Virginia, and it's prime time for hibernating and lot more work in the studio. I have done a lot of small works this past summer and fall, so I'm upping the scale for a while inside.  I'm starting out by picking back up with the James River Park theme.  This is a 24x30" piece of the section of the park known as Pony Pasture. I painted a small piece at roughly the same location in the fall, though this new view is what I saw when I turned my head to the left.

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I like this idea of peeking out at the river through the trees. We will see if what I have in my mind can be successfully executed on canvas.

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One of my favorite things about locations along the river banks are the trees. Years of the water's ebb and flow at the river's edge has left many of the tree roots bare. Roots stretch out like tentacles clutching the land, and yet these large trees manage to hang on.

Take me to the river

The fall weather and colors  have been pretty spectacular this year for plein air painting, so I have a little backlog of images to post as a result. The first two paintings were done last week at a paint out with the Virginia Plein Air Painters group. This is a great group that gathers once a month (sometimes more) from spring through fall to paint together en plein air. The great thing about this group is that members will organize unique locations within about an hour of Richmond. Some sites are public, but others are on private property that can't be accessed ordinarily. Such was the case with this location.

The owner of the property happened to be a Zen garden and landscape designer who allowed us to paint on her sprawling property fronting the South Anna River. There were so many beautiful compositions to be made that it was really hard deciding what to paint. But since I wanted to take advantage of the autumn foliage and the play of light across the sparkling water, I was most drawn to the natural settings along the river bank.

This was my morning effort:

"Autumn on the South Anna River", Oil on linen, 9x12" ©Jennifer E Young

"Autumn on the South Anna River", Oil on linen, 9x12" ©Jennifer E Young

I had such a great time with that one that after a quick brown bag lunch I decided to try another river painting a little further upstream:

A few days went by when I couldn't get back outside, but I kept thinking about how satisfying it was to be painting down by the river. Especially in the fall, where the vibrancy of the light is at an all time high. This has to do with both the lower angle of the light at this time of year, and the way coolness of the blues and purples in the shadows so naturally play compliment to the autumn hues of gold, orange and red.

Yesterday was my next opportunity to revel in all of that beautiful light and color. I couldn't finagle my way back onto the South Anna River property without a proper invitation, so I decided to return to Pony Pasture, the same section of the James River Park system that I visited in my prior blog post.

"Sun-kissed", Oil on canvas, 6x8" ©Jennifer E Young

"Sun-kissed", Oil on canvas, 6x8" ©Jennifer E Young

As lovely as it is, the autumn light tends to move faster than the spring and summer, and I only had time to do a small one this time before making the trek back to Ashland.  But at least I got my fix. I can't promise I'm done, though; the weather's supposed to be pretty nice for the next few days, and winter lurks just around the corner.

James River plein air

Oh happy day! Oh cold morning; but nevertheless, happy day. This week I finally managed to get back outside, to visit one of my favorite painting muses, the James River. The James River Park system in Richmond, VA, continues to fascinate me and remains one of my all-time favorite plein air painting sites.

* SO LD*  Autumn Morning on the James River", Oil on canvas, 6x8" ©Jennifer E Young

*SOLD* Autumn Morning on the James River", Oil on canvas, 6x8" ©Jennifer E Young

I painted this at Pony Pasture, where I stood wedged between some boulders.

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Pony Pasture is on the south side of the river, in Richmond VA. I've always wondered where this part of the park got its name, but only today did I think to look it up. According to Richmond.com, "The name came from the 1960s when the area was suburban and people who were into housing their horses near the river," said Ralph White, who is the (now retired)  manager of the James River Park.

While there are no ponies today (though what a cool sight that would be) there are plenty of other creatures to observe, including Canadian geese and herons, as well as dogs and their owners, fishermen, kayakers and canoers. Oh, and you might occasionally see the odd painter too. ;-)

To begin anew

Happy New Year! Yes, I know I'm about a week late with that, and it's even likely that hearing that phrase for the millionth time has the same effect as being presented with a fruitcake after (or even during) the holidays. But 2015 kind of went out for me with a crash and a bang ( health-wise) and a flare up of an old autoimmune condition as well as a possible fun new one too. So I'm kind of in reset mode, attempting to restore health through diet and lifestyle changes. It can all be a bit time consuming and maddening, especially thrown in on top of the usual mayhem of the holiday season. So, order to restore my sanity, and  since nobody seems to know what exactly is causing all of this mischief at the moment, welp, I might as well get back to painting! 

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This is a work in progress, and the second version of this subject I started over the holidays.  I never posted the first because it didn't live up to what I had in my head. So far this second one is closer, but still so far away. I have had a lot of stops and starts, so that may be part of the problem. I actually hesitated to post this one too, as I'm not sure if I will finish it or just start on something else altogether. I will keep going further with it to see where I can take it, but sometimes it can get pretty frustrating when your insides don't quite match up with your outsides ( I guess life imitates art after all!) 

Some while back, there was a video floating around on YouTube that featured a short talk by Ira Glass, public radio host of "This American Life", about this anxiety and discomfort that can accompany the Creative Process. He summed it up so perfectly I will share it here, as this seems to be a recurrent theme in my own creative life.   

While Glass talks about these pitfalls as a beginner problem, I am here to tell you that it is something most creatives contend with periodically even if they've been at it a while. While what he says feels somewhat comforting, at times it can also feel like a curse. But deep down I know that I've been blessed by what art has given me, and that often the expansion of growth doesn't happen without some pain of contraction. It's just you can't stay there. As Glass says, the antidote is to fight your way through, make the art, and make a lot of it. In art as in life, there is ebb and flow, ebb and flow. And if we can weather the storms, there is the chance to begin anew.