Local fare

Doing the mom/artist thing is a constant juggling act. For that matter, doing the mom/anything thing a juggling act! I love painting the early morning light, but so many mornings, despite my best intentions, I cannot get out of the door to paint on locations as early as I would like.  It seems silly, but this can actually be a source of considerable anxiety for me. But, as with so many other lessons that parenting teaches me, I have had to learn to make peace with what is, and perhaps even embrace it. 

This painting occurred on such a morning. With a late start I decided to see if I could find something of interest to paint in my neighborhood. It's actually not that hard in Ashland, as it's a small railroad town with beautiful historic houses and lots of charm. 

"Bicycle Garden," Oil on linen, 10x10"

"Bicycle Garden," Oil on linen, 10x10"

If I'm not mistaken, this bike has been on this corner since the fall, in anticipation of the UCI Road World Championships that whizzed through our locality in September. In Ashland, decorated bikes were set up everywhere. Even after the races, many of the bikes have remained, their decorations changing according to the season. I have been eyeing this corner for a while now, enjoying the charm of it. When the daffodils popped up, that sealed the deal for me. 

Incidentally, you never know what can happen when you stand on a street corner in a silly hat, no makeup, and sweatpants. You just might encounter a photographer who works for the local paper!


Small but sweet; Ashland, VA

I sometimes feel that painting really small can be just as challenging as painting really large. Because of the level of detail, this little piece has a slightly tighter handling than the one I posted last week. There was a time or two during my process where I questioned whether I should see this through, but I am glad now that I stuck with it. This painting features the former train station for RF&P Railroad in my home town, Ashland, VA.

"Autumn in Ashland," Oil on panel, 6x6"

"Autumn in Ashland," Oil on panel, 6x6"

While it's an iconic view of the town, it is also meaningful to me for another reason. I gaze upon this approximate view on a regular basis, because my temporary studio happens to be located very near by.  Ashland is a small southern town that grew up around the railroad, so it has a pretty interesting history. In fact, while there is no longer a ticket counter at this location, the footprint of the interior has hasn't changed all that much, so it isn't hard to take a step back in time and imagine what things must have been like when rail was all the rage. Today, while the building now serves as the town's Visitor's Center, this train route on Railroad Ave. still sees a lot of action, and the location serves as a train stop for Amtrak commuters,  both north and south.

View from Libby Hill

Today I joined up with local members of the Mid Atlantic Plein  Air Painters Association (MAPAPA) for an urban paint out.  Not being able to paint lately has driven me a bit batty, so I was really looking forward to today. The paint site was Libby Hill Park, which has a nice panoramic view of the James River and some of the Richmond skyline. It was apparently this view that gave the City of Richmond its name. The story goes that William Byrd II is said to have thought that this view resembled the view of Richmond upon Thames in England.

View from Libby Hill, Richmond Oil on panel, 8x8"  © Jennifer E Young

View from Libby Hill, Richmond Oil on panel, 8x8" © Jennifer E Young

It has been brilliantly sunny all week, but this morning we woke up to clouds and haze. I grumbled about it (which always does worlds of good in situations over which you have no control) but I went any way. I'm glad I did. Thehaze did eventually burn off and now we have nice blue skies and sunshine. I had to leave around lunchtime so I could pick up my daughter from school, but I'm happy that at least I got one painting in today.

The Crape on the Corner

I've long admired this pretty crape myrtle on my summer morning walks in my Bellevue neighborhood, so I decided to pay it a little tribute today:

"The Crape on the Corner" 8x10", Oil on Panel © Jennifer E. Young

"The Crape on the Corner" 8x10", Oil on Panel ©Jennifer E. Young

When we see Crape Myrtles blooming in Richmond, we pretty much know summer is here to stay a while. And if the heat isn't already upon us, it  is sure to quickly follow. Yes, folks, it was definitely hot out there! This painting pretty much demanded some Permanent Rose, which (of course) wasn't among the supplies I packed. I suppose I could have gotten by with Alizarin, but it wouldn't have been the same. There are definitely advantages to painting in my neighborhood; my studio (and agreeable husband) were just a couple of blocks away.

Finally, it is done!

Pop the champagne, drop the confetti! Well, I have reason to celebrate any way. I finally finished this blasted painting! It's hard to believe I started this painting of Venice LAST YEAR, but there it is. I struggled with it at times, set it aside, tackled it anew, only to come away with yet more to do. I had to completely rework certain areas, especially the background buildings, because even though I was trying to be true to my photos, my hubby (one of my best critics) told me they didn't make sense the way I had them before. I do think he was right. I've said it before...if it makes a better painting, change it. In any event, I am glad I persisted because I think I am finally reasonably happy with the end result. Today is a pretty gray, low-light kind of day so I may need to reshoot it to get better clarity in the photograph (done). But I have to take advantage of a napping baby by sneaking this post in when I can.

"A Private Tour" Oil on Linen, 30x24" (SOLD) ©Jennifer Young

"A Private Tour" Oil on Linen, 30x24" (SOLD) ©Jennifer Young

In all of the times I've been to Venice (it's been several but I've lost count), I've never taken a gondola ride. I always say that I'm going to, but I never seem to want to justify the expense. I guess I'd rather eat a delicious Venetian dinner instead!  From walks along the waters' edge, I've always enjoyed seeingcouples gently drifting down some narrow passageway. It's something I really should try to do before I hang it all up. Next time, for sure!