Art auction to benefit the Central Virginia Foodbank

As a way to kick off 2008, I've decided to create auctions for some of my paintings in hopes of raising funds for the CVA Foodbank.  The idea for the auctions was inspired by a couple of things that grabbed my attention almost simultaneously over the holidays. The first was a CNN broadcast I stumbled on while flipping around on the television one late sleepless night. It was a special called "Living Heroes".  I tuned in to see a gentleman named Steve Peifer accepting an award for the incredibly inspiring, selfless work he has done in Kenya, feeding the children in school. Click here to watch the inspiring video.

About a day or two after I saw this program, I noticed Philip Rucker's article in the Washington Post online edition entitled, "Cupboards Are Bare at Food Banks." My first thought was, "Huh? With all of our wealth and resources we are having trouble supplying our country's own food banks?" The article actually focused on the D.C. Capital Area Food Bank needs, but it mentions that many of the nation's food banks are experiencing similar shortages. You can read more about it in the article,  but the bottom line is that the food banks do not have the supplies they once did, and they need people to step up and help.

I got to wondering what was going on in my own local Central Virginia Foodbank. According to the CVA Foodbank's website, in the Metro Richmond area:

"...the poverty rate is more than twice the Virginia average. In fact, in the City of Richmond it’s 38% and in Petersburg it’s 40%, compared to the state average of 17%.. That means right here in our own backyard there are tens of thousands of children who go to bed hungry every day. "

As a citizen of Richmond, I'd have to live under a rock not to know of the poverty concerns we have in the city. But even so, these numbers are startling. And while the pragmatist in me realizes that there will always be inequalities in the world, the idealist wonders,  "Why, given the earth's resources, should there ever be a reason for anyone to go hungry?"

 I've always believed in the adage, "think globally, act locally." And while curbing world hunger seems like an overwhelming task, we all can make a huge difference in our local communities by simple acts of time, food or cash donations. Surprisingly, it doesn't take that much to make a difference. In fact, according to the CVA Foodbank's website, $25 will provide as many as 200 meals.

So to bring all of this back around to the subject of art, (after all, this is an art blog,) I thought it might be nice to see if I could raise some funds for the CVA Foodbank by offering some of my vignettes in auction format.   I have been offering the little watercolor vignette paintings in my gallery and on my website for a little while now, and I've gotten some really nice feedback from collectors who enjoy them. And while I had already set prices for these works at truly introductory rates, for the next 6 months opening bids for these auctioned paintings will be set at the mega-bargain price of 200 meals, or $25 per item. 100% of the proceeds for the sale of these vignettes will be donated to the Central Virginia Foodbank.

It's my hope that each auction will get bids and that far surpass the opening bid. But even if I get just opening amount, it will generate a donation that can provide 200 meals. The CVA Foodbank is already doing some wonderful things for the folks in our area, not the least of which is providing comfort and hope for hungry kids. And, as evidenced in the above mentioned video, relieving hunger clears a pathway to learning, and education can help to provide way out of poverty.

Winning bidders get the artwork, maybe even at a mega bargain price, plus the satisfaction of knowing that their purchase is being donated to help one community's underprivileged children, elderly and families in serious need. Of course, you don't need to bid on artwork to make a difference in your own community. I encourage everyone who is able to get in touch with their own community's food bank and consider offering time, food, or cash. My auctions  are just my own small (and hopefully fun) way of trying to raise some funds and a bit of awareness.

Well, thanks for sticking with me for this rather long explanation! Without further ado, I present my first Central Virginia Foodbank ("CVFB") auction for one of my recent watercolors:

coastal harbor watercolor by Jennifer Young

"Open for Business" Original Signed Watercolor & Ink on paper Click here to bid sold

Update: This auction has ended, but click here to see the current auctions, and consider signing up for our email auction alerts using the link below.

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Thanks to for featuring my landscape paintings!

A few weeks ago, Dan at Empty Easel was kind enough to feature my plein air painting demo on his art site. I'm thankful to him again, because today he's given me a very nice a write up about the latest landscape paintings I've created for my current show  about the luminous landscape. If you have an interest in the arts, do check out his site. He regularly features the works of artists he's reviewed from around the internet, plus he has wonderful tips for art and painting as well as Internet art marketing. If you're an artist, consider submitting your work or an article yourself for a possible feature.

...And if you're in the Richmond area, my show "Luminosity" is still on view until December 1st, so come by my studio/gallery this Friday during the art walk if you can,  or just contact me to visit the gallery at another time.

Art opening tonight: "Luminosity"

I've been scrambling this week to get everything finished for the opening  for my exhibit of new landscape  paintings tonight here at the gallery, and I'm officially pooped. The good news is, the show looks great, and  I can now take few hours to rest before we open up tonight. Come out and see us if you are coming downtown tonight or are doing the First Fridays Richmond art walk! Here are the details for tonights event:

"Luminosity" Art Exhibit at Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery

Richmond, VA –  Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery will feature new paintings of the luminous landscape by Jennifer Young.  The show opens on Friday October 5th, 2007, with a reception from 6 to 8:30  PM. Opening night music provided by Russell Young. The exhibit continues through November 30th.   Jennifer Young Studio & Gallery is located at 16 East Main Street, two blocks east of the Jefferson Hotel. Click here to view a map and get directions from your location. For additional information please contact us!

Guest posting today

Today I'm posting about my Outer Banks paintings as a guest blogger over at the Queen of the Surf Pirates Blog. It's a fun and informative blog with the latest Outer Banks surfing info, beach news and more, courtesy of Paula Degatto and Sammy the Surf Dog from Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check it out, and thanks Paula for the invitation!

Sunset landscape painting; "Twilight on the Outer Banks"

Fresh off the easel is another landscape painting of my favorite time of day on the Outer Banks. The setting for this painting is again on Ocracoke Island, on a little inlet that has a small beach where you can watch the sun set.

landscape painting sunset Outer Banks North Carolina "Twilight on the Outer Banks" Oil on Canvas 24x30" Click here or on the image for more information

I am really enjoying the challenge of these evening paintings. The value ranges are relatively close in most areas of the painting, so I've really had to pay attention to the subtle differences in values and how they relate to one another. I'm still limiting my palette, but depending on what I am painting I vary the palette colors somewhat. I'll write more about what I'm discovering in my next entry.

New coastal sunset landscape painting; "Finale"

Fresh off the easel, this painting is of a spectacular sunset we saw on one of our trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina this summer. It's Silver Lake Harbor on Ocracoke Island, to be exact. This painting and other recent landscapes will be included in my upcoming show called "Luminosity".

coastal landscape painting of a sunset "Finale" Oil on Canvas, 24x36" sold

I'm calling this piece "Finale" (as in "the grand finale") because, like a finale in a live orchestral performance, sunsets are like nature's final performance of the day. They never fail to dazzle, and yet no two performances are ever exactly the same.

Watercolor/pen and ink - Ocracoke Lighthouse

Getting back to the topic of my recent visit to Ocracoke Island, here's another sketch from my travels. I haven't painted many lighthouses in my day (okay this is the first one!) but the lighthouse of Ocracoke is such a visible landmark on this tiny island. In fact it is also historically significant as is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the nation. (In case you're wondering, the oldest is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey.)

watercolor landscape painting lighthouse "Ocracoke Lighthouse" Original Watercolor & Ink on Paper


Ocracoke Watercolor art sketch: "Open For Business"

I previously mentioned that Ocracoke has a beautiful little harbor in the center of town called "Silver Lake". The hotel where we stayed had a view of Silver Lake Harbor, and and each morning we could sit outside,  sip our coffee and enjoy the peaceful relaxed beauty of scenes like this one:

watercolor painting island boats "Open For Business" Watercolor & Ink on Paper

The only morning activity we saw was that of people strolling near the water, and fishermen quietly preparing their boats for the day's outing. But at one time this area was harassed by the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard. Blackbeard wreaked havoc all up and down the east coast and into the Caribbean. But his reign of terror was brought to an end when he was finally caught near Ocracoke by the British Navy in 1718.

Back from Ocracoke

Both painting and internet were sketchy down at Ocracoke, so this is a recap now that I'm back home. We really enjoyed our stay at Ocracoke! It has gained some popularity due to the great reviews of its pristine and natural beaches, but it remains a sleepy little 16 mile island only accesible by boat or ferry. No McDonald's or Starbucks there! Just lovely little harbors, small local restaurants, and shops ranging from artisan/galleries to a few peddaling souvenir schlock and surf gear. It is a great place to ride bikes, photograph, paint/sketch (if the wind is calmer) and watch the sunrise and sunsets. If you are into fishing, surfing and other watersports it seems like it is great for that too. We stayed in the village along Silverlake harbor and had all different kinds of weather. The last two days of our stay were absolutely gorgeous, though the wind was around 20-25 miles an hour so often that I decided to forgo the oil painting and stick to sketches like the one I did here of the Harbor:

nautical island watercolor painting by Jennifer Young "Flying Colors" Watercolor & Ink on Paper

Ocracoke- Painting in the Wind!

I don't know if you've been watching the HUGE storm pattern that has been tormenting the Southeast lately, but it's a doozie. Luckily, Ocracoke has had only a mild version of the storm that has wreaked havoc on its neighbors.

We have had sun, rain, sun, rain, clouds, sun and clouds.

Changing light and most especially wind are the nemesis of the plein air painter, but then again, that is part of the fun of it.  Here is a scene of the harbor on a sunny and very windy morning.

boat painting

Obviously this painting isn't finished. In fact there is LOTS to do if I want to develop this piece. The mast and water need work, as does some shading on the boat. But considering that I had to catch my panel mid-air!! before it went splat in the sand due to the high wind (did I say this was fun?!)  I think I got a fairly good impression of my subject matter. In any event, my companion seemed much more interested in his plastic water bottle-toy, and pretty much unfazed by all of my antics (alas, we were never properly introduced!)

Aside from the wind and a few moments of summer showers, we've made out pretty well. Noses are sunburned, and we've enjoyed the wild beauty of this area. The beaches aren't too bad either!

Ocracoke Island

Yes, I am still here! Not much opportunity to post new work yet because this week turned into "clean the studio and ship paintings" week. And today we are heading out to Ocracoke Island for what we hope will be a long relaxing weekend.  We have been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (Nags Head, Corolla) many times, but I have always wanted to go to Ocracoke and have never gotten around to it, as it is about a 40 minute ferry ride from Hatteras. From all accounts the word most often used is "quaint" in describing this island village. It is a very natural beach with no major hotels or developments -- a real rarity these days. And for what it's worth, "Dr. Beach" has this year rated Ocracoke #1 as the best swimming beach nationally.

We're driving so I can load up the van with my paint gear! Hooray! Hope to post whatever plein air paintings and sketches I do while there.