Monday, January 19, 2015

Curacao Colors

  Here is a little gouache study inspired by my recent sojourn to Curacao

 Windswept                                               gouache, 8x10 inches 

Greetings and Happy New Year!  

Hope 2015 is off to a great start for everyone.  I’m resolving to keep evolving my problem solving.  Yes!  Also hope to get to the gym regularly.  Anyway, about two month have passed since I last graced the internet with my ramblings.  So much has happened and I’d be remiss if I didn’t fill you in.  I traveled to the far off lands of Curacao, one of the famed ABC islands in the Caribbean Sea which is just forty miles off the coast of Venezuela.  There I was inspired by the beautiful, colorful, crumbling buildings and the fantastic underwater coral vistas teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes. 
At three of Curacao’s museums I was educated in the dark and tragic history of the largest port during the shameful slave trade.  The Kura Hulanda Museum had the most extensive collection of slave-related artifacts and replicas I’ve ever seen, anywhere.  I visited the oldest synagogue still in use in the Western Hemisphere which has sand floors to symbolize the forty years in the desert.  It is also a reminder of when sand was used to muffle the sounds of the secret prayer sessions held during the Spanish Inquisition. 
I walked on the floating Queen Emma pontoon bridge also known as 'The Swinging Lady' which opens up to let ships into the large natural port.  All this whilst dodging mosquitoes carrying the painful Chikungunya disease!  I got bit a few times but luckily no illness.  Wow!  I was there for only two and a half weeks and I still haven’t processed it all!  
In addition to these far off adventures I received an award from Plein Air Salon for the 2014 October/November bi-monthly competition and agreed to participate in an exciting Cityscapes Show in Massachusetts scheduled to open in February.  Great way to start 2015!
Below are a few pics of my Curacao adventures.  Enjoy!

(December 2014)

 Did a little bit of plein air painting despite the grueling heat

Enjoyed a serene morning at the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue

Cool sculpture in courtyard of the haunting Kura Hulanda Museum 

Ben striking a pose in front of Willemstad's floating market

 The charming 'Swinging Lady' bridge in all her holiday glory!

We explored colorful coral and shipwrecks under the sea

 In between snorkeling and painting, I napped and worked on my tan at the beach

 These cool Iguanas were everywhere, some as big as my cat!

 The Curacao hermit crabs were quite fashionable, with their unique and colorful shells!

Took a day trip to Klein Curacao and explored the landmark lighthouse and cool shipwrecks

U P C O M I N G   E X H I B I T I O N
Cityscapes Group Show

Idling on P3                                           oil on canvas panel, 9x12 inches

I am pleased to announce that three of my paintings will be included in the ‘Cityscapes’ show at the Francesca Anderson Fine Art Gallery located in Lexington, MA.
This exciting show, which is scheduled to open in early February, will feature some remarkable ‘city themed' artwork from renowned local and out of state artists.
Click here for more info and exhibition details.

R E C E N T   A W A R D !
 October - November 2014

Versailles Launderette                    oil on panel, 8x8 inches

I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to get some fabulous news while traveling in Curacao. 
I was notified via email that I had received the ‘Best Building’ award for the PleinAir Salon October/November 2014 bi-monthly online competition juried by Joseph McGurl. Yay!
Click here to view roster of winners for the October-November 2014 contest.

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I hope one of your New Year’s Resolutions includes joining me this September for my eight day plein air painting workshop in Spain.  It’s going to be awesome!  But I understand if your Resolution is to simply join my fantastic five day plein air painting workshop in Ojai, CA in April.  That also counts as awesome!  Ojai is conveniently located within an hour and half drive of Los Angeles and is  overflowing with lush pastures, curly old oak trees and a rich variety of wild British celebrities.  
If you resolve to come to my Esalen workshop in June, I would also count that as a very awesome New Year’s Resolution.  Treat yourself, don’t cheat yourself!  
Most awesome Resolution of all contains some combination of all three workshops :-)
Click here to view all 2015 workshops.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures and learned something new about Curacao.  It’s not just a blue colored orange liqueur used to make AMF’s, it actually is a place in the Caribbean where you can buy AMF’s should you so desire ;-)  
Here’s to a shiny and happy 2015 and may all your resolutions remain resolute and may all your painting dreams come true!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Happenings

 Barlow Bygone                                       oil on panel, 8x10 inches

 Greetings art enthusiasts!

Recently returned from teaching a plein air workshop at Esalen and had another awesome time there!  The weather was perfect and the glorious monarch butterflies were migrating once again.  I also had a wonderful group of students, as usual.  Looking forward to returning next June!  The only drawback was eating  waaaaay too many carb-laden meals.  Rice, grits and quinona, oh my!  I’ve been on the Atkins diet since I got back and feel fantastic yet bestial at the same time (if that makes any kind of  sense).
Ben wants to bring a taco truck there next time and sell ribs and burgers to other protein driven urbanites like us, but I have a feeling Esalen won’t go for that.  We’re definitely looking forward to Turkey Day, that goes without saying ;-)
Don’t know about you but I am completely astounded at how quickly the year flew by!  Only a month and a half  left of 2014. Yikes!   My last group show for 2014 will be at the Abend Gallery for their 24th Annual Holiday Miniatures Show.  After that, I’m off to seek some fun in the sun whilst avoiding another brisk polar vortex.  Before I fill you in about my winter 2014 updates, take a quick gander at some fun pics from my recent Esalen workshop.  Enjoy!

E S A L E N   P L E I N   A I R   W O R K S H O P
(Big Sur, CA - October 2014)

Students enjoying a relaxing morning demo

The gorgeous Monarchs were fluttering throughout the grounds

Having a blast during the 'Paint Along' exercise in the gardens

View of the stunning Esalen gardens

On the way back home, we stopped to check out the Elephant seals 
sunning themselves

And of course we made a pit stop to the breathtaking Pfeiffer Beach

U P C O M I N G   E X H I B I T I O N
24th Annual Holiday Miniatures Show

Fedora                                oil on panel, 8x8 inches

I am delighted to be participating in the 24th Annual Holiday Miniatures Show hosted by the Abend Gallery.  Three of my paintings will be included in this wonderful group show scheduled to open on Friday, December 5th, from 5 to 8pm.
For more info and exhibition details click here.  

2 0 1 5   P L E I N   A I R   W O R K S H O P S

My next plein air painting workshop won’t be until April 2015 in Ojai, CA.  There’s still time to make your travel plans and sign up for some painting time in the Southern California sunshine.  
After that I’ll be back in Big Sur for my June 2015 workshop.  Esalen's a perfect place to meditate on your painting goals and also a great spot to soak in hot tubs lining the ocean cliffs (strangely I find their sugary cookies and cakes far more dangerous than the rocky cliffs)
To view all 2015 workshops click here.

In September 2015 I’ll be traveling to Spain to teach an 8 day painting workshop in Barcelona and the surrounding Costa Brava area!  If you have already decided to go I strongly recommend that you sign up by November 30th to catch the early bird special and save $200 off the full price!  There’s also a discount for your spouse or partner if they decide to come along and just hang out and take the tours without any painting class.  It’d be nice if Ben wasn’t the only husband napping on the beach while I struggle to catch the perfect composition ;-)
It’s going to be an awesome excursion and spaces are filling up really fast!
Click here for more details. 


Well that’s all for the end of the year update and thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Remember, don’t drive drunk again, watch those sneaky carbs and please don’t get stampeded in any Black Friday shopping sales (that new half-off flat screen TV isn’t worth a twisted ankle)  
Be safe and have a festive and cozy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Artsy Autumn Adventures!

 Harding Lane Dr.                                         oil on panel,  8x10 inches
(Here is a little plein air sketch I did while in Wellfleet, MA)

Greetings and Happy Autumn!

October: The very word invokes shivers and scarifying thoughts.  Curly old creaky trees and such.  Ghosts and goblins and spiders, oh my!  But it also makes me think of candy.  I suppose a Sugar Skull sums up everything in the most tidy iconic way.  Death and sugar, it’s like, so true and honest.  Hemingway must have eaten Sugar Skull candies while smoking his Cuban cigars and writing about Spanish bullfights, no doubt about it  ;-)
Just returned from an awesome plein air painting workshop I taught in Wellfleet, a small town halfway up Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  What a trip!  We planned it perfectly, just after Labor Day when all the crowds left but still before the weather turned cold and rainy.  Had some trepidation about leading a workshop in the Northeast, the weather can be unpredictable at times.  But lo and behold, the weather held out just fine and it was smooth sailing to use a nautical metaphor.  Had some awesome students, the beaches were fresh and salty and ate lots of fresh fish and crispy fried clam strips galore!
Below are a few pics from my recent workshop.  Enjoy!

P L E I N  A I R  W O R K S H O P
(Wellfleet, MA - September 2014)

Morning demo at Mayo Beach

Katrina finishing up afternoon painting exercise

Charming views at Uncle Tim's Bridge

Morning demo at the creek

 Had to paint fast due to rising tide quickly approaching
 Snapped this pic right at the perfect moment!

After a long day of teaching,  I returned to the cottage and was greeted by this adorable fox. 
That was quite a treat :-)

And last but not least, my awesome class!

U P C O M I N G   E X H I B I T I O N S
Contemporary Masters, Artistic Eden IV

 Antique Mirror                      oil on panel,  24x28 inches

I am extremely honored and delighted to have been invited to participate in the prestigious Contemporary Master, Artistic Eden IV exhibition held at the Pasadena Museum of History.  My new painting 'Antique Mirror' will be included in this exciting show.  Contemporary Masters, Artistic Eden IV is the fourth biennial fine art exhibition featuring paintings by nationally recognized representational artists. 
Show opens to the public on October 1st, 2014.
For more info and exhibition details click here.
Urban Aspect

Roman Alleyway                        oil on panel, 8x15 inches

My painting 'Roman Alleyway' was juried into the Urban Aspect show hosted by Principle Gallery located in Alexandria, VA.  This highly anticipated show will feature stunning city-scape themed paintings by established artists. 
Show opens October 10th, 2014.
For more info and exhibition details click here.

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2015 Workshops Now Posted!

My 2015 plein air workshops are now online!  To view all 2015 workshops click here
I’m excited to be returning to the beautiful Esalen grounds next summer.  I’ll also be conducting a 5 day workshop in Ojai, CA in April.  Should be an excellent time for mild weather, steady sunshine and spring blossoms!
You can also join me in Spain next September when I teach an 8 day plein air painting workshop in Barcelona and the Costa Brava area.  Part of this exciting itinerary will include a tour to the Dali Theatre-Museu as well as plein air painting excursions in a charming fishing village, a preserved Medieval town, lush botanical gardens and much more!  All the details can be found here.  
If you decide to embark on this wonderful painting tour I recommend signing up before November 31st in order to receive an 'early bird' discount.  Olé!


Well that’s all for now.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  
Have a fun, sugar-filled (or sugar-free) Halloween!  
Be safe, and don’t partake in any bullfights unless you’re wearing really fancy and tight pants.

Rising Tide at Duck Creek                         oil on panel, 8x10 inches
(Here is one of my morning demos from recent Wellfleet plein air workshop)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sun-sational Summer Scene!

 Sunlit Gorge                                         oil, 9x7 inches

Greetings and Happy Summer!

It is with a light heart and a spring in my step that I write this blog.  Having just successfully completed my sold-out Esalen workshop in Big Sur, I returned to Los Angeles to the sounds of cheers and applause. This I soon discovered had something to do with a televised game where grown men fight to kick a small checkered ball about a field or something.  Conversely, at Esalen grown men swim naked out into the Pacific Ocean, climb onto slippery reefs using kelp rope to steady themselves and blow through large hollowed-out animal horns.  Pagan ritual thanking the sea gods or primal gestalt therapy, I’m not sure.  However, I’ve included a picture to prove it!
In other McChristian news, I’m pleased to announce that my new painting ‘Dust Storm’ was juried into the OPA Western Regional Show and will be on display at the Mountainsong Gallery in Carmel in August 2014.  Finally, I am super excited to announce that I’ve been invited to teach a plein air painting workshop in Spain in September 2015!  Below are some fun pics from my recent plein air workshop at Esalen. Enjoy!

P L E I N  A I R  W O R K S H O P
(Big Sur - June 2014)

Morning demo in the gardens

Plenty of painting fodder here....

Student Matthias (who came all the way from Switzerland) 
was intrigued by the succulents

We enjoyed 3 scrumptious organic meals a day 
in the cozy Esalen cafeteria

One of the many perks of teaching at Esalen:
I get to be serenaded by a strapping young 
merman at the end of the day!

 Some vibrant Esalen poppies to delight the senses

 And then there are the cliff side sulfur baths to soothe your weary body 
after a long day of painting.......ahhhhhhhhhh

My fabulous and fun class!
Left to right (top row) Morgan, Birgit, Julie, Renate, Susanne, Greta,
Vanessa, Kat
Left to right (bottom row) Donald, Frank, Jennifer (instructor), Ben (assistant) and Matthias.
(Cecille missing from pic)

U P C O M I N G  E X H I B I T I O N S 

 2014 OPA Western Regional Exhibition

 Dust Storm                                              oil, 12x16 inches 

My new painting ‘Dust Storm’ (inspired by a precarious drive from San Francisco to LA) was juried into the 2014 OPA Western Regional Exhibition
This exciting and prestigious group exhibition will be hosted by the Mountainsong Gallery located in the scenic town of Carmel, CA.
Opening reception is on August 30, 2014 from 5 to 8pm.
For more info and show details click here.

 2 0 1 4   P L E I N   A I R   W O R K S H O P S

My upcoming Wellfleet plein air painting workshop this September is currently full.  Please contact me if you’d like to be added to the waiting list.  Keep in mind that there are no guarantees that a space will become available.  That being said, I will be returning to Big Sur for another plein air workshop at Esalen in October.  There are still a few spaces available so I recommend signing up soon as it tends to fill up relatively quickly.  For Esalen registration details click here.
Finally, the last of my 2014 workshops will be in Ojai, CA this November.

For more info on my Ojai workshop click here.

New 2015 Spain Workshop Added!

I am thrilled to have been invited to teach an 8 day plein air painting workshop in Spain in September 2015!
  The workshop will take place in and around Barcelona and the Costa Brava areas, with small day trips and tours of local sites like the Dali Museum and the Gaudi buildings thrown in to the mix. 
 There’s an early-bird special and if you sign up before November 30th you’ll save $200.00!  
Time to brush up on your Spanish and get ready to chow down on authentic Tapas while watching Flamenco dancers who are actually Spanish.  Ole baby, ole! 
For more info on 2015 Spain workshop itinerary click here
For early registration and reservation info click here.
Well that’s all for my sizzzzzzzling summertime news.  May your summertime skies be filled with summertime blues, but in a nice happy kind of way, not a “I woke up on Bourbon Street with no money and a broken harmonica” kind of way. Yipeeeee!  It’s that time again for boisterous backyard barbecues and feisty fireworks. 
Wishing everyone a safe and sassy 4th of July Holiday!

Cliff Side View                                     oil, 8x10 inches
(Morning demo from recent plein air painting workshop in Big Sur)