Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two New Opportunities for Artists

The Arts Council of Fairfax is offering fellowships to Fairfax artists, the Maryland Federation of Art is seeking submissions for an upcoming gallery, and both have deadlines in January.

Art on Paper — Deadline January 11, 2012 
The Maryland Federation of Art (MFA) invites all artists residing in the United States and Canada to enter its thirty-fifth annual Art on Paper exhibition. Any original two or three dimensional works on or of paper following exhibition guidelines will be considered by the juror. The selected works will be on exhibit in the MFA’s Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland from March 22 through April 22, 2012.
Details and submission guidelines are on the MFA website.

Strauss Fellowships — Deadline January 18, 2012
The Arts Council of Fairfax has announced the fifth annual Strauss Fellowships for individual artists. These grants recognize professional working artists’ achievements and their demonstrated history of accomplishments; they promote artists’ continued pursuit of their creative work. Artists in all disciplines including visual arts, creative writing, theatre, dance performance and choreography, film and new media, music composition and performance are eligible to apply. Applicants must reside in Fairfax County.

The application deadline is January 18, 2012. The Arts Council will hold a free grant writing workshop for interested applicants on November 12, 2011 from 10am to 12pm at 4022 Hummer Road, Annandale, VA 22003.

The Strauss Fellowships are awarded through a competitive grant program and recipients are determined by their work’s merit. No specific project needs to be carried out with the funds granted; Strauss Fellowships award outstanding achievement for work already completed. Awards range from $1,000-$5,000, and in previous years, up to eleven fellowships have been awarded.
More details are here.

Photoshop Lecture for Artists

The Art League Gallery became a classroom, briefly, on Tuesday for a lecture on Adobe Photoshop by Art League member John Burgess. John, who gave another lecture Wednesday on exhibition-quality prints for photographers, spelled out the basics of Photoshop and answered questions at the free lecture, part of The Art League's FotoWeek DC events.

Among the topics covered were how to get photos properly sized and onto a CD for electronic submissions and how to maximize quality during an image's trip from camera to printer. John's tips included:
  • Purchase an external hard drive and save images on both your computer and this hard drive, to guard against hard drive failure.
  • Use an organizing program, such as Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom, Aperture, or iPhoto, to manage large numbers of photos.
  • To print for exhibition purposes, aim for a resolution of 240–360 pixels per inch. Check the recommendations for the printer and the paper you're using.
  • Use the histogram on your camera and adjust exposure to avoid clipping of shadows or highlights in your image.
  • Avoid using the sRGB color space because it loses some color information.

    Histograms tell you about your photo's lighting at a glance.
    John gave attendees a crash course in terminology, explaining color models (RGB, CMYK, CIE Lab), color spaces or profiles, which specify how a device differs from the standard color spectrum, file types (.jpeg, .tiff, .psd, Raw), and explained how to use color profiles to produce accurate color in files and prints.

    He also used a picture of his granddaughter to show how to make her "pop" against the background by adjusting the curves (under Image>Adjustments) and colorized a black-and-white photo of himself by painting with masks:

    Need a Photoshop lesson? The Art League School offers a Photoshop workshop this March (details and registration here), a workshop on using Photoshop for pictures of artwork, also in March (details), and later this month, a workshop on Photoshop for painters (details).

    In Plein Sight

    Last week The Art League Plein Air Painters, a group previously featured on this blog, were up to their usual antics, painting at Green Spring Gardens Park in Alexandria, Burke Lake Park in Fairfax, and Theodore Roosevelt Island, where David Diaz painted this scene:

    Kim Stenberg also shared her painting from Green Spring Gardens, Autumn Brook, at her blog.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    On the Horizon: Travel Workshop to Ethiopia

    It's not too soon to start getting excited about The Art League's travel workshop this spring in Ethiopia. We spoke to instructor and photographer Andargé Asfaw, who was born in Ethiopia and called the land "a paradise" for photographers and other artists.

    Inside Abune Aron Church by Andargé Asfaw
    Each day of the workshop will start with the morning light, following a schedule of shooting locations to follow the light during the day. Students can expect to cover ground in the historical, Northern part of Ethiopia and see such natural wonders as the Simien Mountains.

    Andargé has been to these locations before, and says each trip gets better as the logistics and the roads improve.

    A photo taken in Kenya by Andargé Asfaw
    The sites, cultural and natural, create a wide world of opportunities for photographers — and artists in other media: Andargé stressed the workshop is open to others.

    "You’re in paradise," he says. "Everything is there for you. You’ve got culture; you've got architecture; you've got faces, animals — I don’t think you can ask for a better place than that."

    Roadside Market in the Fog, Kombolcha by Andargé Asfaw
    The trip also includes professional, English-speaking guides and an expert instructor, Andargé, who has experience in the area and is with students all day to answer questions.

    Details of the trip, including the exact dates, are being finalized. Check back here, and on The Art League School website, for news as it develops.

    Andargé has released a book,
    Ethiopia from the Heart, and started a nonprofit, Canopy Ethiopia, to promote trees in Ethiopia. His work is also featured in an exhibit in Richmond this month.

    Gate Keeper of Zege Kidane Mihiret Monastery by Andargé Asfaw

    Local Calls For Artists

    Several local groups are seeking submissions for upcoming exhibits, including one with a late deadline today. We also received an announcement for available studio space.

    Final deadline today — 21st Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

    May 19 and 20, 2012 marks the 21st Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival showcasing the best contemporary fine art and craft from around the country. Over two hundred artists fill the streets of Reston’s up-scale Town Center with an outdoor art exhibition that is regarded as one of the top festivals on the East Coast.  Artists are selected on the basis of quality, originality, and craftsmanship by a panel of jurors who are experts in their fields. Festival  organizers also invite ten award winners from the previous year and six percent of participating artists.  In 2011, thirty percent of exhibitors were first-time artists. The festival is produced by Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in support of its exhibition, education, and outreach programs. No sales commissions are charged and festival admission is free but voluntary donations are encouraged. 100% of the funds collected go directly to support GRACE’s mission. 

    Tonight at midnight is the deadline for this festival, which takes place in Reston. Details are here.

    December 2 deadline — Photography Exhibition

    The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is hosting its 6th Annual Contemporary Photography Exhibition, January 6 – February 2, 2012, including over $2,000 in purchase awards and the opportunity for a solo exhibition. Details and submission guidelines are here.

    light paint 1 by Brian Cognazzo, from the 2011 exhibition

    December 10 deadline — Prince George's County Artists

    The Prince George's Department of Parks and Recreation, Arts and Cultural Heritage Division, in partnership with the Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council, is pleased to announces Memories from All Directions, this year's exhibition of Prince George's County artists in the Lowe House Office building in Annapolis, during the Maryland General Assembly/ the Legislative Session. 

    This call for entries is open to all artists 18 years old or older who live, work, attend school or have studios in Prince George's County, MD. Artists may submit a maximum of 5 artworks for consideration. All works must be original. Artworks may use any media. However, in order to be considered for the exhibition, artworks must incorporate memory as an important theme. Art works must also be presentation-ready and able to hang on a wall without projecting off the wall in such a way that they could obstruct or endanger foot traffic in the exhibition area. To download the prospectus, click here.

    Old Brick Warehouse — 4 studios available
    This 11,500 sq. ft. artist’s warehouse is about 2.5 miles from the Torpedo Factory and near the intersection of Duke Street and S. Quaker Lane. Onsite parking is free, and you will have 24/7 access. Each artist has a key to his or her studio and another key to the building’s main entrance. There are no requirements to keep your studio open during specified hours. Please contact Liz Boynton at or 703-759-4227.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    "Small Works" opening reception tonight

    After a busy week of receiving, jurying, and hanging, the opening reception for "Small Works" is tonight, in The Art League Gallery, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Out of over 900 pieces entered, under 300 were selected by juror Jordan Faye Block as part of the exhibit, which runs November 9 – December 5.

    Specimen One, 3-D mixed media collage by David Alfuth
    The huge number of submissions is evidence of an active arts community, and that energy is on display in all media from a diverse group of artists — the only thing the works of art have in common is their high quality and small size.

    The result is a treasure trove of an exhibit, with something intriguing around every corner — the curious, the inspiring, the personal, the humorous, the sensational.

    Solange, a work in alabaster by Ann Ruppert
    Two pieces were selected to win this month's awards: Cabin 2 by Everitt Clark, a silver gelatin contact print, won the Eleanor Boudreau Jordan Award, and Variation, a collage by Theresa Esterlund, won the first-ever Anne Banks Collage Award.

    Cabin 2 and Variation
    More photos of "Small Works" after the jump:

    News from the Art League Plein Air Painters

    The Art League Plein Air Painters, a group we last heard from when they visited Norfolk, took New York by storm this month, with three members' works accepted to the American Artists Professional League 83rd Grand National Exhibition. The show is running through tomorrow, November 11, at the Salmagundi Club.

    Lynn Mehta under her award-winning Appalachian Valley.
    Jill Banks, Lynn Mehta and Jean Schwartz were in the show, and Lynn's painting, Appalachian Valley, won the John Collins Memorial Award. Congratulations!

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    ArtFest is in the Air

    The Art League has a weekend of fun events planned for this holiday season in another installment of our famous ArtFest. This year's shows are great opportunities to enjoy some art and find gifts for whoever's on your list. Don't forget to save the date! All the ArtFest events are at our Madison Annex, 305 Madison Street in Alexandria.

    ArtFest 2010

    Our Lively Annual Open House and Holiday Party
    Friday, December 2, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
    The Art League throws its annual holiday party for ArtFest 2011 in the Madison Annex, our 3D instructional space. If you haven't been to the Madison Annex, come see where the magic happens and see some live demonstrations from artists in a variety of 3-D media. Plus, from live music, to a variety of art demos and exhibits, to ceramic and jewelry sales (open all weekend), to food and drinks, there’s something for everybody — and best of all, admission is free! This popular party kicks of ArtFest 2011 and is a great opportunity to enjoy some artwork and take some home as holiday gifts. Featuring one-of-a-kind collectables: Handpainted ornaments created by Art League artists! These little works of art make unique stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and are the perfect way to start an "heirloom" ornament collection for your family.

    Ceramic artist Kim Hyu Ju

    Ceramic and Pottery Show and Sale
    Friday, December 2: 12:00 noon - 9:00 pm; Saturday, December 3: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sunday, December 4: 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm
    From functional to freeform, one of a kind ceramic vessels and sculptures created by students and associates of The Art League will be for sale during our popular annual Holiday Ceramic and Pottery Sale. These unique works of art are perfect for holiday gift giving.

    Jewelry Show and Sale
    Friday, December 2: 12:00 noon – 9:00 pm; Saturday, December 3: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; Sunday, December 4: 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
    Back for the entire ArtFest weekend in 2011, The Art League’s Jewelry Show and Sale will showcase a variety of unique jewelry pieces created by Art League students. Find original, hand-crafted works of art to fit all tastes and budgets.

    We hope to see you there! There is more information on The Art League's website, and you can RSVP to the Facebook event here

    Exhibition and Residency Opportunities Nationwide

    Courtesy of

    Reality - MA
    Deadline: November 15, 2011. Caladan Gallery presents a juried exhibition entitled Reality. The bottom has dropped out of our conceived definition. If we see it, does it really exist? Caladan Gallery is asking you, voices of observation and opinion for a visual "heads up." What is reality? All media except video are eligible. Please go to: to download prospectus (click on "enter your artwork") OR write to: Caladan Gallery, Box 391939, Cambridge MA 02139 or call: 617.838.8929 for more information.

    9 x 12 Works on Paper Show - TX
    Deadline: November 15, 2011. The Fort Worth Community Arts Center announces an open call for entries; 2011 9 x 12 Works on Paper Show, December 10-29, 2011. Artworks on or of paper may be any size, but must fit in a 9 x 12 envelope; folded, 3D or multi-part OK. Unmatted, unframed photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media, cast or folded paper or digital prints OK (other materials attached OK). Original artworks only; no reproductions. Put artist's name, address, title and date of work and medium on back. No entry form. Open to all artists--no age or geographical restrictions. All artwork shown--no jury. Entry fee is $5US/piece; 5 entries max. All artwork for sale for $100 US; artist gets 80%. Unsold works with SASE will be mailed; no metering. Send entries, entry fee by check or M.O. to 9 x 12, FWCAC, 1300 Gendy, Ft Worth, TX 76107. More information available at or; prospectus at

    Altered States: Photography Based Images - PA
    Deadline: November 23, 2011. The Pocono Arts Council announces a call to photographers for a national juried photography exhibition, January 14 - February 27, 2012 at ARTSPACE Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA. $800 in awards. Juror: Harris Fogel, Assoc. Professor of Photography, University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Open call for entries of photo-based works which have been altered by the artist at any point during the photographic process. All content and photographic media are acceptable-alternative processes, traditional black and white, and/or digital methods. Additional artistic mediums, such as paint or found objects, are encouraged as long as the piece is photographic based. Student: $15 first two entries/$10 each add.; Adults: $20 first two entries/$15 each add. Visit website for prospectus at:, or send a SASE to: PoconoArts, 18 N. Seventh St., Stroudsburg PA 18360. Questions? Please contact Laura Goss at or call 570-476-4460.

    Creature Comforts - VA
    Deadline: March 2, 2012. Creature Comforts is an instillation and sculpture exhibition that explores the idea of the things that make us comfortable and at ease in everyday life. In modern day society many luxury items are considered a necessity and are difficult to live without. This exhibition will explore the artist's view on modern creature comforts, and society's dependence on the luxuries in life, and their residual effects. The jurors for this exhibition are Mary Cook and Allison Nance of microWave project llc. Founded in 2010, microWave project acts a conduit between artists and groups/businesses to provide space for temporary, pop-up, "micro" galleries. Their mission is to help promote these artists and educate the community by exploring alternative venues for emerging & established artists with an emphasis on site-specific installation art. By developing programming to correspond with the exhibitions, they provide accessible art experiences to the public and encouraging community dialogue. Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton, VA 22079.

    Many more listings after the jump:

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    For College-Bound Arts Students: Portfolio Development Nov. 29

    Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida will be at The Art League Gallery on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. This workshop will discuss aspects of how to create a successful portfolio for college-bound students. Check out this short video from the Ringling College of Art and Design about what makes a good portfolio:

    Help The Art League

    The City of Alexandria is participating in a survey by Americans for the Arts to study the economic impact of arts on the city. Whether you've taken an Art League class or attended one of our events, please do a favor for The Art League and local arts by filling out this pdf and emailing it back to us (or bringing it by in person).

    All responses are confidential. Please answer each question and return it to The Art League. Thank you!

    Upcoming Art League Events

    There's no shortage of excitement at The Art League this week as we prepare for some workshops and demos, FotoWeekDC events, and a fresh coat of paint for the gallery. Details below!

    To register for workshops, please call the gallery at 703-683-1780, or e-mail us at Space is limited.

    Gallery closing: Artists with work on display in October exhibits need to pick up their work Sunday, November 6 from 2:00–6:00 pm. The gallery will be closed Monday to prepare for the next month's exhibits (below). This also means it's your last chance to see this month's exhibits!

    "Small Works" November exhibit
    The Art League's popular annual show highlights smaller works of art. Receiving is Monday, November 7, 6:30–8:30 pm and Tuesday, November 8, 10:00 am–12:00 noon. The opening reception for the show is Thursday, November 10, 6:30 - 8:00 pm. More details on entering are here.

    "What Art to Wear" November exhibit
    This wearable art exhibit features fine art that can also be worn. Receiving is Monday, November 7, 6:30–8:30 pm and Tuesday, November 8, 10:00 am–12:00 noon. The opening reception for the show is Thursday, November 10, 6:30 - 8:00 pm. More details on entering are here (bottom of the page). "What Art to Wear" was featured in the Washington Post's Going Out Guide.

    Winter Light Photography Walk with Frank Fierstein
    Saturday, November 5, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

    Join a local abstract photographer, Frank Fierstein, on a walk through Old Town Alexandria. The session will start behind the Torpedo Factory with a brief discussion on how to use the beautiful fall light to improve the quality of your photographic images. He will also discuss how to use your camera lens to change and improve the quality and impact of your images. The walk will start traveling through Alexandria's picturesque streets, alleys, shoreline and walkways. It will conclude with a brief critique, question and answer session back at The Art League. Digital as well as film photographers are welcome. In case of rain, please bring appropriate clothing. Part of FotoWeek DC.
    Encaustic Demonstration with Jackie Hoysted
    Saturday, November 5, 1:00–2:00 pm
    Jackie Hoysted — whose solo exhibit, "Input Output," wraps up on Saturday — demonstrates the use of encaustic, a paint made with beeswax.

    Photoshop for Beginners with John Burgess
    Tuesday, November 15, 1:00–4:00 pm
    Join photographer John Burgess for a demonstration on using Photoshop for beginners. Burgess will also discuss how to create CDs for digital entries and how to correctly size your images for digital exhibit submissions. This workshop is appropriate for those who have no experience with Photoshop. Part of FotoWeek DC.

    by Alison Duvall
    Exhibition Prints Using Color Management and Jet Ink Printers
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 1:00–4:00 pm
    Join photographer John Burgess for a repeat of his popular workshop on how to create accurate color photographic prints using tools to calibrate your monitor and printer. Part of FotoWeek DC.

    Registration for Winter Term starts November 7
    Winter classes at The Art League School start January 9, but you can register starting Monday to ensure you have a spot in the class you want. Mosaics, tapestry, stained glass, jewelry, drawing, painting, weaving and much more is offered — over 200 classes and workshops are listed on The Art League website.

    You can keep up to date on Art League events by checking our calendar.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Upcoming Ceramics Workshop

    Potter Simon Levin will be teaching a weekend workshop for The Art League, "Methods of Expression in Clay," in January. We asked Simon about his ideas for the class and what we could expect. His answers are below.
    Class description: "Art is communication. Art explores an idea. This hands-on workshop employs a variety of exercises to clarify and express participants’ ideas in clay. Attention is paid to evoking new ideas and discussing the importance of work endowed with meaning. Methods of expression with clay are explored, pushed, and challenged, and critique is taught and employed. Intermediate knowledge of clay work and a sense of humor are required."
    by Simon Levin

    What am I hoping for in this workshop? I often think we aren't short on ideas, that inspiration to come up with ideas, though valuable, is not enough. Often in refining and plumbing the depths of our ideas is where the work lies, and we need inspiration to do that work. Many great ideas are discounted, or undeveloped. It is my hope that students will take from this work the skill set to clarify and layer their work with their ideas, as well as the energy and passion to do so.

    Why am I a fan of wood-fired kilns in particular? I can certainly draw a similarity between a good workshop and the wood-firing process. I fell in love with the colors and surfaces that can be evoked from raw materials in a wood kiln. My work has become about layering the feeling of those surfaces into the form, clay treatment, volume, curve and texture of the work. Wood-firing in no way is the right choice for any work, nor can it make bad work good. But the ideas that excited me, that I felt inspired to plumb were about the way flame moves over the work, the narrative it leaves and the intimacy of connection to the work that results from the labor intensive process.
    by Simon Levin
    Why do students need to be prepared with a sense of humor? Well it's a good survival technique for one. Secondly humor is a great tool to bring honest appraisal past insecurity. Humor opens doors that are closed when we take ourselves too seriously. The role of critique is to refine and develop a message, to let the maker know what other's hear, to give the maker the gift of another person's sight. Having a sense of humor helps on the journey. In addition I love to laugh.

    Sound like fun? You can register at The Art League's website.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    The Art League's Plein Air Painters Visit Norfolk

    The Art League Plein Air Painters, a group formed this summer, made it down to Norfolk last month for a plein air event, the fifth annual "Out & About Norfolk." October 20 and 21, painters around the city worked at their easels, including AL Plein Air Painters Bobbi Pratte, Jill Banks, David Diaz, Jo Ellen Murphy, and Lynn Mehta. They all won awards!

    Bobbi Pratte painted Hermitage Rose Garden, which won the Juror's Choice Award.
    "Out & About Norfolk" is a yearly juried paint out. You can see the award winners here. Works from the event are on view Thursdays through Sundays until November 20. Details are on the event website.

    Art League Plein Air Painters Jean Schwartz and Jill Banks have also been selected for the American Artists Professional League 83rd Grand National Exhibition, which opens today and runs through Nov. 11. Jean also reports that she has been juried in as a Salmagundi Club member.


    Art on the Rocks 2011: Photos and Winners

    Last week, The Art League hosted Art on the Rocks, challenging six bartenders from local restaurants to create original drinks inspired by works in The Art League Gallery. The six bartenders went all-out to create memorable cocktails — five liquid, one solid — and their work paid off, and made voting for the winner that much more difficult. As attendee Bradley Austin put it after trying two drinks, they were “just weird enough.”

    “You want to have something interesting and different,” he said.

    Trae from Chadwicks, last year's winning mixologist, serves up his new mixed drink.
    Chris Kirby from Austin Grill concocted the Green Glacier, featuring triple sec, gin, vodka, rum, Sprite, and Midori, a melon liqueur. Chris said the creation was a group effort, and that the restaurant wanted the drink to look — and taste — green, to match its inspiration, a photograph of the Aurora Borealis by Richard Mallory Allnutt.

    Attendee Jessica Pitts said she found the Green Glacier very summery — “perfect for a tailgate.”

    Chris Kirby, right, from Austin Grill, brought his Green Glacier.

    Steve Warner of Columbia Firehouse tops his White Russian Marshmallows.
    Steve Warner of Columbia Firehouse said he chose Equipoise by Joyce McCarten because he has always gravitated toward texture. His cocktail was also “a textural exercise” — a Kahlua-laced marshmallow topped with Kahlua sauce, vodka foam and raspberry powder. Steve said the painting’s play with relief and texture inspired him to take something liquid and make it solid.

    Tim from Hank's Oyster Bar makes apple twists.
    Voting was no easy matter.
    Lee Carrell of Hank’s Oyster Bar said of his inspiration, Posed by Michele Hoben, that when he first saw it, “it reminded me of a candle freshly blown out.” He wanted to capture his smoky, sultry impression in his cocktail, which incorporates a spritz of mezcal in the glass — it causes the drink to evolve as it’s experienced, like a work of art, Lee said.

    People must have liked what they experienced, because at the end of the night, they voted Hank’s one of two winners in a nail-biting tie. Justin of the Light Horse Restaurant, who demoed his Summertime Anytime cocktail for us, was the other winner. (Their acceptance speeches are on our YouTube page.)

    Holly Nunn tasted Justin's melon-based creation and decided that, in addition to the great blend of fruits, the mascarpone rim grounded the drink. Michelle Lore and Cindy Lamons struggled to decide between Lee’s cocktail at the Hank’s table and the basil-topped Wren at RedRocks Pizza Napoletana. The deciding factor tipping them in Lee’s favor, they said, was the thought he put into drawing inspiration from the painting and crafting a complex drink.

    Justin and Lee will each get a trophy — and bragging rights, until next year.

    More photos after the jump:

    Artist Opportunities: Call for Entries and Residencies Talk

    Gallery West in Alexandria is announcing a call for entries, and Hamiltonian Gallery in DC is hosting a talk on artist residencies. Details below:

    Call for entries — Deadline Nov. 11: Gallery West is pleased to announce a call for entries for its 15th annual national juried show. The all media show will be juried by CD, awards to total $1000. It will be juried by Edward J. Reed. Exhibit Dates: February 8, 2012 – March 4, 2012. For more details, review the prospectus and entry form at

    "Artist Residencies: Where to find them, what to get out of them" — Nov. 8 at 7 pm: Artist residencies offer many different styles and models of support that provide artists of all disciplines with dedicated time and space for their creative work. Some are active centers for public programming and artistic community, and others offer solitude and retreat.
    Our speakers will share their experiences and perspectives from an emerging artist, an established artist and a residency director on the art of finding a residency program. The panel will provide an in-depth cross section of the benefits and impacts of artist residencies and address preparedness, finding the right fit and how to get the most out of the experience. RSVP to

    The Professional Development Speaker Series is a succession of lectures and workshops given by established artists and art professionals to aid in the artistic and entrepreneurial development of all Hamiltonian Fellows and other emerging artists. All talks begin promptly at 7pm and take place at Hamiltonian Gallery, 1353 U Street, NW Washington, DC 20009.

    Winter Painting Retreat in the Bahamas Almost Sold Out

    "I think the Bahamas the best place I have ever found." — Winslow Homer
    Has the approach of winter got you singing the blues? Escape the cold and gray and add some color to the season with The Art League's upcoming travel workshop to the Bahamas this February.

    A landscape of Elbow Cay by Susan Abbott
    But don't expect just a vacation.

    "We work really hard," says Susan Abbott, the instructor for the trip. "They're very active workshops." Instead of superficially experiencing the Bahamas, traveling as an artist means being actively engaged with one's surroundings, she says — a traveler, not a tourist. “My teaching is focused on composition and color, and also developing a personal response to landscape,” Susan says. 

    Each day includes a morning and afternoon plein air session, about three hours each, and a critique at the end of the day.

    Painting with a parasol on last February's trip. Photograph by Susan Abbott
    There's plenty of inspiration to fill those sessions, as Winslow Homer found with his famous watercolors of the Bahamas. The narrow island of Elbow Cay, where the workshop is held, features water on both sides — bay on one side, ocean on the other — not to mention the compelling architecture. Hope Town on Elbow Cay, which was featured in the Washington Post this month, was settled by Americans loyal to the crown during the Revolution, resulting in the curious sight of New England-style homes painted in tropical colors.

    "Sponge Fishing, Nassau," by Winslow Homer, 1885
    This winter, the long-running Bahamas workshop will take place February 9–14. This is Susan Abbott's third year as instructor, but before she took over, Ross Merrill ran the workshop. He was Chief of Conservation at the National Gallery and taught courses at The Art League before he passed away last year.

    Susan, who is based in Vermont, also has upcoming travel workshops in Vermont and Provence, France, in addition to local workshops this March on color theory for painters and on traveling with a sketchbook in Old Town Alexandria.

    Visit The Art League's website for more information on the Bahamas workshop and how to sign up. Spaces are almost sold out!