Celebrating 25 Years

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Principle Gallery Alexandria opened its doors on April 4th 1994! The gallery was first located at 315 Cameron Street here in Old Town Alexandria. After about two and a half years on Cameron Street, Michele, our fearless owner, moved to 208 King Street, and has been here ever since.

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It’s 25 years later and Principle Gallery is still the place to go if you’re looking for great events and want to see exceptional art! Friday evening we held the opening reception for our 25th Anniversary Invitational Exhibition. This new show is a celebration of Principle Gallery’s 25th year in Old Town Alexandria. We invited our roster of artists to participate in this momentous exhibition.

Participating Artists 25th A.

Twenty-eight of our world renowned artists provided us with a phenomenal collection of over seventy paintings! The great grouping of artists and celebrating the gallery’s 25th anniversary was an incredible draw. We had an enormous crowd Friday night filled with great friends and clients, who have stood by this business for all these years.


A couple participating artists were also in attendance! Gavin Glakas, Ben Barker, Jill Basham, Bethanne Cople, and Jeff Erickson came by to celebrate.


Friday night’s reception was sponsored by Van Gogh Vodka, who generously sent us a great selection of their speciality spirits! Throughout the evening we served complimentary Double Espresso Cocktails, which featured their Double Espresso Vodka, and Sunflower Spritz Punch, made with their Citroen Vodka, a zesty lemon lime combination.


We want to extend a very special THANK YOU to our dear clients, everyone who attended Friday night’s reception, and everyone who has attended all our exhibitions over the years. Of course, a HUGE thank you to all of our talented artists, who have provided us with exquisite art throughout the gallery’s 25 years. This business wouldn’t be where it is today, without all of you!


one of our favorite reception attendees, the fabulous Liza!

Currently featured in our 25th Anniversary Invitational:

ZBUKVIC Notre Dame 72

Joseph Zbukvic, Notre Dame, 18×28, watercolor on paper

EARLY Reckless Guilty Haze #1 72

Stephen Early, Reckless Guilty Haze #1, 8×8, oil on panel

GANDY_Sun on a Classic_72

Greg Gandy, Sun on a Classic, 24×30, oil on canvas

BARKER H Street Nocturne 72

Ben Barker, H Street Nocturne, 12×16, oil on board

ALBERTO Mending the Flag 72.jpg

Jorge Alberto, Mending the Flag, 28.5×25.5, oil on panel

MANN Another Montgomery Downpour

Jeremy Mann, Another Montgomery Downpour, 12×12, oil on panel

Rosemberg Female Nude Lilen 01 HR

Alejandro Rosemberg, Female Nude: Lilen 01, 16×31, oil on canvas on panel

JOHNSON_City Square_72

Geoffrey Johnson, City Square, 11×15, oil on board

BOGGESS 9 January 2019 72

Lynn Boggess, 9 January 2019, 34×30, oil on canvas


Martin Poole, Trio, 24×36, oil on panel

MYERS Sweet Seclusion sm

GC Myers, Sweet Seclusion, 12×6, acrylic on canvas

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Valerio D’Ospina, Warehouse, 48×32, oil on panel

MARTIN Breaking Clouds Over Prudence

Brian Martin, Breaking Clouds Over Prudence, 12×16, oil on panel

Our 25th Anniversary Invitational Exhibition is now ON VIEW!

Click here to view the entire exhibition and for inquires or to request the exhibition catalog please contact info@principlegallery.com

Current & Upcoming Exhibitions

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One-on-one with Gavin Glakas

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We are so fortunate to work with living artists, therefore we have the luxury to interact with them on a personal level. When I’m asked a question about an artist I really love to incorporate excerpts from any conversations I’ve had with that artist. I believe it adds a personal element, it makes the artist relatable, the human element is added and an existence is seen beyond the work of art.

In an effort to venture beyond merely sharing an artist’s biography, I put together a series of eight questions that explore a different side of our artists and shed light on the journey artists take to reach success. So, I hope you enjoy this blog series of one-on-one interviews!

First up, local artist Gavin Glakas!

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Gavin Glakas & his adorable son, Nico!

Gavin Glakas is an artist, husband, father, teacher, and an unstoppable force, who lives for art. He worked as a Senate Staffer on Capitol Hill for a year and a half. However, his career in fine art was realized after he suffered an eight month illness that culminated in the removal of a tumor from his lung when he was 24 years old. Ultimately, Gavin realized his true calling and has been creating art ever since.


Gavin painting in Turkey

Now Gavin gets to combine politics and art through his figure commissions! He is the man behind the portraits of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the architect of the U.S. Capitol, Stephen Ayers, former Governor of VA, Terry McAuliffe, Congressman Ike Skelton, and many more.

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The presentation of Harry Reid’s portrait; left to right, Gavin Glakas, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former VP Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Below is my series of questions and Gavin’s answers. Enjoy!

Q. Is there something that or someone who inspires you daily?

I’m inspired by everything all the time – experiences or ideas, anything I’m enthusiastic about from an examination of human nature, music, history, literature, current events, all of my artistic heroes – painters, illustrators, filmmakers, musicians, architects, writers –  to the people I love and encounters I have. The world I see is a fascinating and exciting explosion of wonder, exploration, learning, adventure, danger, love, heartbreak and limitless possibilities. I’ve always lived in this world through my art and it is a source of constant inspiration. It’s the feeling that life matters – the opposite of cynicism.

That’s why I’m so interested in depicting the society that we’ve built. We know that nature can be wondrous, but so can humanity. We’re inundated with negativity through the news and various forms of media, and lately I’ve been feeling like there are more horrible, unfeeling bastards out there than I initially may have thought, but we build incredible creations and do wonderful things for each other. I suppose that I have one foot in the “here and now” and one foot in the “what could be.”

Q. Is there a specific project, commission, personal creation, etc, that you are particularly proud of? What makes it so significant?

After college, I worked on Capitol Hill. I felt like a coward because I didn’t have the courage to pursue art full time and I had decided to take the “safe” route. I used to gaze longingly at the portraits on the walls of the US Capitol, which were constant reminders of the life I felt I’d turned my back on. 17 years later, my portrait of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was unveiled and placed on display in the Capitol. My grandchildren will be able to see it when they go up to visit. I felt like Douglas MacArthur returning to the Philippines. It represented a victory over cowardice for me. That felt good.

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Gavin with his portrait of former Senator, Harry Reid

Q. What does it mean to be creative and how essential is creativity to making a successful work of art?

To me, creativity means taking the world around us and all the preconceived notions we’ve amassed and building upon them – changing, tweaking, shifting and, most of all, improving them. Creativity is taking some idea we have about something and attempting to convey it, and if we can tap into the deepest recesses of our own souls while doing it, it will be unique and it might even be good.

Q. Which museum is your favorite to visit?

We’re so lucky in DC – we have the National Gallery, the Portrait Gallery, the American Gallery of Art, the Sackler and Freer Galleries of Asian Art – quite possibly my favorite of DC’s gems – but the museum that really inspired me to try to become a professional artist is the National Portrait Gallery in London. When I was studying painting in London, I used to venture in there whenever I could. If I had to be imprisoned someplace, it would probably be there.

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Gavin’s portrait of model Harry Edgel featured in The Yellow Barn Drawing Show, 2018

Q. What serves as your artistic motivation?

I’m overflowing with ideas and I just can’t wait to get them out and start experimenting with them.

Q. How do you sustain your ambition?

It’s frustrating because there’s only so much time in the day. Even if I live to be 130, I’ll have countless ideas that I haven’t brought to fruition and that feeling can be crippling. All I can do is work as hard as possible and remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.

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Demo at Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, TX

Q. Have you been faced with discouragement? If so, how did you overcome it?

Discouragement is part of the gig and it makes for great motivation. If positive reinforcement doesn’t get you to go back to work at 11:30 pm, when you’ve got a cold and you’re exhausted from standing up all day, maybe negative reinforcement will. All I can do is to work through it. That seems to be the answer to most of my problems – get back to work!

Q. In the beginning of your career, what was the best piece of advice you were given? Who gave it to you?

When I was getting started, my dad, a lawyer and Navy combat veteran, said, “Do what you love and the money will come.” Without that sentiment and encouragement from him and my mom, and the example they set in terms of hard work and high expectations, I wouldn’t be an artist.

Available Works by Gavin Glakas:

GLAKAS St. John's in the Late Afternoon 72

St. John’s in the Late Afternoon 24×16, oil on panel

GLAKAS Logan Street Sunset 72

Logan Street Sunset 24×16, oil on panel

St. John’s in the Late Afternoon and Logan Street Sunset will be featured in our upcoming 25th Anniversary Invitational Exhibition, opening on Friday, February 22nd with an Opening Reception from 6:30-9pm. Come join us in celebrating 25 wonderful years in Old Town Alexandria!

GLAKAS Off North Capitol Street 72

Off East Capitol Street 16×24, oil on panel

Industrial Brooklyn 72

Industrial Brooklyn 25×36, oil on panel

Glakas The Head that Wears the Crown 72

The Head that Wears the Crown 13×9.5, oil on panel

For inquiries please contact info@principlegallery.com and click here if you would like to view more work by Gavin!

Below is our schedule of upcoming events! All of our events are free & all are welcome!

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Small Works

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Happy December everyone! The holiday season has officially arrived, which means the days remaining to search for the perfect gift are crucial!


If you’re still trying to find gifts that will wow your friends and family, then you’re in luck! Yesterday we opened our Annual Small Works Exhibition, this exhibition celebrates the holiday season and small works of art that make the perfect gift.


This year’s Small Works exhibition features over 100 works of art by 27 different artists! Small Works is a collection of still lifes, figurative works, landscapes, and cityscapes, but each one is represented differently by each artist, no two works are the same. This way you’re guaranteed to find something for you or someone you know.


The Opening:

Yesterday’s opening was a great success and despite the unfortunate weather we had great attendance! We’re extremely grateful for everyone who ventured through the rain to see this year’s show and support the gallery, it means so much!


left, featured artist Teresa Oaxaca | right, featured artist Ben Barker

Guests and artists were able to escape the ugly weather and warm by the fire while sipping on hot apple cider or hot cocoa.

Bethanne Cople’s Painting Demonstration:

During the reception Alexandria-based artist, Bethanne Cople painted live in the gallery!


Bethanne painted a gorgeous, snow covered hillside and visitors were able to watch as it came to life!




Thank you Bethanne for a wonderful demonstration and creating such a beautiful painting!


Below are a few more photographs from the reception!





on the left, featured artist Teresa Oaxaca


former Senator John Warner


on the right, featured artist Gavin Glakas


left, featured artist Jill Basham

Currently Featured in Small Works:

ALBERTO Three Ladies 72

Three Ladies, 6.5×13, oil on panel by Jorge Alberto

BOHANNON Coronation_72

Coronation, 13.5×17, oil on panel by Candice Bohannon Reyes

CONARY Repose 72

Repose, 9×12, oil on panel by Scott Conary

Coonrod Stonefruit and Blueberries 72

Stone Fruit & Blueberries, 12×16, oil on aluminum by Trish Coonrod

D'OSPINA Studio di Poltrona 72

Studio di Poltrona, 12×12, oil on canvas by Valerio D’Ospina

EARLY Searching for Pockets of Humanity #2 72

Searching for Pockets of Humanity #2, 12×12, oil on linen by Stephen Early

JOHNSON 9 Horses 72

9 Horses, 14×23, oil on board by Geoffrey Johnson

LIBERACE Laughing Philosopher (Mennipus)

Laughing Philosopher (Mennipus), 10×8, oil on panel by Robert Liberace

COPLE In Silence They Speak Happiness 72

In Silence They Speak Happiness, 6×8, oil on panel by Bethanne Cople

Click here to view the entire exhibition and please contact us with any questions or inquiries! All of the paintings featured above are available for purchase. If you see anything on the exhibition page please contact info@principlegallery.com and we can provide the information you need!

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Happy Holidays from all of us at Principle Gallery!




Jeremy Mann: The Unbound Process

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This past weekend we celebrated the opening of Jeremy Mann’s first ever photography exhibition! However, before we dive into the excitement which ensued this weekend, I want to start this post with a quote from the Mann himself, describing how his work in photography is separated from the other mediums he works in. Photography is simply another continuation of his being.

The following quote is from an editorial in American Art Collector titled Unbound, which can be found in the November 2018 Issue.

Mann AAC Editorial Combined

view the entire article here

“I would say [the photography] is just another extension of me as an art form in the same way as my paintings and motion pictures, poetry and writing are as well. Each artist is just that, a single and unique perspective, contained within one mind and soul. It’s the choice to output that perspective, which makes a person an artist. Not being limited by a medium is the most free form of that expression, and while there are many ways to express yourself, finding a multitude of fundamentally similar ways helps perfect the language of art in which I’m trying my best express myself to the world.”

The Opening:

This past Friday, November 16th we hosted the Opening Reception for Jeremy Mann: The Unbound Process, a collection of original paintings and photographs. The exhibition primarily showcases Jeremy’s toned silver gelatin prints, which were created using his homemade cameras and self-constructed dark room.

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A few of Jeremy Mann’s homemade camera’s – photo by Courtney Chauncey

Guests mingled amid Jeremy’s perfectly displayed photographs and Jeremy moved throughout the gallery conversing with fans, collectors, and friends.

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photo by Courtney Chauncey


photo by Courtney Chauncey

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photo by Courtney Chauncey

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photo by Courtney Chauncey

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photo by Courtney Chauncey

Jeremy always brings a great crowd and guests are always thrilled to talk to him about his work and their love for his art.

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photo by Courtney Chauncey

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photo by Courtney Chauncey

The Artist Talk:

The next day… Saturday, November 17th, Jeremy returned to the gallery to prepare for his momentous artist talk. Together we transformed the gallery from an open viewing space into an intimate realm occupied by candles, cocktails, cigar box cameras, and classy company.


photo by Clint Mansell, Gallery Director


photo by Clint Mansell, Gallery Director

Lavender Infused Gin & Tonic

our specialty cocktail for the evening, a Lavender Hyssop TNT, created by Griffin McDermott

We did things a bit differently this year, in order to maintain the rapport Jeremy wanted for this discussion this event required an RSVP for attendance.

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photo by Courtney Chauncey

Jeremy took his audience on a journey that examined the progression of his career as an artist, what makes him stand out from so many others, his assemblage of homemade cameras, the creation of his film The Conductor, experimentation, theories, and so much more!

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photo by Courtney Chauncey & slightly edited by Taylor Chauncey, Jeremy Mann’s creation

Now I’m sure you’re wondering… what the heck did Jeremy say!? Unfortunately friends, I can’t share all the dirty details, but I can reveal a few key points. Above, I mentioned that Jeremy analyzed how his work sets him apart from many other artists. From graduate school at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco until now Jeremy Mann has created artwork that represents him, his style, rather than attempting to conform to something traditional or expected. Jeremy fully possesses the ability to adhere to the norm, but chooses to reject the usual because it doesn’t illustrate who he is as an artist, a mastermind, or a human. That’s the key to his success.

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photo by Courtney Chauncey

Another important thing you need to know about Jeremy is that he loves this sh*t, creating art is who Jeremy Mann is.

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photo by Courtney Chauncey, Jeremy Mann’s creation

The Photography:

It’s all about the reference. For awhile Mann used digital photographs as references for his cityscapes and figure paintings, but those images were too literal. Thus, he turned to film photography for reference material. Film and his homemade cameras produce images that fuel and support his aesthetic. The photographs currently featured in The Unbound Process are representations of Jeremy’s use of film photography in his painting process. However, this show highlights how they stand alone as works of art rather than simply stepping stones leading to the completion of an oil painting.

Now Showing:

The Kiss 72

The Kiss 16×12 (Edition of 2), toned silver gelatin print, 2 Editions Available

The Dreamer and the Dream 72

The Dreamer & the Dream 10.5×12 (Edition of 3), 6.25×7 (Edition of 7), toned silver gelatin print, Multiple Editions Available

Vatic 72

Vatic 15×14 (Edition of 3), 7.5×7 (Edition of 7), toned silver gelatin print, Multiple Editions Available

NYC 40

NYC 40 48×48, oil on panel

The Leaving Moon 72

The Leaving Moon 9×7.5 (Edition of 7), toned silver gelatin print, 7 Editions Available

Follow Jeremy Mann on Instagram @redrabbit7 and follow @feral.halide.7 to see more of his photographs.

AND Follow US @principlegallery to stay up to date on exhibitions, new arrivals, and other announcements!

Our Jeremy Mann Solo Exhibition, The Unbound Process will remain on view through the end of November so come check it out! If you are unable to make it into the gallery, don’t worry, you can click here to view the entire exhibition.

A HUGE Thank You to everyone who attended this weekend’s festivities, it was a pleasure having you all and THANK YOU Jeremy, we’re honored to host this very special exhibition.

Group Shot B&W

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Now Open! Gilbert Gorski’s Solo Exhibition,”The Space of Trees.”

Gilbert Gorski's

Today’s blog will discuss our current exhibition, The Space of Trees, a Solo Exhibition for the work of PA-based artist, Gilbert Gorski. Below you will find a brief bio on Mr. Gorski, a look into the reception we hosted on Friday evening, a link to our editorial in American Art Collector, and images of a few works currently featured in the exhibition. Now lets get started!


The Space of Trees, is NOW OPEN! The Opening Reception was Friday evening and we had an outstanding crowd. Visitors were thrilled to speak with Gil, and have the opportunity to discuss his technique as well as the locations he portrays in his compositions.


middle: the featured artist, Gilbert Gorski

About the Artist:

Gilbert Gorski is based out of Sarver, Pennsylvania and many of his paintings represent the surrounding areas near his home. He also creates compositions that merge the rural environment of western Pennsylvania with other areas the artist recalls simply from memory. Thus, some of his works represent specific places and others combine different locations into one ethereal framework.


Symphonica | 16×72, oil on linen

Gil received his Bachelor’s and Master’s from the Illinois Institute of Technology. In addition, he studied painting at the School of Art Institute in Chicago. Gorski successfully maintained a duel career as an architect and artist.


As an architect, Gorski designed the World Headquarters for the McDonald’s Corporation in Oak Brook, Illinois and the Oceanarium, which was a major addition to the John Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. He has also taught visualization techniques and design studios at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the School of Art Institute in Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame.



In addition to creating pointillist landscapes, Gil produces industrial etchings (shown above), which encapsulate the structure, grit, and allure of urban areas. He truly is an expert draftsman!




American Art Collector:

This exhibition is currently featured in the October 2018 Issue of American Art Collector. An editorial about the show titled, Woodland Works, can be found on pages 108-109. We still have a few copies left in the gallery!

Gorski Editorial Combined

“In his subtle paintings, Gorski employs thousands of sculpted brushstrokes that transcend the two-dimensional surface. “Paintings can be electric,” he says. “Historically, photography displaced painting, but photography has become so accessible it is now commonplace. Paintings by contrast remain special because they are singular works. They are communications with the artist.” – excerpt from Woodland Works

Click here if you would like to read the full article.

A few of the works currently featured in The Space of Trees:

Two Oaks 22 x 24

Two Oaks | 22×24, oil on linen

Skokie Botanical Gardens Lagoon 10x8

Skokie Botanical Gardens Lagoon | 10×8, oil on linen

Calmando 72

Calmando | 16×60, oil on linen

Gorski San Marco, Venice

San Marco, Venice | 7×9, etching

Gentiliana 16 x 72 LR

Gentiliana | 16×72, oil on linen

Oak Tress 12 x 18

Oak Trees | 12×18, oil on linen

Gorski Assimilation

Assimilation | 6.75×4, etching

Click here to be directed to the exhibition page on our website!

Thank you to everyone who attend the Opening Reception and a HUGE thank you to Gilbert Gorski for traveling from Pennsylvania to be in attendance. We greatly appreciate it!

Gilbert Gorski’s, The Space of Trees will remain on view until Tuesday, November 13th

Please email us, info@principlegallery.com, if you would like us to send you the Digital Exhibition Catalog, which includes images, dimensions, and prices.







What a Weekend!


We certainly had no shortage of art events in Old Town, Alexandria this past weekend! On Friday evening our Juried Exhibition with the Washington Society of Landscape Painters (WSLP) officially opened. We celebrated the exhibition with an Opening Reception here in the gallery that was tremendously attended! Artists, friends, families, and supporters filled our space with great energy and enthusiasm.


The Washington Society of Landscape Painters is one of the oldest active art organizations in the Washington metropolitan area. It began in 1913, and was established by Charles Seaton and Winfield Scott Clime. They became known as an unfastened group of artists, who called themselves the “Ramblers.” The WSLP is now 104 years old!



Jack Pardue (left) & Harry L. Jaecks (right) – WSLP Members & Featured Artists


bottom right corner – Edward J. Reed (left) & Andre Lucero (right) – WSLP Members & Featured Artists | middle – David Diaz (striped dress shirt) – WSLP Member & Featured Artist

On Saturday morning, a few of the featured artists hit the streets of Old Town. Each artist set up their easel at a different location and captured various Old Town staples en plein air. Christine Lashley, Nancy Tankersley, David Diaz, Nancy Wallace, Robert Thoren, Jean Schwartz, Jacalyn Beam, Hiu Lai Chong, and Gray Dodson are some of the WSLP members who participated in the demonstrations, below are images of their demo pieces, all of these works are available through us.


Market Square Farmers Market | 12×12, oil on panel by Jean Schwartz


Founders Park | 12×24, oil on panel by Christine Lashley


Dining Al Fresco | 11×14, oil on canvas by David Diaz

Beam_pleinair CROPPED

Two Flags | 9×12, oil on panel by Jacalyn Beam


Day of the Regatta | 11×14, oil on canvas by Nancy Wallace


Potomac Morning | 12×24, oil on panel by Nancy Tankersley


Viewers | 8×10, oil on panel by Gray Dodson


Potomac Breeze | 9×12, oil on linen by Hiu Lai Chong

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Old Town Waterfront | 12×16, oil on canvas by Robert Thoren


Old Town Nocturne | 10×8, oil on panel by Christine Lashley

Christine Lashley created her first piece Founders Park, outside at the break of dawn, and she painted her second piece Old Town Nocturne (above) here in the gallery! Christine worked on this painting from 10:30am until about 12:30pm.


Christine Lashley creating Old Town Nocturne


The finished product

While the other members of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters worked on their paintings outside, inside one of our longest represented artists, GC Myers, presented his annual artist talk!


GC Myers engaging with his audience while surrounded by some of his newest works!

Gary began speaking at 1pm on Saturday afternoon, he shared how his painting career began, inspirations for his work, how his style has developed over time, and answered questions posed by the audience. Throughout the talk visitors had the chance to enter our raffle, which gave everyone an opportunity to win either a free original GC Myers painting or a fun prize!


The artist surprised his audience by adding two more paintings to the raffle! Instead of bringing one painting, he brought three and three lucky audience members each won a painting. In addition to paintings, Gary also brought gift bags which included a coffee mug, two refrigerator magnet versions of two paintings, and an enamel pin. The 2018 GC Myers Artist Talk had such a wonderful turnout and we couldn’t have been more pleased!

After the talk and raffle wrapped up, guests walked around the gallery, took their opportunity to speak with Gary, and then we sold some paintings!

Concurrently, outside the 16th Annual King Street Art Festival took over king street and art lovers from all over fed their souls. The festival took place on Saturday and Sunday.


The 16th Annual King Street Art Festival (lower King Street)


The 16th Annual King Street Art Festival (upper King Street)

Overall, the entire weekend was sensational! A HUGE thank you to all of the participating members from the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, Jean Schwartz for helping us organize the exhibition, GC Myers for always bringing the sunshine and giving a fantastic talk! We’d also like to thank all of those who attended the reception, sought out the plein air demonstrations, came to support Gary, and all of our delightful clients. We couldn’t do it without you all!

Click here to view all of the works from the WSLP currently being featured. The exhibition will remain on view until Tuesday, October 16th, 2018.

Here is our schedule of events for the rest of the year:

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Local Attractions: The Renwick Gallery brings Burning Man to Washington D.C.

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Labor Day weekend has arrived and we’re sure you’re wondering how you’re going to spend your 3 glorious days off!

Here’s an idea! There’s an art museum filled with wonders residing just steps away from the White House. This institution known as The Renwick Gallery has the words “Dedicated to Art” carved above the main entrance and has maintained that mantra since its official opening in 1972. Currently the Renwick is featuring a remarkable exhibition called, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, which encompasses the entire museum.


view of the main entrance of The Renwick Gallery, photo courtesy of Google Images

Today’s blog will give you a brief look inside the exhibition, No Spectators, some background information on the Renwick’s rich history, and the take everyone on a trip to Nevada’s Black Rock City, the home of Burning Man. Everybody ready? Let the tour begin!

The History:

The Renwick Gallery is an extension of the Smithsonian and it’s the location of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s (SAAM) program of contemporary craft as well as decorative arts. The Renwick is a National Historic Landmark because it was the first building in the U.S. constructed with the sole intent to be a public art museum.


Renwick building, 1884, photo courtesy of SAAM website

It was meant to showcase the art collection of 19th century Washington native, philanthropist, banker, and avid art collector, Mr. William Wilson Corcoran. Mr. Corcoran felt recognizing the artwork of American artists and sharing them with the public would “encourage American genius.” The name Renwick Gallery originates from the architect Corcoran hired, Mr. James Renwick Jr. In 1858, Corcoran hired Renwick because he was familiar with Renwick’s design of the Smithsonian’s Castle.

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The Smithsonian Castle, 1847-1855, photo courtesy of Google Images

The design of the Renwick was inspired by the opening of the Louvre and the style of the Renwick building is called Second Empire architecture, which at the time was highly popular in France. The construction of the Renwick began in 1859 and went until 1873. The museum ran into numerous obstacles, which delayed opening for years. Once it was completed in 1874 it was referred to as “The American Louvre” and played a major role in proving Washington D.C. to be cultural territory.


interior of the top floor of the Renwick, photo by Ron Blunt, found on SAAM website

The history of the Renwick is so extensive, I can’t discuss the entire timeline here. If you’re interested in learning more about the museum’s history, click here to visit the SAAM website.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

What is Burning Man?

Once a year, thousands of people flock to Black Rock Desert in Nevada to construct Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where Burning Man comes to life! Burning Man is centered around self-expression, art, community, freedom, and all around positivity

The Burning Man Mission is to “produce positive spiritual change in the world…it is equally important that we communicate with one another, with the citizens of Black Rock City and with the community of Burning Man wherever it may arise.”


The Man will always Burn, photo courtesy of Google Images

Burning Man is a place where innovative minds can come together to celebrate their love for creativity.


“Love” by Alexandr Milov from Odessa, Ukraine, Burning Man 2015, photo courtesy of Collective Evolution

No Spectators:

Black Rock City is a hub of artistic genius motivated by The Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, Communal Effort, and Immediacy. This artistic brilliance is being recognized by the Renwick and now everyone can enjoy the mesmerizing creations artists bring to Burning Man.


The Ten Principles, on view at the Renwick Gallery, photo by Taylor Chauncey, PG Gallery Assistant

The exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man was made possible by Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft at the Renwick.

“No Spectators’ is a long-standing saying on Playa. You are encouraged to fully participate. It’s all about being there, being fully present, and not just observing. Two of the ten principles of Burning Man are radical participation and radical inclusivity, meaning that there are no outsiders. Everyone is part of the experience.” – Nora Atkinson


Nora Atkinson, photo courtesy of the Burning Man Journal

No Spectators features works, sculptures, costumes, and installations from 20 different artistic innovators; Gelareh Alam, Duane Flatmo, Marco Cochrane, FoldHaus Art Collective, Michael Garlington & Natalia Bertotti, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk & Serge Beaulieu), David Best (creator of Temple used in the very first image of this post), Richard Wilks, Aaron Taylor Kuffner and many many more!

All of the works featured in this exhibition are in some way interactive to encapsulate the “No Spectators” mantra.

Below is a brief look inside The Art of Burning Man:

Photo Apr 07, 12 47 59 PM

designs created by Gelareh Alam, photo by Taylor Chauncey, PG Gallery Assistant

Photo Apr 02, 12 07 04 PM

design created by Gelareh Alam, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 02, 12 06 59 PM

design created by Gelareh Alam, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 07, 12 39 46 PM

Paper Arch by Michael Garlington & Natalia Bertotti, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 07, 12 41 56 PM

detail of Paper Arch by Michael Garlington & Natalia Bertotti, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 07, 1 42 58 PM

Shrumen Lumen by FoldHaus Art Collective, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 07, 12 57 31 PM

Tin Pan Dragon, a 23-foot animated sculpture made of steel & recycled aluminum by Duane Flatmo, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 07, 12 45 30 PM

Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 07, 12 55 30 PM

Evotrope by Richard Wilks, photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 07, 1 29 30 PM

HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk & Serge Beaulieu), photo by Taylor Chauncey

Photo Apr 02, 12 57 07 PM

Gameltron by Aaron Taylor Kuffner, photo by Taylor Chauncey

I hope you enjoyed this little brief look into the Renwick and No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man! There is so much more to see so go check it out!

Note: the exhibition will close in two phases, please visit the Renwick Gallery/SAAM website by clicking here for more information.

Of course, come visit Principle Gallery as well since there’s no such thing as too much art! Here is our schedule of Upcoming Events!