Local Attractions: Beyond Our Doors

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Welcome to our new blog series in which we will take you around our area.

What can we say about our quaint little community known as Old Town? Old Town is the historic center of the city of Alexandria, Virginia or as we like to call it, Extraordinary Alexandria. It’s a community filled with good food, high energy, historic significance, unique shopping, and vast amounts of art and culture. It’s only a few minutes outside of our nation’s capital and exhibits a life of its own. The people of Old Town are often on the lookout for exciting, interesting, and extraordinary activities. Locals are always willing to attend events centered around entertainment, delicious food, strong spirits, the arts, and good company. The local businesses, restaurants, galleries, institutions, and event venues host functions that bring tourists and locals into their spaces. There is always something worth attending here in Old Town, the surrounding neighborhoods, and Washington D.C.

A few examples:

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Port City Brewing Company

  • Our nearby brewery, Port City, presents a variety of attractions, which highlight music, art, food, and their featured craft beers.
  • The local art center, the Torpedo Factory offers public attractions with various themes on the 2nd Thursday of every month, holds a number of art exhibitions in their Target Gallery, and many other featured events.

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    Torpedo Factory Art Center

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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Our gallery resides on the central and most engaging street in Old Town, King Street. Therefore, it’s important for us to support surrounding businesses and remain in touch with our community. As a neighborhood business we want to draw attention to the local attractions in our area, attractions our visitors and audience will find to be relaxing, compelling, captivating, and enjoyable for everyone. We want to reach out, bring visitors into our space and beyond, which is why in addition to our gallery posts we will also be creating Local Attraction posts. This way visiting the Principle Gallery becomes more than simply a visit to an art gallery, but an overall dynamic experience in Old Town.

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Principle Gallery, Main Exhibition Space

If you have any suggestions for posts or know of any events in our area, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our exhibition page contains a listing of all of our upcoming events, so please feel free to share them with your friends! Our gallery space is available as a venue for your private or business events! If you’re interested in renting our space, please visit our rental page.

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King Street: Photo courtesy of Visit Alexandria

 

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The Sailing, Selling Stobart

Well-known for his art on maritime adventures, the realist painter John Stobart also had a knack for selling these watery works. As is typical with any other artist to sell his or her works, this new Principle Gallery artist was an especially savvy salesman.

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“The Whaling Bark, Charles W. Morgan,” 24×38, Oil on linen, Principle Gallery in Charleston

Realizing his potential and profitability in the arts after his time at London’s Royal Academy Schools in the late 1940s, he showcased smaller paintings displaying the local landscape which sold fairly well. He had noticed from this venture that paintings portraying recognizable landmarks and familiar scenes appealed to his local customers. So, maybe this is where his knack started?

On his voyage to South Africa in the 1950s to meet his father, Stobart then departed from this genre to paint scenes of what he is now known for today – those of ports enriched with color and astonishing realism. He was inspired to both sketch and paint the ports and vessels wherever he docked, eventually getting the idea to sell these pieces as calendars and interior decorations to those working within the maritime industry. Here, Stobart’s artistic passion and salesman-like nature proved very promising in the long haul.

After making a name for himself in places like London and Toronto, Stobart went to the United States with only four paintings in his hand to see if he’d have as much luck as before. His different take of promoting patriotism through recognized scenic ports put him above and beyond other maritime painters to the point that he was offered his own show by the Wunderlich family almost immediately after his arrival – later he would have seven sell-out shows with the help of this established family.

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“Unloading in Hong Kong, The Dashing Wave,” 18×24, Oil on linen, Principle Gallery in Charleston

But how did he come up with this strategy to quickly and easily sell his works? Stobart recognized the lack of familiar, patriotic painted marinas and sea vessels in the American art market, and then made the conscious decision- and possibly unconscious business move – to paint what no one else painted and what everyone wanted. Today his works, like the ones pictured above, are still incomparable in realistic representation of maritime harbors, historic ports, and seaworthy vessels.

As if meant to be, the Principle Gallery in Charleston is now happy to house some of these amazing works in an area similar to the waters Stobart so loved and admired. Feel free to visit the Principle Gallery’s website to have a look at Stobart’s works and see his mesmerizing seascapes for yourself!

Technique Tuesdays: En Plein Air

Technique Tuesday en plein air

What is it?

Today’s Technique Tuesday topic takes us on a trip to the great outdoors as we explore the world of Plein Air painting. The term “en plein air” is a French expression that translates to “in the open air.” It is used to describe the technique of painting outdoors, with the subject in full view of the artist. Although these days many artists work in their studios, often with photographs as reference, many artists still love to paint en plein air–especially landscape artists! When a landscape is created outdoors, the artist is often able to capture the space, the air, and the light more accurately than they could from a photograph alone. The task of plein air painting can be a bit tricky, as artists have to deal with obstacles like unpredictable weather and shifting light throughout the day. Many artists truly enjoy the challenge, though.

Examples from art history:

Painting outdoors has been done for a very, very long time, but it was not until the mid-1800’s that it had a true boom in popularity. After the introduction of paint in tubes and the “box easel”, an easel with telescopic legs and some storage capacity, painting outdoors became a lot more convenient, and the Impressionists were among the first to take advantage of the fact. As the growing movement of Impressionism was largely focused on looser representations focusing on light and color, plein air painting was the perfect method. Impressionists like Pierre-August Renoir, Claude Monet, and Camille Pissarro took advantage of the plein air painting technique, and the popularity soon spread across Europe and the Americas. Check out this neat plein air painting done by American artist Winslow Homer in 1868– not only is this a plein air landscape itself, but it depicts several other artists working en plein air as well!

"Artists Sketching in the White Mountains" by Winslow Homer

“Artists Sketching in the White Mountains” by Winslow Homer

Examples at Principle Gallery:

Many, many of our artists at Principle Gallery have painted outdoors, but some of them make special effort to do as much of their work en plein air as possible, to give their landscapes a real sense of freshness and life. Sometimes, as it’s understandably easier, artists will paint en plein air and create small studies, then go back to their studios to create a larger version of the work. Either way, it’s often easy to sense when observing a landscape whether the artist used the plein air painting technique in their work; the paintings seem so realistic and fresh, you can almost smell the great outdoors! Here’s a collage of several Principle Gallery artists who delight in working en plein air. Click on the artists’ names in the list below to view more of their amazing work on our website!

Plein Air Collage

 

(Upper left) Bethanne Kinsella Cople: Bethanne is a great lover of the plein air painting technique. She travels all over the country to paint different outdoor vistas with her signature lush and loose brushstrokes, and has experienced all the ways plein air painting can be both exhilarating and tricky–and sometimes bizarre! Once, when on a plein air painting retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Bethanne stepped away from her canvas for a few moments, only to turn around and find that an enormous bear had wandered up to inspect her work! (Not to worry, though, he soon moved along and Bethanne was safe.) Pictured: Bethanne Kinsella Cople’s “Tow’rd Some Far-Distant Wood”

(Upper middle) Lynn Boggess: As you may have noticed, we’ve just had an exhibition of Lynn’s work open this past week! It’s a great show, so be sure to click here if you haven’t yet checked it out. Lynn paints outdoors about three times a week in the woods of his native West Virginia, armed with canvas, paints, and cement trowels in lieu of palette knives, because they give him the flexibility he needs to create his vivid, thickly textured landscapes. Somewhat abstracted, though remarkably realistic at the same time, Lynn’s work has the true ability to make the viewer feel as though they’re truly out in the woods themselves. Pictured: crop of Lynn Boggess’s “2 January 2015”

(Upper right) Kevin Fitzgerald: Based on the eastern shore of Maryland, Kevin has some beautiful views right around him, so it’s no wonder that he enjoys taking advantage of them to create plein air works. Kevin often works in the method mentioned earlier, by creating smaller works en plein air and sometimes painting larger works in the studio based on those studies. Kevin’s work has an incredible sense of peace to it, as the colors and light are captured so beautifully at all different times of day and painted with a profound softness and grace. Keep an eye out, because we’re expecting a whole bunch of new paintings from Kevin within the next few weeks, as we prepare for his solo exhibition, opening March 20th! Pictured: Kevin Fitzgerald’s “Wheatfield Dawn”

(Lower left) Douglas Fryer: Currently based in central Utah, Douglas Fryer is well known for his incredible paintings, and his landscapes in particular. They have an ethereal, thoughtful quality to them that seems to at once capture a sense of stillness as well as the movement of the outdoors. Though he sometimes paints in the studio from photographs, Douglas excels at capturing landscapes en plein air, even occasionally participating in plein air competitions! His landscapes capture what he refers to as the “hidden poetry” in the places all around us, even those that may seem mundane at first glance. Pictured: Douglas Fryer’s “Autumn Memory, South Randolph”

(Lower middle) Gene Costanza: An artist who delights in the “painterly” application of oils, Gene focuses on a semi-Impressionistic portrayal of landscapes and man’s interaction with nature. Primarily self-taught, Gene shifted his career to painting after spending over 20 years in law enforcement. Using the discipline and patience developed during his time on the force, he now creates landscapes with a soft yet vivid atmosphere to them, inviting the viewer to “step into” the scene themselves. Gene will be part of a two-person exhibition called “Coastal Light,” coming up at Principle Gallery Charleston in March, so check out this link to see his new works! Pictured: crop of Gene Costanza’s “Winter Creek”

(Lower right) Sergio Roffo: Sergio Roffo was born in Italy, later immigrating with his family to Boston, MA. He currently resides on the Massachusetts coast, where he paints his incredible coastal landscapes and nautical scenes. With an elegance and freshness, Sergio captures the light and texture of his coastal environment in his beautiful paintings. Sergio will also be exhibiting with Gene Costanza in the upcoming “Coastal Light” exhibit at Principle Gallery Charleston next month–view it here! Pictured: crop of Sergio Roffo’s “Daily Catch”

 

Studio Selfie Saturday: Lisa Gloria

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It’s an absolutely gorgeous Saturday here in Old Town Alexandria! And as it’s Saturday, it’s time for another Studio Selfie. Today’s #StudioSelfieSaturday post features Illinois artist Lisa Gloria. A self-taught painter as well as a writer, musician, gardener, and mother of four, Lisa aspires to bring modern drama and aesthetics to her paintings of figures and still lifes. You can check out her available work here, but be sure to keep an eye out, as we’ll be getting new work soon–Lisa will be participating in September’s “Pay It Forward” show, where 10% of sales will be donated to one of five selected charities! We’ll be sharing more info about Pay It Forward in the coming weeks, so be sure to follow our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to keep up on the latest news!

10 Questions for the Artist

  1. Fill in the blank: Paint is ADDICTIVE
  2. Cats/Dogs? ONE BLACK CAT, HELLBOY. 
  3. Your first car: 1992 VW JETTA FIVE-SPEED. MAN. I LOVED THAT CAR.
  4. Favorite painting music: NEKO CASE
  5. Your “spirit animal”: JACK RUSSELL TERRIER, HAHA
  6. If you could time travel and witness an artist create their masterpiece, which work would you choose? HMMMMM. I THINK I WOULD LIKE TO HANG OUT WITH WATERHOUSE. THAYER WAS APPARENTLY ALLERGIC TO INDOOR HEATING, SO WATERHOUSE WOULD BE MORE HOSPITABLE. I WOULD LOVE TO WATCH HIM BALANCE THE COMPOSITION OF “EULALIA.” BEAUTIFUL.
  7. All time favorite movie: FIGHT CLUB.
  8. Place you’d love to travel to: ALL THE PLACES! EAT ALL THE FOODS!
  9. Morning person or night owl? YES. DEFINITELY.
  10. If I weren’t an artist, I think I’d be A WRITER? A HOMELESS WRITER? NO. A MERMAID. DEFINITELY.

 

Time & a “Traveller”

In the Golden Light

GC Myers has a fantastic blog which is updated almost every day. His ability to come up with interesting content daily about (mostly) art and music is something most bloggers could only hope to achieve. Today’s post sharest his 15th annual solo exhibition that we will be holding this June.

Click below to learn more!

Time & a “Traveller”.

Student Work: Rosie Revisited

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Anne Callahan, 15-year-old artist and friend of the gallery, painted a new version of Rosie the Riveter as a modern update on the iconic image.  Anne’s homage to Rosie, complete with Army fatigues and a green bandana, celebrates modern women fighting the war effort and acknowledges how far women have come since WWII.  Callahan, a junior at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, MA, completed the painting as a class assignment before US military officials lifted restrictions that prevented women from serving in combat roles. In an interview with Boston Globe’s Robert Knox, Callahan said she is “happy and excited” about the decision to allow women to apply for combat positions. See the full Boston Globe article here.

The iconic image of Rosie the Riveter depicts Rosie in blue coveralls and a polka dot headscarf. Rosie the Riveter was introduced during World War II as part of a publicity campaign in response to wartime labor shortages. Women were encouraged to fill predominately male roles in the workforce while their men were away at war. Rosie the Riveter symbolizes the changing attitudes of the female role during the time period and shows women as capable supporters of the war effort.

We love Anne’s creativity in depicting a historical image.  Well done!

Take a look at other WWII posters of women (maybe Anne can do a whole series!):

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New Talent: Linda Lee Nelson

This coming Friday, In addition to opening ’21 Nocturnes’ by Thomas Torak, we will also be introducing a great new artist to the gallery – Linda Lee Nelson.

Linda is from St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has worked in the creative market as an art director and account executive for firms specializing in marketing for public spaces. After several years of working for creative firms, and living in fascinating places like Paris, France, Linda decided to return to her roots as an artist.

She returned to painting full time in 2003. Finding her focus to be primarily portraiture and figurative pieces, Linda has found a delicate way to blend the two genres– creating fascinating pieces that are both a celebration of the individual and lovely for mass appeal.

Linda’s figurative works have been awarded by the ACOPAL, the Portrait Society of America, OPA, and BoldBrush.

Here is a preview of pieces on their way to the gallery:

Olympia by Linda Lee Nelson

Wassily Chair by Linda Lee Nelson

Art history buffs will appreciate Linda’s nod to Manet’s odalisque “Olympia”, and the familiar Bauhaus chair in these two paintings.  We were tickled pink when these images were sent to the gallery!  We can’t wait to see Linda’s paintings in person when they arrive later this week.

Please stop in to see this fabulously talented artist!