Art Howard County 2017 - Juried Exhibition


UPDATE: My piece "Wood and Lace" received "Honorable Mention!"


I'm so excited!! I was accepted into my first juried art show, "Art Howard County 2017" juried by Thomas Engleman, Gallery Director and Professor of Visual Arts, Howard Community College. All three of my submissions were accepted and are for sale. Contact me for more information: or 410-707-9246


The show takes place at the Howard County Center for the Arts and is put on by the Howard County Arts Council. The show runs from November 3-December 15th, 2017. The reception (which I will sadly miss) is November 10th, 6-8pm. (8510 High Ridge Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21043, 410-313-ARTS)


Be sure to take some time and check out the incredible works on display and support your local art scene!

Jumping in Head First; An Art Piece Like No Other (for me at least)

When I proposed this project almost two years ago I had not a clue as to who what I was getting myself into. My client, referred to me by Wendy Appleby, has lived in this house for over 20 years and hadn't figured out what to do with the giant overmantle that loomed over the front room. She is a collector of great art and owns a few Picasso's, Chagall's, and Matisse's. She also collects glass and so when I proposed  that we do an abstract glass piece she was sold. "Great!" I thought, then "What the hell did I just say I would do??" Paper template for glass

The first thing was to figure out if the glass could be cut in the way we wanted. I went to several places but the only folks who could help me out were Sherry and Len Berkowitz from Great Panes in Old Ellicott City. They had the glass water jet cut to my template. I was stoked that they were able to help me out. Its also nice to be able to use the talents of friends.



So on to the next task of figuring out how to go about executing what was in my brain. Enter my friend Annie Lemarie, an expert at gilding. I took a trip out to her house in Sharpsburg and spent the day playing in her studio. She lives directly across the street from the Antietam Battlefield, a beautiful setting for a fun filled day. We figured out the method of application of colors and metals, an oil based paint would suffice.

Back to the studio and my friend Ewan Tulis constructed this easel that would serve to allow me to study the front as I was working along. I had to work on the back, a technique called "reverse painting" or "reverse gilding." I was essentially flying blind with the first layers of color. It looked so awful until the leaf and mica powders were applied. Then the whole thing came to life.







Finally, the last task was mounting it. Bill Knapp, yet another friend, who works in found object metal sculpting, built an armature that would allow the glass to be suspended from the wall as if it were floating. It was heavy and would be hung on a travertine tiled wall. We couldn't really figure out where the studs were so we hoped that when the client decided she was going to replace the wood burning fireplace with a gas insert that we were going to be able to look up inside to see where we were going to tap in. Luck was not in our favor but thankfully the way Bill made the armature, our pilot holes would be covered over.

Ewan doing his thing

Finally! The day came for it to be installed. Ewan and his assistant Matt worked smoothly and professionally to place my work perfectly over the fireplace. It was such a treat to see it in its place after so much planning and work.

Ewan and Matt working on installing the final piece.



The best compliment came from my client when she said, "That's cool as S***!" I laughed out loud. The icing on the cake was an email she sent that evening. "[My husband] walked in the door and saw the painting and his comment was "spectacular"! He sat down on the sofa, stared at the painting and said to tell Dee the painting was well done. The funniest comment he had was that it is a lot more colorful and stands out more than what we had before. I laughed and told  him I sure hope so because there was nothing on the wall before. It is truly am amazing piece of art!"

That makes me happy.

Getting Back My Mojo

As promised, I am posting some shots of the progress on my first "for-me" painting. I'm really excited an have gotten some good feedback on Facebook and in person. IMG_1517




Here it is today. Still have a bit to go, haven't touched the foreground yet. The lower portion of the window and the chairs are still incomplete.  Moving along though and it feels great. I'm tossing around a few ideas on a name but am open to suggestions. Thoughts?


Also, in the studio, my good friend and fellow artist Stacey Olson Sachs has me working on one of her commissions. We are learning a lot from one another. I helped achieve the effect for the background using a parchment type glazing treatment as well as the map and gradation of the blue sky that fades out. In exchange, I am learning to "see" more than what actually in a reference photo. I am earning my Artistic License!


I will be helping install this first half coming up on Friday. There will be a second part to this leading in from the left that will tell the story of people in West Africa contracting the parasitic disease known as Shistosomiasis.  Biomedical Research Institute does research for this disease and harvests affected snails (part of its life cycle) which they supply to other researchers for drug development. Vaccine development is what they're aiming for in their future. It will be installed in their lobby. Stacey has a background in Medical Illustration and so this is right up her alley.


Its been the perfect way to get back into working again, we have lots to talk about including work, philosophy, and family! And the best part is all I have to do is show up and paint! Stay tuned for photos of the installation. Follow on facebook too!

A Portrait Project - Finding my Footing

A few months ago Pam Long of Pam Long Photography approached me about doing a joint project.  Pam is a wonderfully talented photographer with a studio on Main Street in Historic Ellicott City. She does maternity portraits, newborn or children portraits, family portraits and high school seniors' portraits. Pam wanted to offer a new package option for her clients, having their portrait painted. That's where I come in! Untitled

We had a photo session back in February. Ill be honest, I didn't know what to expect since its not every day that I have my photo professionally done.  Pam was very welcoming and complimentary, immediately putting me at ease. We had a great time and did a few different set ups. About a week later, I came back to go through the lot and choose a handful that could potentially work for our project. I was surprised at how well they turned out given the subject matter ;) I tend to be goofy and and self conscious when having my picture taken.


With each new painting  there is an element of excitement, anxiety, and sometimes fear. Portraits are not easy, especially when they are for a paying client. Careful attention to detail is a must, and sometimes the client will be choosy in how they are portrayed.  Remember the whole Kate Middleton portrait kerfuffle? I thought the work was stunning and captured her essence, but most people wanted an idealized image that they had conceived in their minds. You can't please everyone, but you must please the client! In this case the client is me. And its super hard!!

My Portrait




I've always painted in acrylic and this time I've been using my usual standard, Proceed Slow Dry Fluid Acrylics. I did use a different kind of canvas since I was out of the kind I normally use. Somehow I think the combination isn't working very well. I find it difficult to build layers without cutting through the subsequent layers. I also am finding that for this particular project that the paints are drying to opaquely and flat.

What I've been noticing now that I'm working on this is how in other artists' portrait work the colors of the skin are so varied and deep.  Cerulean blues, cadmium reds, all layered to achieve such a beautiful luminosity. I tend to mix a color, add white and either burnt umber or raw umber to it to get the value correct, and put it down. The results are very opaque. I am struggling to find how to layer the colors to achieve that beautiful depth. I did some thinking and believe that I am going to try out oils. I've never been properly schooled in their use, but I have used them in the past. I'm hoping that by using oils I'll be able to achieve the subtle nuances with the shadows and richness of the skin.

Ill post some more photos when I think its nearing completion. Any advice or constructive critique is welcomed.

Stay tuned!

An Insider's Look at the "Make Room" exhibit at the ACC show in Baltimore

beforeBefore, a 10x10 box.

This past February, Paula Henry asked me to create a piece for her "Make Room" exhibit at the ACC show in Baltimore. Its essentially a "white box challenge" where designers are offered a few pieces by artists exhibiting in the show.

paula acc

The finished room.

Paula chose the cocktail table and two chairs to inspire her design. In addition, they were given a theme; this year's being "Entertainment." To add to this theme, I decided to do a dynamic painting of glasses and bottles in a limited color palette to convey the feeling of celebration and excitement.

the partyThe piece measures 36"x48". It is currently available. (can be hung vertically also.)

paula with the mayorWe had a great time, even the mayor stopped by!

me, gael, paulaGael Summerhill of Summerhill Cabinets, Paula Henry of Simply Put Interiors, and myself.