Kensington Paint the Town Show 2016

IMG_1055IMG_1056IMG_1057IMG_1058Labor Day weekend is just 3 days away and it looks like we will have fabulous weather for the Kensington activities including Montgomery Art Association’s annual art show.

My idea for a Kensington themed painting was to do what many artists do, paint one of the quaint houses, with a twist. I chose four that had interesting architecture, color and roof lines and put them together. But now, I’m not sure which way to hang it! Come to the show and see which way I chose. It is always a great time to be in Kensington for the parade on Monday and the art show all weekend long. Have a great holiday!


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Spirit of Sandy Spring

Olney Art Association (OAA)
Art Exhibit
July 27 – September 24, 2016
Opening reception Thursday, August 4, 7 – 9 pm

How often do you drive through Sandy Spring on Rte. 108 and never think about the area and how it came into existence? Take a few moments to stop at the Sandy Spring Museum to see an exhibit of more than 40 pieces of artwork created by the artists of the Olney Art Association (OAA). You’ll learn a little about this lovely community as interpreted by our very talented neighbors.

OPENING RECEPTION: Join us on Thursday, August 4 at 7 – 9 pm. No reservation is necessary.

Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm •
17901 Bentley Road • Sandy Spring, MD 20860

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Old Spring House by Sara Becker


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Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital

Another show coming up this month is the annual juried exhibit at the Hill Center Gallery. I was selected to participate once again this year among hundreds of applicants. It is an honor to by chosen by the Juror Eric Denker of the NGA. I will be in attendance at the Opening Reception on Wednesday, June 29th, 6-8PM.Hill Center 2016 Regional Juried Exhibition

See below for a sneak peak at the painting, “Pathways” that was selected for this show. I hope to see some familiar faces at the opening!


Pathways, Mixed Media

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7 Palettes Show at Kentlands Mansion

Plein Air Paintings by the 7 Palettes will be exhibited at the Kentlands Mansion Gaithersburg, Maryland,

Summer of 2016.


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Lots going on for April

April has been a busy month for art. Along with starting a new session to work on abstracts at the Yellow Barn, there was a week dedicated to plein-air painting. My group, the 7 Palettes, organized a workshop to be held at the Hallowood Retreat Center in Comus Maryland. We flew in a well-known California plein-air artist, Terry Muira.  He was a fabulous teacher and we all benefited from his instruction, demo’s, and slide shows. The result was clear in our final pieces.  It was a beautiful setting, although a slight bit chilly, and we enjoyed the early spring that gave us some juicy colors or green, pink, white and more. 13062512_10205871445096458_8358068665148329519_n

I am also working on a commission piece for a neighbor friend who owns a local cake bakery. It will be a collage painting of her life story, to date.  It has been an interesting and fun challenge to incorporate all the things that are special to her. More on that later…


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FullSizeRenderThe latest work is a spray paint based piece with several layers of colors. After priming with yellow spray paint the next layer was blue sprayed over a stencil type found material. Then another layer of yellow/white and then another layer of different stencils (handmade) in red. You can see all of these layers in this first photograph. The red on top of the ultramarine blue created a nice violet.

image1After playing around with the shapes and adding some yellow ochre lines with fluid acrylics it stared to appear too busy and needed another swath of yellow to quiet things down. I got my stencils back out and reapplied them in slightly different areas than before.  Then I was back to a more unifying color schema. Unfortunately I did not take a picture after this 5th layer of spray paint.  It would have been a useful photo reference for when I got a little off track with my adjustments after the yellow layer.

When I received feedback that the artwork had lost its nice spray paint nuances, it was time to get the stencils out once again.  They were getting a little hard to work with since they were just pieces of heavy paper and light cardboard and had started to get torn. Nonetheless I was happy that I’d kept them because they allowed me to re-rescue a painting that was in danger of being overworked.

IMG_0259More work to make sure the flow patterns were good has gotten me closer to where I am satisfied with the result.  Only a little more work is needed at this point. There always seems to be at least one small area that proves challenging to get just right!

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New Piece Has Been A Long Time Coming

One of the questions most often asked is, “How long does it take to make an abstract painting?” Here’s an example of one that has taken a long time to complete. This piece was started last year and is intended to be a companion piece to 2 other pieces previously finished.


1st Draft

After choosing a palette of earthy colors I put the first strokes onto the canvas. From there it started to evolve with more definition and added texture but lost its sense of freshness.


2nd Draft

After a long time of letting the painting rest, I decided I didn’t really care for the way it had developed in terms of colors and size of the repeated patterns. It was just kind of blah. So, I made the decision to adjust the color scheme to a higher chroma orange with darker purpler areas. The change was striking. The previous design seemed uncertain and without  clear direction. Now a design with connections was emerging.


The next step was to add more texture and unify the colors.  Adjustments to color intensity began. I turned the painting to make sure I was working with the right flow pattern.


The bright purple wasn’t working with the high chroma orange and needed to be toned down. A more definitive path was created through the composition with a darker, flatter, violet. This created more space and added dimension.


It’s time to let the painting rest a while now. A little more work needs to be done in the middle left edge but that will have to wait.  In a few weeks I will have a fresh eye to return for the final touch ups.  More to come….



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Upcoming Exhibit ~~ Brushes with Nature ~~ at Brookside Gardens

Source: Upcoming Exhibit ~~ Brushes with Nature ~~ at Brookside Gardens

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Gallery B Show January 2016

Five artists, including myself, have been hand-selected to exhibit in the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District’s “Gallery B” for the month of January 2016. Here’s the particulars.

GENESIS: Fresh Impressions
Gallery B Art Exhibit, January 6-30, 2016
Artists: Sara Becker, Barbara Mandel, Sam Miller, Jeanne Powell & Ann Schaefer
Opening Reception during Art Walk, Friday, January 8th, 6-9 PM
Private Champagne Reception, Sunday, January 10th, 2-5 PM

7700 Wisconsin Ave, Suite E
(Inner courtyard)
Bethesda, MD 20814
Gallery Hours 12-6PM, Wed-Sat

I hope to see many friend’s at one of the art receptions or over the course of the month.  As our exhibit title suggests, we will be celebrating in the style of a fresh new year.  Here’s sneak peak at one of the abstracts I will be showing.

Tango Tangle, Mixed Media

Tango Tangle, Mixed Media

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Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C.

Preparations for the 2015 MPSGS Show are in full swing. I have finished my paintings, 1 acrylic and 2 gouaches. The acrylic beach chairs came from my February vacation down to the Florida Keys. The gouache of the old man sitting outside a small store came from my painting trip to Granada, Spain in April. The gouache of my black lab, Pepper, with my then 2 year old niece, is from an older favorite photo.  As you can see, Pepper has a lot of “salt” in her fur these days but my niece still loves her like crazy.  Jury for the miniature show is this coming weekend and the show will be hung in mid-November. I am hopeful all three make it into the show. In between, I will be participating in a Yellow Barn Show on October 10th and 11th and then an Olney Art Association Show starting on November 7th.

Keeping Vigil, 2 3/4 x 4 1/4; Summer Seating, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4; Pepper & Briley 3 x 4 1/2.

MPSGS Show 2015 entries

MPSGS Show 2015 entries

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