Category Archives: fine art

Artist Seth Haverkamp

In August 2009 I posted about artist Seth Haverkamp winning Best of Show at the Portrait Society of America’s Annual Portrait Competition.

I am thrilled to see that Seth is a finalist in the Portrait Society of America’s Annual Portrait Competition for 2014.  This painting is titled Ponderings and it is a gorgeous painting.  If you’re interested in contacting Seth about a commission or just seeing more of his gorgeous work this is a link to his website.


Ponderings, 24×36″, Oil on board

Artist Seth Haverkamp

Detail of Foust, by Seth Haverkamp

Detail of Faust, by Seth Haverkamp

Tonight I attended an opening of a show by artist Seth Haverkamp.  It was jam-packed with attendees and fans of Seth’s luscious works.

The show was a mix between still lifes, some delightful figure studies, portraits and large works which showcased Seth’s talent painting the figure.

Detail, artist Seth Haverkamp

Detail, artist Seth Haverkamp

One of the pictures that drew me in was a large portrait of a blond child in a dark background.  It’s titled Faust and it’s beautiful, quiet and still.  I had the feeling it captured the child in a rare moment of standing still or that Faust had asked a very serious question and was awaiting the viewers response.

Essie, by Seth Haverkamp

Essie, by Seth Haverkamp

There were several beautiful paintings of women there.  The host, Kathy, had commissioned Seth to paint her daughter’s portrait and it held pride of the place.  It had all the coltish elegance and insouciance of  a young lady who has is just crossed the line into adulthood.

Seth had several other larger paintings of women, two really caught my eye.   This is a detail of one, I don’t know the title of the painting but this is so luminous I had to post it.

Another painting that stopped me and a friend in our tracks was this delicate one of the artist’s daughter, Essie.  I don’t know what Essie is looking at and there is something so sweet about the pose that I really want to know what she saw.  The background on this is a rich deep umber that seems layered and hazy but serves as a perfect counterpoint to this sweet moment that Seth masterfully captured.

I’d like to thank our host, Kathy for a wonderful evening of art and good cheer but especially for providing such a lovely setting to view Seth’s newest works.

I Dream Awake

Another Thorny Crown, Margret Bowland, charcoal and pastel on rag paper

Another Thorny Crown, Margret Bowland

New beginnings are frail delicate things that must be nurtured in order to fulfill their promise. Anyone who has ever started a campfire in a storm can bear witness to this.  In this economic climate many folks would quail at the thought of starting a new enterprise.  Amy Morton of Morton Fine Arts (MFA) is made of sterner stuff.

Amy Morton recently left the Principle Gallery in Alexandria Virgina and struck out on her own and opened Morton Fine Arts.   For her opening show titled, “ I Dream Awake“, Amy took us on a romp though a dreamland populated with amazing and glorious works.  The caliber and range of artists in this show left me well, gobsmacked.

Moon (October), Vonn Sumner, oil on linen

Moon (October), Vonn Sumner

Artist Margret Bowland who won the People’s Choice Award at the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009 at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery had two amazing works of one of her favorite models displayed. My favorite of the two was titled, Another Thorny Crown.  The model is a young girl from North Carolina who stares sadly and proudly at those who dare to observer her.  Looking at her, you get the sense that the model is a very old soul.  The painting was charcoal and pastel on paper unframed and unshielded  from casual touch or the a breath or well anything.  I loved it!

Machine in the Garden- Steampunk Shelley, Mikel Glass

Machine in the Garden- Steampunk Shelley, Mikel Glass

I was also introduced to several new artists at the show, Vonn Sumner and Mikel Glass.  Vonn Sumner paints these wonderful sharp subtle paintings of figures.  They are male, they are in these outlandish masks, and when you peer closely  you realize-well, they are Vonn.   I loved them!  At first glance they were flat and very much a 2D image.  But the image was so compelling I had to look closer.  And having looked at one, I was hooked and had to closely examine every one of them.

If artist Vonn Sumner’s works are sharp and subtle, artist Mikel Glass’s works were a study in contrast.  His painting, Machine in the Garden- Steampunk Shelley had a woman clasping a child very Edwardian and upright, in this incredible frame.  The frame had parts that moved, wheels gently turning a thin belt around the painting, vacuum tubes sprouted out of the frame in groups like silver space age mushrooms.  And then there was this stand.  The stand looked like it was brass and part of an antique floor lamp.  If you pushed down on the top of the stand and waited, a thin fog would waft up out of the frame to add to the experience of viewing his painting.  I normally would not enjoy this type of thing because it detracts so much for the work, but it was all the work…and, well it was fun.  I made the fog several times and belly laughed each time I did it.  Thank you so much Mikel!

She Was Often Gripped With the Desire to be Elsewhere, Tim Tate

She Was Often Gripped With the Desire to be Elsewhere, Tim Tate

I was happy to also see one of my favorite DC artists, Tim Tate at the show.  Tim had three beautiful works on display.  The one that caught my eye the most was his, She was Often Gripped With the Desire to be Elsewhere.   The video clip seemed to be of a young child’s legs filmed as casually strolled along.  I kept staring at the image because it reminded me of something but I couldn’t think of what it was.  Then it hit me, for some reason the walk reminded me of Scout (Atticus Finch’s daughter) from the movie to Kill a Mockingbird.  I love just about everything Tim has made, and I am still mad at myself for not buying one of his glass hearts when I could (grrrr always will be the one that got away for me!).

Amy Morton guided us through an amazing wonderland with MFA’s inaugural event, I Dream Awake. If this carefully curated show is a hint of things to come, I can tell you two things.  Most importantly Amy did well to follow her vision which lead to her to creating MFA and number two, she’s hit it out of the ballpark on this one.  Congratulations Amy!

Note- there are some phenomenal pictures of the show and some of the works at

Figure in Action

Tomorrow is the first session of a three-day workshop with artist Robert Liberace at the Alexandria Art League in Virginia.  I’m really looking forward to it.  The focus is on drawing, which I’ve had a terrible time with this last term.  I have no reason why, I just seemed unable to settle and concentrate.

There have been a lot of things percolating at the office, but I had problems even in the beginning of this term.  I tried to shake some loose with a painting session with artist Seth Heverkamp.  Seth is always good at pushing his students way past their comfort zone with color.  I’ve tried hitting the  Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery  and even the solace of visiting some beloved Vermeers and Rembrandts in DC and New York.  Nada. Zippo.

So how do you get your inspiration or your mojo back?  I think the only thing to be done at times like these is to keep on trying.  Which, kind of sucks for an answer but it always seems to work.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, that I do well this weekend.  I also will ask for Rob’s permission to post more pictures from his show tomorrow.

Also, if you haven’t seen this month’s American Art Collector or the American Artist Plein Air publication go and hunt them down.  Both feature articles about Rob.  The American Art Collector (the one with the flower on the front cover vice Brad Kunkle’s beautiful painting) has an article which feature’s Rob’s show at the Arcadia Gallery.  It also has a photo of one of Rob’s paintings in the John Pence Gallery’s show on the back cover.

The article in the American Artist  Plein Air magazine,  features Rob and Lina’s two-week trip to Ireland last year.  Amazing stuff!  One day I shall travel on one of these trips!

Paint Made Flesh Show-GO!!

Hyphen, Jenny Saville

I went to the Paint Made Flesh show at the Phillips collection last weekend specifically to see Jenny Saville’s painting Hyphen. What I didn’t realize was how massive this painting was, it was enormous. The paint is thin, the paint is as thick as frosting on a cake.  In several places the thick paint abuts almost sheer canvas with a thick link of paint almost like a curb along a pavement.

If you get close, really close, the painting is almost like an abstract.  The flesh is pink and red with many pink tinged greys.  But stand far away, it reads so beautifully across the room.  It’s glorious.

Ms. Saville was discovered in her late 20s by British collector Saatchi (of the Damon Hirst, shark in Formaldehyde infamy).

I found this image via a google search.  The site, wrote what looked like a very thorough article about the show.  Unfortunately the site is in Spanish

Lucian Freud, Naked Man, Back View

Lucian Freud, Naked Man, Back View

The biggest delight and surprise for me was seeing my all time favorite Lucien Freud painting, Naked Man, Back View.  It’s of Leigh Bowery and it’s an in your face painting of Leigh from the back. It normally resides in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and this is the painting that led me to love Freud.

The painting measures  72 1/4 x 54 1/8 in. (183.5 x 137.5 cm) and there isn’t a part of it that hasn’t been rendered thoughtfully and beautifully.

I was unable to photograph it this time, or I would have really tried to show the amazing subtleties in the drape and stool that Leigh is sitting on.

Here is a link to an National Public Radio article on the show as well.  If you live in the metro DC area or you plan on being here for the 3-day Labor Day weekend please head over to the Phillip Collection (it’s a museum for those out of town!).

According to their site, the museum will be open Saturday (10am-5pm)  and Sunday (11am-6pm).  There is an entrance fee of $12. a person but they offer a senior, student or military discount of $2.oo off.   If you have any questions you can reach them at 202-387-02151.

If you take the metro to DuPont Circle make sure you leave via Q Street.  Also don’t forget that the crazy people running the metro decided to close it from Regan National Airport to the Pentagon City for reasons that baffle mere humans.  So, for the first time ever I urge you to avoid the metro like the plague if you’re heading into DC on the blue or yellow lines in Virginia.

A New Love-Mr. John Dickson Batten

The Garden of Adonis - Amoretta and Time, John Dickson Batten, 1887

The Garden of Adonis - Amoretta and Time, John Dickson Batten, 1887

My new love’s name is John Dickson Batten.  He is an artist and he is British.  Sadly for me he’s also rather dead.  Mr. Batten was a pre-raphaelite painter who lived from 1860-1932.

I was able to view his painting, Amoret in the Garden of Adonis at the Carnegie Mellon Art Museum in Pittsburgh.  It was gorgeous.

I remember reading about the pre-raphaelites and that they felt that each detail must be painted from life, even down to the individual blades of grass.  So when I recovered my wits from the beauty of the painting I started looking very closely at it.

Detail of the Head

Detail of the Head

Now I know at first glance this just seems, well pretty, perhaps you don’t find it inspired?  But, the anatomy is beautiful and seemed quite correct and the skin tones are wonderful. Here is a close up of her head and upper shoulders.

I find it lovely.

I’ve posted some additional details below-in order to make them large enough to appreciate I am limiting my narrative.  I will also post the largest size I can of the original picture at the bottom.


Close up of the White Rose

Close up of the White Rose

The Right Fot

The Right Foot

Detail of Flowers along the Edge of the Painting

Detail of Flowers along the Edge of the Painting

Blades of Grass

Blades of Grass

The Garden of Adonis - Amoretta and Time, by John Dickson Batten

The Garden of Adonis - Amoretta and Time, by John Dickson Batten

Fundraiser for Artist Model Ada – 6 July



One of the models who works for the Alexandria Art League was involved in a serious accident several weeks ago.  She is slowly recovering but had no health insurance and has had two surgeries so far.  The wonderful folks at the Alexandria Art League have decided to host a fund raiser to help defray her medical expenses.

Artist Robert Liberace will conduct three painting demonstrations on Monday 6 July 2009 at the Duke Street Annex in Alexandria Virginia.  If you attend during the day there is a free trolley that shuttles between Union Street at the waterfront and the King Street Metro Station (blue and yellow metro lines) -it runs every 20 minutes.  Once at Union and King Street the Duke Street Annex is 2 blocks south.

Rob will be painting all day and should stop around 9:45pm.  If you’ve never had a chance to see him in action-whether you paint or not-now is the time.  I am pretty excited because usually during classes, I am torn between watching Rob’s demo and/or painting.

Throughout the day there will be a silent auction where you can bid on works by Robert Liberace.  Rob has been holding on to his class demos (which are wonderful!) and will have those for sale as well as the demos he creates during the fundraiser.  All of the proceeds go directly to help Ada.

So, if you’ve been fortunate enough to paint with Ada as your model, if you attended the paint-off at the Portrait Society of America (she was a model), if you’ve always wanted to see Robert paint and learn about his techniques-and best of all-if you want a chance to help someone in serious need—plan on attending! I will see you there.


PS if you can not attend and would like to donate, contact the art league at 703.683.2323.