Artist-in-Residence: Painting and social distancing

This week I was scheduled to be one of the invited artists for the Santa Fe Springs Plein Air Paintout.  Like so many other events, the Paintout was canceled.

And so I have decided that I am not just social distancing, as has been ordered by the Governor of Florida, but I am now an artist-in-residence.

Afterall, Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies which hosts the event, has asked the invited artists to keep painting even though we will not be in the closed State Parks or out for the public to meet us. The gallery plans to schedule a summer date for a “Springs Exhibition” with a collection of our artwork.

I’ve been using some of my artist-in-residence time for continued painting in acrylics.

AzaleasOne Sunday, the Orlando Urban Sketchers changed their March meetup to a virtual meetup after social distancing guidelines were announced. The theme was to sketch your backyard or what you see out your window.

At the end, we had a throwdown of our sketchbooks – in this case meaning that we shared our art online. Thanks to Noga for organizing this event.

When I’ve met with the Orlando Urban Sketchers before, I’ve used my pen, ink and watercolors to create images in my Moleskine watercolor book. Because I was painting at home for this virtual meetup, my acrylics and easel were easily carried into the yard to paint the azaleas en plein air.

I’ve also painted places I’ve traveled to in the past year.

Oregon Lavender Garden
Oregon Lavender Garden

Blessed to have been visiting friends and the lavender gardens, farms and fields last summer, I can smell lavender as I paint.  Admittedly, I have some lavender essential oil nearby.

Painting one of the lavender gardens was a wonderful reminder of visiting that particular farm as part of the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival, July 2019.

My painting while visiting in Portland was watercolor. Watercolors are portable, wash up easily and facilitate the quick capture a scene in plein air (painting while outside).

Painting with acrylics requires more setup, usually an easel, longer brushes, palette knives and tubes of paint.  None of that would have been easy to transport to Portland in my purse!  But the greens and purples of the gardens were so rich, they beg to be painted with acrylics.

Indian Garden
Indian Garden – Grand Canyon

Another scene, I painted was based on the nine-mile roundtrip hike from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to Indian Garden. The temperature at Indian Garden was over 90 degrees. Thankfully, trees provided some shade at Indian Garden, but almost the entirety of the hike was in direct sun.  How to capture the heat that I so well remember as I entered Indian Garden surrounded by sand and large vibrant cacti.  It is in the color and texture, I believe.

The three acrylics – the azaleas, the lavender field, and Indian Garden – are now in an online gallery, hosted by the Gainesville Fine Arts Association. The theme for the show is “Garden.”

You can check the show online. My paintings are on the second page and can be purchased through the gallery.

Montserrat Sunrise
Montserrat Sunrise, private collection

The view from my hotel window at Montserrat in Spain was an incredible one that I revisit often.  While there, I painted several different moments looking out that window — quickly and with watercolor — because that is what I travel with.

The 6 a.m. view from the window has been waiting to be painted in acrylic.

The purple mountains evolving into pinks, intense oranges and blues of the sky all needed to be captured.  I did not paint the cathedral bells ringing, as they were, but the sun dancing on the plaza through small archways was a subtlety that led me to realize our hotel window was lined up with two crosses.  The cross below the window and the one in the distance that we would reach later that visit during a 3 mile hike.

In reorganizing my woodshop, I discovered several pieces of oak boards that have made interesting canvases for my acrylic paintings. The Montserrat sunrise was painted on a piece of oak wood, with the wood grain showing in a few places.

I’ve also been enjoying Will Kemp’s online art courses, some of which are free. What fun to be painting with brushes and palette knives.

I will continue to expand my acrylic painting muscles throughout the next 30 days of the stay at home order for Floridians — my artist-in-residence time.  Are you painting?  How are you spending your residency?


  1. You are making awesome strides forward with your acrylic works, Judy. I absolute love your clouds in the lavender garden work. All of the pieces you have posted here “speak” to me –love them all

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