Monday, April 6, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series Robert Fishman

Artist Spotlight Series Robert Fishman 

Robert G. Fishman, Ph.D., is a husband, father, grandfather, retired anthropologist, retired educator and an emerging contemporary artist.  Fishman's paintings of peoples, figures and everyday life, represent the melding together of the artistic and ethnographic.  According to Fishman, both artists and ethnographers train themselves to view life as an observer. Dr. Fishman combines his background in anthropology with his unique style of art to give us a glimpse at how he observes everyday images.  His impressionistic paintings catch a moment in time and invite the viewer to share his personal expression of either a public or private moment in everyday culture.These are experiences that we all take for granted. 

The painting with the woman is part of the restaurant series depicting an evening in a restaurant. The self portrait is reflecting on the isolation as a result of social distancing and self quarantine. Time for reflection but time to create as well.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series Sandi Parker

Artist Spotlight Series #4 
Painter and Gallery Underground Director Sandi Parker

I work in several media: oil, acrylic, pastel and gouache. My abstracts are all in acrylic and incorporate other media such as oil crayon, paint pens, stamping, stencilling and collaging. I frequently incorporate graffiti-like images and words in my abstracts, which are all highly textured. I layer on paint with a palette knife and then go back over with a scratching technique to provide even more texture. In my oils, pastels and gouaches, I work in a variety of subjects: landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes floral, and youth sports, usually working from photos but occasionally working onsite (en plein air).

I have always been interested in art and used to work exclusively in pen and ink. Around 2002, I decided to try oils and began taking classes with Arlington artist Jane McElvany Coonce, who has taught art in Arlington for over 30 years. This developed into a love for all kinds of landscapes. When my two children were participating in sports in High School, I began to paint scenes of youth sports, culminating in a solo show of local Arlington high school sports called InMotion (a portion of the proceeds from all work sold was donated to Arlington high schools athletic departments).

I later decided to branch out into abstracts and took classes from Arlington artist Bud Hensgen, who is known for his very large-scale abstracts. I have a great love and appreciation for street art, and this informs my abstract work. My most recent foray has been into pastels and gouache, also under the instruction of Jane Coonce. 

What you find the most rewarding about making art and your biggest challenges:

Probably what I find most rewarding about making art is ALSO my biggest challenge: Stretching myself to try new mediums and difficult scenes. In my home studio I have the quote "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take," a quote from Wayne Gretzky  - this spurs me on to try to paint complicated scenes such as cityscapes, which I approach with both excitement and dread. Buildings! Cars! People! Shadows! Cityscapes excite me to no end but painting them is such a challenge, with so much going on. Sometimes I want to just stop in the middle and paint a field of flowers (which I could do in my sleep, so where's the growth in that?)

To reach Sandi:

Instagram: @sandiparkerartist
Twitter: @SandiParkerArt

To see more about Sandi you can visit her profile on Gallery Underground's here:

All work by our Gallery Artists can be seen on our Flickr page:

If you wish to purchase anywork simply email the Gallery Directors at and we will help you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Artist Spotlight Carol Waite

Artist Spotlight Series #3  Sumi-e Painter Carol Waite

My art is Sumi-e, Oriental Brush Painting.  Sumi is the special ink, and "e" in
Japanese means painting.  It's derived from the ancient art of calligraphy in China and Japan.  One paints flat, putting the rice paper on felt to absorb the liquid.  Once the ink, sometimes mixed with Chinese watercolor, is put on the rice paper, no corrections can be made.  After the painting is dry, one must mount it on a stiffer piece of rice paper, as the thin rice paper cannot be framed unless it's on a sturdier backing, as it would wrinkle.  This is done by making a paste, putting it on the back of a wet painting, then adhering the stiffer paper to it.  When it adheres, one puts paste around the edges, then places it on a board to dry for a week.  Then the painting can be framed.

Most Oriental, or East Asian art, depicts aspects of nature.  I enjoy painting birds and flowers, and some landscape scenes.  I previously painted in oil, then discovered Sumi-e painting and loved it, as it took me back to my growing up in Japan.  And, my love of nature.  I always loved drawing and painting as a child, and majored in Fine Arts at George Washington University, with studio time at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC.  It's rewarding to me that I can depict pleasing nature scenes, with the biggest challenge of successfully mounting the thin rice paper onto a stiffer paper without tearing the fragile, wet rice paper.

To reach Carol:

To see more about Carol you can visit her profile on Gallery Underground's here:

All work by our Gallery Artists can be seen on our Flickr page:

If you wish to purchase anywork simply email the Gallery Directors at and we will help you.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Artist Spotlight - Mark Coffey

The second in our Artist Spotlight Series painter Mark Coffey:

Like most artists, my art is a straightforward reflection of my appreciation of the things I see in the world which delight me. I’m pleased to find that the older I get and the more time I spend in nature and the studio, more things delight me. I paint at the easel using the medium of acrylic paint in as simple a manner as possible. I put paint on the canvas with a brush a rag or a sponge and take it off the same way. The paint I take off the canvas is just as important as the paint I put on.

Over the past twenty years I have studied with many teachers and artists in West Chester, Pennsylvania, most of whom had graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with their tradition of realism and plein air painting. Since relocating to Alexandria I have also learned a great deal from the excellent instructors at the Art League.

My main source of inspiration is the landscape. Depending on my mood, I will enjoy rendering the landscape realistically or allow it to become a more abstract expression of nature. My biggest challenge as an artist is to let go of styles which served me well in the past so I can continue to evolve.

To reach Mark:

Instagram: markcoffeyartist

All work by our Gallery Artists can be seen on our Flickr page:

If you wish to purchase anywork simply email the Gallery Directors at and we will help you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series - Vicki Doyle

Gallery Underground may be closed during the pandemic, but you can still enjoy the art of our talented artists online. In an effort to bring the art to you during social distancing, we have started a series of "Artist Spotlights." Each Spotlight will bring a more personal side to the artist behind the art. 

Our first Spotlight is on painter Vicki Doyle:

"As far back as I can remember, art has and still is a main focus in my life. A native of Connecticut, I have lived in many parts of the United States and Europe and have traveled extensively all over the world. Having graduated from Boston University, where I majored in art, I then worked in New York’s Garment District before teaching art in Texas schools.
My work is represented in many private collections in the United States and in Europe. I currently exhibit at the Arts Club of Washington, Gallery Underground , and at several venues with the McLean Art Society and the Arlington Artists Alliance.
Although I work in many medias, I prefer painting in oils. My work can best be described as mystical impressions in warm, appealing colors. My paintings often take on completely different styles depending on my interpretation of the subject and the story or mood I wish to create. Many of my canvases are based on my travels, love of horses, ballet, and the ocean.

To see more about Vicki you can visit her profile on Gallery Underground's here:

To reach Vicki Doyle you can email her at

All work by our Gallery Artists can be seen on our Flickr page:

If you wish to purchase anywork simply email the Gallery Directors at and we will help you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Check out the wonderful article written about the Arlington Artist Alliance and Gallery Underground!

Celebrating 20 Years Bringing Creative Energy to Arlington

(This Community Post was written by the Arlington Artists Alliance and underwritten by The Fred Schnider Investment Group/Fred Schnider Gallery of Art and Embracing Arlington Arts supporter Annie Sweeney.)
2020 is our 20th Anniversary Year!
Arlington Artists Alliance is celebrating its 20th year as a vital, creative force enhancing Arlington community life!
Formed in 2000, our non-profit group (currently 150 members strong) creates and promotes local art and artists. We’re privileged to serve and enrich the Arlington community through these past — and future — years by contributing art exhibits and events, instruction, mentoring and outreach projects throughout the County.
The Alliance maintains Gallery Underground, named the region’s “Best Art Gallery” in Northern Virginia Magazine‘s 2019 reader survey. The hub of our operations, this professional visual arts showcase presents the work of both established and emerging artists. Located in the Crystal City Shops, the Gallery changes its exhibit monthly to present new work from both regional and national artists in many forms: paintings, sculpture, wood, glass, ceramic, mixed media and photography.
In addition, we’re the only regional arts organization partnering with our community to present spirit-lifting artwork every day in fifteen local businesses throughout Arlington County.
For more information about Arlington Artists Alliance exhibits, programs and members, visit
Arlington Artists Alliance is grateful to be supported by our local business sponsors; and in part by the Arlington Cultural Affairs and the Arlington Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

August Offerings at Gallery Clarendon

"A Little Bit of Gold" by Rebecca Croft

At this point in the year we are in full August mode!  The typical Washington DC metro weather has set in, the shadows are JUST starting to get longer while families and college students are taking that last week of summer vacation before they all head back to school.  While it may be coming to an end there is one way to extend that summer of adventurous fun:  Art work that brings us back to those wonderful days of fun in the sun. 

"Venice Bridge" by Jessica Mickey
The first work of art that makes me remember past adventures is Jessica Mickeys "Venice Bridge."  It reminds me of the trip I took to Italy a few years ago.  I had traveled quite a bit in the US, but this was my first real trip to a far off place; Italy.  Seeing the painting by Jessica reminded me of my stay in Italy, and the amazement I felt seeing such a beautiful place as Venice in spring.  If you've been to Venice in this technological age you may have actually seen a gondolier taking a break and catching up with family and friends like we see in Linda Donaldsons, "Texting Gondoler." Also, since we live just outside of (and for some of us in) the nations capital check out "Jefferson Monument Spring" by Tony Neville.  To us not much of a novelty since we see it frequently, but to those "out of towner's" that make the pilgrimage to our capital city, quite astonishing! 

For me nothing represents summer more than being at the beach.  Several artists have represented
"Wild Coast" by Shelley Micali
that beach vibe well with their work. "Glancing Back" by Jane MacElvany Coonce, and "Wild Coast" by Shelley Micali are a few works that will bring back that warm breezy feeling, while "Summer Crabs" by Carol Waite will make you hungry for that coastal treat many mid-Atlantic residents have come to associate with the warmer months.  For those people who prefer the respite of a cool mountain lake you may find Jessica Mickey's "Sails in the Canal" quite refreshing.

Fused Glass Jewelry by Kristi Provasnik
Paintings and images are not the only art that may remind you of summer.  There are 3D works as well that do it for me.  Since orange, yellow, aqua greens and blues make me think of tropical warm locations I am drawn to the fused glass jewelry  by Kristy Provasnik.  For you folks that like to spend time camping out in the woods during the summer you may like James Bellows "Ambrosia Maple" bowl.

Now for the rest of us that aren't crazy about summer, and are looking forward to the cooler months ahead I am sure there is something currently on display that you would love as much as the works that remind of us of this wonderful time of year.  Regardless if you don't visit us in August you are missing on some fine art!

For a peak at what's available this month check out the August Flickr photo album at:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Craft Fair or Gallery?

Frequently we artists are asked if we do, or have ever done craft fairs.  Many of us have, some still do, and some no longer participate in this endeavor.

Tony Klepic, 3D wood artisan says, "The craft fairs were fun to do as a rookie.  A craft fair requires quite a few items and if you have fairs close together you really have to crank out the projects.  I was having to make so many items it gave me the opportunity to fine tune my skills on turned and flat wood projects, but was not my best work due to the speed at which I was working."

Another good aspect of doing craft fairs for a burgeoning artists is confidence.  It is definitely a boost to ones moral when they put in tons of work on many items and then have a great day of sales at a craft fair.  "It made me realize I can make things that people that I don't know really want to buy for themselves or as gifts for other people," states Tony.

"I used to do craft fairs, and they were quite productive.  However, after a while you start to feel the amount of work that goes into a craft fair.  Not only do you have to make your craft, but you also have to carefully pack up your items, load a vehicle, get to the fair early in the morning, set up, staff your booth, and spend the entire day, or at some fairs the entire weekend," says Steena Fullmer-Anderson.  Then, of course there is the packing and loading after a long show.  You can see how this could start to be a strain.

Some artists will continue on the craft fair path, but after a while many start to look for a different avenue for getting their work out there for people to enjoy.  For Tony that's where art galleries came into play.   "I really liked the idea of working on bigger and more artistic pieces at a slower pace.  Typically when preparing for a fair I would work on items that could be more mass produced, but when stocking an art gallery you are usually limited on the number of items to display each month.  No need to crank out many items in one day,  I could take several days to do one item.  I like that pace much better."

Steena feels that another benefit of participating in an art gallery is pricing.  "At a craft fair you typically won't charge what you really want for your work."  Though at times you may be able to sell a piece at your desired price, "typically people shopping at craft fairs are looking for several items, and will be a little more frugal with their money."

All artists seem to agree on one main point:  Less work in doing the selling.  Both Gallery Underground and Clarendon are staffed with

knowledgeable artists who do the selling for all of the artists.  So instead of all the work that goes along with the logistical aspect of craft fairs the artists have more time creating their work.  Although all galleries get a commission for each piece sold to many artists it is worth not having to put in the work to do craft fairs.

Tony has not completely stopped doing craft fairs.  "After a while I will end up with a surplus of stock that I want to move.  Once I get to that point, which works out to be every couple of years, I will do one of the local holiday fairs to clear out stock."  So to Tony there is still a good reason to participate in craft fairs.  "Oh, and having a boot at a craft fair gives me an opportunity to find unique holiday gifts as well!"

In the end the choice between doing craft fairs and participating in a local art gallery is like, well, art; subject to taste!  Kudos to all artists and artisans who are creative and bold enough to put themselves out there in either endeavor. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Step outside the Galleries for a little art, science, and history!

You’re driving through Rosslyn, trying to find your way to Arlington Boulevard, and you glance over and see several large concrete spheres and poles.  They are huge.  “What is that?” you ask yourself, as you zip right past the on-ramp.  You would not be the first person to have had this experience. 

What IS that?

It’s Dark Star Park.  And it’s fascinating.  It’s art.  It’s science. It’s history.  It’s a social event.

Created in 1984 by artist Nancy Holt, Dark Star Parkhas fascinated Arlingtonians every summer, when on August 1st, at 9:32am, the shadows cast from the poles and spheres align with their solid forms.  This bit of artistry performed by the sun marks the moment of Rosslyn’s founding.  

This year will be the 35thanniversary of its creation, and several events have been planned to celebrate.   

After you’ve experienced the alignment (every Arlingtonian should see it at least once in their lives!), hop on the metro and cool off at Gallery Clarendon or Gallery Underground! We open at 11 and would love to see you!

In Conversation: Time in Public Sculpture
Wednesday, July 31, 6:30 p.m. | Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum (Independence Ave and 7th St, Washington, DC 20560)Free, tickets available starting Thursday, July 11, 12 p.m. EST

Janel and Anthony Performance

Thursday, August 1, assemble 9:00 a.m. | Dark Star Park (1655 Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209)
Free and open to the public

The Alignment at Dark Star Park
Thursday, August 1, 9:32 a.m. | Dark Star Park (1655 Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209)
Free and open to the public

Nancy Holt Film Screenings with an introduction by Lisa Le Feuvre
Thursday, August 1, 12:30 p.m., & Saturday, August 3, 2:00 p.m. | Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn (Independence Ave and 7th St, Washington, DC 20560)
Free, first-come, first-served seating

Holt/Smithson Foundation’s Executive Director Lisa Le Feuvre will lead a panel discussion exploring the ever-evolving nature of sculpture in the public realm with Arlington Public Art Founding Director Angela Anderson Adams, Hirshhorn Associate Curator Anne Reeve, and the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum Director Brett Littman.

The world premiere of an original site-specific composition by Cuneiform recording artists Janel and Anthony. The live performance (which will begin at approx. 9:20 a.m.) will coordinate with the 9:32 a.m. shadow alignment.

The community is invited to watch as the sculpture aligns with the sun and celebrate with light refreshments provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.

Screening of Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels (1978, 26 min.) and Nancy Holt, Art in the Public Eye: The Making of Dark Star Park (1988, 33 min.).  The films reveal the making of visionary land artist Nancy Holt’s earthworks, serving both as documentation of her best-known land art sculptures and as artworks in themselves.

(Many thanks to the Arlington County Website for details of the events and the image of Dark Star Park!)

Monday, July 15, 2019

What truly makes this blog special- Mistakes! (Guest Post by Ian Vance, Part 4/4)

What Truly Makes This Blog Special - Mistakes!
Part 4 of 4
Author: Ian Vance, Intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon.

Hello again, readers! I’m back for the fourth and final installment of the blog that we have going on here. It’s been challenging, but I had a lot more fun than I expected learning to draw. Of course, maybe it was improved slightly by writing about it with a mix of enthusiasm and a little self-deprecating humor, but hey, we made it this far. I’ll be getting into my final thoughts on the book in a moment, but first, let’s dive into the thrilling(-ish) conclusion of my experience, starting with the face drawing that I began last time. 
Following the rough outline that I displayed in the previous entry, I got to work on finishing the three-quarter perspective, and I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. Sure, it still somewhat resembles E.T’s dream date, but if we’re comparing it to my first face drawing, it’s definitely an improvement. It goes to show that proportion and drawing things just as you see them can go a good ways towards improving drawing ability. 

Additionally, in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, I read about learning to shade objects, and the method that was brought up was cross-hatching, or drawing more lines crossing over each other to darken the shadowed areas. Surely, such a simple method could be easy to apply. 
First attempt at cross hatching. Yikes!
Second attempt at cross hatching. Yikes!

Okay, so very clearly, it’s gonna need some practice. It’s worth mentioning that these are first and second attempts, so of course they’ll look rough. Frankly, however, I think that simply resembling shading is a good start, as shown by the other steps forward that Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain takes you towards. 

And that’s just about all the basic ideas that the book runs through. Once again, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that these are only glances into the exercises that the book takes you through, and the type of improvement that you’ll want to see when reading through it. I haven’t even covered some of the more major topics that it goes over, such as properly drawing a side view of a head or using negative space in shading with an ink brush (the latter of which was somewhat difficult to do given my lack of proper ink on hand at the time. That’s more my fault). What I have covered only involves the basics of what this book goes into, and yet the improvement in just those basics is evident. I would highly recommend picking this up. 

Moving aside from the book alone, working on this blog has really gotten me back into both drawing and art in general. I mainly stayed away due to a preconceived lack of talent in the area, but sharing my progress has taught me that quite literally anyone can draw. It doesn’t have to look incredibly realistic to look good, and it doesn’t have to be deeply thought-out to portray what you have on your mind. Granted, there is a correlation, but I had a lot of fun just learning to do what I stopped doing in elementary school. 

As I say goodbye to my readers and my old classmates that are heading off to colleges across the country (and sometimes out of it, too), I leave this bit of advice: Don’t sell yourself short, telling yourself that something just isn’t your thing. Sure, it might not be, but you could be surprised at what you’re capable of. No matter how many mistakes you may see in the work that you do, there are probably just as many improvements that you made just by trying it. Nobody is perfect at what they do, but allowing yourself to try your hand may just show you that you could be. 

This has been Ian, part-time artist, reporting from Gallery Clarendon, and I do hope that this blog has encouraged you all to try giving drawing a shot (or any new thing, really). Thank you for watching my progress with me, and take care.