Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series: Katherine Sullivan

 Arlington Artists Alliance Member and Gallery Underground member Katherine Sullivan discusses her artwork, technique and inspiration:

Katherine Sullivan, Crab Jumble, Watercolor,
framed dimensions 25.5 W x 41 H, $1,200
Nature inspires most of my paintings, and I tend to paint what I like.  As an opportunist I am open to any interesting subject, ranging from freshly caught crabs to the visual beauty of the farmers market.  Since I am not particularly fast, I usually paint from photographs. The photographs are combined, staged or altered.  I am more interested in the close up view of the subject rather than the distant.  Many of my paintings have layered groupings of the same or similar objects, exploring the relationship between them and shadows.  My technique is mostly traditional.  I like all colors, but some of my friends think purple can usually be found in my paintings.

Katherine Sullivan, Annual Rewards, Watercolor,
framed dimensions 11.5 W x 11.5 H, $325
The desire to create and the interest in learning something new has always been present.  The subjects and methods have changed with time.  I did not take any formal art classes until college where I took a lot of painting and printing classes.  After graduating from George Washington University, I went back to school again to take additional classes in ceramics, sculpture and crafts in order to be certified to teach.  I put aside my painting for about twenty-five years, until I decided I wanted to paint again.  It was at that point I tried watercolors.  What a great fit.  I should have tried them sooner.  The hardest part is sometimes just the beginning.  It is always satisfying to create something.  No matter what the results, it is my interpretation of what I see.

Katherine Sullivan Swiss Chard, Watercolor,
framed dimensions 18.5 W x 18 H, $350
To learn more about Katherine visit her profile at Gallery Underground:

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series: Jeanne Garant

 Arlington Artists Alliance Member and Gallery Underground member Jeanne Garant discusses her artwork, technique and inspiration:

Jeanne Garant in her studio

Savoir, mixed media by Jeanne Garant

The artwork above says it all about my process.  There is painting, collage, silkscreen, woodcut, monoprint, wax, graphite, text, mark making and assemblage in this piece.   

Colors are neutral, always a bit of color, sometimes texture, a variety of papers to complement the medium used, layers, always a stripe and a value range from light to dark.

The shape of a work is very important.  My favorite is the long, vertical or horizontal, paper or wood panel used as my surface.  The square shape is also used frequently, the sizes range from large canvases to small paper works.

My style is minimal without being austere, subtle or delicate.  With each piece there it is great effort to not say any more than is needed - every element is essential.

As artists we make our own rules.  We find out what works for us. It’s the process that keeps me working.  I strive for simplicity, precision and tranquility.

My work is found in numerous corporate & private collections including the State Department Art in Embassies program and consulates in Italy, Slovenia, Africa, France, Belgium, and China.

I work in my home studio in Arlington, Virginia - with the company of Scully, my cat.

To learn more about Jeanne, visit her artist profile at Gallery Underground:

Friday, May 1, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series: Donna Lomangino

Local artist and Arlington Artists Alliance member Donna Lomangino discusses her artwork, inspiration and technique:

Donna Lomangino
At this point in time, the subject of my paintings are semi-abstract seascapes and landscapes. Perhaps because I’m ruled by my moods I am naturally inclined to express emotions through nature’s shifts, from brooding clouds to ebbing waters to silent fields. I grew up in the midwest, so when I first experienced the Caribbean I was mesmerized by the sea, by the way the sky and water melded into one continuous field of blue. 
Rocky Coastline, oil by Donna Lomangino

Suffering from paralyzing shyness throughout at least the first half of my life, isolation is another overriding theme in my work. When I picked up a  brush at age 16 and created my first oil painting on canvas, I was surprised at how naturally it came to me. That expression was a bridge to the outside world, a form of communication since I was incapable of normal social interaction. Initially I painted portraits, and continue to paint them here and there, but not as steadily as in the past. One of my favorite series is the “CinemaScope” series, inspired by dramatic moments in film — an homage to great movies. 

CinemaScope, oil by Donna Lomangino

Oil is my medium of choice, sometimes with cold wax, and sometimes with a base of acrylics first, and sometimes only acrylics. I rarely sketch, and just dive right into the color. The paints are so lush, I love color and even the smell of oil paint. I let my instincts guide me, and usually create a better piece when I’m emotionally connected to the process, allowing myself complete freedom.

Commissions have become quite enjoyable as well. Since I have had a design business for many decades, which included some interior design consulting, creating a piece especially for a person in their own environment is most fulfilling. When someone tells me that they feel happy when they walk into a room and look at a painting they’ve purchased, it is thrilling to me. What could be better than that? 

To learn more about Donna Lomangino's work, visit her website and social media:

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series: Andrea Raggambi

Andrea Raggambi, local artist and Arlington Artists Alliance member, discusses her artwork, inspiration and technique:

"The pieces I create are inspired by the idea of enhancing living spaces while also supporting my local community. With regard to my creative vision, I have worked with and interviewed real estate home stagers and even sat in their meetings to understand what they have seen work well to help sell homes. My desire is to help people take control of their space with a fresh, modern take by using me to commission something custom just for them. I also want to compound their choice to support a local artist a step further by donating 15% of their payment to a local cause that is important to them.
Red Splatter, acrylic by Andrea Raggambi

"I want to show our community that going this direction is a relatively inexpensive way to change up and customize the look and feel of a room, and directly supports causes they also support. It can also be a great focal point and conversation starter with curious guests.

 "Although not formally trained in art, I have always gravitated toward creative outlets as a way to relax, feel inspired and feed my curious soul. My artistic exploration goes as far back as I can remember - from finger painting or coloring being my favorite part of the day in kindergarten, to taking pottery classes as a hobby as an adult. I ador the process of discovering new, creative outlets in many shapes and forms, including cooking and coming up with clothing design ideas. My day job is also very creative, as I am an executive coach and deisgn learning learning and development experiences. 

Purple Haze, acrylic by Andrea Raggambi

"I didn't always paint large, abstract pieces but discovered a lot of inspiration and gratification when I tried this style in early 2019. I used to paint 'things' with a lot of color but realized my strength is in the idea and less in the planned details that occur when painting something realistic or from a photo reference. My approach is more about the color than the design but oddly, I find the design sometimes more interesting than the colors when I'm done with a piece. The most difficult part for me is just setting up and breaking things down. My pieces are as large as I can fit in the back of my SUV and I need a lot of space to paint which I don't have access to that often. But I was so pleased that my concept and style also seems appealing to others. I sold nearly 50% of the work I produced in 2019 displayed at the Gallery Clarendon. The idea that I get to create something that impacts others and my community in these ways definitely brings me a lot of joy and continued inspiration!" 

To learn more about Andrea Raggambi, visit her website and social media:
Andrea Raggambi website

Monday, April 20, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series: Jane Coonce

Jane McElvany Coonce, local artist, instructor and one of the original founders of the Arlington Artists Alliance, discusses her artwork, technique and inspiration:

Jane McElvany Coonce
"I was the original founder of the Arlington Artists Alliance in the year 2000.  I was the president for 9 years. Presently, I’m the executive director for Gallery Underground. 

"I work in many mediums:  mainly oil and watercolor , but also in acrylic, pastel and terra cotta sculpture.

"I teach oil painting and pastel for Arlington County Adult Education, now called Arlington Community Learning.  I’ve been teaching for the county for 30 years.  I also teach a watercolor class for Art House 7 on Lee Highway.

One of the fun jobs I have is teaching watercolor on cruise ships (although that’s on hold for a while.). I also like to take my art students to Europe to paint outdoors.  We’ve been to Umbria Italy,  France, Venice, and our latest trip to Cornwall England has been postponed due to the Corona virus. 

"During the 'shelter in place' order, I’ve been painting up a storm.  I will have a whole new array of paintings by the time we are allowed to have art shows again.

 Potomac Boat Club and Georgetown Early Morning in Georgetown
 Oil by Jane McElvany Coonce
"'Potomac Boat House and Georgetown in the Early Morning' - I have a friend who rows on the Potomac.  He invited me to come out at 4:30 am and take pictures of his club rowing.  I took many photos that morning.  I particularly liked this scene with the Potomac Boat Club all lit up inside  as their rowers were out in the dark, rowing on the quiet river.  It is a very tranquil time to be out on the Potomac.  No cars and no noise.  I can see why people get into rowing!  It was a beautiful experience.

Sunday in the Outdoor Café, watercolor by Jane McElvany Coonce

"'Sunday in the Outdoor Café' - I love painting café scenes, usually with people sitting around a table under an umbrella.  But this one was from a photo where everyone was at a table under a tree.  It was Sunday and the people were dressed very nicely.  I decided to paint it with a limited palette. I only used green, purple and orange, all secondary colors. Personally, I loved the effect.

To learn more about Jane's work, visit her website, blog and Gallery Underground profile:

Monday, April 13, 2020

It's Time to Jump out of Your Comfort Zone! (A Post for Artists in Need of Inspo)

by Sandi Parker

Sunflower Field, oil by Sandi Parker
Most of us as artists have themes and mediums we can create in our sleep. Often this is our bread and butter work – the sculptor known for her classical nudes; the painter popular for her scenes of the Italian countryside; the ceramicist who sells pots with a particular blue hue; the photographer who beautifully captures urban scenes. We all go back to what we know, what we’re good at, and what sells. 

But does the axiom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” apply to artists?

When it comes to themes, personally, I’m really into cityscapes – and by into, I mean when I see a good one by an artist, I quite often purchase it because I’m in awe. And the reason I’m in awe is because I know how challenging they can be in any medium. When I attempt to do one myself, the work doesn’t flow easily the way it does if I’m doing a landscape or a seascape. Landscapes and seascapes to me – a beautiful field of flowers, sand and ocean  – are generally stress-free. But, I’ll admit – not so challenging.
Crossing Delancey, oil by Sandi Parker
A cityscape, on the other hand, involves things that make me break out in a cold sweat: buildings at odd angles with hundreds of windows (which can be nerve-wracking to pull off without looking – well – wonky); cars (which if not done just right, can look cartoony); and crowds of people (see: cars). And cityscapes often have ALL of these elements. It’s enough to make me want to run screaming from the easel. But inevitably, whenever I force myself to attempt one (quite frankly I sometimes get bullied into them via a commission), as stressful as it can be…I’m usually happy with the result and even better – proud of myself. And then have to knock myself upside the head and say, ok it was hard but you DID it so why are you always shying away from trying something new and difficult??

The same applies to trying a new medium. Nothing is scarier to an artist than having to buy a bunch of new and strange materials and signing up for a class where you’re convinced every other student has been practicing this medium for decades. That probably won’t be the case, and even if it is – so, you’ll learn from them.
Summer Swimmers, Gouache by Sandi Parker

You may end up deciding, as I did, that a certain medium may work well for working en plein air. I have been struggling for ages trying to come up with a medium that is more portable than lugging oil painting materials into fields and towns. After being introduced to gouache, a water medium that lugs like watercolor but looks like oil? I now am less likely to shy away from plein air painting opportunities. It won’t ever take the place of oil for me, but I love the idea that I can do a little painting on the beach with minimal cleanup, and materials that tuck into my beach bag.

If you jump out of your comfort zone now and then, you’ll have an amazing sense of accomplishment after getting a handle on a completely different subject matter, medium or technique . And being able to add these to your website and business card?  Icing on the cake. 

Sandi Parker is Director of Gallery Underground and an artist who works in oil, acrylic - and now - pastel and gouache.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Viewing Art During a Pandemic: Ilona Lantos

One of our member artists, Ilona Lantos, created a gallery at home during the Pandemic:

During the times of the current pandemic when we all have to stay home and many businesses are closed including art galleries, it is challenging for artists to share their art. I was inspired by another AAA fellow artist and got an idea of getting these blank garden signs from ACE to attach my drawings to them and stick them under a tree in front of our house. I decorated the tree with hand painted ornamental mini canvases. I place larger paintings in our street facing window. My hope is that people passing by will stop for a moment to look at my art during the times of fear, uncertainty and isolation. Let’s place our art where people can see them, under trees, to the curbs, on the walls and in the windows. Art is healing.

To learn more about Ilona and her art, visit her Gallery Underground profile, website and social media:

Monday, April 6, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series: Robert Fishman

Robert Fishman is an Arlington Artists Alliance member, whose artwork, technique and inspirations are spotlighted below:

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

Arlington Artists Alliance member and Gallery Underground Director Sandi Parker discusses her artwork, technique and inspiration:
Sandi Parker in her studio
"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).

One City, One World, acrylic by Sandi Parker
"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).
Josh, an oil commission by Sandi Parker
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. 

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?)
City Twilight, oil by Sandi Parker
For more information on Sandi's work, visit her website and social media:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Artist Spotlight Series: Carol Waite

Arlington Artists Alliance and Gallery member Carol Waite discusses her artwork, technique and inspiration:

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 learn more about Carol's art, visit her website, social media and gallery profile:

Carol Waite website
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 Series: Mark Coffey

Arlington Artists Alliance and Gallery Underground member Mark Coffey discusses his artwork, technique and inspiration:

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 learn more about Mark's work, visit his Instagram and website:

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.