My formal introduction to the visual arts came in the spring of 1960 when as a senior at Notre Dame I had three credit hours I didn’t know what to do with. An art major friend, Barrie Maguire, now a successful painter and illustrator in Narberth, PA, suggested that I take a course in figure drawing. I did, and it was great fun, but 39 years were to pass before I returned to the visual arts.
Then, in May 1999, while I was still working at the Justice Department, my wife Ann and I visited the Festival of the Arts at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, where our children Mark and Kate were students. I was deeply impressed by the paintings and drawings of the Whitman students, especially those we knew well because they were teammates of Mark in football and lacrosse and of Kate in soccer, field hockey, indoor track, and lacrosse. Ann knew that Walt Bartman, chairman of Whitman’s art department, had founded the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo, Maryland. She suggested that I sign up for a class at the Yellow Barn. I did — it was again a figure drawing course — and I have been taking drawing and painting classes at the Yellow Barn ever since, especially since my retirement from the Justice Department in April 2007. I have also taken still life and landscape painting classes at Montgomery College and numerous printmaking workshops at the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.
A sampling of the results appears below, beginning with ten of the prints followed by nineteen acrylic paintings, whose images do not necessarily reflect the relative size of the paintings. The first ten paintings, beginning with “Santo Spirito, Florence,” appeared on the original version of this page. The next five, all abstract and beginning with “Glen Echo No. 3” and “Fire Pit,” came from an abstract acrylic studio workshop that I participated in during the Yellow Barn’s winter session in January, February, and March of 2016. The final four, beginning with “Brilliant Light,” came from a similar workshop in July and August 2016. Both workshops, incidentally, were organized and overseen by Carol Jason, and I am very grateful to her for her help.
Here are the four paintings that came out of Carol Jason’s abstract acrylic painting practicum at the Yellow Barn in July and August 2016.