Exploration of paintings that inform me

Hello Everyone,

As some of you know, my recent focus on small, realist still lives has been partly an exercise to develop some specific technical skills to support larger single and multi-figure narrative paintings that I've had in mind for years. I'm in an early exploration phase and paying attention to the different options we artists have available to express our ideas.

This blog is my place to capture my own notes and share reminders of interesting upcoming events. So, posts like this one are dedicated to the things I'm capturing for my own recollection. Hopefully it will be inspiring and useful to you as well.

Each artist's name includes a link to a specific work that I find informative.

Graydon Parish (Specifically the cycle of Terror and Tragedy"

Terry Strickland

Arantzazu Martinez (or his recent painting)

I also visit the sites of teaching master artists such as:

Now that you've clicked a few links, it would be a pleasure to hear from you about the artwork that inspires you. Click on my profile above and drop me an e-mail.


Sabbatical - An artists way of life

I was just reading this weekend about how to take a sabbatical and was unexpectedly confronted with the possibility that my whole way of life seems to be a form of working and learning sabbaticals. I had thought of a sabbatical is an extended period of time off to relax, recover, think, be creative and try something new or unusual. Initially, I assumed sabbaticals involved long spa vacations, clearing one's mind and watching the sun come up from the porch of a cabin. Then, I started reading about the way people plan a sabbatical, how to make sure it's filled with stimulating activities, change and time to reflect. Wow. This is interesting because this seems like a description of the artist's life.

Of course, I am projecting onto other artists what I value as my own artistic lifestyle but assume that for plenty of artists, our lifestyle is a form of toggling between working sabbaticals and coming back to share what we've done or discovered.

Here's my experience: I enjoy life and occupation by clarifying those things (can be goals) that inspire me most and then shooting for them, embracing whatever needs to be learned, trying a few things, experiencing the feedback, spending time to reflect etc. The people around me experience this as an intensity of energy focused on a given topic. Then, once a period of discovery has continued for awhile, I find myself dying to teach, show/exhibit or "deliver" something before starting a different open ended journey. This phase of "coming back" is also a form of relaxation because it's more grounded and focused on simple, specific goals such as an exhibit opening, delivering a product or teaching a workshop. Interestingly, the "Agile" approach we've been using in the software development industry (my other love) also embraces these creative practices. For the software industry, these practices are framed as "new" but they resonate with developers because they are people who "create".

Eventually the pursuit of anything that involves learning yields a surprise and usually a course correction which again is a regular, core experience for us as artists. The beauty of sabbatical for many people (maybe those whose occupations have become rigid or repetitive) is that the open ended nature of a the pursuit embraces change along the way. While this is commonplace in an independent creative occupation, I think we enjoy a beautiful luxury as we live our lives this way.

The idea of Sabbatical for me simply removes the obligation of "delivery" or producing something within a specific set of boundaries - in any occupation.

Funny ... it's hard to imagine life any other way ... but I wonder ... how do you think of your inspired pursuits? It would be great to get your e-mails and open this conversation to anyone who might be interested.


Satuday MAY 29th 6:00pm Exhibit OPENING RECEPTION

Hello Everyone,

It would be great see you at my upcoming exhibit reception. Details are below!

Original Oil Paintings by Tricia Ratliff
Saturday May 29th 6:00-9:00pm (Yes, memorial day weekend)
@ Applegate Gallery
101 Church Street, Vienna Virginia 22180 (2nd floor entry into suite C)

Exhibit continues through June 30th.

I'm very excited about sharing the art in this exhibit which will be featured in the next issue of Elan magazine. At first, I expected the paintings in this series to just be about the idea of many phases of life as you might see them in flowers or other symbols but it has evolved into something much more interesting. I've pulled together some recent paintings that are very special in that they capture a few themes that you have been seeing often in my work as it evolves. I hope you'll come learn about the symbolism which it turns out, reveals a lot more about me than I realized!

Please visit with us at the reception, read the expanded artist statement, have fun at Viva Vienna (which is happening outside on the same night) and enjoy the company of friends!

Dan Thompson Workshop - Register this week!

Dan Thompson's workshop at Artspace Herndon coming up next week.

Long Pose Painting and Drawing, week long
workshop, taught by Dan Thompson, May 31-June 4

Interested artists can call ArtSpace at 703-956-6590
for more information or to register by credit card.

This workshop concentrates on the use of strategy in creating accomplished paintings and/or drawings of the human figure in long or short pose situations. Lectures and demonstrations on gesture, composition, proportion, orientation of the masses of the body and the alignment of smaller forms, construction, anatomy, and the finishing game will interface into the more holistic approach.

Additional areas of concentration will be color, tone, how not to copy a pose, and developing underlying theoretical figure structure while observing how the surface of human form is revealed in a specific light. The workshop will include one on one personal criticism when it is most effective.

About the Instructor: Dan Thompson
In 2001, Dan Thompson was awarded Grand Prize for his self-portrait at the American Society of Portrait Artists competition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some of Dan's other honors include two Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants, The Stobart Foundation Grant and The Walter Erlebacher Awards from the New York Academy of Art.
Dan Thompson is a founding member of the Grand Central Academy in New York. He received his BFA from the prestigious Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and his MFA from The New York Academy of Art. His teaching experience includes positions at Parsons The New School for Design, The New York Academy of Art, Studio Incamminati, and the Water Street Atelier. Dan's work is included in the collections of Forbes Magazine, the University of Maryland, The Portrait Society of Canada, and numerous private collections.


Sherrie McGraw Workshop & Reception

WOW~ ! We had a great time painting, listening, learning and painting some more with master painter Sherrie McGraw in her workshop sponsored by the Herndon Council for the Arts. Here are some shots from the Friday night reception.
(Photos by Ken Berry)

I will follow up with a future blog post about Sherrie's still life demonstration.

I felt a privileged to paint paint paint with such a talented and dedicated group of friends / artists and look forward to seeing all of you again soon!

Students are pictured in order of appearance left to right.

Top Row: Elaine Hahn, Vicki Blum, Rachel Pierson, Cecilia Cox, Bogusia Thoemmes

Bottom Row:Tricia Ratliff, Tom Cranmer, Jackie Judge, Eileen "Little" Porter, Wes Porter, Sherrie McGraw, Tess Olson, Peggy Weed, Jill Banks, Elizabeth Stone, Sandy Botstein and Judith St. Ledger-Roty