Principle Gallery Show: Small Works

Principle Gallery is opening their "Holiday Small Works" show this Saturday December 3rd with a reception from 1:00 - 4:00.

I'm a fan of Terry Strickland's work so I'm specifically going to see this painting in person:

Fire Dance - Terry Strickland. 

Speaking of Terry ... watch my blog for an upcoming article about an interview with Terry!

I am also hoping that Martin Poole and Hans Peter Szameit both have something new on view. I was *this* close to buying a beautiful Martin Poole landscape recently when we took a hard left and fell in love with a painting of wild horses for the intended spot on our walls. This decision was largely influenced by the fact that I've hung so many "fruit and floral" paintings on our walls that my poor husband was feeling the need for a dash of masculinity. But ... I digress ... the point is Martin's work is so soothing that it appeals to both of us.

Then there is Hans ... I'll let the picture do the talking here:

Let me know if you are going to the show! Hope to see you there.


I'm always surprised by how often I run across something useful like this while looking for something completely different.  I was researching which sponges work well with charcoal and stumbled onto this nice pictorial drawing demo (he just happened to have sponges in another drawing). The approach in the demo bears some similarities to the "light touch" drawing approach I enjoy. Then the artist adds a little chalk/pastel for hot color and highlights at the end.


Hoping you'll take a moment to read these articles from the July 2011 issue of Cape Arts Review and American Artist, a moving biography of Timothy R. Thies on the West Wind Fine Art gallery website. It beautifully describes his appreciation of the lineage of his learning - and how he produced his own beautiful work as a result.


Antique Painting - help solve the mystery

Need a fun puzzler to get your mind going after the holiday weekend?

Help solve the mystery of this painting ... and learn something along the way just for fun!

Here is an antique painting, unsigned and in great condition of an adulteress woman being presented to Jesus. The current owner (a new acquaintance of mine) was told by the dealer she bought it from in London many years ago that it was probably 17th century, Genovese school. The dealer mentioned the names Domenico Fetti or Mattia Preti (Naples). I couldn't find similar works by those two artists but if you read to the end of this post, you'll see some amazingly similar works by earlier artists. The value and actual provenance are a mystery to be solved. Some crackling starting in the varnish which is common in old paintings.

I want to hear your guesses and thoughts this painting.

Here's what I've figured out so far. It's clearly a copy - but when? The earliest version of this composition I could find was by Dario Varotari. His son Padovanino (Alessandro Verotari) did two versions of this painting including a reverse version of his father's painting. Then, Padovanino's student Pietro Muttoni copied that version.

Can you find an earlier version of this composition? A later version? A closer copy? 
Does anyone know how to date and identify paintings like this? 

Things to look for: Even though the copy above is reversed again (possibly through a drawing transfer), notice that the spacing of the figures and the tilt of the woman's head are more similar to the Padovanino than the painting by Dario Varatari the senior. A lot of information is lost when making a copy of a copy (clothing, expressions etc.) which explains my friend's simplified version.

Given that copying old masters was and still is a great way to learn, I thought this would be a very cool blog post ... and I want to see if anyone out there can help find an even closer version or share any insight as to the age based on the style (modified from the originals) and use of red.

Here is the  Dario Varotari version

Here is his son Alessandro Varatari's version (photo credited to Lessing Archive) - does the fact that it's inverted indicate use of a Camera Obscura? If so, then why isn't it an exact copy?  The spacing between the figures and position of the heads are completely different. (I think I know the answer ... but don't want to slant anyone's opinion)

Then, finally Alessandro Varatori's student created the version above which looks to me like his copy of his master's painting because it shares more similarities with that painting. 



Soft tones

I'm thinking of taking a little painting break during the holidays but had to work on this first. It's a painting in soft, muted tones - very low chroma - some of those who attended my art guild drawing demo might recognize the setup.

The idea here was that I wanted to experiment with all of this white just to focus on the light coming through the almond extract and the corresponding orange on the bag tie. This setup (created later) was one of those ideas that developed out of something I saw in the kitchen when the light coming through the window hit a bottle of extract on the table. Interestingly, as I was putting the composition together, I started reading the directions on the bag of wheat about growing sprouts ... now I can't wait to grow some of those seeds into sprouts for another one of my paintings about the stages of life.

oil on canvas
Almond extract and wheat seed.



Oh those wonderful realists.

It's always a pleasure to peruse the websites and work of artists creating beautiful work. Cultural movement happens through conversation and I am constantly seeking to be involved in the wider conversation of how we artists may use our work to communicate powerful ideas and values. I write this blog based on my own belief that the things that entertain us in a larger community of conversation are the things that help us learn ... so here some of the sites I'm visiting today for entertainment. Enjoy. Terry Stickland kindly gave me permission to include some of her images here!

Voice of the Tiger by Terry Strickland - 33x32 oil on canvas
Detail of Terry Stickland's Drawing "Oracle". 

Terry Strickland's blog.

Jacob Pfeiffer 

Ken Marlow

Warren Chang

David Cheifitz

Patt Baldino

Ode to Melancholy by Terry Strickland - oil on panel 24"x36


Vicki Blum Exhibit at Bella Luce in Clifton TODAY

Hello Everyone,

I'm going to the Vicki Blum exhibit at Bella Luce today! Vicki rarely exhibits her amazingly lush paintings so this is a rare opportunity to see them in person one place and visit with her.

- Tricia


Cedrus Amplexu - new painting of juniper branches with beautiful antique German crock pot

Cedrus Amplexu by Tricia Cherrington Ratliff
In process
This was fun to paint. I fell in love with the dark glaze on this wonderful antique german pot upon discovering it near a packing crate in a specialty antique store.

Cedrus Amplexu
(Cedar/Juniper's Embrace)
oil on linen
by Tricia Cherrington Ratliff
Available soon at Broadway Gallery

Hidden Meaning: The Juniper here represents fresh new life - juxtaposed with this crock found in Germany that is believed to be at least 200-250 years old. A subtle reminder for the young to protect and cherish for the old for many reasons; not the least of which is that they are the vessels of collected wisdom that can be gained only through experience. During the Renaissance, Juniper represented not only youth but also purity and protection. I became interested in the meaning of Juniper upon seeing a portrait of Ginevra De' Benci by Leonardo Da Vinci in the National Gallery (Washington DC). Later research revealed that at Christmas, the Juniper branches used in advent wreaths (around the candles) represent the protection of Jesus, Mary and Joseph during their flight to Egypt from Harod in Bethlehem. Notice the series of triangles crossing over each other. The base of the larger Juniper branch is pointing upward and backward while it's newest leaves and berries point slightly forward into the future. 



Hello Everyone,
Instinct by Tricia Cherrington Ratliff 24x18
I'm so excited about the exhibit opening this Saturday! My work is taking a new turn which shows up most obviously in some of the recent pieces I've delivered to this exhibit of over 30 paintings! A few sold but during my drawing demonstration at 3:00, I'll talk about the ones that are still available and on display.

Saturday November 12th 
"Back to Nature, Paintings from Life" 
Broadway Gallery
5641-B General Washington Drive Alexandria Virginia 22312 (google map )

works by Tricia Cherrington Ratliff and Christine Lashley

Demonstrations: 3:00-4:30
Reception: 4:00 - 7:00pm
Wine Tasting 4:00 - 7:00pm (by Paradise Springs)
Show continues Nov 12th - Dec 15th

On a more personal note, I've been surprised by the two different directions my work is taking simultaneously. First, recent life events have caused me to work on paintings that are more personally meaningful. But some (not all) of these paintings take many weeks or months to complete with time to dry between layers. Between layers, I enjoy painting quick sketch "alla prima" works inspired simply by a beautiful or interesting object that captures the light before me. The result: a small set of slow, carefully rendered emotional paintings juxtaposed by many light hearted little oil sketches for each slow painting. Read more about my themes on my website here.

For example, the painting above "Instinct" expresses what my husband tells me it is like to be a man today. Inspired by the wild but solid adventurer, the bronze elk sculpture stands as a symbol of the passionate heart hidden inside many men. Even in our modern world, my husband feels an obligation to provide a nest and protection (the feather) for their families. This feather was given to me by my father during a camping trip the year before he passed away so it has a particularly strong masculine connection for me. My husband is a writer so the ink well with no ink reminds us of the evolution of the writing tradition and how so many things including roles and expectations have changed or not changed over time. It along with the marble transfer a bright light from their environment onto the table which is my standard symbol for a person hoping or trying to leave something positive in the world. Notice finally, the closed journal which calls us ideas of privacy and quiet wisdom for me. This painting is dedicated to my loving and supportive husband Walter - a man I adore and respect deeply.

The Official Invitation:


Invites You to the Opening of
 Back to Nature~Paintings from Life
and a Special Wine Tasting Event with
Paradise Springs Winery
on Saturday, Nov. 12th,  3 - 7 pm
Dear Tricia,

Please join us on November 12th for free Art Demonstrations and an Opening Reception for artists,
Tricia Ratliff and Christine Lashley.

Painting and Drawing 
Demonstrations:   3:00 - 4:30 pm

Opening Reception:  4:00 - 7:00 pm
Wine Tasting: 4:00 - 7:00 pm

Local artists and instructors, Christine Lashley andTricia Cherrington Ratliff, return to their love of nature with an exhibition of still life and landscape paintings that range from displays of fresh fruit and flowers to beautiful landscapes of Virginia and the Potomac River.  

Join us for an afternoon of art demonstrations followed by a reception to meet the artists. Wines from Paradise Springs Winery located in Clifton, Virginia will be featured during our reception.
Broadway Gallery is family owned and operated.
We have provided original fine art and quality custom framing to the metro area since 1978. Other services include art and frame restoration, art appraisals, delivery and installation.  
Conveniently located inside the capital beltway off
I-395 at Edsall Road in Alexandria.

5641-B General Washington Drive
Alexandria, VA  22312

Phone:  703-354-2905

Visit us online at www.BroadwayGalleries.net 
Caron Broadway
Broadway Gallery
Gallery Hours:

Monday - Friday     9:00-5:30Saturday                10:00-5:00
Sunday                   12:00-5:00