Richmond From Legend / oil painting and urban legend


This is the story about the urban legend. When I moved to Richmond long ago, one of my first friends here asked me to drive her over to Southside to see her Dad. He was glad I brought her and wanted us to stay to eat. When he asked me about myself and found out I was new in town, he wanted to tell me things about Richmond that aren’t in the tour books. This is what he said.

“If Richmond is your home, you can go away. You can live and work somewhere else, but you will come back to live and work here again.”

I asked him if it was true and he said yes. I asked him why, but he didn’t know. I thought that did bode well for Richmond, because not every community has that attitude of expecting you to come back if it is your home. And it makes common sense too. Then I didn’t give it another thought for a lot of years until my daughter, Sarah moved to Atlanta.

Now, Atlanta’s a lot of fun, but it’s too far away, so I told Sarah about the urban legend, hoping she’d come back. She didn’t believe it was a true urban legend, but I said I don’t think the old timer made it up. Then one time Sarah was talking to a friend of hers who knows the urban legends here and asked about it. The friend said yes, it is a true urban legend that you will come back to Richmond. And she had another good piece of information.

How to Break Richmond’s Spell.

Dance Out of Monroe Park.

Isn’t that great?! I could do that! hahahahah !!

And here’s another good thing. Sarah left Atlanta and it looks like she might settle down in Norfolk, which isn’t Richmond, but it’s not too far and Norfolk is nice.

About the painting. WHEW!! That was difficult. A few years ago I wouldn’t have even attempted to draw it, but since I’ve tried to draw architecture a few times, I thought I could do it. The perspective isn’t perfect, but it’s not bugging me, so maybe no one will notice where I went off.

I had to work on it at home a lot because of the heat and humidity around here. It’s too hot out for your plein air painter. I got my colors mixed up at Legend and went back to check what I did at home against real life and made corrections. I wished the Legend Brewery themed show at Artworks was in the winter instead of Aug.

I painted the sky at home on a couple rainy days, from imagination.

The windows. I didn’t use my ruler for the windows, but I used my #2 round brush as the width of my lines. It’s easy to paint skinny lines if you paint in the couch with Maroger Medium. I hoped to catch the reflections. To check my lines I look down the edge of my canvas  the way you look down the edge of a piece of plywood to see if it’s warped. I had to try to paint the windows even though it was time consuming. The thought of the buildings without windows sounds nightmarish to me.  The city is more than just boxes made of steel and concrete. It’s layers of people working.

I wanted to paint the Federal Reserve so it would shimmer a little. So I did a layer of cool gray and let it dry. Then went over it with a glaze of warm white and scraped through it with a comb to show the first layer of gray coming through. And went over the lines with my palette knife scratching off more lines of paint.

The James River. I mixed up my colors on the floodwall. I didn’t copy nature, but arranged the rapids so some would fit in. Then I faked the river in at home.


Urban Individualist’ new space at Artworks

urban individualists at artworksIMG_1364




We moved into another little gallery at Artworks. It’s upstairs #201. We’re participating in the holiday sale. IMG_1368
The members of the Urban Individualists are Helene Ruiz, Sherri Bangoy, Ashira Benitez, David Freeman and myself. It looks like Helene and I are hogging the space, but we don’t mind taking our things down if the other group members bring in more work. Sherri, our new member does those beautiful Native American dolls and the leather hand bags. We rearranged a little more after I took these photos. We’ll be changing the space around a lot.IMG_1370

I like the space. The window is nice. There’s a cozy love seat for our visitors to hang around and get comfortable. Sherri might be found there doing her hand sewing in our little gallery over the weekend.

I have to do my labels. I’ll get back down there with them this weekend.

Artworks is on Hull St. a few blocks South of the 14th St. Bridge. In the Manchester area of Richmond.
4th St. and Hull St.

These photos don’t show everything. Come on down!

Musician in the Sun / acrylic by Helene Ruiz

musician in the sun
Helene said she did this painting as a tribute to her dear departed brother. He was a guitar player.
Isn’t it beautiful?! It’s in gallery 140 at Artworks. Come on down and see our great show!

my soft sculpture / pillow display at Artworks

pillow display

I made shelves out of cardboard and draped them with fabric I like. They’re in gallery 140 at Artworks on Hull St. just a few blocks south of the 14th St. bridge. We have a great collection of art in there.

If you want to read the ramblings of my subconscious check out the short story I sent to
titled ” In a Dream I Saw the City of the Dead”

Do What You Like. Like What You Do!


Home For Christmas – Collage

There is a saying that the secret of life is doing what you like.

I was invited to show with The Urban Individualists Group at the Artworks Gallery in Richmond, Virginia. The theme “Do what you like. Like what you do.” is Chris Ludke’s inspiration. The photo below, from the exhibit, shows two of Chris’ en plein air paintings.

Chris Ludke Artworks

Paintings By Chris Ludke

I selected Home For Christmas for a variety of reasons. I enjoyed working on this collage. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Again, Muse or Synchronicity… The canvas was just the right size. A piece of junk mail provided the night sky. The postage stamps and an envelope dated 1935 were just what I was looking for. The letter is from Chris. And as much as I value email for speed and an immediate response, I still love getting real letters in the mail.
Do you do what you like and follow your passion? And by doing what you like, does it bring you happiness and a sense of freedom? As Artists do we have the luxury of doing what we like and creating our own happiness? I think every Artist answers these questions just by creating.

collages by Shelby at Artworks with the Urban Individualists

shelbys collages at artworks
We’re in gallery 140 at Artworks on Hull St.
The Urban Individualists take turns planning the shows. If it’s your month you can have a solo show or plan a theme for all the group to enter. This is my month to pick so I’m calling the show “Do what you like. Like what you do.” And I invited Shelby to enter with us. I think the show looks great! I hope if you’re in Richmond you come down to see our work in person. Party night is the 4th Fri. of the month and the show ends then. I’m posting this one photo but if you want to see the whole show as photos they should be up on the Urban Individualists web site soon.

the Heron Rookery at Henricus / charcoal

a link below has a movie clip of the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman's character giving advice to a young writer

a link below has a movie clip of the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character giving advice to a young writer

I saw a few seconds of this clip on the news. The wise words are at the end. Naturally the news didn’t show the pithy part.

I hope this link works. Sorry about my ungood computer skills

News from the art world in Richmond VA.

Art6 on Broad St. closed. The owner of the building wants to convert it into apartments. I was sad to hear it because I liked to enter shows there.

Helene Ruiz worked out a plan to keep her group “The Urban Individualists” together and invited me to join. I’m excited about it! I always thought they were a cool group. When I join a group I usually stay on the edge of it. I’m not sure why. But I feel like my work would be missed if I didn’t participate in this one. I told Helene I was happy to be in with the cool kids and she kind of chuckled but didn’t say if she thinks we’re cool or not. That was on Sat. before Philip Seymour Hoffman died. Then Sarah sent me this link and now I’m not sure  if there’s a chance of coolness or not. Maybe Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character was right about artists being uncool. The last words on the clip remind me of what my friend Dick Clayman said so I think it sounds true.

I’ll post more info on the Urban Individualists as I get it. Our big night in Feb. is the 28th. Gallery 140. at Artworks on Hull St.

come on down!

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