Montgomery Art Association

  • 1 Aug 2021 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    “Besides a parade, have an art show in the park!”

    This sentiment was first expressed by Bertha Clum (1900-1987), a local artist and lifelong resident of Kensington who donated the Clum-Kennedy Gardens to the Town of Kensington, Maryland.

    In the mid-1980s, “Art in the Park” became a reality with local artists, including children, displayed paintings in the gardens. In 1987, the adult component of “Art in the Park” became “Paint the Town.”

    Cash prizes, the ambience of Kensington’s Labor Day festivities, and the opportunity to meet fellow artists drew participants from throughout the greater Washington area. Artists painted on-site in Kensington on Labor Day weekend.

    In 1995, with the Town’s generous help, the show was expanded to a three-day viewing event (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) held in the Kensington Armory. Additional works of art, along with the plein air paintings of Kensington completed on Saturday, are displayed for sale with the theme of “Paint the Town.”

    Through the years, the show has increased in terms of the number of artists, works displayed, and attendees. It is a key event for the Washington metropolitan artistic community and Kensington.

  • 31 Jul 2021 7:37 PM | Anonymous

    MAA usually sees robust membership signups each summer, when new and returning members join for the Paint the Town Labor Day Show. But this may very well take the cake! We're delighted to welcome 20 new and eight returning members back to our bunch:

    Sandra Cane, Carol Cober, Jean Cooper, Kellie D., Nan Dawkins, John Dillon, Tamah Graber, Marci Green, Alex Gross, Jean Hirons, Jeffrey Human, Monica Ingudam, Michael Kaltman, Terry, Kelly, Angela Lacy, Margo Lehman, Lynn Lewis, John Moffitt, Andrea Mones, Barbara Novak, Robert Pearlman, Ting Rao, Sherry Selevan, Lian Sever, Jane Silver, Katherine Thomas, Andrea van den Heever, and Jessica Witmer (Muñiz).

  • 24 Jul 2021 5:02 PM | Kathleen Tynan (Administrator)

    Penny Mause 

    Lives in: Northwest, Washington  DC

    Social Media: 


    Facebook: Penny Mause Art


    Media and subjects: I prefer painting mainly in oils, but dabble in watercolor and drawing with graphite and charcoal. My subjects include mainly women and wildlife. I enjoy painting birds as well as typical northeastern backyard wildlife and take commissions for pet portraits. 

    Why you joined MAA: To connect with other artists and learn about opportunities for exhibiting artwork as well as competitions. 

    Something fun about you: I enjoy knitting in the winter months and am getting into quilting. 

    Artist Biography 

    Penny is a local to Washington DC and loves the area. She started drawing at a young age, and through many different career paths, finally made her way back to art last year in 2020 during the pandemic. Birds, wildlife and women are her preferred subjects, yet she also takes commissions for pet portraiture. She had studied at The Yellow Barn in Glen Echo, with Walt Bartman and Gavin Glakas as her teachers, and continues to do so. 

    Penny seeks to expose our misunderstanding and sometimes ignorance of our natural surroundings, through prioritizing the subject matter of wildlife and incorporating the Renaissance style of portraiture with her subjects. She aims to bring awareness to the beauty of our environment and the detrimental effects we can have upon it through our modern ways of living. She hopes that with each painting, the viewer will be able to study the animal and bird subjects closely that they witness everyday, yet many times do not “see”, and will thus gain or reinforce a passion for our environment. 

    She lives with her parents and her adopted dog Winston, and finds many subjects to paint in her backyard. With an upcoming solo show in late August, Penny is aiming to create art full-time and continue studying and producing art.  

    Please enjoy viewing several of her wonderful art pieces. 



  • 19 Jul 2021 1:46 PM | Anonymous

    By Jennie Crouch
    MAA Member

    Joey P. Mánlapaz--a noted contemporary realist painter, educator, and curator--will serve as judge of the 2021 Paint the Town Labor Day Show. With her many years of experience and impressive list of accolades, including being commissioned by the U.S. Library of Congress and First Lady Laura Bush for the 2003 National Book Festival, MAA is thrilled Mánlapaz will be lending her expert eye to our show. 

    "I am honored to serve as judge for the upcoming Paint the Town exhibition at Montgomery Art Association,” she said. “After a year of jurying and attending virtual shows, I certainly look forward to viewing works and meeting artists in person once again!"

    Those who frequent the Bethesda Metro Station, where a replica of one of her paintings is permanently installed, will be no strangers to Mánlapaz’s signature style--self-described as a combination “between the factual photorealism of Richard Estes and the deep psychological sensibility of Edward Hopper.”

    Mánlapaz was born in the Philippines and has lived in the DC area for the majority of her life. It’s no surprise then that the sites and people of the region are her main subjects.  

    In addition to being an accomplished painter, Mánlapaz is dedicated to providing art education to older adults at senior living and memory care facilities. She is also an associate faculty member at the Corcoran School of Art & Design and George Washington University and a lecturer at The Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia.

    For more than 40 years, Paint the Town has been a hallmark art show in the region, and MAA is pleased to continue that tradition with our esteemed judge. 

    Below are two of her pieces. You can see more of Mánlapaz’s work at

    Top: No Hands, oil on paper, 21x29.5"; bottom: Alienation (Loeb’s Deli), oil on linen, 30x40"

  • 18 Jul 2021 8:15 PM | Martina Sestakova (Administrator)

    By Martina Sestakova

    Members of Montgomery Art Association come from all walks of life and their artworks and creative processes reflect this wonderful variety. In this blog, we invite you to enjoy a selection of pieces that explore the theme of solitude. Scroll down to enjoy a lovely array of ideas!

    Christopher Hoppe“Being one with Nature” (oil on canvas, 20x24"). Enjoying the ocean and the sun setting with the beautiful clouds.

    Martina Sestakova"The Love Inside You" (acrylic on yupo, 26x20"). A moment of solitude seems to be the moment when one can indeed notice - in a deep way - the love inside and around.

    Terry Pellmar"Alone" (digital painting, 18"x24"). For some, solitude can mean loneliness.

    Judith Levine"To Matins" (crayon on Fabriano 140Lb cold press paper, 4x5"). I was watching a documentary and was struct by her sense of stillness and the solitude of the convent.

    Rosemary Behizadeh Yue, “Tranquility” (acrylic on canvas, 24x24”) painted with palette knife. There’s something renewing about watching the sun glint through the trees and filter through the leaves.

    Maria-Elena Lazarte, "Flowering Crabapple Tree" (plein air painting at the Brookside Gardens, oil on linen panel, 12x9”). Solitude is a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature.

    Jean Fin, "Dream Studio" (oil on canvas, 16x20"). This is what comes to my mind when I contemplate my ideal art studio. The inside hardly matters when the surroundings are so lovely. 

    Thank you for stopping by and enjoying the artworks of our members! Be sure to check out our other blogs as we celebrate the unique artworks of DMV-based artists.  

  • 15 Jul 2021 4:37 PM | Anonymous

    By John MacArthur
    MAA Plein Air Chairperson

    One of the biggest plein air events in Montgomery County Maryland, is just around the corner. Our Paint the Town Labor Day Show in Kensington will be held over Labor Day Weekend, September 4-6, and it includes a plein air competition on Saturday, September 4. 

    On Saturday, the 4th, participants will get their canvas stamped in the morning and head out to capture a plein air painting within the Kensington town limits. Take a look at our plein air competition page to read the rules and sign up. Then show up and get your "Art On!!!"  

    If you are new to this method of painting, this is a good event to get your palette wet. People in Kensington are aware and supportive. You have a wide range of subjects from Antique Row to St. Paul's Park. There are lovely older homes. There are gardens. Why, there is even a train station. The choice is yours. Here is a link to a map with the borders of Kensington clearly defined.

    Competition Rules: Your canvas or paper must be stamped on Saturday, September 4. Doors open at 7 am for this purpose. You must return your artwork for judging and sale by 3 pm the same day. (Note: If you do not wish to mark your piece for sale, you may note "Not for Sale"). 

    Aha, you have eight hours to complete your masterpiece. Your personal time begins when you get your support stamped. Successful artists in the past have had a good idea of where they wanted to set up before they got their canvas/paper stamped. You have a few weeks to decide. It is worth a trip to check out the area and make a decision about where you would like to set up.

    Experienced plein air artists that have participated in other "Quick Draw" events should not confuse Paint the Town with those events. The Montgomery Art Association's focus is on inclusion and the experience of painting plein air. The clock is not ticking away a two- or three-hour deadline. You do not have to use all eight hours--they are just there if you need them. 

    New to painting outside? It has been a joy since pigs bladders were replaced with tin containers. It became very popular in the mid 1800s and was the hallmark of the Impressionists. Post Impressionists also found the outdoors the place to paint. Cezanne painted Mont Sainte-Victoire from dozens of angles and in every season. In a letter to his sister, VanGogh shared, "No matter what people say; we painters work better in the country, everything there speaks more clearly, everything holds firm, everything explains itself...".

    And now, some tips from an old plein air guy ...

    Once you have chosen a scene, block in the large shapes. Squint your eyes so details fade. You are looking for composition and value. Keep stepping back from your work. I usually prefer working back to front or distance to up close. 

    You are outside, so remember atmosphere blues things down as they are farther in the distance. Things that are closer are usually a darker value than things that are farther away. Use a tighter palette. 

    Colors? Most plein air artists work with a cool and warm of the primary colors and white. Depending on my subject, I add two or three other colors that I will need in the painting. For me, working analogously helps tie the piece together. Colors mixed from the base colors in the painting often work better than a stray color from a tube. Black? Sometimes I use it and other times I find a mixture of alizarin and viridian is more vibrant. Greys? Always use the complement of a nearby color. Greys should be alive and not dull. 

    Light is so important. The impact on your painting is important. Know your light source and make sure you have it represented by shadows falling away from the source. It illuminates everything receiving direct light. Shadows are impacted by reflected light. Plein air is not a black and white world. 

    Remember. You are painting outside. The area around you is your studio and leaving it as you found it is your responsibility. When packing up your gear, don't forget to include a trash bag. 

    It is a wonderful way to spend a day. Art on!!!

    Photos by Martina Sestakova

  • 10 Jul 2021 5:53 PM | Anonymous

    By Blandine Broomfield
    MAA Member

    Have you ever been standing next to your painting at a show and had someone say, “So tell me about your painting?” The next words that come out of your mouth could cause that person’s eyes to sparkle with interest or glaze over with boredom.

    During a recent MAA webinar, Esther Choy of the Leadership Story Lab challenged participants to come up with a way to introduce their paintings as a story, like “Have you ever been in a car crash?”  The listeners lock in your story as it relates to his experience. Of course, not many of our paintings are about car crashes, and you have to concisely relate the fascinating story of what your specific art is about.

    Choy felt that having a story is essential in so much of life, from resumes to art shows. She talked about a technique she called "IRS":

    • Interesting beginning: Quickly get people curious.. Tap in to a universal experience that your audience can relate to. But also make them wonder what they'll find out next.
    • Riveting middle: Keep it interesting! Add some tension, too -- that will keep their attention.
    • Satisfying end: Make sure you wrap up the story. Know how you want the person to feel in the end? Happy? Surprised? Shocked?

    With the following painting in mind, I’ll now have a go at that:

    Have you ever seen something on the news that made you cry? A few years ago in the Italian Alps, there was an avalanche that flattened a hotel.  I happened to see it on the news as the rescue efforts began. New to painting, I had never painted a large piece, but I was immediately consumed with the desire to depict what I saw.

    However, I had recently been told in art class that one does not use people’s photos without permission and credit. Therefore, I combed through the news on the internet trying to find the little names and copyright symbols around the edges of the photographs. I discovered that CNSAS Italian Mountain and Cave Rescue Corp., as an organization had most of the attributions. I looked them up and wrote to their PR director. 

    After a few weeks I received an email from Italy (just as exciting as the old days with international air mail). They graciously sent me a link to all their photos and videos on Google. And so, among other pieces, I created this. 

    It shows some of the heroic efforts of a huge group of men who toiled through six-foot snows up the mountain to try to pull people out of the wreckage of the Hotel Riggopiano.

    And that's my story. How did I do?

  • 25 Jun 2021 12:08 PM | Anonymous

    By Judith Levine
    Education and Children’s Activities Chair

    MAA is proud to sponsor annual scholarships in cooperation with the Montgomery College Art Foundation, awarding it deserving Montgomery College students. This year’s scholarships went to two students with international backgrounds: Rahela Majidi, originally from Afghanistan, and Phaedra Askarinam, who was born in Iran before her family fled to Israel in 1991 when she was 19. Their stories parallel growing up as children in countries where girls are rarely encouraged to get an education beyond the most basic needs, and where studying the arts has been forbidden.

    Rahela Majidi was born and raised in Afghanistan, a country that is steeped in conservative traditions and is now controlled by a group that opposes educating girls. Coming to the US was a long-standing dream. She was fortunate enough to attend school when a less repressive leadership was in power, allowing her to get a degree in English and Literature in 2012.

    She was not allowed to follow her interest in art, which began as a 12 year old. “My only ‘training’ was finding a Bob Ross CD in a bookstore,” she told us.

    She has completed 25 credits towards her Associate Degree in art at Montgomery College; her goal is to complete this and the go on to university to obtain a BFA in Studio Art.

    Phaedra Askarinam, meanwhile, was born in Iran, her family feeling from there to Israel when she was 19. In Israel, she met the American who would be her reason for coming to the US, where they would marry and raise 2 sons. Her sister and mother still live in Israel.

    Though she has drawn her entire life, she only took her first formal art class in 2010. The mother of one of her son’s friends told her she taught private art lessons and encouraged her to take some. That was the start of the journey that took her to Montgomery College, where she completed her Associate Degree. Now, at the University of Maryland, she is studying with hopes to complete her BFA in the Spring of 2022.

    She works in acrylic, oil, mixed media, wood, steel, and clay; her pieces include both painting and sculpture. She also enjoys practicing yoga, and she is a certified yoga instructor. She also enjoys large family gatherings for which she is known to prepare Persian food for crowds of 30 or more!

    MAA has a long history of providing scholarship money to deserving students. Changing the course of a student’s life is a special feeling, one that every member of our organisation is responsible for. So here’s to our most recent scholarship winners, Phaedra and Rahela, and to every one of you has helped make their dreams a reality.

    Membership Chair Kathy Tynan contributed to this feature.

  • 22 Jun 2021 11:50 PM | Anonymous
    by John MacArthur
    Plein Air Activities Chair

    So you've decided that the weather is nice and you would like to venture out and paint. En plein air is a phrase used to describe painting outdoors. The very thought of standing out there, attempting to create a masterpiece ( or at least something that will not bring laughter), quite "naked" can be intimidating. I know that I was lucky. I began plein air painting at a very young age. I used berries and tea. Nothing created lasted long enough to hang on a refrigerator door much less be framed and hung. I painted because it was wonderful to be outside and attempt to replicate the world around me.

    The practice of plein air didn't really take off until tin paint tubes were created. It made it easier for an artist to take his tools outside. The world of plein air started with the Barbizon School and then exploded with the Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists. Art aficionados are familiar with Constable, Bonnington and Turner. The world knows Monet, Manet and Renoir. Almost everyone has seen a replication of a VanGogh or Cezanne. Plein Air forever changed the landscape of the art world.

    Your experience will be greatly enhanced if you show up prepared to paint. Sure, you need canvas, paint and brushes but what else will make your day smoother? I have some suggestions, things I have learned through years of experience. I have painted in all types of weather and dealt with all the perils of being in the elements. I have realized there is a happy medium between bringing all you need and bringing everything you can carry. Pack it all but pack light.

    What do you need? First, you will need pochade box or plein air easel, paints, a drying box to keep your paintings from touching each other while they are still wet, an umbrella for protection from the sun. Sounds like a lot and it could be if you just blindly began assembling supplies. In the beginning, you may wish to use a "French Easel." It is a pochade box, easel and place for paints and brushes all in one. You can go to Amazon and find one or you can go to Jerrys Artarama and review what they have. (I am a big Jerrys Artarama fan) There are several products you can purchase to carry wet easels. Now this is only an issue if you are painting with oil. Acrylic and Watercolor dry quickly and they are easier to transport back to your home/studio. I have found that the best wet paint carrying device is a used pizza box. I prefer Ledos because they still use the old sturdy pizza boxes. The flimsy cardboard boxes just don't work as well.

    It is important to understand that you will be outside, possibly for a few hours. Choose your location with a few things in mind. One, who will paint with me? It is a good practice to always have a "plein air partner." If you have to leave your spot, you really don't want to have to pack everything then return and unpack everything. It is a sad commentary, but being alone in a secluded area is just is not safe anymore.

    Two and more, where is the nearest public restroom? How much foot traffic or motorized traffic is close by? Is there parking? Do I have permission?

    Know the weather!!! How cold or hot will it be when you are outside? As Clint Eastwood famously shared, "A man's got to know his limitations." In the sun, you need a hat and if possible a stationary umbrella. It will keep you cool and the umbrella will reduce glare on your canvas. Sunscreen and bug spray are an absolute necessity. You can get so lost in the process, you won't realize you are baking or that maybe a mosquito is feasting on your leg. Protection is called for! Free heads up -- cold and warm, wet and dry are all manageable. Wind is not your friend. If winds are forecast to be 20 mph or greater, it may be a better day for yard work or watching a movie. Wind is not your friend. Over the years, I have had many easels blow over, paintings go sailing or entire palettes splash to the ground. Avoid the pain. Wind is not your friend.

    As always, art on!
  • 18 Jun 2021 6:07 PM | Martina Sestakova (Administrator)

    By Martina Sestakova

    Members of Montgomery Art Association come from all walks of life and their artworks and creative processes reflect this wonderful variety. In this blog, we invite you to enjoy a selection of pieces that explore the power of the color orange. Scroll down to enjoy a lovely array of ideas!

    Martina Sestakova, Touch the Earth (26x20", acrylics/watercolors on yupo). This painting's title is inspired by a line in Mary Oliver's poem, "Song for Autumn". Aerial view of Earth? Maybe. More like the coolness of grass, the dirt on my fingers, the warmth of sun rays, gentle footsteps, dandelions swaying in the wind. Touching the Earth is splendid. I so enjoyed adding orange into the field of greens. That colors wakes up the piece.

    Pritha Srinivasan, Fiery Heart (12x16”, watercolor). This is my portrait of rockstar Shirley Manson, with her vibrant orange hair!

    Jenny Wilson, Daylily Garden (20x30", acrylic on canvas). 

    Fran Sokol Simon, Night Falls in the Garden (11x14", acrylic and crayon on paper).

    Rosemary Behizadeh Yue, Rice Lake Sunset (16x20”, acrylic on canvas painted with palette knife). My good friend sends me photos from her vacations and I really loved this one. I originally started correcting the orange to pink as cameras often turn sunsets orange, but she said the sunset was actually bright orange.

    Shayne Heller, Orange Squeeze (6x6", fused glass tile). Inspired by our vintage glass citrus juicer. Ahh! Fresh-squeezed orange juice. 

    Alan Rich, Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana? (3.5x5", pen and watercolor on toned paper).

    Karen Merkin, Florida Orange (12x12", oil on board).

    Jamie Downs, Hibiscus (30x30", acrylic on deep canvas). Inspired by flowers on Sanibel Island.

    Anastasia Walsh, Escape to Creek (12x12", alcohol inks on plastic box). During the pandemic, I witnessed more families enjoying time together along the Northwest Branch creek. Usually hikers and joggers stay on the trail, but last summer and fall families picnicked along the creek.

    Elizabeth Levine Steel, Blue Rising, Orange Going Down (20x16", acrylic mixed on canvas). Created November 8, 2020. 

    Dora Patin, Last Act (9x12", oil on panel). My painting "Last Act" is a reference to the presidential election 2020. The orange represents the 45th president. The orange is in the limelight on a stage. The stage is a cutting board and the orange is being peeled to be consumed. The curtains are closed which signifies the end of the performance. The surroundings are different shades of blue, the color of Democrats. Blue also happens to be the opposite of orange. I finished this painting on the day of the election not knowing the outcome, but hoping for a change.

    Mary Jordan, F*** off ED; It's an Orange, not Poison (9x12"; mixed media/acrylic on canvas). When struggling with an eating disorder (ED), to choose an orange as a snack, to eat it (not just 1/2 a slice but the whole orange) and to savor the juiciness, the tart sweetness - that it is an act of defiance.

    Eva Zang Tkatch, Gathering Romance (12x12", cold wax and alcohol inks on deep canvas). Since the pandemic, I have been painting more and more abstract florals. I love the uplift it gives to me and hopefully, the viewer.

    Kim Williams, At River's Edge (16x20", acrylic on canvas). I am drawn to the water because it is a place to reflect.

    Thank you for stopping by and enjoying the artworks of our members! Be sure to check out our other blogs as we celebrate the unique artworks of DMV-based artists. 

© 2019 Montgomery Art Association Inc., PO Box 2154, Kensington, MD 20891

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