Montgomery Art Association

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  • 27 Dec 2022 10:45 AM | Teresa Sites (Administrator)

    Lives in: Rockville, MD  

    Media and subjects: My favorite media is charcoal which I used for my tree series and portraits. I have been using acrylic paint for my beach and bay views, sea birds, and seashell paintings. Oil paint is my choice of media for my plein air paintings. 

    Why I joined MAA: I recently became interested in Plein Air painting and I hope to find a group of other artists with similar interests to paint together outdoors at different locations. I believe MAA will provide a great opportunity to share ideas, get inspiration, and learn from other artists in my community.

    Something fun about me: In my free time I love to do logic puzzles. 

    Artist Biography: Mary received a BFA degree in Fine Art and Interior Design at Maryland Institute College of Art. Her artwork is in private collections in New York, Chicago, New Hampshire, Delaware, California and her hometown of Rockville, MD. Mary has had several solo exhibitions in Rockville, Bethesda, and Washington, DC and group shows in Rockville, Baltimore and Wilmington, DE. She has won awards for her work through the Rockville Art League, an Interior Design award from Lazenby Associates and a group show with the Hardcastle Gallery in Centerville, DE.

  • 25 Nov 2022 4:48 PM | Teresa Sites (Administrator)

    New Members Spotlight – December 2022 – Alexandra Schmeling

    Lives in: Arlington, VA


    Social Media:  @alexandra.schmeling,

    Media and Subjects: Watercolor and pen paintings of architecture and natural beauty.

    Why you joined MAA: I was introduced to MAA through the Labor Day Art Sale and loved the diversity of work and the collaborative spirit of the show. I knew I wanted to participate in this sort of event in future!

    Something fun about you: I have a rescue pup named Ripley and most of my art business right now is pet portraits!

    Artist Biography: Alexandra Schmeling is a watercolor artist living in Arlington, VA who originally trained as a photographer at Yale University. She still uses photography, now as reference photos to paint from. She recently completed an artist residency at Chateau Orquevaux in France. Her works explore the interaction between manmade structures and their architectural intricacies and the more abstract, wild forms of nature. She enjoys playing with depth in her work, creating collages out of multiple watercolor paintings that draw the viewer deeper into the scene as if they are peering into a secret world.

  • 19 Nov 2022 12:24 PM | Anonymous

    By Glen Kessler

    In late October, we lost a great one. Artist and MAA member Ellen Yahuda began her painting career in earnest in 2017 with me at The Compass Atelier, the art program I run in Rockville. During her three years in the Master Artist Program, she impressed upon everyone who knew her her no-nonsense approach to life.

    Sadly, Ellen passed away just a few weeks after a cancer diagnosis.

    Ellen was a dogged pursuer of knowledge, a fierce debater, and a loyal friend. I will never forget arguing with her one week, hugging her the next, then arguing again the next. That's just how she was--nothing was ever given. She always needed to know why something was the way it was, not satisfied with simply reciting rhetoric. I respected it and then I came to love it, and her.

    And that's how her artistic vision manifested--unapologetically tough paintings of her family's factories built up with thick impasto and harmonious color. Equal parts intimate and brash. Her artwork flourished in the program and as she began exhibiting her work, she found sales and prizes awaiting her.

    Ellen’s first-ever show was the MAA Paint the Town Labor Day Show in 2019. Not only did she win a prize but she sold the painting. She would go on to win many prizes across the area, including a second-place award at the Labor Day Show just this past September.

    Ellen Yahuda (far left) poses with other award winners at the 2022 Paint the Town Labor Day Show.

    Ellen was never satisfied with success and always sought to learn new skills to test her boundaries. She took on figure and portrait painting during the roughest days of the pandemic and there again achieved great success.

    “Whenever we talked, she sought out and lifted up what we had in common, what we could connect with each other. fellow MAA member Margo Lehman wrote in a Facebook post about Ellen. “I am quite sure she did this with everyone she met.”

    “Ellen was so full of energy and humor,” MAA President Jennifer Barlow said. Artist Jenny Wilson has likewise spoken of Ellen’s “goodness and loving nature.”

    I am proud to have called Ellen a student of mine and later a friend. I am sad that the world must now carry on without her indomitable spirit.

    MAA member Glen Kessler is founder and executive director of The Compass Atelier in Rockville and has established the Ellen J. Yahuda Memorial Scholarship to offer financial assistance to one Master Artist Program student per year.

  • 29 Oct 2022 1:46 PM | Teresa Sites (Administrator)

    Lives in: McLean, Virginia

    Social Media: Instagram

    Media and subjects: Oil. Mostly still life but plein air when I can pull it off.

    Why you joined MAA: To connect with other artists who are still learning and to take advantage of educational opportunities.

    Something fun about you: I clearly didn’t read the course details for my first drawing class. When I showed up for the second class I honestly turned to the person sitting next to me and asked, “Who’s that guy over there and why is he wearing a bathrobe?” Turns out my first experience with a nude model was quite unexpected!

    Artist Biography: It wasn’t until about fifteen years ago that I finally had time to take my first art class. I started with a drawing class figuring that I should begin by getting a few basics down. After that I dabbled in acrylics and then settled firmly on oils. I was working as a nurse practitioner and launching three kids into their adult lives at the time so never had more than a few hours a week to paint. Those few hours were golden though-I couldn’t think about anything except what I was trying paint. Excellent stress reduction therapy!

    Classes at the Art League in Old Town Alexandria and The Yellow Barn at Glen Echo helped me to develop an appreciation for all the elements that make a painting “work.” I had the opportunity to travel to Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne, France in 2019 with a wonderful teacher from the Art League. We stayed in an actual castle, drank amazing wine every night and painted outdoors for six days. It was a transformative experience. More recently I took master copy classes with another amazing teacher at the Art League. Copying works by Chardin, van Aelst, and Cézanne challenged me more than anything I’ve ever done and really helped me grow. I’m now hopelessly hooked. Like my fellow MAA members, I can’t look at a gorgeous sunset or weathered old boathouse without imagining how I would paint it. Everything in the world around me is fair game for a canvas and that makes my little corner of the world a calmer and better place.

  • 22 Oct 2022 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    The Montgomery Art Association and Montgomery County Public Libraries are co-hosting an event for children to make and decorate small books and partake in other craft projects.

    The activity takes place on Saturday, November 5 from 11 am-noon at the Kensington Park Library in Kensington. The activity is geared towards children ages 4-12 and is free and open to the public.

    The event is in conjunction with MAA's new exhibit, "For the Love of Books," in which we celebrate literature through the artist's eye.

  • 30 Sep 2022 9:22 PM | Teresa Sites (Administrator)

    Member Spotlight: Ella Soroori

    Lives in: Silver Spring, MD                                    


    Social Media: Ella is on Facebook and Instagram.

    Media and subjects: My preferred medium is acrylic paint but, recently I’ve started using polychromes pencils and have been enjoying mixing the dry and wet mediums. I create abstract art using different fluid art techniques such as dutch pour and dirty pour.

    Why you joined MAA: I joined MAA for the opportunity to meet other artists and also to find ways to be more active in the community.

    Something fun about you: English is my second language and I learned it by watching “Friends”!

    Artist Biography: Friends and family know me as Ella Bella. I am originally from Afghanistan but was raised in Iran and lived most of my life in India, the Philippines, and the US (since 2012). During the first few months of the Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020, I started playing around with fluid acrylic paints and was genuinely mesmerized by the endless creative possibilities that would come alive with pigments running amok across the canvas. 

    In all my life, I’ve picked up a brush and a canvas or a pencil and a drawing book a few times but never really fully invested in it. Now in my 30s, I find there is nothing more therapeutic than mixing some paint and laying it on a canvas, guiding the ebb and flow of colors and shapes while allowing it to take its own journey. The surprising direction the paint takes when it flows across the canvas sometimes in harmony and other times like a beautiful disaster is genuinely addicting. 

    I create contemporary abstract art using my mixing recipes. My inspiration comes from the sheer joy of painting. I am in love with abstraction and the incredible artistic freedom I find in acrylic pouring techniques. 

    In April of this year, I had the opportunity to showcase my art as an Afghan American artist in the “We are All One - Arts Transcending Borders” art exhibit in the celebration of cultures in Johnstown, PA.

  • 27 Sep 2022 9:43 PM | Anonymous

    The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Dora Patin, who took first place in the Kensington category at the Paint the Town Labor Day Show. MAA has traditionally celebrated that piece as our unofficial best in show.

    Dora joins a long line of artists who have claimed the prize, including our current president, Jennifer Barlow and last year's winner, Alden Schofield. She sat down with us to talk more about her piece and what's coming up in her art life:

    MAA: How did you learn that you took first place in the Kensington category?

    Dora Patin: I was at my daughter’s soccer game when I received a call from show manager Paula Zeller letting me know that I received the Bertha Clum Award.

    MAA: Who was the first person you told?

    DP: My husband and my daughter.

    MAA: Tell us a little more about the piece: Why did you decide to do a trompe l'oeil piece?

    I’ve entertained the idea to try this genre for a while. I follow some trompe l’oeil artists on Instagram whose work is amazing and they were one source of my inspiration. I also was inspired by last year’s Bertha Clum award winner, Alden Schofield's, Kensington Train Station painting Passage of Time. It was so skillful and creative.

    I decided to paint the Kensington Train Station again, as I painted it for the past couple of Paint The Town Shows. However, I wanted to make it different than my previous paintings, a little more unconventional. Making it in trompe l’oeil style gave me a great opportunity to do that.

    I love Kensington’s historic district and I wanted to honor that. I intended my painting to have the meaning of my appreciation of historic preservation. To do this I wanted to have an old and a new photo of the train station. I used my photo I took in 2022 and I searched the internet for old photos, which I found on the Kensington Historical Society’s website. They gave me permission to use it in my painting.

    After trying several different set ups, I finally came up with the one in the painting. The actual painting took me about 3-4 weeks from start to finish. First, I drew it on paper and then I transferred my drawing onto my cradled panel. I painted a couple of layers. I did both, drawing and painting from life.

    MAA: What practices or mindsets do you put in place to keep yourself painting regularly?

    DP: Life is quite busy with three kids and two dogs. I’m trying to do my best to paint as much as I can. Having a supportive husband is very helpful. Talking to friends who are in the same situation often helps to get inspired to go on and try even harder. Besides, I have so many ideas I’d like to paint. I’m not sure if a lifetime is enough.

    MAA: Do you have any upcoming shows or art plans in the coming months?

    DP: I try to exhibit my work as much as I can in the DMV area. MAA gives great opportunities to constantly show some of my paintings. I’m also always on the lookout to enter juried exhibitions. In the spring I’m planning to participate in the Affordable Art Fair in New York City.

    Currently I’m exploring the trompe l’oeil genre. I had fun painting my last piece and I intend to create a series. My main goal is to always improve and to create work that is meaningful and high quality.

  • 3 Sep 2022 6:35 PM | Teresa Sites (Administrator)

    As all great shows are, this was an immensely difficult show to judge, which is a good thing! The quality of entries was uniformly superior in almost every category, and the difference between first, second, third, and even some honorable mentions was minimal. The Portrait category in particular was tough to judge as there were so many really outstanding entries. And I was especially surprised by the Kensington category – there was not a single bad entry! As always, I am honored to be able to judge and comment on work of my fellow artists.

    -Lenny Campello
    Judge, 2022 Paint the Town Labor Day Show

    Kensington Category

    1st Place (Bertha Clum Award): Historia Est Magistra Vitae by Dora Patin
    2nd Place: The Hard Work by Paula Zeller
    3rd Place: Early Morning on the MARC by Barbara Mandel
    Honorable Mentions: Light Remains by Virginia Browning; At the Station by Susan Fitch Brown; Cedar Lane, 3 am by David Sommers

    Landscape Category

    1st Place: Golden Cloud by Sarah Clayton Davis
    2nd Place: Vaison La Romaine, France by Mary Vinograd
    3rd Place: Water Meadows, Woodfield Road by Benita Kane Jaro
    Honorable Mentions: Time Out by Margaret Ingram; Winter by Rajendra KC; Isle of Capri by Deborah Pollack; Tempest by Ting Rao; The House Before the Storm by My-Linh Rouil; Nature's Sculpture by Yik Chek Phan

    Portrait Category

    1st Place: I Will Conquer by Isabella Martire
    2nd Place: You Are Gone and That Scares Me by Ally Morgan
    3rd Place: Summer Morning by Ting Rao
    Honorable Mentions: Glow by Jennifer Lynn Beaudet; Gaby Is Musing by Nan Dawkins; Playing the Blues by Karen Merkin; Weathered by Ellen Yahuda; Stock Up Time by Vicky Zhou

    Still Life Category

    1st Place: Veri Peri Macaron by Jennifer Barlow
    2nd Place: A Bear Necessity by Amanda Coelho
    3rd Place: Waiting for Wings by Christina Webber
    Honorable Mentions: Chatty Onions by Nan Dawkins; Roses Ride by Jack Hammond

    Abstract Category

    1st Place: Metamorphosis by Sandra Pérez-Ramos
    2nd Place: Rhapsody of a Hug by Martina Sestakova
    3rd Place: Crows by Nancy Randa
    Honorable Mentions: Composition 29 by Mari Craig; Coastal Dreams by Rosemary Fallon; Happy Wave by Raya Salman; Exploration by Jenny Wilson

    Sculpture Category

    1st place: Patchwork of Promise by Peijisan Art
    2nd Place: A Much Needed Break by Samantha Hecox
    3rd Place: Ice Bucket by Nadia Hewchuck
    Honorable Mention: Fort! by Anastasia Walsh

    Photography Category

    1st Place: The Gymnast by Arindam Dasgupta
    2nd Place: Warbler House by Julie Steinberg
    3rd Place: Snow Day by Regina Boston

    Plein Air Competition

    1st place: Saturday Market by Vicky Zhou
    2nd place: OK Morning! by Robert Pearlman
    3rd place: Water Fountain by Carrie Adler
    Honorable mentions: Professor by Holly Buehler; Outdoor Seating, Kensington by Garine Magary

    Student Invitational

    Winner: The Bearer by Elielle Kayomb
    2nd Place: Hammer Brooch by Nadia Hewchuck
    3rd Place: A Gazelle in the Water by Stephanie Fernandez

  • 27 Aug 2022 6:39 PM | Anonymous

    Looking for something new and different to paint during the September 3 plein air competition? We have hired two professional art models to pose at iconic Kensington spots from 10 am-1 pm.

    Shadiyah will be in Victorian-style dress near the three-tiered fountain at Flinn Park, 10227 Kensington Parkway (across from the post office).

    Harry will be dressed like a 1940s professor, posing in front of this display window of M.O.B. Vintage at 3758 Howard Avenue. 

    There should be ample space for 10-15 artists at each location. Spots of course are first-come first served.

    And please note: If it's raining that day, we will cancel the models altogether.

  • 27 Aug 2022 10:39 AM | Teresa Sites (Administrator)

    Arindam Dasgupta

    Lives in: Olney, MD


    Social Media: 


    Media and subjects: I am a portrait photographer interested in several genres including wild-life, landscape, macro and portraits.  I mainly shoot digital but recently took out my film camera from storage to experiment. 

    Why you joined MAA:  I have recently transitioned from being a hobbyist to a professional photographer.  Starting a small business has been a challenging experience for me so far.  Joining MAA will give me networking opportunities with various artists and like-minded people in this area.  I feel this will be a good way of connecting with people and learning from them, especially the business side of it.  I am hoping to be able to share/exhibit my work in the coming months. Additionally, I love to teach.  I am hoping that I can get folks I interact with, equally excited in photography as I am. I would also love any volunteering opportunities connected with photography.  

    Something fun about you: I have visited six continents so far and hope to visit the seventh (Antarctica) in the next 10-15 years. 
    Artist Biography:  I am a scientist and photographer, living in Olney, MD for the last 15 years. I started my journey in my science career by looking through microscope lenses to study tiny cells.  My connection with lenses eventually evolved into my hobby of landscape, wild-life and macro photography. I have been fortunate to travel to six continents and capture unique and beautiful moments of life. Portrait photography is my latest passion. From Art to photography, portraits are fascinating because it tells us a story about the subject. My photography services include corporate and creative headshot, portrait, senior portraits, family portraits, pet photography and more.  I have been fortunate enough to have some of my portrait work published in artist magazines.  Since I am excited and love all genres of photography, I continue to explore wild-life, bird, landscape and macro photography in addition to portrait photography.  

    I am so pleased to share several of my photographs with you. 

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