Jennifer Beaudet’s Year of Prosperous Change

By Jennifer Beaudet
MAA Member

Winning the Bertha Klum Award was definitely a dream of mine – one that I hadn’t consciously identified until very recently. As 2019 begins, I can reflect on the last 12 months as a year of transformation for me as a new artist.

Renewing My Love for Creating Art

With the balancing act of tending to family and career, my artistic interests were dormant for a long time. In January of 2018, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in ages, upon signing up for Glen Kessler’s phenomenal Painting Through the Lens Class at The Compass Atelier. It’s been a tremendous personal journey for me to immerse myself in a new painting ritual and finally embrace my creative and artistic side.

When I started contemplating entering the 2018 Kensington Labor Day show – an event I had admired for years as an art lover and collector – I never imagined winning two first-place awards as an artist myself. But the dreams kept happening, and the learning, confidence, course adjustments, and preparation occurred a little bit each day. The Bertha Klum award at the Kensington Labor Day show was a critical milestone for what is becoming an artistic career.

Jennifer at the 2018 Paint the Town Labor Day show, next to her award-winning piece.

Surrounding Myself with Support

My family has adapted to a slightly obsessed new oil painter in their midst. While they are not always pleased when my time is divided, they give me the space I need and they beam with pride when I paint something I’m excited about.

Surrounded by a community of artists at Compass Atelier, Artists and Makers Studios, MAA, and other local artist groups, I am inspired and energized daily by those of you who are passionate about creating beautiful art and helping others do the same. I am enjoying the surprising new relationships developing and hope that I can give back a little joy along the way.

Growing and Staying Open to Opportunities

Since participating in the MAA and winning the Bertha Klum Award, I have sold a number of works, taken on several commissions, and started to develop a portfolio. Most recently, I was invited to join the Gaithersburg Artists Collective and showing my work at the beautiful Artists on Market pop up galley in the Kentlands.

I also displayed a piece at the 24th Annual Yellow Barn Member Show just last month. I look forward to more painting in my studio, gathering with new friends, and participating in some exciting exhibit opportunities in 2019.

Wishing my newfound MAA community a creative and prosperous 2019!

Read more
See more of Jennifer’s art on her website
Meet our 2017 Bertha Klum Award winner

A Tribute to James Vissari and His Art

James Vissari at the 2018 Paint the Town Labor Day Show.

Life gets busy when you’re an artist, especially when you begin producing and showing more and more work. Given his roles as a Yellow Barn art instructor, an active member of a local art gallery and a successful artist participating in many shows throughout the area, James Vissari has decided to vacate the MAA presidency in order to focus on his art career.

In a recent survey about our Paint the Town Labor Day Show, our members noted that finding camaraderie with other artists was the best part of the show. James has been the key reason that happens. He was always the friendliest face at our shows, welcoming all members, familiar or not, with an exuberant warmth and huge smile. He made MAA feel like an intimate club of artist friends.

James exuded that same sincerity in networking in the community, building relationships that have helped MAA grow. We have nearly 200 members, we’ve added more shows, and we now participate in more community events.

James has also been committed to seeing new artists gain knowledge of the business of art through the mentorship of more established artists and through educational opportunities that MAA provides. It was through MAA, after all, that he won some of his first awards for his art. James’ commitment to learning from others is now the foundation of MAA’s vision.

We wish to thank James for all he put into being president and for caring so deeply about this organization. Certainly it’s not goodbye, as James will remain an MAA member and, we hope, still bring his huge, warm smile to our meetings and shows.

Here’s a collection of some of James’ drawings, paintings and sculptures:

One House: Many Stories Are One Story

The main exhibit

By Judith Levine

By Eric Gordon
By Jeanne Sullivan
By Sheryl Rose Liatunick-Walker

I went to see the One House Project at BlackRock Center for the Arts last month. All the panels were the same size. Everybody’s story was as important every other one. Each participant artist was free to tell his or her story in anyway, using whatever materials the wished. The overriding idea was to teach visitors to the huge spread of reasons and ways people became immigrants to the United States.

The concept of the show was to explore the fact that, aside from Native Americans, we are all immigrants or descendants if immigrants. Some of the participants ancestors actually came on the Mayflower, some are descendants of Spanish people who had originally settled in Mexico,  some are refugees  escaping Europe before and after the Holocaust, pogroms and exclusion laws, some are refugees from wars and violence in Africa and South America,  some are escaping war and crushing poverty in Asia. And some came involuntarily as slaves, convicts and indentured servants. Each panel told an individual story, as unique as the creators.

As I walked through I felt in some way intrusive in personal memories even as I was grateful for the sharing of them. I listened as they spoke about their panels. The descendant of a slave has been unable to trace her story further than that ancestor, she has had a huge part of her story stolen and that is very painful.

The curator, Jackie Hoysted, spoke of her own story as she is an immigrant.  Prior to going into the show, some of us had been invited to create a panel to tell our own story. I chose my immigrant mother; I later took the panel to show my family who were very moved by all I’d included.

Art Watch is a DC, Maryland and Virginia based collective that seeks to join people together using visual art and communication. The group looks to use projects such as Our House to show how telling our stories can help overcome the fear of those who are not ‘like us’, whose skin, religion, culture, and customs can make us stronger if they are included in the larger story.

They open up the subject of inclusion and how discrimination-both legal and illegal- creates needless pain and loss. As someone who has experienced how devastating that can be, this exhibition hit home very powerfully.

I learned the stories of two of our own members, Jamie Downs and Jeanne Sullivan.  Art Watch hopes that this project will be repeated. I personally plan to contact them about being involved and hope many of my fellow MAA members will do the same. Sound exciting?

By Chris Barclay

I Lived an Artist’s Dream at a Chateau in France

By Paula Eiblum
MAA member
The dream began in early 2016 when I auspiciously came upon photos of Chateau D’Orquevaux on Instagram. A new residency program was being developed for artists to “get away from it all, make art, meet other artists, and explore France” at an 18th-century chateau in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. The owner, Ziggy Attias, originally from New York, is methodically restoring the property with a long term vision that has no limits.
Two- or four-week residencies were offered. As the program took shape, each month I addictively followed groups of 8-10 artists arriving, doing art, and having fun in this historic chateau, set in 40 green acres on a hill in a tiny French village. Most of the artists were young, exploring abstract and otherwise unconventional approaches to art. I didn’t dare apply, for fear of being rejected, but by that time I could mentally walk through every room and studio in the chateau, sleep in a luxurious bedroom with a marble fireplace, pet the resident goats and taste the croissants!
I convinced an artist friend from Virginia to follow the chateau on Instagram, and at the very last hour of the last application date in December 2017 we applied individually for a one-month residency in September. In late January we were each accepted and then had to wait eight months until we could step up on those chateau stairs that I had climbed every day in my daydreams.

And what a joyful experience it was! First of all, to escape from our present reality was healthy and refreshing. The beauty of the surrounding hills, the sound of waterfalls, the sunrises and sunsets over the pond were solace for the soul. Secondly, the opportunity to interact with eight other artists of various ages and from different cultures, each exploring their own artistic journeys was both motivating and validating.

Paula (second from left) with her fellow artists outside the chateau.

Most of all it was the personal artistic challenge that was most fulfilling. No critiques, no competition and no comparisons. And a chance to focus without daily distractions and perhaps to find new directions.

My friend and I were the only en plein air artists, so we got a huge well-lighted studio on the ground floor, complete with tapestries and chandeliers. It was as large as a ballroom. The other artists had individual studios on the non-renovated third floor, perfect for large canvases and possible dripping paint!

A friend and I shared this space as our studio, complete with a chandelier and original tapestries.
When not painting, we took long walks around the pond, fed the resident goats, and meandered through the little village of 84 residents. A few of us took day trips to larger towns, flea markets and centuries old castles and abbeys. Most of our food was provided, but we all had the experience of shopping in French for goodies and wine at the supermarket 10 miles away. During the evenings we got together for luscious dinners and conversations with our host, Ziggy. We even read Grimm’s fairy tales in the cemetery one night!
I am still black and blue from pinching myself! A dream come true! Don’t hesitate: Apply! The deadline for 2019 is very soon. Tell Ziggy that Paula sent you!
To learn more about the Artist-in-Residence program at Chateau D’Orquevaux, visit the official website . The deadline for 2019 residencies is December 17, 2018.