All of the neighborhood parks are host to an amazing array of dogs and their people, all sizes, shapes, colors, and dispositions. The selection changes depending on the time of day and the day of the week.
Night Dogwoods Quintessential Sight
In the spring, the flowering trees put on their display around the clock.
Frager's Hardware is a friendly old-fashioned store that has everything. It has been a local institution since 1920, and has steadily grown to occupy several adjacent buildings in a sort of rabbit warren way. There are things up these stairs and down those, in this add-on and that out building, in the back and around the corner. The main parts still consist of several rooms with old wooden floors and narrow aisles all chock-a-block floor to ceiling with wares. Each aisle has a white square painted on it with a big red number. These are all worn down, some almost completely.
Old Growth Quintessential Sight
Much of the Capitol Hill neighborhood was built around the turn of the last century, and there are many very old, very big trees. It is not an unusual sight to see a mighty oak that has slowly engulfed the iron fence it was once next to, or has overtaken the curb or sidewalk.
Nearly all of the front yards on the Hill are surrounded by cast iron fences, and this is one of the finest motifs. I caught this one during the "Blue Hour", that time of day when the sky has started to darken to deep intense blue, but there is still enough light to see the forms and a bit of color.
Shakespeare's Floor Folger Library 3rd and East Capitol Street
One of the nicest aspects of the Capitol Hill neighborhood is the easy walk to some of the world's finest cultural institutions. The Folger Library houses a spectacular collection of Shakespeare's works and other period references, as well as a wonderful version of the Globe theater and some of the most beautiful spaces in the city. This engaging face resides on the floor of the exhibition hall.
Gate Shadow at the Hill Center
Gate Shadow, Hill Center 9th and Pennsylvania Ave.
The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is surrounded by a distinctive old cast iron fence. It has historically significance and has been beautifully restored. This interesting shadow was cast by the gate leading to the old Carriage House, and shows some of the fence's main motifs upside down.
The color palette: My color sense tends to be rather bold and saturated, so I wanted to explore a more subdued palette. I pre-selected a range of values in 7-8 colors.
The excercise of painting 30 paintings in 30 minutes really gets the creative juices flowing, and forces you to focus on the essentials. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the event, I found myself getting quite irritated at that minute going by so quickly. Just as I was getting into the flow of each painting, "Ding!" the minute would be up. It would be easier if it was just charcoal, but I'm a color addict. The entire excercise, including a few seconds between each to put the old one away and prepare for the new one, took about 45 minutes or so. Preparation and clean up added a few more hours.
The advanced planning helped. I had gathered papers in several different colors and textures, and pre-selected a palette of largly compatible soft pastels from which I only occasionally strayed. Also, I already had in mind what I wanted to explore -- geometric shapes (squares, rectangles, stripes, and frames). I feel as if I've barely scratched the surface of possibilities. I am so pleased with the experience and the production that I intend to repeat the process, maybe a 60-60, or one with 90 seconds each, or maybe even two whole minutes!
Old Firefighter 8th Street SE Quintescential Sight
There are several of these wonderfully encrusted old fire hydrants scattered about in the neighborhood.
I'll like to do a series on them.
This wonderfully crusty old fire hydrant posed several challenges. First, it's a tightly cropped vertical, and I needed a square format. It couldn't just be cropped without losing important detail. Second, it was taken with an early version of Paper Camera, which did great things, but had VERY small resolution. I needed to make it about four times as big.
I had taken two other pictures at the same time, but with different filters, at different angles, and with different lighting. I spent many interesting hours cobbling together an entity that would work. I have all the steps saved for a Step-byStep demo, but there are 15 layers, so I probably won't get to it right away.
These distinctive chairs cast equally distinctive shadows on the brick patterned ground, providing strong shapes of light and dark, plus some nice theme-and-variation elements. I used seven layers in the painting process.
These distribution boxes are scattered throughout the Capitol Hill area, and are a very distinctive color. The sample magazine was nicely askew, and the cover had a marvelous painting, done by Kathleen Walsh, of a fancy lady with square shoulders and great colors.
Click the image for larger view.
The other Hill Quilt panels are pretty straight forward in form, with no obvious distortions, so I did a straightforward version of this one too.
However, the image was intriguing on many levels, with strong colors and geometric shapes, so I did an iColorama distortion filter exploration, making another "quilt".
I especially like the iColorama interface, with it's many ways of controling the effects. As you can see I had a lot of fun with this one.
Nancy Freeman is a native of California who lives now in Washington, DC. A lifelong artist, she paints portraits and other commissions for a living, which keeps her traditional skills tuned and supports her decades-old obsession with computer art, and pastel painting.
She is currently using her 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th computers, but remembers when Dick Tracy had to make do with a two-way wrist radio.