New Projects Near and Dear

With the return to regular routines that the beginning of school brings, I returned to my studio in September with again more ideas of what to paint than time or energy allowed. The scattered approach of painting whatever I feel like (or am commissioned to do) is hugely satisfying as I am never bored or locked in to a theme the grows tired or dull. But painting puppies and children-playing doesn't really convey the message I want or know I could. So with this new (to us) house, new neighborhood, new studio - this fall seemed like a good time to start a new series of paintings: one with a theme that connects my two worlds.

This is a very happy development for me as I have been wanting to merge space and science with art for some time. The periodic table of elements paintings were a successful first stab at that, but now that I have decided to focus on a science theme with my paintings there is so much to explore! I am now simultaneously working on seven space-related paintings and some 3 dimensional works as well. Though, I am very much in the experimental phase of this new collection, so we will have to wait to see what comes out of it.

With this new theme, I am also trying on some new painting techniques in an effort to minimize the adverse health risks with painting (it can be rather toxic). So bring on the palette knife (to reduce the need to clean the oil paint of my brushes in mineral spirits that fills my studio with fumes), and some attempts at using acrylic paints instead of oils. It is not an easy switch. 

I have no pictures for this post, as all pieces are still in-progress. But know that I am having a mostly-glorious though sometimes frustrated-what-am-I-doing time in my studio and I look forward to sharing my efforts soon.

The Season of Moving

Summer is often the season for moving. Our family regularly moves to new adventures following my husband's job; friends move nearer or farther or to new places we will visit; neighbors move in and out, changing the dynamics of the neighborhood. Having had twelve different addresses since graduating from undergrad in 2000, moving is nothing new- a part of me looks forward to the adventure, and a part of me longs for the day we will finally settle-in, find a home and plant a garden and get to know our neighbors without having it all change again in a few years.

For now we must continue with our "goodbyes." Even when it is just "goodbye for now," it is still hard. And saying goodbye to the children of neighbors and friends is sometimes the most difficult. I've watched them grow in the time that our lives have overlapped. Our families have shared adventures. They have played with my son and taught him important lessons in friendship, sportsmanship, tree climbing, minecraft, and other aspects of life. Sure, our families will keep in touch, but they will change much more (and I will miss seeing it happen) than their parents. It is hard and a part of me grieves.

This year it seems like nearly everyone moved, ourselves included. So I used a little painting therapy to help me through. If I could have painted a picture of every child that I will miss seeing outside my window or playing in my living room, I would have. But moving means months of disruption and chaos and little or no time behind my easel. Fortunately, two very important paintings were finished this spring before I packed up my studio.

 Climbing Trees is an acrylic on canvas painting of a very dear family that we had to say goodbye to this summer. The three Mitchell kids are picking apples - one of the many adventures we shared with them in Virginia over the past three years. I love these kids and saying goodbye was so difficult!

Climbing Trees is an acrylic on canvas painting of a very dear family that we had to say goodbye to this summer. The three Mitchell kids are picking apples - one of the many adventures we shared with them in Virginia over the past three years. I love these kids and saying goodbye was so difficult!

 Climbing Trees is an acrylic on canvas painting of our wonderful neighbors, the Crooks, climbing the maple tree out front with my son, Calvin. These kids were outside with Calvin nearly every day, running and climbing (stone walls and trees), and were a big part of our lives - they opened their hearts and doors to us from the moment we moved in. They will bring warmth and friendship wherever they live.

Climbing Trees is an acrylic on canvas painting of our wonderful neighbors, the Crooks, climbing the maple tree out front with my son, Calvin. These kids were outside with Calvin nearly every day, running and climbing (stone walls and trees), and were a big part of our lives - they opened their hearts and doors to us from the moment we moved in. They will bring warmth and friendship wherever they live.

Moving season is winding down for us. We are settled into our new address in Herndon, VA, getting to know the area and slowing meeting neighbors and making new friends. My studio is mostly unpacked, though I have not yet found my way back in. I will soon enough, with new projects to work on.

Happy adventures to all who find themselves moving this summer. I wish you the best! 

Paintings to Honor our Furry Loved Ones

The past three months have been happily full of commissions - paintings that others have asked me to create to honor pets of their family and friends. I enjoy making these little portraits, wondering about the personalities and character of the furry loved ones, pets that have touched the lives of their families to the point that someone knew they deserved a portrait. I cherish the paintings of my own sweet dogs that are now gone. I so hope that I have somehow captured these other beloved furry friends in their own paintings. Regardless, painting them brings me joy, and that is certainly worth doing!

A Year of Hokeilen Art, 2017 Calendar

The printed proof of my new calendar is in and it looks great! I am really happy with the selection of paintings, their colors and variety, and all the extras I've added (moon phases, mini-calendars of the months before and after, mini pictures in the blank squares each month, etc). This time I chose to include a a selection of my favorite pieces from across all of my collections, rather than going with just one theme. Calendars are a lot of work to put together from scratch, but they are well worth the effort (if you like art-full wall calendars like me).

Go to my shop to purchase your own Hokeilen Art wall calendar. I have just placed my first order with the printer (MagCloud) and I should be able to deliver or ship the calendars to you starting December 14. I will continue to take orders through the months of December and January.

H2O Waterworks: an artistic exploration of our relationship to water

The Del Ray Artisans have a show this month that is all about our relationship to water. This being one of the essential ingredients for life, I am drawn to it with both sides of my career (artistically I love painting water scenes, and scientifically I have worked to understand a small piece of the astrobiological puzzle describing water in our solar system). I will have three paintings hanging in the H2O Waterworks show at the Del Ray Artisans Gallery in Alexandria, VA. If you are local, take a moment this month and stop by Del Ray to enjoy some beautiful pieces of art - the show runs Nov 4-27 on Thursdays through Sundays, admission is free and handicap accessible, and all pieces of art are for sale.

If your schedule allows, join us this Friday, November 4, for the opening reception from 7-9pm. It will be a fun way to enjoy the artwork and mingle with the artists. The Del Ray Artisans Gallery is at 2704 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301.

I hope you see you there! 

 Beacons in the Night by Monica Hokeilen, oil on canvas, 36x12 inches

Beacons in the Night by Monica Hokeilen, oil on canvas, 36x12 inches

 Pirata Playa by Monica Hokeilen, oil on canvas, 36x12 inches

Pirata Playa by Monica Hokeilen, oil on canvas, 36x12 inches

 Boys on the Beach by Monica Hokeilen, oil on canvas, 18x24 inches

Boys on the Beach by Monica Hokeilen, oil on canvas, 18x24 inches

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

Ahhh, summer is coming to a close and I am eagerly waiting for more time in my studio. I love having the freedom and flexibility to stay home during the summer with my 6 year old, but I do miss my time behind the canvas. Goodbye summer, hello fall!

With Fall comes art festivals! I am participating in three events this year (up from zero last year, woo hoo) and am excited to get out and talk to people about my art. The first event is the Burke Centre Festival (6060 Burke Centre Parkway, Burke, VA) on September 10 and 11. This will be a new experience for me as I have not attended this festival in years past. It looks like it will be a fun, family-friendly event with a large arts and crafts show, amusement rides, pony rides, live music, puppet and wildlife shows, and much more. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will get some cooler temperatures than what we have endured this summer. My mom and dad will be out to help me with my art tent, so if you are local stop by and say hello! 9:30am - 5pm on Saturday, 11am - 5pm on Sunday.

The following weekend will be the Kingstowne Area Artists Art Show and Sale (Snyder Center, 6450 South Van Dorn St, Kingstowne, VA). This will be a small indoor event, and a great opportunity to meet and talk with local artists. We will be there on Saturday the 17th from 11am to 5pm and on Sunday the 18th from noon to 5pm - stop by if you are in the area, I would love to chat!

Finally (and in my opinion, most exciting) is the Art on the Avenue Multicultural Arts and Music Festival in Del Ray, Alexandria, VA on Saturday October 1 (10am to 6pm). I participated in this festival for the first time a couple of years ago soon after moving to Virginia and had a great time! This year I am back (happily with improved tent walls that wont wobble in the breeze) and ready for another great festival. Don't miss this one-day art event in beautiful Del Ray! Oh, and it is metro accessible - just take the Dash bus from the Braddock Rd metro station on the blue line. See you there!

Art Roadtrip 2016

After a recent visit to Jacksonville, Florida to attend a cousin's wedding, I took a week to indulge in a little art-focused roadtrip as I worked my way back to the DC area and home. This trip had three goals: 1) sketch and photograph potential future paintings, 2) visit local art galleries, studios, and museums along the way, and 3) simply take a break from my normal routine and indulge in a little me-time. It was successfully all of those things and more!

 My mom (left) and Aunt Debbie (middle) joined me on this trip full of historic walking tours, fun dinner spots, and lots of girl time.

My mom (left) and Aunt Debbie (middle) joined me on this trip full of historic walking tours, fun dinner spots, and lots of girl time.

This trip showed me Jacksonville's broad sandy beaches and wetland marshes, Savannah's park-like squares and live oak trees, Charleston's historic streets and waterfront park, and Wilmington's Cape Fear River and beautiful gardens. I have more reference photos and painting ideas now than I know what to do with! 

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA

  The reflections on the wet sand was so captivating; I definitely want to incorporate that into future paintings. Calvin is having a blast running and playing, unknowingly modeling for me. :-) He and Bryan joined me in Jacksonville, but flew home after the wedding. 

The reflections on the wet sand was so captivating; I definitely want to incorporate that into future paintings. Calvin is having a blast running and playing, unknowingly modeling for me. :-) He and Bryan joined me in Jacksonville, but flew home after the wedding. 

  I got lots of fun surfer pictures. Too bad they are so silhouetted. But that's okay, these are just reference and inspiration - I can add color and detail with paint.

I got lots of fun surfer pictures. Too bad they are so silhouetted. But that's okay, these are just reference and inspiration - I can add color and detail with paint.

 Lots of happy dogs playing in the water.

Lots of happy dogs playing in the water.

  The harbor at sunset while eating delicious and fresh seafood - it doesn't get better than that!

The harbor at sunset while eating delicious and fresh seafood - it doesn't get better than that!

  I love the flow of water and marsh grasses in Jacksonville's coastal wetland areas. I can't wait to paint some of these!

I love the flow of water and marsh grasses in Jacksonville's coastal wetland areas. I can't wait to paint some of these!

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

  Live oak trees filled every park in the grid of city squares that makes up historic Savannah. This is the iconic fountain at Forsyth square. I love those trees!

Live oak trees filled every park in the grid of city squares that makes up historic Savannah. This is the iconic fountain at Forsyth square. I love those trees!

  The view from a Savannah rooftop bar along the river. For years I've been thinking about painting a few nightscapes - I have several in mind - and this photo, with its glowing sky and yellow street lights and reflections on the water, will be a useful reference for me.

The view from a Savannah rooftop bar along the river. For years I've been thinking about painting a few nightscapes - I have several in mind - and this photo, with its glowing sky and yellow street lights and reflections on the water, will be a useful reference for me.

  More live oak trees... sigh. I have numerous pictures of trees and will spare my readers with anymore. But their broad stretching arms sheltering park benches and statues and locals walking dogs and even grave stones - how could that not fill my camera and imagination.

More live oak trees... sigh. I have numerous pictures of trees and will spare my readers with anymore. But their broad stretching arms sheltering park benches and statues and locals walking dogs and even grave stones - how could that not fill my camera and imagination.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

  Old buildings (oldest building in Charleston is the Pink House) and interesting tour guides (woman in the hat) both provide great characters for various future paintings.

Old buildings (oldest building in Charleston is the Pink House) and interesting tour guides (woman in the hat) both provide great characters for various future paintings.

 More marshy grass and coastline, so calming and beautiful.

More marshy grass and coastline, so calming and beautiful.

  Who could I add to these benches? An old couple, a family with young children, a dog with their human. Ah, the possibilities!

Who could I add to these benches? An old couple, a family with young children, a dog with their human. Ah, the possibilities!

  A couple on a bench. I tried really hard not to be a creepy person taking picture of other people, but sometimes I couldn't help myself. I was discrete, though.

A couple on a bench. I tried really hard not to be a creepy person taking picture of other people, but sometimes I couldn't help myself. I was discrete, though.

  Even a row of bicycles for rent became a source of inspiration for me.

Even a row of bicycles for rent became a source of inspiration for me.

WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

  A garden full of light, color, lines, paths, bridges, sculpture, and conversation.

A garden full of light, color, lines, paths, bridges, sculpture, and conversation.

  Again, who can I add to these chairs? Fill them up or just one person? Maybe even just a worker taking a break in the shade. I can't wait to play with the options. :-)

Again, who can I add to these chairs? Fill them up or just one person? Maybe even just a worker taking a break in the shade. I can't wait to play with the options. :-)

  I love the lines of the road, buildings, lights, and powerlines on this random side street. The dark clouds in the background help too.

I love the lines of the road, buildings, lights, and powerlines on this random side street. The dark clouds in the background help too.

  I got so many pictures of this sailboat tacking back and forth. There will definitely be a sailboat painting in my future!

I got so many pictures of this sailboat tacking back and forth. There will definitely be a sailboat painting in my future!

  Where day passes into night. Mom and I enjoyed a lovely evening on a sunset cruise on the Cape Fear River with live music and interesting views.

Where day passes into night. Mom and I enjoyed a lovely evening on a sunset cruise on the Cape Fear River with live music and interesting views.

I am so very glad that I was able to take the time for this roadtrip and break from routine. Thank you, thank you, to my husband and mother-in-law for taking over my responsibilities at home and making it possible for me to be gone (and mostly carefree) for so long. And thank you to my "Mamma" and "Awnt" for joining me on this adventure. :-)

Drew, Mo, and Hank

A friend recently asked me to paint her three pets, two cats and a dog. Having known this family for years, but now separated from them by half the country, I was delighted to take on this project as it gave me a chance to "spend some time" with these animals. Drew, Mo, and Hank - your paintings have kept me company this winter/spring and I was a little sad to send them on their way. What fun they were to create!

 Drew, oil on canvas, 6"x6"

Drew, oil on canvas, 6"x6"

 Mo, oil on canvas, 6"x6"

Mo, oil on canvas, 6"x6"

 Hank, oil on canvas, 6"x6"

Hank, oil on canvas, 6"x6"