(e)merge Art Fair (Photos)

Alex Podesta

I was able to take some time to check out some of the work at the (e)merge Art Fair that took place over the weekend at the Capital Skyline Hotel in DC. (e)merge brings together a collection of artists and galleries that are making moves in the contemporary art world.

I missed all of the performance art this year (dang) but there was still so many other things to enjoy. I thought that I’d share some of the pieces that I was able to capture. Enjoy!


Prêt-à-Papier Show at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens

And I thought learning to make an origami crane was a feat…

Recently I attended an event hosted by The Art Soiree that centered around the current exhibit at the Hillwood Estate in DC, Prêt-à-Papier. The exhibit features stunning handmade, full scale dresses created by Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. The kicker is that each of the garments and accessories on display are made of just regular craft paper, paint, maybe a little glitter here and there, and glue to hold it together. That’s pretty much it!  Each piece truly is a work of art, painstakingly constructed and painted in a process that takes an average of 3 months per dress – and that includes having the help of studio assistants. The works presented at Prêt-à-Papier draw inspiration from fashions throughout the 17th to early 20th century. The artist appears to be drawn to the royal grandeur and intricacies of the time periods. Before turning her focus on creating the paper costumes she’s now known for, De Borchgrave was an accomplished trompe l’oeil painter. “Trompe l’oeil” is a French term which means “to fool the eye” and refers to the art technique of rendering 2-D images with incredible realism. That painting experience seamlessly translates into the 3-D realm as De Borchgrave demonstrates her skill in manipulating the materials to create the illusion of satin, lace and other textiles in each fragile piece. It’s an accomplishment that photos can’t do full justice. The show is a delicious treat for the eyes, and yes, the pieces absolutely put your 3rd grade papier-mâché volcano project to shame.

In addition to the main exhibit in Hillwood’s Adirondack Building, you will find other pieces of Isabelle’s work sprinkled throughout the mansion itself where her garment asserts itself into the lush surroundings. When I took the tour, I was amazed to see how different each garment looked from the next. It seemed like De Borchgrave could make anything out of paper and paint! I never knew one could push its properties so far. This show is certainly worth seeing if you have any interest in fashion, paper crafts, or looking at cool stuff.

The exhibit is currently running until Dec. 30th. More info about the Prêt-à-Papier show and Hillwood Mansion can be found here.

Here’s some of what I captured during my visit:

Not nearly as grand as the dresses in the exhibit, but I did alright. Dress: ASOS; Gold bracelets, ring and belt: Target. Photo Credit: Art Soiree

Check out more pictures on Purple Paintbrush’s Facebook page!

Figure Painting Workshop Pictures – Day 5

So here it is, after a few more tweaks and observations from Day 4 this is the final result of the figure study I did at the summer workshop I attended at Studio Incamminati:


Not too bad, considering how much I thought I was struggling with it. I definitely see where I can improve, but I’m not beating myself up as bad as I was earlier in the week. It was a great learning experience and I’m pretty happy that I took the time to attend this workshop. It wasn’t easy, I’ll say that! I’ve come away with a lot good feedback from the instructors and I trust their insight. Another big thing that seemed to be reinforced to me throughout this experience is that one just has to keep painting often, it has to be a part of the routine in some way. It’s really the only way to get better. I’m going to keep that in mind, and try my best to keep pushing myself as well as continue to encourage others!

Thanks for hanging in there with me, hopefully in the coming weeks you will get to see more products of this recent burst of productivity and motivation. Can’t wait!

Figure Painting Workshop Pictures – Day 4

Day 3 was a really tough one for me and the beginning of Day 4 was no different! I was struuuuuggling! But, fortunately I was able to get some help and attention from the instructors and I started to feel a little bit better about what I was doing. Honestly, I’m still not completely happy with this study but I DO think that I’m in a better spot than yesterday. Check out the pics:

Figure Painting Workshop pictures – Day 3

Now it’s starting to get difficult.

I became really frustrated today while I was working on this study. I must’ve been having an off day or something, I don’t know, but it seemed like nothing I did looked right. Plus I think I’ve fallen behind too…everyone else in the class seems to have their paintings much more developed by the end of the day. My study doesn’t look terrible, I guess, but today I just couldn’t help feeling incompetent! Anyway, hoping that I’ll be able to work it out in the next class! Here are the couple of pics I was able to take:

Figure Painting Workshop pictures – Day 2

The exercises from day 1 weren’t worth photographing, but day 2 marked the beginning of the long pose that we’re going to work on the the rest of the week. Here is the progression of my study on the first go ’round:

I had to make some tweaks to the torso shape and the shoulders, then move the feet over a tad bit to readjust the weight distribution. The day ended with just a general blocking in of the light and shadow shapes, although unfortunately my light value ended up being too light. It’s not the worst thing though, I still have a chance to paint my way out of that!

Back at it!

First let me apologize. It’s been a long hiatus! Things had definitely been a little hectic for a while. Not sure why I hadn’t said anything about it before, but now that it’s finally here I am very excited to share that I’m in Philadelphia this week doing a painting workshop at Studio Incamminati! Studio Incamminati is an atelier that is one of the best at developing students who want to learn the style of humanist realism. Students are taught under the teaching philosophy of its founder, Nelson Shanks. The experience has been stimulating yet challenging so far, and while I’m here I will do my best to provide updates, pictures, and for the first time – video! Yes, I’ll be recording video recaps of my days in class and the work that I’m doing. For now just check out the Purple Paintbrush Facebook page for the video uploads. Like, share, comment, or just watch if that’s what you’re into. 😉