December 22, 2008

Paintings in Progress

A while ago I promised that I would post some progress shots (not very good ones) of the paintings I'm working on for my show in March at Hillyer Art Space. These are some shots I took over a month ago and while I realize they don't reveal much I think they are interesting glimpses into the work I'm doing. Don't worry though, I'll post more in the next couple of weeks! Enjoy!

December 15, 2008

Studio Gallery Presents Artomatic Artists

I'll be showing my last remaining painting from Artomatic 2008 at this show in January. I hope to see you there!

Studio Gallery Presents Artomatic Artists
Curated by Ellyn Weiss
January 7 - January 31, 2009
2108 R Street, NW Washington, DC

First Friday Reception
(part of Dupont Circle Galleries openings)
January 9, 6 - 8 pm
Meet the Artists Reception
Friday, January 16, 6 - 8 pm
Closing Reception
Thursday, January 29, 6 - 8 pm
Participating Artists:
Erin Antognoli, Kanchan Balse, Joan Belmar, BRASH, Gregory Ferrand, Pat Goslee, Genna Gurvich, Brian Hamill, Kate Hardy, Peter Harper, Brie Husted, Joanna Knox, Tracy Lee, Laurel Lukaszewski, Laura Peery, Fabian Rios Rubino, Luba Sterlikova, Veronica Szalus, Novie Trump

December 9, 2008

New Illustration

The following illustration was done for Education Week and accompanied an article exploring the cuts school districts may have to make as they compete for funds in the current economic crisis.

rough sketch

final illustration (graphite and colored in Photoshop)

December 4, 2008


I don't normally do commissions; it's never as pleasurable as doing my own work, but recently I made an exception due to the open collaborative process the commissioner agreed to. They came to me with an idea for a painting based on the Greek myth of Persephone and then let me go to town.

Here is the rough sketch we agreed on.

While thinking about how to portray the myth I knew that I didn't want to paint to a Greek woman in robes being kidnapped by Hades, I wanted an image that was a bit more contemporary. (read about the myth here)

And here is the final painting: acrylic on canvas (24"x36")

November 20, 2008

Silent Auction Recap

Last Saturday night I went to Transformer Gallery's 5th Annual Silent Auction and had a good time catching up with friends, checking out art and meeting collectors. The night went well for me (there was a little bidding war for my pieces from the Making Face series I did a few years ago - here and here) but it felt different from past years: there seemed to be less people (though it was still crowded), less artwork on the walls and more restrained bidding. From what I heard, Transformer had a good night in the end (though I'll be interested to hear what the final earnings were for the night), but it definitely felt like the down turn in the economy might have been having an effect on the night...But who knows, I'm definitely not an economist!

me with artists Anna U Davis, Dana Ellyn, and Matt Sesow

November 17, 2008

Making Space!

If you haven’t heard already, my wife and I are expecting our first baby early next year! I’m not sure how the birth of our baby will influence the content of my paintings, but I do know that it will influence where I work. There’s not much room at home, so the baby gets what is now the studio and I get to look for a new one!

In the meantime I need to start making space and need to get rid of things!

For the first time I've created a section on my website that has all of the work that is available for sale in one place. And there are some new things I'm offering, including affordable and framed one-of-a-kind drawing studies that I make as I work out the composition of each new painting. To check out what I have hanging around the studio, please go here.

November 11, 2008

The 5th Annual Transformer Silent Auction & Benefit Party

This is the third year in a row that I've been asked to participate in this. It's a fun night!

Transformer proudly presents The 5th Annual Transformer Silent Auction & Benefit Party taking place Saturday, November 15, 2008, 7-10pm in John Dreyfuss' Sculpture Studio at Halcyon House, 34th and Prospect Streets NW.

This very special, one-night only event features an exciting array of over 125 artworks in a variety of mediums, dimensions and prices by more than 100 of DC's leading emerging and established artists.

Expanding Transformer's mission of artist-centered programming, we are thrilled to have this year's Auction at Halcyon House in the gorgeous studio of Washington's leading sculptor, John Dreyfuss. In addition to viewing and bidding on an eclectically curated mix of salon-style hung artworks, patrons are encouraged to groove to the beats of Djs Yellow Fever and enjoy delicious complimentary hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer throughout the evening provided by some of DC's finest restaurants, including: Bar Pilar, Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar, Bombay Club, Buck’s Fishing & Camping, Café Saint-Ex, Comet Ping Pong, Jaleo, Leopold’s Kafe + Konditorei, Local 16, Mandu, Marvin, Melt Catering, Old Ebbitt Grill, On the Fly, Oyamel, Paisley Fig, Posto, Sea Catch, sweetgreen, and Whole Foods.

With a growing reputation as an awesome party and fantastic opportunity for both beginning and seasoned collectors to purchase some of the best visual art DC has to offer, attendance to the auction is sure to sell out, so buy your tickets early! Attendance is $150 if received by 10.27.08; $175 after this date. Attendance is on a first paid, first secured basis.

-Providing essential support for this dynamic organization's year-round programming, exhibitions, and services, The 5th Annual Transformer Silent Auction & Benefit Party is an ideal place to experience and purchase an informed sampling of work by Washington's top contemporary artists while connecting with a fun, sophisticated and smart audience. The Annual Auction & Benefit Party celebrates and supports Transformer's programming and raises the visibility of a diverse range of contemporary art and artists in the Washington, DC area.

-Proceeds from The 5th Annual Transformer Silent Auction & Benefit Party will match recent grant awards, directly supporting artists through artist honoraria, exhibition material coasts, and related programming support. In addition to supporting exhibitions, proceeds will support artists through the funding of Transformer programs such as
The Exercises - a peer-mentorship program for emerging artists, as well as The Framework Panel Series, and our ongoing professional development work to help artists help themselves.

-Contact Transformer about purchasing your auction tickets today!
Contact Transformer about purchasing your auction tickets today!

2008 Auction artists
Seth Adelsberger, Geoffrey Aldridge, Ken Ashton, Clarke Bedford,
April Behnke, Elizzabeth Beil, Lisa Bertnick-Noble, Nancy Blum, Reuben Breslar, Mickael Broth, Miles Bumbray, Renee Butler, Zoë Charlton, Natalie W. Cheung, Graham Childs, Bradley Chriss, Billy Colbert, Cynthia Connolly, Kathryn Cornelius, Steven Cushner, Anna U. Davis, Frank Hallam Day, Decoy, Lily deSaussure, Melissa Dickenson, Mary Early, Dana Ellyn, Cheraya Esters, Jason Falchook, Edward Max Fendley, Gregory Ferrand, Thom Flynn, Steve Frost, Christine Gray, Kate Hardy, Linda Hesh, Carlotta Hester, Ryan Hill, Max Hirshfeld, Jason Horowitz, James Huckenpahler, Jason Hughes, Lawrence Hyman, Erick Jackson, Susan Jamison, Judy Jashinsky, Paul Jeffreys, Ian Jehle, Sue Johnson, Benjamin Jurgensen, Kevin Kepple, Dean Kessmann, Jae Ko, Michele Kong, Andrew Kozlowski, Bridget Sue Lambert, Nilay Lawson, Pepa Leon, Brian Liu, Rich MacDonald, Kate MacDonnell, Akemi Maegawa, Dana Maier, Nathan Manuel, Anne Marchand, Lisa McCarty, Patrick McDonough, Linn Meyers, Maggie Michael, A. B. Miner, Amy Misurelli Sorensen, Jiha Moon, Phil Nesmith, William A. Newman, Cory Orbendorfer, Nikki Painter,
Lucian Perkins, W. C. Richardson, Marc Roman, Robin Rose, Hannah Rose, James Sanborn, Matt Sesow, Jeff Spaulding, Dan Steinhilber, Zach Storm, Renee Stout, Jason Talley, Noelle Tan
Tang, Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Kelly Towles, Paul Vinet, Rachel Waldron, Bill Warrell, Ian Whitmore, Andy Moon Wilson, Andrew Wodzianski, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Chad Yencer, Trevor Young, Jason Zimmerman

November 5, 2008

And So It Begins!

Here's a brief recap of my election day experience:

Yesterday morning my wife and I headed out early to our voting site and we were stopped in our tracks when we saw this:

We got in line and began our two hour wait to place our vote. While in line we chatted with neighbors and marveled at the huge turn out. After about an hour, my wife gave in to the cold and her tired feet and was allowed inside to find a seat to rest (one of the perks of being pregnant!!) while I kept our place in line. Another hour later we were reunited inside and participated in the historic day!

Still excited, she headed off to work and I headed back to the studio to paint.

A couple of hours later, I got a call from my sister (who I had loaned our car to so she could be a legal observer at polling stations in Virginia). Bad news.... An ambulance had hit her. She wasn't hurt and the car wasn't badly damaged, but it definitely put a damper on both of our days as she spent two hours waiting for and then dealing with the police investigator, and I dealt with the insurance side of things.

At about 5pm I ran over to the gym for a quick work out and was surprised to find so many people there all tuned in to CNN.

By 7pm friends started coming over to watch the results. We even made our own electoral map that we colored in as the result for each state was declared.

When Pennsylvania was declared blue and then Ohio, we began celebrating. But for me, the biggest win of the night was Virginia.... Growing up and going to school in the diverse city of Alexandria, Virginia and then going to college in Richmond, VA, I have known for a long time that the state was split, but I have only dared to dream that it could go blue.... The state that is home to the capitol of the Confederacy going blue? A blue Virginia says it all!

And then the 44th President was declared!

As I listened to Obama speak, I couldn't shake the feeling that we were finally stepping out of an 8 year episode of the Twilight Zone... The contrast between then and what will be was and is almost unbelievable!

Immediately after the speech, we jumped in the car thinking that we would go to U Street to join the celebrations there. As soon as we started driving, we were honking the horn and blowing the whistle my wife had brought along and within minutes we were driving alongside others doing the same... The honking in the city and the amount of people on the streets cheering and chanting "Obama" and "Yes we did!" was incredibly moving... The city was alive! It was overwhelming....

When we got to 16th and U we saw that the police had blocked the street so we looked at each other and yelled "The White House!"

Somehow we got there, despite the traffic and lack of parking, and found ourselves among thousands in Lafayette Park and on Pennsylvania Ave.....

We spent roughly 4 hours down there singing, chanting, yelling, celebrating, jumping, giving hi fives, and embracing complete strangers..... The joy was palpable... It was an absolutely amazing and emotional night.

My lovely (and pregnant wife) Exhausted but jubliant after a long day. As a new US citizen, this was her first opportunity to vote in a Presidential Election

"I've never seen anything like this!" someone exclaimed.

"I have!" my wife yelled back, "When Argentina won the World Cup!"

Video of the celebrations in Washington DC at the corner of 16th and K st one block from the White House (the whistler is me!)

Me, the artist, with a whistle and making noise on top of a electrical box at the corner of 16th and K st one block from the White House

October 29, 2008

Back to the Basics

The past couple of months have found me working hard on getting new paintings together for my upcoming show at Hillyer Art Space in March. And I have been working hard: sketching, planing, prepping canvases and have a bunch of paintings underway.

On Sunday I decided that I needed a break from my intense routine and started working on some new rough sketches for the next batch of paintings I want to finish for the show. I've been drawing and drawing and drawing (or trying to draw) for the past couple of days, but things aren't coming out the way I would like. So last night I decided I needed to clear my head and go back to the basics and draw from life.

I did a quick self portrait and started to feel good, like I was relearning how to see. It isn't perfect (the eyes are a bit off due to slight shifts in the pose and I didn't pay that much attention to my hair and beard), but I feel like its a good start. I'm hoping to do a few more
of these before I dive back into the routine!

October 27, 2008

American Airlines Dec/Jan

Recently I finished an illustration that will accompany an editorial about changes that could be made to the Spanish alphabet and why the Real Academia Española hasn't made any changes since the 1700's. The illustration will appear in the Dec/Jan issue of American Airlines' magazine Nexos. If you're flying American Airlines this winter look in the back of the seat in front of you and check it out!

rough sketch ---------------------- final drawing

final illustration ( acrylic on illustration board, touched up in Photoshop)

October 18, 2008

Shepard Fairey hits the Mt.P

DC seems starstruck as pieces by legendary Graffiti Artist and creator of OBEY (Andre the Giant) and the Obama PROGRESS and HOPE posters, Shepard Fairey, pop up on walls all over town.

Well now there's one in Mt. Pleasant. (at Mt. Pleasant and Kenyon)

October 14, 2008


Last night I just happened to walk out onto our balcony, look to the right and see this...

We have great view of Rock Creek Park and the National Cathedral but last night the sunset was fabulous. The range of intense colors was breathtaking and the clouds looked like brushstrokes to me.

And I also decided that my camera is pretty good. Look at that zoom! (I need a tripod though)

October 3, 2008


Do you know what a pangolin is? Niether did I, but after being asked to do a coloring book page of one for I got a quick introduction. They look like a cross between an armadillo and anteater but is niether and is endangered. Find out more about these critters and how you can help to save them here. And to download the coloring book page I created go here.

rough sketches

final illustration

September 15, 2008

Some Nice Words

Over the weekend I participated in the DC art festival Arts on Foot and had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people including talented photograher and fellow OCCOA artist Tara Kocourek and journalist/blogger Christine Cordner.

Please visit Tara's blog and Christine's blog to see the nice things they had to say about my work!

Arts on Foot Wrap-Up

Arts on Foot... it was two days of heat, humidity and scattered rain, but I survived and had a good time in the end.

Friday started with me and my wife trying to figure out how to put together my new display walls and then was slow and hot for the rest of the day. I met a few people and was able to catch up with artist Todd Gardner (i'll be posing for one of the last 6 paintings he's doing for his portrait series).

Saturday was much better although hotter. I made good sales, met a lot of nice people, and was happy to see artists Scott Brooks and Tim Tate who stopped by to stay hello.

For those interested, I do have a number of original drawings for sale. The drawings were made to flesh out my ideas for the composition and shading of my paintings and are all framed and signed. If you are interested, fell free to contact me through my website and we can schedule a time to meet.

Despite the heat, Arts on Foot was a great success! And I couldn't have done it with out the incredible patience and help of my lovely and talented wife!!!

August 27, 2008

American Airlines

Recently I finished an illustration that will be accompanying an editorial about a migrant worker working in a busy kitchen that will appear in the Oct/Nov issue of American Airlines' magazine Nexos. So if you're flying American Airlines this fall look in the back of the seat in front of you and check it out!

Rough Sketch -out of the 4 I sent, this was the one chosen. It was my top pick as well!

Revised sketched -then I was notified that the title had changed, and refered to the worker conducting the kitchen, so the knife became a baton and the food began flying around on a musical scale.

Final Illustration (acrylic on canvas, border done in Photoshop) - this is the first time I've produced an illustration with borders like this. Part of my directions from the beginning was to make the borders "organic." I have to say that I'm pretty happy with it.

August 14, 2008

New Illustration

The following illustration was done for Education Week and accompanied an article exploring pros and cons of the rewards and punishments used in the educational system to teach "lessons."

rough sketch

blue line drawing

final illustration (colored in Photoshop)

August 12, 2008

The Atlas Theatre

Last weekend my wonderful wife stopped by 1333 H St., NE to check out the poster that Catalyst Theater put up outside of their new space, the newly renovated Atlas Theatre (on the same block as the Rock and Roll Hotel and down the street from the Palace of Wonders).

If you haven't seen a Catalyst production, then I highly recommend you do so. The first play of their 2008-09 season is a re-staging of 1984 adapted by Chris Gallu. The first staging got rave reviews and this one is sure to do receive the same.
Here are some of photos of the theater with the poster.

Arts on Foot x 2

Located @ 8th and F Streets, NW:
Art Market Preview: Sept. 12th 12am - 7pm

Arts on Foot (primary event) : Sept. 13th 11am - 5pm

Metro: Gallery Pl-Chinatown

Arts on Foot is back and after my successful day there last year, I reapplied for selection this year and got in! So, I'll have a booth there on both Friday (they've added an extra day for those interested in a preview of the Art Market) and Saturday. Come early because I will be selling never before offered drawing studies (for past paintings), new mixed media drawings, small paintings, and plenty of inexpensive prints. Please put the dates for Arts on Foot on your calendar and I look forward to seeing you there!

note: The new mixed media drawings and drawing studies of selected past paintings will be made available through my website on Sunday, September 14.

Marking its 16th anniversary, Arts on Foot is a one-day, multimedia Festival that kicks off the fall arts season in Downtown DC’s Penn Quarter. Incorporating visual art, music, theatre, dance, film, and creative cuisine, it’s an interactive celebration the whole family will enjoy. With a lively outdoor street festival as its centerpiece, Arts on Foot also invites you to explore the neighborhood’s museums, theaters, galleries, cultural organizations, and shops. From traditional classics to cutting edge, Arts on Foot offers something for the arts and food lover in everyone!

You can find more info about Arts on Foot here.

July 14, 2008

Illustrations for Catalyst Theater

Recently I finished up 3 illustrations; to be used on playbills and other promotional material, for Catalyst Theater's 2008-09 season. The three plays are 1984 (adapted from George Orwell's novel) by Chris Gallu, Roundheads and Peakheads by Bertolt Brecht, and Bruise Easy by Dan LeFranc. The dark undertones found in all three plays made it easy to take Catalyst's palette of black, white, and red and apply it to the paintings.

rough sketch for 1984

final illustration for 1984 (acrylic on illustration board & touched up on Photoshop) text:Helen Pafumi

rough sketch for Roundheads and Peakheads

final illustration for Roundheads and Peakheads (acrylic on illustration board & touched up on Photoshop) text: Helen Pafumi

final drawing for Bruise Easy

final illustration for Bruise Easy (acrylic on illustration board & touched up on Photoshop) text: Helen Pafumi