Workshop Frenzy

TelephoneWhen we walk through the door in the morning to the sound of a ringing telephone, and see that the emails have piled up and there are six new messages on our answering machine, we can pretty much guarantee that Nancy Franke has posted the dates for her next workshop at Huff Harrington Fine Art!

Not only are we so fortunate to represent this talented artist, but we also have the privilege of hosting her tremendously popular one-day workshops.  This is all well and good except when we inadvertently schedule a workshop on Father’s Day, and need to reschedule the participants for another time (which Nancy kindly offered to do), creating yet another round of clogging phone wires and emails, and a frenzy of eager participants.

Nancy Franke, Watch Me Go

Luckily, this all turned out for the best, and Nancy had another wonderful workshop at HHFA this past Sunday, painting children’s portraits.  And when we look at the work that came out of this workshop, we know what all the fuss is about! In fact, we’re so taken with both Nancy’s inspirational paintings that she had on hand for the workshop, and by the work done by the artist participants, that we just had to share it with you.

Nancy Franke, Un Peu Curieux

How does she do it?  With these workshops, Nancy starts with a photograph, like this one of a familiar (and adorable) little pink model, who even from the back, coincidentally bears a strong resemblance to her talented grandma.

Then she sketches, using artistic license and resizing for the canvas …

The rough sketch

… and with the loose lick of a brush, she makes it look way too easy!

Let's make her orange instead of pink!

Although we weren’t able to stay for the workshop, we’ve been around Nancy long enough to know that all this is done with tremendous energy, enthusiasm, humor, patience and clarity, which is one of the reasons her workshops are so popular.  And why not?  Look at the fabulous work that came out of it in just a few hours (with the names of the artists shown under the paintings).

Martha Elder

Leslie Line

Leslie Line

Elizabeth Lines

Kathy Bowman

Kathy Bowman

Christine Bray

Carol Carmichael


Berthe Mobasser

Jacki Newell

Joanne Richardson
Joann Richardson

So we’re more than happy to have our phone lines light up and the emails clogged when Nancy announces her workshop, because it’s all for a great cause.  Watching Nancy inspire other artists is one of the highlights of our job here at the gallery, just as it was for those of us lucky enough to participate in Bill Davidson’s superb workshop in Provence last month.

Oh and by the way, did we mention that Nancy added another children’s workshop date to the roster this summer?  It’s on July 22nd …  Yeeeks, there goes the phone!

Ta ta …


Here’s to…Nancy Franke

Here are the gallery, we are fortunate to represent a diverse and talented group of artists, and lucky for us, several of them are local to Atlanta so we get to see them more frequently. Huff Harrington artist Nancy Franke is dear not only to us but also to her legions of fans who love her work.  She’s also got a huge following of painting students who rave about the fun and lively workshops she teaches.  What makes them special?  Students say over and over again that its the magical balance of abundant patience, exuberant enthusiasm and energy that Nancy brings to the class. This fall Nancy will be leading her second annual Painting in Provence trip (more information found here), and we have heard nothing but over-the-moon reviews from past attendees.

Not only is Nancy a talented teacher but she is also an exquisite painter…and obviously we’re not the only ones who think so.   Nancy is a Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America, and she just found out that one of her pieces was accepted into their annual National Oil Painters of America exhibit, held in Evergreen, Colorado, this June. Nancy’s painting was submitted along with roughly 1,800 pieces to be judged through a blind jurying process (which in layman’s speak means that the pieces are judged without anyone knowing who painted them). Only around 140 pieces were accepted, and Nancy’s gorgeous “Tulips in Mercury Glass” made the final cut.

Tulips in Mercury Glass, 18 x 14″

We are so proud of Nancy – and proud to represent her.  She has such a special touch with the paint brush, as seen by the shimmering luminosity in each of her pieces. She builds the character of each piece with a soft and neutral palette, and she infuses her infectious spirit and personality into everything that she touches.

Maybe that’s why we love her work so much – because spending time with each painting is like having a conversation with Nancy. You can almost feel her words tumbling off the canvas – her explanation for why something is painted just so, the process of creating a shadow, or a story about her choice of colors.

Here are some of our favorite paintings that embody Nancy’s spirit and talent:

Rosemary’s Peonies, 36 x 36″, $4,200 (available)
Juicy Fruit & Shiny Bottle, 30 x 20″, $2,750 (available)
For Me (sold)
My Secret Surprise (sold)
Coq et Vin (sold)
A Table (Ann’s patio in Provence!) (sold)

So, to our dear Nancy: congratulations from your biggest fans – the Huffingtons (and p.s.: we’re not at all surprised at this terrific honor for you…)

Ta ta.

The Clementine Caper

The Paris Apartment, Part X

This is a sad little story with a happy ending.

Quite a while ago, when the idea of owning a Paris apartment was just the germ of a dream, we received the most gorgeous painting at the gallery by Nancy Franke, called Study of Clementine. As we unveiled it and gasped our collective “Ooooh’s”, I announced confidently to everyone present that if I ever owned a Paris apartment, this would be my very first purchase. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t sell, and I pursued my dream of finding the perfect apartment. Meg even went so far as to put a hold sticker on Clementine, during my lengthy negotiation process with Parisian “notaires.”

Clementine a study compressed

Interestingly, Clementine got a lot of attention and everyone loved the painting. It even spurred on several other commissions for Nancy Franke, including this beauty below.

ayres commision final

But nobody bought Clementine, and I felt comfortably assured that at the right time, this beautiful painting would be mine. I calmly and confidently waited for it to be the elegant star of my future Parisian pied-a-terre.

And then a terrible thing happened. The hold sign mysteriously came off, and a lovely client (who had actually eyed the painting for over a year, it turns out), came in and bought it. Clementine was gone and although I put up a good face, I was completely devastated.

It took me weeks to get over the loss and I still think about Clementine, happy that I got to enjoy her for those many months at the gallery. And I know she’s in a happy home. But the funny thing is, I let it happen again!

A few weeks after Clementine left the gallery, Nancy Franke brought in a little study of a French girl called “La Jeune Fille.” We all uttered the same collective gasp and everyone said to me, “OK – here’s your new Clementine.” Although I loved the painting, the apartment wasn’t mine yet, and I didn’t want to jinx it, so I took my chances and waited – just a little too long. And once again there were tears of sorrow and disbelief among my co-workers that I could have let two paintings slip by uncontrollably.

La Jeune Fille

Then something wonderful and unexpected happened. We Huffingtons decided to blog about our favorite little paintings in the gallery, and I selected a small jewel by Nancy Franke, called “In the Spotlight.” I loved it from the minute it arrived at the gallery – partially because of the translucence of the colors and partially because it reminds me of my husband and me, and so I enthusiastically blogged about it.

And then Nancy did something extraordinarily generous and totally unexpected: She gave it to me! This was just around the time that we actually did sign the papers on the apartment. So with infinite gratitude, I accepted the painting and the sign that this little jewel would be the cornerstone of the Paris apartment.

in the spotlight 10 x 10

We love it when art sets the tone for interior design, instead of the other way around. So it was quite natural for this painting, “In the Spotlight” to be the inspiration for the colors in Paris, as you can see in the sneak peek at one of our bedrooms. And it’s no coincidence that the painting actually works beautifully in every single room! As we say at the gallery, when you collect what you love, it all works together.

Bedroom 1

I was a grateful and happy camper and going to leave it at that. And then my daughter, just about to graduate from high school, told me one day that she loved the photo of herself holding a flower that I’ve had on my bedside table. It’s a photo that was taken when she was five years old and it’s always been a favorite. I’ve watched my daughter come in to the room, pick up the photo, and look at it wistfully. So something occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be the best graduation present ever to have a this picture painted by Nancy Franke? After losing Clementine and “Jeune Fille,” it was undeniable that I still wanted my own beautiful, elusive Nancy Franke figure. And so I commissioned it. And held my breath …

Imagine the collective gasp when this gorgeous, thoughtful, luminous and sweet painting arrived at the gallery! I couldn’t be happier. My daughter hasn’t seen it yet, and I’m carefully planning the perfect time to give it to her. Of course there may be one little catch …


It’s yours, darling, but can it please go to Paris? You can visit it any time!

Ta ta,


PS Many thanks to Nancy Franke, whose work inspires the collective gasp in us every day! And I’m only kidding (sort of) about stealing the painting back from my daughter.

Artist’s Inspiration: MY AHA MOMENT IN PARIS – Nancy Franke

I was inspired by the light…

clip_image002Joaquin Sorolla, Sewing the Sail, 8 x 10’, 1896

My most inspiring moment took place three years ago, when my husband and I were in Paris for my birthday. En route, I read “Happenings in Paris” in Sky Magazine, and realized that there was a Sargent/Sorolla show at the Petit Palais! I did not know of it beforehand, but realized I would have gone to Paris just to see it! The paintings were hung beautifully, and it was easy to walk up and really see them. The sun-shot Sorolla pieces were astounding to me. I have always admired the bravura brushwork and sheer skill of John Singer Sargent (though I liked his watercolors best at this exhibit), and the same for Sorolla, but, as hung together in this show, the Sorolla pieces were breathtaking! The paintings were HUGE, and shimmered. I dragged my husband back to see this exhibit 4 times! Below are a few samples, which show why so many current painters are inspired by these men (see work of Dan McCaw, Giner Bueno and others).

Joaquin Sorolla, Two Sisters, 1909


John Singer Sargent, Breakfast in the Loggia, 1910


Sorolla, The Pink Robe, 1916


Sorolla, Bathtime in Valencia, 1910


John Singer Sargent, Venetian Canal, Watercolor, 1916


John Singer Sargent, Palmettos, Watercolor, 1913



Mark your calendars for these upcoming workshops with Nancy!

One‐Day Workshop in the Gallery

Wishful Thinking, 10 x 8, $ 575 Sunday, April 10th, 9:00 – 4:00

Focus on seeing mass and form, rather than line and detail. We will paint from simple set ups to catch the essence of the subject in paint. Loosen up, use a limited palette and bigger brushes…Nancy will demo and then students will do 2 – 3 studies, concentrating on simplifying and saying more with less. It will be fun and informative too! Cost is $ 150, and the class is limited to 12 students. Students should bring portable easels and tray tables if needed. There will be a one‐hour lunch break from 12 – 1:00. Bottled water and snacks will be furnished.



A One-Day Workshop in the Gallery


SATURDAY, JUNE 11th, 9:00 – 4:00

This workshop will focus on simplifying and stating something universal; we will not be doing portraiture. Nancy will demo, and then students will do 1 – 2 studies from photos (bring several from which to choose). We’ll use a limited palette, bigger brushes and catch some magic in paint! Bring portable easels and tray tables if desired. There will be a lunch break from 12:00 – 1:00. Water and snacks will be furnished. Cost is $150, and class is limited to 12 participants.

Don’t miss out on these wonderful (and rare) opportunities to paint with Nancy in the gallery!


Stay tuned for more installments in our “Artist’s Inspiration” series about other Huff Harrington artists. Is there anyone in particular you’d like to learn more about? Let us know!



How Does She Do That? (The series continues…)

Artist Nancy Franke

Nancy Franke Nancy Franke

By now, you know that we’re all pretty passionate about what we’re doing here at the gallery and we’re thrilled that every day puts us in contact with the most talented, delightful, creative and inspirational people we’ve ever met.

At the top of that list of superlatives is our dearest Nancy Franke: artiste extraordinaire and a little fireball of energy, fun and enthusiasm.

Mike & Nancy Franke at our Juicy! exhibit, 2008 Mike & Nancy Franke

Nancy’s been with us since before Day 1 at HHFA (Ann repped her work for a couple years before we even met and thought about a gallery) and if there was ever a number one cheerleader and supportive friend, Nancy is it.

New Year's Bouquet.jpg New Year’s Bouquet

Graceful 24 x 12 1850

Graceful, 24 x 12”

Handled 1650 12 x 24.jpg Handled, 12 x 24”

She’s always been a marvelous painter – her work consistently has that elusive quality that is so difficult to incorporate and translate onto the canvas. We call it pure soul and Nancy’s paintings shout it out. Her bubbly personality spills over into all components of her work – clever composition, energetic technique and a palette that perfectly reads the heart of each specific painting.

Nancy at a painting demo Nancy never takes herself too seriously & we love that about her!

Still lifes, florals and landscapes all come to life under her competent hand and it’s always a happy moment when we see what delight her work brings to her collectors.

Musings on Spring 48 x 48 small Musings on Spring, 48 x 48”

in the spotlight 10 x 10

In the Spotlight, 10 x 10”

Lately, we’ve got a group of new work from Nancy and when she sent us a couple of photos from which she took her inspiration, we thought immediately that we needed to share that. So, feast your eyes below and see how Nancy magically brings her subjects to juicy, living and breathing life:

Inspiration for Pink Leotard

Nancy went to the Atlanta Ballet, looking for inspiration: “We went for adult shots, and the best ones were of the children’s class!”

Pink Leotard 24x18

  Pink Leotard, 24 x 18” 

Inspiration for Rose Poetry The inspirationRose Poetry 12 x 12 1450

Rose Poetry, 12 x 12”

And, she posted this one on her blog, which we just loved:

Veranda Lilies in progress

 Veranda Lilies in progress


Veranda Lilies 20x20 2250Veranda Lilies, 20 x 20”

Nancy’s always experimenting and one of the qualities we love most about her is that she’s never afraid to push her own boundaries or to try something new. In the group of paintings she recently brought us were a couple of unusual subjects for her: a beautifully-shaped decorative lamp and a favorite old purse:

Switched OnSwitched On, 12 x 9”

Inspiration for Switched On

Nancy changed the proportions a bit and put more emphasis on the crystal.

Where's My Purse 9x12 Where’s My Purse, 9 x 12”

We begged for images of the real thing, and we can totally see how Nancy would want to capture the saucy curves of this adorable little lamp. We loved the bag, too…but sadly, Nancy gave that slouchy and deliciously leathery purse away to some lucky soul before she could take a photo of it.

Our little blue door is always open and, as a matter of fact, we’re open this coming Thursday evening (June 3rd) from 6-8 p.m as part of the Atlanta Gallery Associations First Thursday Buckhead art walks. So, if you’re around, please come in and feast your eyes on Nancy’s work in person. We’ll happily put a glass of wine in your hands and a nibble or two and then leave you to contemplate Nancy’s effervescent paintings.

Ta Ta…


Hip Hip Hooray!

We always say that it’s like Christmas when we receive new works from our artists, and we feel like proud parents when we hear about our artists’ special awards and accolades. So it seems fitting that like proud parents, we should share some of the news that has just come in from some of our artists. Think of this as our Christmas letter – the proud, braggy kind.

Our wonderful Ms. Nancy Franke received an “Award of Merit” from Artist’s Magazine at the Salon International Annual Juried Show at Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, Texas for her painting, Basking.

Basking 24 x 24Nancy Franke, Basking

We asked Nancy what the Distinguished Awarding Judge, Everett Raymond Kinstler, had to say and she said it was something along these lines: “This piece (Basking) is very painterly; It is true, yet simple, with excellent draftsmanship; the artist has another piece in this show, which I liked and could have awarded as well.” (That one was The Petite Ballerina)

Franke-The Petite Ballerina Nancy Franke, The Petite Ballerina

Award 2

Nancy with the Distinguished Awarding Judge, Everett Raymond Kinstler

Nancy with award cropped Congratulations, Nancy!


Bethanne Kinsella Cople is the President of the American Women Artists Association, and was recently gave a TV interview about her involvement with the national exhibit. She was caught off guard and didn’t realize they were going to be taping her, and ran in from painting outdoors. We told her she looks fabulous (which is true).

In addition to this, Bethanne has been:

Additionally, Bethanne will be holding a workshop called, “Pamper Yourself en Plein Air”, April 26-30, 2010, sponsored by South Street Art Gallery at Great Oaks Manor, Chestertown, MD.

A tidewater Evening 24x Bethanne Cople, A Tidewater Evening, oil on board, 24 x 24”


This weekend is the Atlanta Steeplechase and if you’ve been invited to attend, you will know that our own Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke’s painting was used for all of the literature and marketing of the event, as the “Official Atlanta Steeplechase artist of 2010.” By the way, Bonnie has also just dropped off some new work at the gallery that we’re very excited about, including this big beauty, Precieux.

precieux 60 x 48 Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke, Precieux, mixed media on canvas, 60 x 48”


Brigitte Curt has been juried in the coveted competition, “Plein Air in the Garden and Beyond,” at Filoli Gardens in Woodside California, . The exhibition is being held from April 13 to June 6, 2010. The artists will be present on “Meet the Artists Day,” Saturday, May 1, 2010.

Curt-Clouds in the Afternoon Brigitte Curt, Clouds in the Afternoon, oil on board, 8 x 10”


And finally, our wonderful artist Onyeka Ibe contributed a beautiful painting to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia’s annual gala fundraiser and art auction. He wrote to us: “Great event last night at the annual gala and art auction to support MOCA Georgia.” Ibe’s donated painting, Rolling Hills, sold for the highest bid of the night!

Ibe-Rolling Hills Ibe, Rolling Hills


And with a little toot of our own horn, we thank Jezebel Magazine for awarding us with Best Fine Art Gallery for 2010.

Jezebel Best Gallery

Ta ta …


P.S. Look for an upcoming little “brag” on Doug Foltz who is featured in the May issue of American Art Collector Magazine. We have his work in the gallery and would love for you to stop by and see it!

As I Remember It 4 48 x 48 Doug Foltz, As I Remember It #4, oil on canvas, 48 x 48”