Tom Semmes’ work will be exhibited at Spin the Bottle, a wine shop at 220 E. Patrick St., Frederick, throughout May.
The artist, who moved to Frederick about two years ago and lives in the North Pointe community downtown, is primarily a plain-air painter, inspired by the work of the impressionists.
We asked him a few questions via email about his show.
This Q&A has been edited for space and clarity.
What do you like about plein-air painting?
Plein-air painting is a challenge. The weather and light changes constantly. And sunburn and bug bites are a unavoidable obstacle. But when it works out, the results are fresher, and more honest, than painting from a photograph where many of the decisions are already made for you. But, that being said, I am moving toward painting from a variety of sources, sketches, photographs, color notes that I would make on the spot then take back to the studio. Unless I know an area really well, it is impossible to distill my impressions in the limited time that painting outdoor allows.
Any favorite local spots to paint? Faraway spots?
I have done several painting trips to Canada’s Saint Lawrence River, Greece and Mexico. Next year I am traveling to France to the land of the impressionists to gather resources for paintings I will do back in my studio. Locally, the Potomac River and its towpath always make for great inspiration.
Have you ever participated in Easels in Frederick or its Quick Draw competition?
I have participated in the Quick Draw. Last year I made the waiting list of selected participants. I did not apply this year but plan to do the Quick Draw.
What is it about impressionist work that you like?
I love the quality of light that impressionists create. They were able to capture a full range of natural light conditions that has not been surpassed yet. In their work, even shadows or an overcast day are alive with color.
Is there a theme to your show at Spin the Bottle? If not, what type of work will you be showing?
I am showing mostly small works of rural landscapes and still lifes done within the last year. They have been selected to be consistent and show well in the intimate space of Spin the Bottle.
Learn more about the artist and view his work at tomsemmes.com. Spin the Bottle is at 220 E. Patrick St., Frederick.