"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, April 21, 2014

Washington DC - an Overview

Checking in to the JW Marriott Hotel, just 2 blocks from the White House!

View from hotel room overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue and the Washington Monument

3,800 cherry trees were at peak bloom!
         Thomas Jefferson Memorial and view back toward the White House

The Capital - so magnificent and grand. We were lucky enough to tour the original Supreme Court which is located inside the Capital.
Interior of the Library of Congress - Wow!

Thomas Jefferson sold 27,000 volumes of his personal library to begin the Library of Congress. They are kept all together in this room. The topics ranged from art to zoology and most books were digitized so you could flip through the pages on the computer screens located around the room. I do believe Jefferson probably read every single book and it was awe inspiring to stand in this room.

The statue of Lincoln, designed by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli  brothers, is extremely beautiful. Some say his hands rest in the American Sign Language symbols for his initials A and L.
WW II Memorial looking down the Reflecting Pool toward the Lincoln Memorial - its very grand and a fitting tribute to our soldiers and to our victory.
Ford's Theater where Lincoln was shot. We were surprised to come upon this while just walking down a regular Washington street.

We had a wonderful dinner in this tiny French restaurant directly across from Ford's Theater.
The weather was so warm and lovely, we wandered the streets at night to get a feel for the city.

The lobby of the Willard Hotel where Presidents-elect spend the night before their inauguration. It was next door to our hotel!

It was raining as we packed to come home. 
As a place to visit and steep yourself in American history, I absolutely loved Washington. The architecture is glorious, the monuments are overwhelming in that they inspire such a feeling of awe for what our founding fathers accomplished. They were great intellectuals, great men, and that feeling stayed with me throughout our trip. I was overcome with emotion when I stepped into a small room in the National Gallery of Art that contained only 5 portraits, all by Gilbert Stuart, of five Presidents of  the US. The portraits are so wonderfully done, so soft and life like that I almost felt as if I was in their presence - it was a moment I will not forget. We had a few disappointments. We were unable to get into the National Archives to see the Constitution and Declaration of Independence as the lines were wrapped around the block. And I wish we had not wasted time at the Museum of American History - it was dark and dirty and not well done. The one saving grace was standing next to George Washington's uniform - he was very tall and slender with long arms! When we planned this anniversary trip we had no idea it would be at the same time as the Cherry Blossom Festival and we would be part of the 1.5 million visitors in DC at his time! We managed to escape the worst of the crowds but, I do admit, I have never seen so many people in one place at one time! For me, as an artist, the highlights of the trip were the time we spent viewing the Phillips Collection, a gem of a museum with a collection of extraordinary art, and at the National Gallery. I will share some of those photos with you in my next posts as it is in those places that my artistic soul was stirred.


  1. Fantastic photos, Susan!!! I would love to see Washington at cherry blossom time. And a visit the Library of Congress would be a must. Wonderful post - thank you, Susan.

    1. The trip was fantastic - I highly recommend it!

  2. Wow! Susan! Thank you for maybe the best post ever! Now my soul is stirred and it is only four thirty AM! I so love you beautiful photos! They made me very happy! Also happy picturing you enjoying your wonderful trip! So very patriotic! Especially being there on our Massachusetts holiday, "Patriot's Day!" Each and every one of your spectacular photos are they themselves works of art! I especially loved the last one of the rain soaked window! So many great photos! Not enough time or space to make comments! Breathtaking! Thank you again for sharing your awesome adventure. I am not very religious and it may sound corny but all the same, "God Bless America!" and you too!
    Your So Very Patriotic Art Buddy Even At 4:30 AM Michael!

    1. That is certainly an early hour for soul stirring, Michael! The trip was like a shot of patriotism for me - what a great, great country we are fortunate enough to live in.I am so glad you liked the post - I always have reservation whenever I post anything other than art - so I am glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thank you.

  3. Oops! I missed your last post which I have just seen... Wow! GORGEOUS portraits, yet again!!! And thank you for sharing these wonderful photo's. I have never been to Washington. It looks amazing! :0)

    1. Washington DC is an extraordinary place - we could only experience a small part of it. There is enough left to do and see for at least one more trip!

  4. Bonsoir ma chère Susan,

    Je suis très heureuse d'ouvrir la porte de ton blog... J'ai ainsi la chance de visiter un lieu particulièrement beau et intéressant grâce à tes photos.
    Je viens d'admirer ta dernière peinture et ouf !! quel bonheur ! Ce portrait est vraiment extraordinaire. Tu es très talentueuse. Je suis fascinée par ton travail.
    Gros bisous

    1. I am glad this post was interesting for you, Martine Alison. Visiting Washington gave me much to think about - and in my mind, I can now relive me experiences inside the museums. It was, indeed, a wonderful trip!

  5. What an interesting post, Susan!! and these photos was such a treat.. I felt like I was there with you! (an excellent camera!!!) I've never visited The Ford's Theatre where Lincoln was shot...I imagine that was very interesting to see. I've been to Washington a few times but never during Cherry blossom time...
    I'm looking forward to many more photos!!!

    1. The anniversary celebration was one to remember - I loved Washington, everything from the history to the art. It was so wonderful!

  6. First - your New Steeplechase is full of wonderful movement and color. Dick Francis comes to mind every time I see one of your horse racing paintings. Love his books!
    Thanks for taking the time to put together all the images for this fabulous post. It was a trip down memory lane for me. You are correct...no one could be prepared for the size of the Boating Party because the reproductions are book sized and make it more "tight". The Vuillard still glows in my memory all these years later. I could go on and on but please know you took me on a great trip and I loved it.I have not seen it since the new Sant Building was completed.


Your comments are welcome and brighten my day!