One of the best things about culture in DC? So much of it is free. All of the museums that are part of the Smithsonian—free. So it doesn’t matter if you stay for a few minutes or a few hours.

I had 45 minutes to kill on Thursday morning and decided to partake of a little culture. Going with convenience, I headed to the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery (two sides of the same building) because it was the closest.

I rambled down the hall into “Richard Estes’ Realism.” These paintings are amazing. Estes first photographs a place, then layers multiple viewpoints to paint a scene that seems like something you or I could see if we visited the same spot.

I loved this painting of the Brooklyn Bridge. It really felt like I was standing there. (Note to self: go walk across the bridge during a future visit to NYC.)

She's about to walk on the Brooklyn Bridge

She’s about to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

I find articles describing art hard to read, so I am not going to write much. Read this article from Forbes instead. It includes two of my other favorite paintings: Sunday Afternoon in the Park and Antarctica. The article in Smithsonian magazine also is good. Make sure to scroll through the gallery at the top of the screen to see more paintings.

I didn’t have enough time to see the full exhibit, so I’ll be returning before it closes February 8, 2015. (Yes, I included this sentence in part as a Public Service Announcement so anyone who will be in DC can make time to see it.)