Sunday, October 30, 2016

End of October

It hardly seems possible that we are at the end of October already and that our GuessWho? sale will be THIS SATURDAY!   I have been busy organizing for it - I think there will be more paintings than ever - and the quality is outstanding. We have lots of people returning from previous years but here is the information if you haven't attended before.  All the paintings are 10x10 and are on gallery-thick canvas. All sell for $100 each - a tremendous bargain. The trick is that you don't know the artist until you buy as the signatures are on the back (or covered). Some people recognize certain artists styles and will buy on that basis, but the important thing is that the purchaser likes the painting - so - really, is who painted it all that important? It could even be a lesson in finding out what you do like without being influenced by a signature. I can think of many well-known artists who painted some real masterpieces - and also some pretty bad stuff. Most of us do some serious weeding from time to time. You have to be willing to take some risks to grow - but not all the risks are successful, especially at first. So, a lot of tossing takes place and most artists damage the work in some way so that it is not possible for it to be "rescued". - but I digress- The point of this sale is to find what *you* like. $50 goes to the artist - who - at that price- is making a donation too - and the balance goes to Richmond Food Bank . So you get something you like and help support a charity too. The date is November 5th, the time is from 10 to 3pm and the venue is the Pioneer Church at #3 and Steveston Highway. The sale starts at 10 but there will be about 15 minutes for viewing before then- then we blow a whistle and you can snatch the painting that caught your eye.Many paintings re by members of Richmond Artists Guild but we also have well-known local artists like Chris Charlebois and Leo Hu as well as high-school students (the next Picasso?)Since they are they same size, they are nice to collect for a gallery wall.
     The pastel above is from our small-group Friday long-pose (and is not part of GuessWho?) I had planned a mixed-media approach and found I'd forgotten the acrylic pastel gel I needed - and I also didn't have the heavier paper for straight pastels. So, I used a lighter weight pastel paper from a pad  and decided to just make the best of it. In the end, I was fairly pleased with how I had captured Amanda.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Frida Kahlo at Home

I've just finished reading "Frida Kahlo at Home" by Suzanne Barbezat. What a good read!... and so well illustrated.  There are archival photographs- remember the scene in the movie where the family portrait is being taken and Frida dressed as a male? Well, the actual photograph is in the book. There are several reproduction of paintings with complete explanations. Some  have been frequently reproduced but there are some lesser-known works.  I liked the self-portrait with curly hair! While I have see "The Two Fridas",  the other one on the same page, "The Suicide of Dorothy Hale ", was new to me. Apparently it was  in storage for thirty years. I didn't know she had only painted 200 in her lifetime - another fact I picked up.  I saw an exhibit of Frida's work along with that of Emily Carr and Georgia O'Keefe. All stand on their own merit as artists but all are also of particular interest to women artists  who find it interesting to see how other women artists managed their lives. An article  about Frida appeared in the Detroit News in February 1933 and is reproduced in this book. The author acknowledged  Frida's talent but the headline was typical of how women were viewed - "Wife of the Master Mural Painter Gleefully Dabbles in Works of Art" and Frida is shown painting in a frilly apron.  While Frida's life is fully written up, there is a focus on the Blue House- such a major part of Frida's life-  with photos of interior and exterior. The one above is of the courtyard with  some of Diego's pre-Columbian artifacts displayed. If you can't get to visit the Blue House, which is now a museum, the book is a must... and if you are fortunate enough to visit the museum, you might just treasure this even more.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Time to get back inside

This is one of the last paintings done on our Men in Hats Tuesday plein-aire sessions. It is good practice to go out to an agreed upon spot and then have a limited amount of time to paint. Of course, within the location, we  each choose exactly where to be and what to paint. This can be a bit of challenge sometimes. I thought I would enjoy the totem poles when we went to Stanley Park but they just didn't speak to me and I ended up doing some ink sketches instead of painting.  Sometimes it takes a bit of looking around to find an appealing subject. We all have different ideas of what we like so it is good to have different locations. This time, the destination was 57th and the Boulevard, I decided I liked the way the light hit the window - and the reflections. However, while it was sunny and the sun was on the window, I ended up sitting in the shade with a bit of wind. Fortunately, there was a nearby coffee shop and I warmed up with a hot chocolate. Painting outdoors, for our group,  has pretty well ground to a halt until May - and we are having studio sessions on Tuesdays instead. Some people are finishing up paintings that were started - but not fully completed - in an outdoor session. The practice of painting outdoors started around the time of the Impressionists. The then-new availability of paints in tubes made paints more readily portable. Before that, paints had to be ground and mixed with oil, a rather cumbersome set-up to cart out to a field.  Not to mention that an assistant would be needed to do the  grinding of pigments and mixing while the artist painted. Now, most of us have folding easels and stools and something with wheels to help transport paint box, easel and palette.... and lots of paints all in tubes. - and a handy coffee shop is always a bonus!