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Art Critique December 2012

This was a night filled with good talk and great art that we hope will translate into works that are better by the effort of the evening.  The idea of form dominants the discussion and the integration of those forms within the motif completes the cycle.  Close to those topics are the true representation of texture and mark-making that make a work of art a truth about the persona.  These Art Critique sessions bring home the necessity of the beholder (and friends) and the joy that one gets from good constructive comments for colleagues (and friends).

Loren brought a very powerful painting, about 4’ by 6’ in size, of deep red/maroon flowers contracted by a strong light that moves from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. We particularly like the full complement of colors within the forms and the areas of open space created by the stems of the plant, referred to as the ‘negative space’ of the motif.  Within most painting it is necessity to coordinate the negative space with the positive space in order to balance the composition, by that measure the upper right corner of the work could be improved by coordinating these spaces.  Integrating the light throughout the forms could activate the space, and add to the dynamics of the mark-making, which is of particular note throughout the work.  This is an expressive large work that excites the critique and is a great start to Loren’s presence within the group.

Ron brought a beautiful watercolor of rocks on the shore.  The rocks are brought way forward into the picture plain which allows the viewer a detail look at the texture of the rocks.  It is fascinating from a technical aspect to see the details in his work; the nooks and crannies of the rock are meticulous.  The work is activated by the presence of light which is enhanced within the watercolor media if treated as Ron does.  The sand is a bit ethereal and did not work as a presence though. Some additional separation from the sand to the rocks is needed in order to ground the rocks; as of now they float a bit.  The color scheme is spot-on and added to the overall experience of the work.

Karen’s “Mind of Meditation” seems more whimsical than deep which is a good thing for me.  There exists such energy in the drawing forms that one finds oneself starring deep within the piece, which may be the antecedent to the title, but these forms do not take away the joy of pure mark-making. Though there is this wonderful energetic foreground, the background lacks any union to that energy.  A lot can be done to work this out which is perhaps why so many suggestions were given, accompanied by lively discussions about the merits of the artwork.  But all in all, the surface texture and signature sketch like quality of the forms makes this an exciting peace to experience.

I showed my Bonsai etchings and received a real positive reaction from the group.  Everyone likes the articulation of the drawing line work; these are small works, about 4” X 6”; I use a magnifying glass when I’m drawing, so it is encouraging to be rewarded for that effort.  Some of the auxiliary items, such as the pot and the piece of fruit hanging from the twig, is not clear to the viewer and so will need to be further worked.  In addition the group likes how the form of the branches gives motion and personality to the plants.  Printing a series of 100 prints takes some energy and the reception of the etchings is encouraging towards that effort.  I also will spend a good amount of time hand painting the ‘Artist Proofs’.

Thom’s “Still Life with Guitar & Nasturtiums 2 stage 2” was another fun motif.  He captured the color of late Picasso surreal colors so as to create a very balanced work that is pleasant to look at juxtaposed against the odd cubist shapes. The coordination of organic shapes against a background of geometric shapes also help accent the forms against each other. I little more emphasis on color saturation may develop the painting closer to what would be called a “Thom piece” which is important when working in a familiar genre; that is to say to create a unique vision to advance an older style or movement.  The black base brushstrok doesn’t work with the rest of the motif though, and needs to be re-evaluated.  All in all, it is a playful painting that expresses in a harmonic way the joy of music making and painting.

Again, it was a fun and rewarding night for all.  It is a great sign of progress to see that the group is getting bigger and the work is getting plentiful.  Each additional member adds to the whole, and in fact makes it greater than the sum of the parts.  I hope that you can join us to share in the experience of joy and contemplation.

2 thoughts on “Art Critique December 2012

  1. Very scholarly – reminds me of grad school crits when suggestions were made and appreciation was shown for sincere efforts. Love that the images are included.

  2. I really appreciated all of the group’s comments, which have helped me to significantly see the all-overness of Cubist paintings a little better. Generally, a positive and a negative space become reversed somewhere, and it has its built-in rhythm of colors and values. Doing that with brushwork in mind is exactly where I want to go with this series.

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