Last critique was an interesting (and fun) time again, if not so much for the diversity of the work, but for the similarity in the art that was presented. All the works are connected to the earth in some way, and each piece is more of an interpretation of the experience of nature that an actual rendering of the environment.
I was very excited to show my development of prints based on the Shipley Center Spot 13 series. These are a combination of monoprints and woodblock prints either hand painted or printed over a monoprint. I began the series with a quick set of monoprints, which I did not like. The group liked the strangeness of the print, highlighting the freshness of the mark-making, but I guess my mind’s eye was more interested in reproducing the motif in a woodcut, so that is what I did.
Some of the prints are simple black ink on white paper; others are brown in on tan paper. I also painted some of the prints using watercolor paint, which ‘prettied’ up the prints quite a bit. (I found using Japanese colors seen in their prints work well). The boldness of the black printed block is well received and a few suggested breaking up the block into separate colors, particularly cooling off and whitening the background trees which I can do this using a stencil. Regarding the last monoprint, the colors were considered to be rich (which is good), but perhaps too saturated for the background. I’ve concluded that I need to spend a little more time developing the background trees and sky colors, which should help finalize what I need to produce a good series of monoprints.
Ron brought in a strongly composed watercolor from the series of work critiqued in April. The motif is composed of rock or mountain structures sitting on sand and water. The emphasis is on the objects; their texture, color and presence. The sand/water that the objects sit on is ethereal, and except for a modest shadow at the base of the objects, gives them a floating affect. Unlike the previous piece these two objects are clearly separated by a gap, yet the arrow like shape of the bottom left object points to the upper right object thus creating a dialog between the two. Since the negative space is such a dominate element of the composition it became a point of discussion. The background space is composed of a clear cool versus warm gradation from top to bottom which gives interest to the space, but adding whisper type marks to that area, especially in the high value areas, would help define the space better. The two rocks are also very similar so adding cooler colors to the shaded surfaces would both define the planes more and give interest to the overall color play. All in all though, the painting was very interesting and the details in the rocks are astounding, especially since they are entirely done with a small brush. It was great that they were shown to the group.
Thom brought some very interesting cubist work that bridged the gap between analytical and synthetic cubism, but most importantly post modern. As always the compositions are spot on and filled with interesting shapes, objects and textures to enjoy. The composition’s color values in the one are varied and complementary to each other, and the other’s values are mostly low in key and visually silent. One seems a bit more complete than the other, so adding saturated colors in inactivated areas would also add interest to the one and may resolve the complementary colors within the motif. I think, and I wasn’t alone, that some of Thom’s great work is best when it employs humor and witticisms. The trees, found tootsie roll wrappers and painting balls in these painting are all loved ,and we appreciate Thom’s sense of humor and fun.
The climax (sorry about the expression) of the evening is Donna’s cliff drawing. This is a hard fought drawing that for the spectators is well worth visually experiencing. The care and love she put into it is really astounding. Some works of art are epiphanous to ones artistic life; this drawing (along with the one show in November of last year) appears to be very important to Donna’s oeuvre. These are wonderful drawings with many enjoyable gradations and color variations to see from afar, as well as the mark-making and object textures to focus on from up close. As in all artwork there arelittle areas to critique, we mention a shadow like object on the rocks, and suggested introducing some additional color contrasts, but other than that there is no need to work the drawing anymore. We all hoped that this work will be showed publically; these are much too good to be stored away.
It is interesting that the earth subject occupied all ourwork; this may be due to each other’s influences, or due to the current crisis of our ecological environment, but whatever it is that drive us to create artwork about our world, it is clear that this subject will continue to be explored from a deep visceral place, and because of our need to express this it will continue to impact our everyday life as an Artist and a need to visualize it.
We missed some friends at this critique, people that couldn’t make it because of one reason or another, so we hope that you can make the next group critique and continue to bring interesting work, but ultimately increase our fellowship in art-making.