Thursday, August 25, 2011

Art Critique Group

Once a month Parker Sketch invites 16 artists to gather to talk about art. Each artist is allowed 10 minutes to discuss their art or process. Then the other artists offer their opinions. For the August gathering the event was fully booked within a day. We all met at Barefoot Spa (801 Virginia Drive). There were deserts and drinks on a folding table and the room was filled with folding chairs.

As artists filtered in they were invited to place their work in a back room. Names were written on Parker Sketch business cards and then placed in a bowl. Cards were picked at random to decide who showed their work first. Les Jarvela introduced everyone as they arrived. He must have a photographic memory. I sketched Chauncey Nelson who displayed a round painting which had a variety of different sized white balls arranged on it. The piece reminded me of Urban planning. It envisioned to me a city of the future. Chauncy had shown a realistic painting at the last art critique I had attended so this seemed like a departure for him into new territory. He did the piece with the idea of exhibiting the round painting in a square show. He used tapioca for the smallest spheres. Ping pong balls and a few larger balls completed the piece. Everything was white. He was considering painting one small ball red and titling the piece, "Why me?" He pulled a small Christmas light crown out of his pocket and put it on one of the balls. He considered another title, "Balls cried the Queen!" Everyone laughed.

Patti Ballard showed several of her multi media paintings of wide eyed children. She incorporated collage elements in exciting and unexpected ways. For instance a beach scene had a grid pattern hidden under the ocean. The girl's dress was an intricate fabric pattern. Seen up close this layering of elements really worked. The world she created had a solemn colorful sadness.

I showed some of my studies for the Mennello Museum mural and asked for advice on how to reproduce a watercolor sketch look to the large scale of the wall. There was a lively discussion on mediums and methods I could use to execute the work. I kept taking notes. Getting so much feedback this early in the process was exhilarating. I love that there is such a wide variety of work shown. Abstract artists offer new insight to representational artists and visa versa. Parker Sketch's paintings were already on the walls and he brought in a couple of new pieces. He asked how he should market his work. A long lively discussion followed but ultimately everyone agreed that in the end the work should speak for itself.

It was late when the last artist showed their work. Parker invited the remaining artists to continue the discussion at a bar across the street. I decided I should get home. Terry was already asleep. I crawled into bed and she didn't stir.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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