Monday, September 3, 2012

Artist Critique Series Led by Josh Garrick

 I was running late getting to the Art and History Museums of Maitland, (210 W. Packwood Avenue, Maitland), for the free monthly art critique series hosted by Josh Garrick. The critiques are held on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Guest Panelists Robin Maria-Pedrero and Terry Hummel joined Josh for at the Germaine Marvel Building. When I got there, the room was packed with people standing behind the back row of folding seats. These critiques seem to be quite popular and gaining momentum. I sat in my artist stool leaning against the wall. Artists of every medium and skill level are encouraged to participate. Josh graciously acknowledged my blog and welcomed me.

Lynn Polley was the artist who was showing her work when I arrived. I quickly blocked her into the sketch but by the time I sketched the work on display on the easels, I had to incorporate other artists pieces. Lynn showed landscapes done in oil. One piece had a very forced perspective. She described the day that she did the plein air painting. She was worried about the angle but then she relaxed and enjoyed the process. Another piece was of the historic Casa Feliz in Winter Park. Another artist, Laura Bates showed a very similar painting of an archway at "The Casa." Her paintings were filled with warm light. The guy seated in front of me seemed to be the time keeper. He kept waving a sheet of paper that said, one minute to go. All of the critiques were constructive. The point hammered home most often was to keep at it. Some artists had long periods in their life in which they weren't creating and Josh stressed that they had to work at art even if they weren't feeling inspired. All the artist's paintings were on a table against the far wall. I looked at them all to get artists names, but none of the art was signed.

Most of the art shown was representational. The last artist to show her work, Barbara Koepell, had a brown and white painting which she did as she studied the patterns in a tree's bark. She began to see figures and shapes and she free associated as she worked. Terry Hummel loved the piece as did Maria and Josh. Josh related a story from his time in NYC when he was a teacher as the School of Visual Arts. He was looking at an abstract painting and he didn't really appreciate it. Silas Rhodes, the founder of SVA, was standing behind him. Silas said, "Why don't you like abstract art?" Josh was taken aback since he hadn't voiced his opinion. Silas then told Josh, "Let the painting wash over you like the waves in the ocean." It was a defining moment for Josh on his road to art appreciation. I attended SVA but never met Silas. Now I wish I had. It's never too late to change your perspective..

Several times, the importance of using social media to promote art was mentioned. Josh however ran into a case in which he had a cyber stalker. He used to "friend" anyone but now he is more careful. After the Critique was over, Josh walked up to me as I was packing up. He reached out to shake my hand. Without thinking, I reached up to shake his hand. I forgot I had a pencil in my hand and I managed to stab his palm. I shouted out, "Oh my god, I'm sorry, I'm like Edward Scissorhands!"

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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