Monday, August 01, 2011

Good Old Fashioned Front Porch Critique

For the past two years, Mary (one of our regulars) has invited the group to have one of our summer critiques at her home, right beside the pool. And we've enjoyed those times, so when she offered to do it again this year, we quickly agreed. Unfortunately, forecasts had mentioned a significant chance of rain, but it was decided to go there no matter what, and if we had to we'd find a dry spot for our group. It was sunny when I began my drive up there, but a few drops hit my windshield as I pulled up. I quickly moved my tack board and block to the covered front porch, just in time as it started to rain for real when I got back to the car to get the rest of my stuff. I found the rest of the group down by the pool, in the process of moving stuff back toward the house. They had decided to see if we could use that porch for the event itself. If we had as many people as last month it wouldn't have worked, but we had only 7 artists and 2 observers tonight. As it turned out, the shower ended quickly, but now that we were on the porch, we stayed.

Six of the artists set up on the porch. Above (top row) are Edy's architecturally influenced painting, and a figure piece from Vince, (bottom row) my woodblock, Lisa's nest sculpture, Tim's drawing, and another figure painting from Vince. Below are two later arriving works (mixed media and linocut) from Jess.

Molly brought the finished Monocle Bear backdrop painting, created for a dance piece (and used that way once already). She hung it on the back deck, so we marched around the house to check it out.

We were hoping that Jane (who missed last month to get married) would be joining us, but she was unable to attend. However, Mary had gotten a cake for the occasion, with a congratulatory message for the newlyweds. And she thought it would be exciting to put sparklers on it and send a photo to Jane. Unfortunately she decided to do this inside her kitchen. Excitement did indeed follow.

Turns out that the sparklers create quite a bit of ash and even more smoke, which rapidly filled the room. And that was the end of the great sparkler cake experiment. We managed to clear the smoke without bringing the fire department or burning the house down, but it seemed like a close call. And after scraping the ash off the top of the cake, it was pretty tasty.

As for my piece, it got a generally good reaction. I explained my remaining plans for the figure. I showed an example of the speckled pattern I am leaning toward using for the bricks, and other than a concern over how long it would take to cut, people seemed to think it will work. Molly noted that the face seemed a little happier in the cut version than she remembered from the ink wash drawing. I brought a hand mirror with me so that people could see how it will look printed, and people liked the face even better in the reflection. That's good, because the next time they see it, I'll be showing the print and not the block.


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