Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. We all have it in us. That desire to create, to make something beautiful or thought provoking, pleasing to the eye, or even jolting to the brain. We all see things differently and glean diverse emotional reactions to what we see.
Many of us feel that we don’t have talent and have no idea what to do with this yearning to express visual feelings. Some people break through the barrier between can’t and can, between want to and have to.
Sometimes all it takes is a little push, a positive experience with a brush and some paint, a little guidance, even just a pencil.
Last Thursday, June 16, the Art at the Center had its regular show opening reception, as well as its annual invitation to participate, to join the artists and do what they do; well, not exactly what they do. They get the opportunity to try, to experience creating something from within, to see what their hands can do, even if they don’t know what they are doing.
It was the Art at the Center Interactive Demo Day and organizer and artist Annie Thayer says, “What fun we all had! We painted 30 different silk handkerchiefs, almost 20 different 8×10 canvases with acrylic paint as well as painting on a large 30×40” canvas, and carved multiple Styrofoam blocks that were then printed with ink or acrylic paint.
Many people learned new ideas and tips and tricks at Gaylyn Mercer’s cell phone photography station. On top of the hands on demos, we also got to see Bruce Miller’s technique for painting abstracts from all four sides of the canvas by using a clever system of mounting his canvas on a turn table.”
Kids particularly enjoyed making handkerchiefs and printing with styrofoam blocks, something that they can do all summer long.
Acrylic demo artist, Pat Everson, led the hands-on visitors in adding their brushstrokes to the community painting. Inspired by a photograph that was in the conference room, Everson drew it freehand, photographed it and then put the outlines on a canvas. She says she laid out the roadmap. Anyone who wanted to could add their point of view and the canvas was seldom not being worked on.
Everson was voted first place in the People’s Choice Award for her bright sharp colors and detail. Viewers loved the realistic aspect of her paintings. A favorite was “Mountains and Flowers,” a large painting hanging downstairs near the movie theatre. Everson says it took her two years to complete it and she painted it large to fit in a specific space in her house. Now all she needs is someone to help her hang it.
Looking closely at the painting, one can see the creatures she has added to the amazing flower foreground; the humming birds, the insects, and the worms. Her “Moonlight in Nederland” and “Rocks in the Middle Boulder Creek” were also favorites.
Watercolor artist Annie Thayer was voted second place, with her new abstract “Riverton Revisited” by far the favorite of her work. Viewers commented on the vibrant and interesting colors she uses in all her paintings. They liked her “Bleu et Blanc” beautiful iris painting and loved the abstract, but also realistic painting, of “Florence Rose.”
Bruce Miller and Serene Karplus tied for third place. Serene’s “Two blue” photo of blue butterflies was a favorite. Serene’s photographs are of nature and each one is definitive of the patience and time she spends just watching and waiting for the moment of random exquisiteness to happen.
People found Miller’s abstract paintings inspiring and original. They loved the movement in his pieces, as well as the beautiful color, texture and knife work.
All of the other artists received many votes, as well. Judy Fisher with her “grand abstract series” and northwest spirit carvings; Amy Smith’s use of bold striking colors in her portrait series; Christina Blake’s colorful owls; Ann Gillis’ awesome landscapes, and Catherine Hewin’s amazing photo of Antelope Canyon, taken at just the perfect time of day to capture the light on the rocks.
Voters loved Nancy Kirkendall’s “Gracie’s Lamb,” and someone said of her sheep series, “I want them all!” Scott “Free” Lux’s “Wild Wild Horses” and “Blue on Black” were also favorites. Of Chuck Edelstein’s sailing photos, someone asked, “Can I go sailing too?”
As guests munched on appetizers and enjoyed the wine of their choice, the Banshee Tree musicians set the musical tone of the evening.
The exhibition will be up until mid-September. It has something everyone can relate to. It is worth taking time to walk the hallways of the Nederland Community Center and take in the art, an exceptionally beautiful show.
Thayer says she sends out a big thank you to the participating artists.