Thursday, July 25, 2019

Big Painting Show Artist Talk

The BAC tried a different kind of event tonight- an artist talk in conjunction with a current show.  Not quite the same as the Salon exhibitions, but not too different either.  The show in question is the Big Painting show, where all participating artists provided a large painting, at least 36" square.  All those artists were invited to participate, along with any friends who wanted to come, or for that matter, the public.  Exhibition organizer Sandy Taylor was the host.  Most of the discussion occurred in the back gallery, where all those in attendance sat in a big ring.  Sometimes the painting was in the front room gallery, so it was carried into the back so everyone could see it.  On at least one occasion, everyone moved into the Lounge so that a particularly large painting could be seen without being moved.

In each case, the artist first presented their work.  They might talk about the inspiration, the process, their favorite materials, all kinds of things that concern painters.  After that, those present were invited to ask questions. There were about 20 people in attendance.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Big Painting Show Opens

Long time member Sandy Taylor thought it might be a good idea to have a show focused on large scale works, things larger than 36" x 36".  It's something you don't see much of, so there might be a demand out there.  Juror Donna Kessinger got on board.  The BAC decided to go along with it.  And the entries poured in.  The final tally included 71 entries, out of which only 25 were taken. Not just a matter of selectivity, though the works selected are all quite good, but partly because the Boatworks only has but so much room.  On the day of intake, many of the artists were excited to finally have a place to show their larger works.

Did you think we were kidding?  We are not- there are some very large works in this show, and they are all worth seeing.

The exhibition fills the entire Boatworks, front gallery, back gallery, even a few in the Lounge.  We have had shows with more pieces, but they are never this big.

 Would people show up?  Combine a weekend in Belmar, the hottest days of the year, some extreme humidity (weather people pointed out that the heat index for our area as about what Death Valley gets), a lot of people might have decided it was good day to hang out in front of their air conditioners.     Yet we did get a good crowd.  Art 1, heat 0.

Eventually we got some talk from the show's organizers.   Sandy mentioned that there were enough entries to have put together 4 such shows.  Does this mean more large painting shows are coming?  No promises, but I think they proved that the demand for such shows does exist.  Five awards were given; here are the artists and works:

First Place
David Dixon
Jeff at the Lake

Second Place
Claudia Waters

Third Place
Chee Bravo
La Cantora

Honorable Mention
Lauren Galuppo
Tongues III

Honorable Mention
Patricia Griffin

The Big Painting show remains on display through August 10, 2019 during regular gallery hours. Admission is free.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bird Tales Opening Reception

The new show at the Boatworks is for the birds, but that's no insult.  The exhibition is called Bird Tales, and the theme is indeed all about birds.  Artists were invited to submit works about birds and related things, and did they ever.  This show has over 60 pieces in a variety of mediums, filling both the front and back galleries.

This show was open to all mediums.  Various forms of painting dominated, but there are examples of sculpture (as in the above piece by Lisa Bagwell), photography, drawing, fibers, and printmaking.  The exhibition's director is Suzanne Crosby, who headed up the last bird themed show a few years ago, and the juror is Vicki Siegel, who is based in Florida.  As part of the application process, all participants were asked to provide a short statement, including a mention of what the main inspiration was for the piece- a particular artist, movement, etc, and some of this was included in the wall labels that accompany each piece.

This being a summer weekend in Belmar, the town was filling up, and as the exhibition reception was beginning, parking spaces were few.  Many of the people walking through the door mentioned the difficulty or the distance they had walked from their parking spaces to the Boatworks.  Yet people started to arrive before the official beginning and kept coming, and soon the building was quite full of visitors.

As a general rule, the more artists in an exhibition, the higher the attendance at the reception, so those more than 60 works brought in quite a crowd.  People were everywhere in the building, but as always the crowds started gathering in the back room, where the bar, refreshments, and some tables were located.

Near the halfway point, exhibition chair Suzanne Crosby introduced herself and exhibition juror Vicki Siegel, who had made the journey up from Florida for the occasion.  They in turn made the announcement of prize winning works and artists:

Honorable Mentions:
Deco Woman
Jennifer Santa Maria

Jerry Deutsch

Big Bird 2
Lisa Bagwell

Third Prize
Which came first, the egg or the emu
Sheila Kramer

Second Prize
Through the Restless Seas
Cheryl Greisbach

First Prize
Moineaux Curieux
Jill Alexander

Images of the prize winning pieces are provided by the artists as part of their entries.  Meanwhile, the award winners are all labeled there in the gallery, which is the best way to see the art anyway.

The Bird Tales exhibition remains on display during regular gallery hours and by appointment through July 13, 2019.  Admission in free.

Individual art images provided by the artists

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Art of Bob Ross

The current show installed at the Boatworks is called "Happy Art: An Homage to Bob Ross."  Bob Ross* is not found in art history textbooks nor his work in museums, and he passed away a few decades ago, yet he continues to be an influence on artists across generations.  Ross learned to paint landscapes using a wet into wet technique, and arguably no one ever did a better job of demonstrating this skill and process on television.  For over a decade, his shows were on the air, half hour episodes in which he always managed to turn a blank canvas into a completed landscape painting, typically heavy on mountains, bodies of water, and of course, happy little trees and clouds.  These videos are still shown frequently, around the country and around the world, his English language words never overdubbed into other languages because then viewers would lose out on the opportunity to hear his mellow soothing voice.  His presence never really went away, but right now there seems to be a resurgence, with marathons of his videos on television and celebrations of his life and art in places around the country.  This week Belmar joined that category.

Endorsed art supplies go back to his lifetime, but merchandizing of his face and words has really picked up in recent years.  Our front room included this little Bob Ross shrine, and other items were found around the building.

The front room gallery has over 20 works, art that has in common that it shows the influence of
Bob Ross- style, technique, subject, etc.  Perhaps even just a "happy accident', a big part of his artistic philosophy.

Some food on tables in the front room, but most refreshments were in the back room where we traditionally keep such things.  One unique thing for today was a tray of Bob Ross brownies.  Standard brownies but with a reproduction of the artist and his work on top.

Another unique thing here today was an artist participation wall in the back, where people could add their own "happy little trees" to this group artwork.  I don't know about this idea of using markers; doesn't quite fit with the artist's typical style, but probably more practical and neater than hanging brushes full of wet oil paint.

The back gallery space also features art, again over 20 pieces, but this time the main focus was on art produced in Bob Ross themed classes.  The BAC has hosted a series of Bob Ross inspired painting classes, taught by Mark Saenger CRI,  who teaches official Bob Ross style painting. Students not only learned to make one of his traditional landscape paintings, but also had the opportunity to participate in this exhibition.

And right in the middle of the back wall there was a projection of the man himself, demonstrating one of his paintings.  It was on a loop and repeated, so if you missed part, you could catch up.  Sound turned off to not interfere with announcements, but the words don't matter much in this case- it's a visual thing.

Happy Art: An Homage to Bob Ross remains on display during regular gallery hours through June 1, 2019.  The exhibition is co-curated by Drew Leventhal and Louise Krasniewisz. Admission is free.

*the name Bob Ross and images of Bob Ross are trademarked by Bob Ross Inc.