Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy Art Day

Yesterday (February 4th, 2012) a bunch of artist friends and I gathered at our local Community Hall here at The Resort Village of Manitou Beach for a full-on 'Art Day'. Everybody brought along supplies, equipment and materials to either carry on with a 'work-in-progress' or else to create a new piece during the day.
I was interested to see what a variety of activities took place under one roof.
We had a clay sculptor, a wood-block printer, a water-colorist, painters and a pastel artist.
I noted that some of the painters opted to use photo references, probably for convenience.  Helen Herr was a notable exception to this, as she uses only her intuition and inner sense of design and artistry when creating her abstract pieces. Crystal Bashchak also had no references in sight...she relied upon her instincts and color sensibility to carry on with her artwork.
I decided to bring a mirror along to do a self-portrait. I was going to do a still-life but decided at the last minute that a self-portrait might be interesting...I have not painted one for almost thirty years, unless you count the several 'embedded' self-portraits I have snuck into murals.

Bryce Erickson is a recent arrival in our community. He specializes in wood-cut printing and is also an oil painter. 

Helen Herr is an abstract painter who is always willing to experiment with bold colors and shapes.

Toni Ambrose decided to break out the pastels for a couple of small landscape drawings.

There was a lot of socializing and sharing of ideas during the day. Everyone left their stations frequently to chat and visit with their fellow artists.

Lonnie Mason working on one of her 'surreal' figurative pieces.

Frank Wilson whipped up a rustic painting of an old one-room school house.

Sandy Christensen  patiently constructed one of her "Prairie Folks" clay figurines. She is working on a tiny foot.

Darrell Bashchak putting the finishing touches on a finely executed lily pond in oils.

Sherron Reid worked on a couple of lovely watercolors based on photos from a recent trip to Italy.

Crystal Bashchak colorizes one of her striking abstract designs.

I decided to take a shot at painting a self-portrait.

Here's how my effort turned out. 

It was an enjoyable and constructive time.
We all know each other quite well and this was a great opportunity for bonding and strengthening our artistic community.


  1. this is a wonderful idea and looks like a lot of fun you had that day gathering under one roof.
    i like your self portrait very much and now i know the story behind, which makes it even more interesting for me.
    also it's great that you painted from your mirror reflection, so said from life and movement. i think it's better to draw and paint more from life and only use photographs when really needed, but before using them learning the skill of 'live creating'.

  2. That is an excellent observation, +Marija Falina. I agree with you, it is so important to develop the skill of hand to eye coordination by drawing from a 3D object in favor of a 2D photograph. The 2d reference solves a lot of the problems with perspective, foreshortening and composition for the artist. A heavy reliance on photos as reference makes for a lazy eye, and does not develop a whole set of skills that are extremely important in my view. Thanks for the astute comment!