Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Review by an Art Critique

Here is what I have learned about having your work reviewed by an Art Critique.

It is best if you do not know that an Art Critique has seen your show prior to the review being published.

About ten days ago I was painting in my studio at Elliott Fouts Gallery when Cynthia, poked her head in the door and whispered “Victoria Dalkey is here.”  For those of you who do not subscribe to the Sacramento Bee, Victoria Dalkey is the Art Critique for that newspaper.  I knew she must be there to see the new show GO FIGURE!   I have 3 paintings in that show.  Everyday since then I have scanned the art section of the Sacramento Bee with apprehension looking to see if she wrote about the show.  Today she did.  AHH no more suspense!

Back in 2001, I was quite nervous about my first solo show at the JGlenn Gallery in Davis.  I assume that is why the gallery owner did not tell me the show had been seen by the Davis Enterprise Art Critique, Paul Dorn.  When I arrived for the opening he handed me a copy of the Davis Enterprise, April 4, edition and pointed to the headline “Sensual Fragrant Art”.  Thank goodness Mr.. Dorn’s well written review was very positive!  I wonder if Jeff would have given me the paper if it had been a negative review…

Just because an Art Critique visits a show does not mean that she will choose to write a review about that particular show.

An Art Critique may visit several shows, but she only has a limited amount of column space so she must choose which shows to write about.   So when I read a review she wrote about another show last week I figured she was not going to write about the GO FIGURE! show at Elliott Fouts Gallery.  But I continued to check the Art Section just in case.

An Art Critique’s job is to be “critical”, not to be “nice”.  So just because the Critique chooses to write about the show does not mean that everything written will be positive.

As a subscriber to the Sacramento Bee I  have been reading Victoria Dalkey’s reviews for years, and I know she does not sugar coat, she tells it like she sees it.   What I like most about her reviews is that I almost always learn something I did know know.   She often describes an artist’s work in an historical context, and I get a mini-art history lesson.  Or she will see something entirely different in a piece than I saw in that same piece when I viewed it.   Sometimes her writing provokes me to go to a show just to see if I agree with her take on it.

Art Critiques have their favorite styles.  If you don’t paint in that style, you have to hope that the Critique will be fair in their comments about the quality of your work even if they do not appreciate your particular style.  In my humble opinion, a good Art Critique does that.

From my reading of Victoria Dalkey’s reviews I think my three small figure paintings in the GO FIGURE! show are probably not of a style that tops her list of “faves”.   So it was a great relief to read in the very last line of her review  in today’s Sacramento Bee

“…I liked Peggy Molloy’s compelling photoreal image of women warriors, Derek Gore’s explosive collage image of a Carmen Miranda-type showgirl, and Sandy Delehanty’s charming genre scene of gondoliers in Venice.”   Victoria Dalkey, 
“Natsoulas, Fouts Shows Feature the Human Figure” Sacramento Bee April 21, 2010.

Here is the painting she refers to:
Gondalier Dudes
Gondolier Dudes    watercolor

Saturday, March 13, 2010

NEW PAINTNG "Balinese Market"

Balinese Market

Myrna Wacknov  is a very innovative artist who is always experimenting.  If there is a new "toy" out there you can bet Myrna will be one of the first to try it.  She has a wonderful loose drawing style, and I noticed on her blog, "Creative Journey" that she mentioned a new "brush pen" she was using.   I asked her about it, and it turns out is made by Pentel, has a brush tip, and comes with two cartridges of permanent black ink.  I found it at University Art Center on J Street in Sacramento.   Alas, my drawing style will probably never be as loose as Myrna's, but I really enjoyed using the brush pen to create this little painting.

"Balinese Market" is an ink and watercolor painting, 6' x 6" framed in a floating mat style that is hanging in the new GO FIGURE! show at Elliott Fouts Gallery 4749 J Street, Sacramento, California.  The Second Saturday opening reception is this evening from 6:00 - 9:00pm.  It is a group show so the reception will be fun with many artists in attendance, some showing at the Fouts gallery for the first time.

Bali is the most colorful country I have ever visited, and no where is the color more evident that in its markets.  The Balinese are known for their beautiful batik fabrics and sarongs.  Add the vast variety of colorful fruit and spices, beautiful temple offerings and flower arrangements and you have the most colorful scene anywhere.  

As much as I love to draw and paint scenes that I encounter when I travel, it is not always practical to work on site.  In this case it would take too long to capture in ink and watercolor all the detail of this busy market scene as it was happening, so I had to be content to take a tun of photographs to paint from in my studio.  The early morning market starts before dawn and is over by 9:00am so there is not much daylight.  It is crammed into a small space between buildings, and  so busy I would probably have been run over by a motor scooter or lady with a pile of baskets on her head had I tried to paint there. 

I have traveled to Bali 3 times, my last trip was 2007.  I am still painting from my many colorful photos of this mystical island.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Painting "Gondolier Dudes"

Gondalier Dudes

"Gondolier Dudes" is a 12" x 18" watercolor on paper hanging in the new show titled "GO FIGURE" that just opened today at Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento .  It is priced at $650. framed.  This is an invitational group show and the variety of styles and subject matter that the artists have contributed is  just amazing. 

I contributed 3 watercolors all created from my travel photos.  When I travel my digital camera is always around my neck and I have been known to take over two thousand photos on a single overseas trip.   Hey, its digital, no film expenses, so shoot, shoot, shoot.  I like to download my photos into my Notebook each evening and edit them in Photoshop while they are fresh in  my mind.  I love capturing the local people going about their daily routines, although I must admit I seldom paint from those photos as I am primarily a flower painter.  The "GO FIGURE"  show was an opportunity to go through my photos and paint from some of my favorites.

"Gondolier Dudes" was created from two photos of the dozens of pictures I took of the gondoliers in Venice.   The expression on the face of the guy to the far left  with the "dude" sunglasses cracked me up.   Maybe he thought the guy adjusting his hat was upstaging him.  But just those two did not seem to be enough to tell the story, so I addled three more gondoliers placing them so they were also watching the dude adjust his hat.  

If you have been to Venice, you have probably seen a scene very similar to this.