Saturday, June 27, 2020

Local Art Seen: COVID-19 Doesn't Stop Painters from Sharing Their Work

Covid-inspired collage by Linda Glisson
No question about it, the pandemic and lockdown has had consequences few of us could foresee at the outset. I miss the smiles at checkout lines at the grocery store, though we've learned to recognize friendly twinkles in peoples' eyes. I also miss the art openings, seeing friends in our arts community, catching up on what's happening.

Nevertheless, just as the business world has made adjustments, conducting meetings via Zoom and other means, so have artists found ways to get their art fix. (See: Virtual Gallery Hop Like No Other)

This past couple months I had been invited to attend an online meeting of the Lake Superior Abstract Artists group, which never seemed to work out. Nevertheless, two weeks ago I logged in for part of DAI director Christina Woods' presentation of what is happening at the Duluth Art Institute, and yesterday was able to participate in the group's regularly monthly meeting.

Acrylic and collage, Linda Glisson.
I can see why they have been doing this. Artists enjoy sharing their work. They also get inspired by seeing what other artists are doing.

Those in attendance yesterday included Sue Rauschenfels, Cindy Mattthews Rosa, Claudia Faith, Rosemary Guttormsson, Edna Stromquist, Sarah Archibald, Joan Hunn, Christie Eliason, Marge Stocker and Linda Glisson. Even though it is an abstract artists group, many participants do other kinds of work, in water color, acrylic, collage and even natural dyes.

One of the features that Zoom users enjoy is the "screen share" capability it offers. In this manner presenters giving speeches or artists sharing their work can fill the screen with slides or images. Linda Glisson's current series of Covid-inspired paintings were the first shared with the group. In some ways Glisson is a kindred spirit who is not locked into a specific mode of expression but is continuously exploring different styles. You could feel something in the work that corresponds with the times.

Glisson's blues.
In addition to sharing several completed pieces, she also shared several blues-themed pieces that were "works in progress." A nice feature of this group is that everyone is encouraged to share, but critical assessments are offered only if the presenter asks. Because critiques have value, the group is available for that as well.

Virginia Alexander was next, first sharing a color wheel and then some explorations around the theme of the Beginning of Time.

As pieces are shared the others ask questions so they can learn more about how the work is created, what inspired it. There was a discussion about Rune Songs, and drawing inspiration from one's roots. There were discussions about the various kinds of paper selected and where to find it.

Another presenter shared work that she's been doing through a Zoom class with an instructor in England. Think about it. People can take classes with teachers from almost anywhere in the world. One of the exercises involved taping off six boxes, then selecting three colors plus black and white. The exercise was to paint for ten minutes in each box with your selected colors. It is an hour long exercise. Remove the tape and voila!

This reminded me of one of my own exercises from eight or ten years ago in which I would do a painting on paper only for the duration of a song. Naturally I preferred longer songs and selected songs like Desolation Row and Voodoo Child over 3-minute pop Sixties hits.

I've noticed many local artists began placing their art on Instagram when it launched, a platform for easy sharing. What I enjoyed about this kind of meeting is the feedback loop it provides.

Here are a few more pieces from Friday's gathering.

Yes, they will bear with you if you are not painting abstracts.
Rosemarie G's Dawning: The Beginning of Earth

Got a creative urge? Let it flow.

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