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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Avoid Tangents! One of Many Lessons Learned at Critique Night

Gene and Russ critiquing pastel work by Verna Hash

Thanks again to Gene Lazo and Russ Smith for another helpful Critique Night at the McDowell Arts Center Tuesday night, May 21. Paintings and photographs were brought for their fresh knowledgeable eyes. Here's what happened:

A watercolor painting of a painting of a bee, within the context of a paint table with paints and brushes, brought out a discussion of how avoiding symmetry can bring zing to a work of art. Gene suggested tilting the bee painting rather than having it in line with the painting as a whole. It takes away the symmetry and draws more attention to the bee.

What do you do with a horse portrait when the horse is all brown? Russ suggested playing with the cool shadows to bring out facial features.

A word that was brought up a few times was, "tangent". It applies to when a subject or form touches and is in line with another subject or form. Try to avoid these. For example, in one painting, the peak of a gazebo roof perfectly touched the top edge of a canvas. The result was boring. So what do you do? Take the roof completely off the edge. This is a far better option than having the roof's tip top kissing the canvas' top edge. So... keep it interesting and go off on a tangent.

A lovely photograph was brought on canvas. Is the public receptive to unconventional presentations of photography? The reaction was mixed. That happens when art ventures off from the norm. Be brave. Do what appeals to you.

Some other advise from the audience was, "If you don't like it, don't paint it. Leave it out. You don't have to paint everything you see." "Make a strong distinction between the shaded and unshaded sides of a building." "That flower is positioned perfectly with top and bottom of the subject in the thirds section." "Beach paintings look great in pickled white frames." All this along with encouraging compliments to deserving efforts.

Please note that Critique Night will take a summer hiatus due to vacations but will return in September. Get those paintings ready!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Carol Pighin Mixes Inks at Demo

Carol Pighin explaining her process of painting oil 
over alcohol inks on canvas

You won't find anything like this demo on youtube because this is Carol's own technique and MAG was greatly honored to have her share it with us at our meeting Tuesday night, May 14, at the McDowell Arts Center studio room. 

Carol started off her abstract field of mums with the alcohol inks already purposely applied to the canvas. She had also applied clear gesso over the inks. The inks and gesso must dry before the thinned oil paints are added. 

Carol's supplies for the demo

Her palette included Indian yellow, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, Winsor blue, cad yellow, cad lemon yellow, alizarin crimson, phthalo green and quinacridone red. Turpenoid was used to thin the oils before application so the inks behind will show through. Bristle flat and round brushes were used along with a palette knife to apply the oil paints.

When asked why she worked with alcohol inks on canvas, as opposed to yupo paper, Carol said, "... because I am an oil painter." She suggested those who are watercolorists to try their own experiments with yupo paper. Many in the audience after seeing Carol's demo, were coming up with their own ideas of how to incorporate alcohol inks with other mediums. 

Sharing artistic ideas and expanding on them is what MAG is all about. Thanks, Carol! We hope to see those ideas become real in our future exhibits.

Carol shows one of her completed works

Carol applying thinned oil over inks 
so underpaint of inks shows through

Field of Mums completed... lovely!

Thanks to Cynthia Powers for the photographs.

Critique for Painters and Photographers with Russ & Gene

Russ and Gene critiquing a work by Ken Hutchins

Come to the McDowell Arts Center, Tuesday 5/21, at 6:30 PM with one or two of your paintings/photographs for a critique session with Russ Smith and Gene Lazo. This is a very informal get together of highly motivated artists who want to improve their art through others' fresh expert eyes.

Russ Smith is a professional oil painter who specializes in aviation art. His works are sold all over the world and are displayed in various museums, some of which commission him to paint specific planes for them. One of the latest such commissions, is for him to paint "The Swamp Ghost" for the Pacific Aviation Museum. Check out his works at his web site:

Gene Lazo is a professional photographer whose style is self-described as nontraditional. Gene creates fine art photographs, as well as, portraits of clients within their own space. He likes his subjects to be comfortable and most of all truly themselves before the shutter is released. He sells his own photography books filled with fine art photos including one of unusual guitarists and their guitars. His web site is:

The audience can also participate in the discussion of any painting but Russ and Gene will monitor comments to make sure no one is overwhelmed or offended. 

So come and get some help on that painting that you have stashed in the corner. Maybe all you need is a few suggestions to get it finished. It is free and open to all artists! Latecomers are welcome too. No excuse! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Check Out Kevin E Brown's Paint Group at Cheap Joe's

Kevin E Brown of Cheap Joe's holds a paint group session for acrylics and water-soluble oils painters in the upstairs studio at Cheap Joe's. It is very informal and you can work with Kevin's assistance or by yourself. Everyone is very friendly and love to talk about art.

The session is held every Monday from 5-7:30 PM. The cost is just $15 per session. Bring your own paints and supplies and paint with motivated peers who will cheer you on.

Elise painting with oils

Kevin helping Sally with her very first painting

MAG Reception for Annual Art Competition for Members

MAG would like to thank all who attended the reception, Saturday, May 11th, for MAG's Art Competition Show at the McDowell Arts Center. There were a good many guests along with the participating artists who came.

Abundance of Food and Art

MAG appreciates all who came

The Mayor's Award was presented by Mayor Jim Taylor of Matthews. Mayor Taylor has been choosing his favorite painting for this event for 3 years and his presence is always a highlight.  Brian Neher was the main judge who went above and beyond expectations by coming to the reception and giving an explanation for his choice of each award. After the reception he also spoke with other artists about their artwork. He was a gracious and exceptional judge for this event.

Brian Neher talking about First Place entry by
Sue Panzarella

Here are the winners for the 2013 MAG Art Competition Show:

Mayor's Award- Mary Magee's "Playing in the Reef"

Mayor Jim Taylor with artist, Mary Magee

The following entries were judged by Brian Neher:

First Place- Sue Panzarella's "Lots o' Pots"

Congratulations to Sue Panzarella for taking 1st Place

Second Place- Sharron Burns' "Korn Belt"

Sharron Burns with her 2nd Place entry "Korn Belt"

Third Place- Verna Hash's "Beside Still Waters"

Honorable Mention #1: Laura Smail's "Wisconsin Autumn"

Honorable Mention #2: Jean Yates' "Fresh Tomatoes"

Honorable Mention #3: Paula Hemsley's "Cool Shade"

Honorable Mention #4: Martha Manco's "Casey"

Martha Manco with her portrait of "Casey"

Honorable Mention #5: Jean Yates' "Apples in Glass Bowl"

Jean Yates receiving Honorable Mention Award

Honorable Mention #6: Mary Johnson's "Waiting Time"

Honorable Mention winner, Mary Johnson, with "Waiting Time"

Honorable Mention #7: Janet Broome's "Walk Up"

Honorable Mention #8: Judy Mizell's "Green Eyes"

This event was assisted by the generous support of the following companies:

Binders Art Supplies
Cheap Joe's
Fast Frame in Matthews Festival

MAG would also like to thank the following individuals who gave time and talent to help with the various jobs required for the reception:

Ben Jimison
Barbara Jimison
Amy Schwartz
Mary Johnson
Yvette Brandell
Bob Evans
Jean Yates
Curtis Sloop
Rita Bowers
Jan Herzog

And Cynthia Powers for all our photographs!

The exhibit will remain up at the McDowell Arts Center through the end of May. Most of the artwork is for sale. To purchase, contact the artist with the phone number on the artwork's label.

McDowell Arts Center Hours of Operations:
M-F 1-8 PM
Sat 10 AM- 4 PM
Sun 1-6 PM

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reception This Saturday (May 11) for MAG Competition Art Show

Landscapes done with Photography (Eric Casaburro) 
and Pastels (Laura Smail)

Brian Neher has completed his judging for the following awards: 8 Honorable Mentions, Third Place, Second Place and First Place. Mayor Jim Taylor will also announce which work is his favorite and present the artist with a ribbon. Wonder if your favorite won? Come to the reception this Saturday and find out! This event is free and open to the public!

May 11, 2013 MAG Competition Art Show
Place: McDowell Arts Center at 123 McDowell, St. Matthews, NC
Time: 3-5 PM Winners will be announced at 4 PM

Most of the artwork is for sale. If you are interested in purchasing any of them, contact the artist with the phone number on the work's label.

MAG thanks their following friends and sponsors:
Fast Frames at Matthews Festival
Cheap Joe's

Saturday, May 4, 2013

MAG Annual Art Competition is Up at the MAC

Stop by the McDowell Arts Center and see the stiff competition going on among MAG members. Brian Neher, local portrait painter, will judge the entries for First, Second, and Third Places and 8 Honorable Mentions. Mayor Jim Taylor will also choose his favorite painting and present the Mayor's Choice Ribbon. 

The reception is Saturday, May 11, from 3-5 PM. Winners will be announced at 4 PM. The public is invited. Thanks to our sponsors Fast Frames in Matthews Festival, Binders and Cheap Joe's for all their support with the reception and prizes.

Here are a few works you will see:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Take-In For MAG Art Competition is this Saturday!

All MAG members are invited to participate in the annual MAG Art Competition Show. Bring in up to 2 qualified works along with the entry form and $25 this Saturday, May 4, at the McDowell Arts Center between 10 AM to Noon. If you are not a member of MAG and would like to participate, you can join at take-in by filling out a form and paying the additional $25 annual dues.

Brian Neher is the judge for this event. Prizes are $300 (first place), $200 (second place), $100 (third place) and 8 Honorable Mentions with $25 gift certificates. AND... Mayor Jim Taylor will select his favorite and award a ribbon to the artist.

The reception is Saturday, May 11, from 3-5 PM at the McDowell Arts Center Gallery. The winners will be announced at 4 PM. The public is invited to come, as well as, artists and their family and friends.

For rules and entry form, contact Debbie Yacenda at

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's Wednesday... Life Drawing

"Tom" by Jack

Yep, another Wednesday and that means Life Drawing at the Matthews Community Center. Thanks to Nancy Kennedy, all will be ready for you at the Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell St. in historic downtown Matthews, NC.  The cost runs from $4-10 depending on how many attend to split the model fee. It is open to all artists 18 years and older. Bring your own supplies and arrive early to set up so all can start at 7 PM sharp.