Monday, September 6, 2010

East County Art Association "Brushes" into Gallery 21

"Dances with Eagles", original oil painting, by MIKE WATSON

Hello All.

If ever you've had a "brush" with art, or just wanted to pick up a brush and try your hand at painting, the East County Art Association is the organization for you. The association is hosting its 2nd annual show, a "Juried Member Appreciation" exhibition at Gallery 21 from September 9 - 13, 2010. The exhibit is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to all visitors to Spanish Village Art Center and Balboa Park.

This year's show was juried by Drew Bandish, a San Diego artist and educator who currently paints in watercolor and pastel. Drew earned his Bachelor of Arts in Painting and Printmaking at San Diego State University, and since 1987 has offered art classes in Adult Education and Community College continuing education programs. Of himself, Drew says," I especially enjoy the process of watercolor painting...creating exciting personal color by mingling watercolor paints on the page.

Let's see now. Who are the "artists" that make up the East County Art Association? In 1976, a small group of artists met to form an organization with goals to promote friendship and fine art appreciation in all visual media. Since then, they have become a nonprofit organization in 1986 and have grown to become one of the largest and most active visual arts organizations in the East County of San Diego.

The East County Art Association boasts over sixty plus members and meets on the second Monday of each month at Rancho San Diego Library. The public is invited to attend and consider membership. A diversified membership, the East County Art Association welcomes all media and levels of accomplishment which includes talented beginners as well as professionally accomplished artists. Claire Peck is current President of East County Art Association.

The 2nd Annual Juried Member Appreciation Show of the East County Art Association certainly has a wide variety of artists and media. Media entries range from pencil to pastel to acrylic, watercolor and oils. The age range of the members is from youth to a "whopping" 90 years old! In fact, one of the most amazing and revered artists in the group is 90 years old, Phebe Burnham! Phebe took 1st Place this year for her pastel drawing of "Assistant Band Leader", showing a young girl in her "bandleader" garb. That just goes to show that you are never too old to "strut your stuff"! Huh, Phebe? "You go, Girl"!!

As much as I was charmed by Phebe's 1st Place winner, I was, nonetheless, completely captured by her pastel of "Swan Lake - Here I Come", a captivating portrait of a precocious "pre-prima" ballerina, bedecked in lacy chiffon with a strand of pearls (obviously her mother's) pinned in a ring around her head, gazing at her image in the mirror. On her left wrist is a bracelet of pearls to match the "crown" of pearls in her hair. The image that one sees of the young girl is from behind poised in front of the mirror.

Immediately, I surmise that she is playing "dress up", and think, "Ah, how lovely".
But, it is the expression on her face in the mirror that stops me in my tracks. The precocious minx is very much aware of who she is and where she is going. (Hence, Phebe's title of Swan Lake - Here I Come). Standing behind Phebe's little swan is a doting mother (shown in reflection) who undoubtedly supports her daughter's dream. But, it is the child's own "vision" of affirmation and recognition, clearly portrayed in her expression, that enraptures. Looking at her, I have no doubt that some very fortunate ballet company will one day boast of this little swan's miraculous performance on the grand stage. Now, folks, I ask you, "How about that for "emotional evocation" in a painting by a 90 year old master"? I think Phebe is "Fierce", don't you?

Not to go unsaluted are the other Award Winners of this year's exhibition. They are 2nd Place Winner, Claire Peck for her watercolor, "Scoutin' Scouts", and 3rd Place Winner, Mike Watson for his oil painting, "Dances with Eagles".

Honorable Mention went to Pat Yeakey for, Seaworld Pals", mixed media, L.J. Crowe for "The Hunter", eggshell mixed media, Gale Vavva for, "A Way Out", mixed media and Elsimae Cleeton for "Arizona Storm", watercolor.

Although, he did not win an award this year, I was particularly taken with a work by Jorge Leon. His acrylic abstract, "De Projundis", meaning deeply profound, was a wonderful contrast to the realism of the other paintings in the show. A perfect mixture of bright colors and white space, this painting lured and held my attention for a long time. I have always found in my own painting that if I can turn the canvas in any direction, and find no "void" (space without meaning, movement or place), then the artwork is complete and successful. "De Projundis" gave me that sense of balance and completeness expertly rendered, and I would like to commend Jorge for its birth.

And, the praise would not be complete without a salute to Spanish Village's very own Dr. Jenny Ferrone, of studio 37, for her participation in this year's show. Jenny had two paintings accepted in the exhibition, "The Pond" at Lake Murray and "Sunflowers", both oils. "Way to go, Jenny"!

Congratulations to you all, and see you next year. In the meantime, "Brush On"!


The East County Art Association may be contacted at P.O. Box 148, El Cajon, California 92022. Or, look up their webpage:

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved

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