They Came,They Saw, They Painted
From July 29 through August 3, there were 40 artists scattered all over
Alameda, drinking in its unique sights and letting it flow out their paintbrushes.
The results of this industrious week are now hanging on the walls of the Frank
Although traditional landscape depiction often shows skies in shades of blue and grounds in shades of green, this show has some notable and successful exceptions to that convention. Annie Haines’ piece called “Quiet Morning, Alameda Marina” is mostly shades of pearl gray. The sky, the Oakland hills in the distance, the boats, the dancing gestures of their reflection all convey a peaceful mood, punctuated only by the clanking of boat rigging.
Mike Allisons painting called “Night Fishing” shows tiny silhouetted figures on land fishing beneath a majestic evening sky the color of 1/2 cup red wine and 1/2 cup black coffee simultaneously poured into a white sink.
Cleo Vilett was “Facing West’ around sunset and saw a sky of palest apricot fading into delicate blue with a slight sheen like antique silk. The reflected light of an invisible sun lent a warm glow to structures on the ground.
Some artists filled their format with descriptive details leaving no doubt that the picture was of specifically Alameda, California. In contrast, Carolyn Lord went from a specific locale, “Tree Fern Bungalow” or “Mint House at Midday”, and generalized it into simplified, universal forms that might exist any number of places. In this way they transcend story-telling or illustration.
For a painter to excel at watercolor requires experience, courage and faith because the paint is not fudged around on the page until it looks good and it can’t be scraped off and begun again. Inhale, load the brush, lay it down all at once, exhale. This years PaPo exhibit has several very fine watercolorists.
Stephen Berry painted both the “Aeolian Club “ and “Mosleys Cafe” alternating deftly between fluid wet on wet areas and dragging his drier brush across just the tops of his textured paper.
Barbara Tapp used big, confident puddles of wet paint to describe the luminous, slippery areas in her wet subject matter, “Blue Dredger” as case in point. The result is fresh. It seems inspired and filled with light while merely depicting the mundane weekday work of a dredger which is literally raking muck. This is the transformative power of art.
This show will hang until September 28, Thursday - Sunday 11-5