Thursday, December 13, 2012

Art Talk: Oil Painting

Even though I stick primarily with watercolors, yesterday’s Art Talk about oil painting, materials, techniques and framing proved quite interesting.  Barb Tobiska led a lively discussion among the seven of us attending.  Proficiency ranged from beginner to advanced, but we all learned something new. 

In talking about paint brands, Barb wowed us with some unbelievably high prices for certain colors in a Dick Blick catalog.  But don’t let that scare you off as everyone had their own affordable preferred manufacturers, from Grumbacher, Winsor and Newton, to the water based oil paint made by Holbein that Cindy Ahrenkiel uses.  One thing Barb Tobiska stressed is to know your own colors.  Many beginners buy so many different colors, but don’t know what they have when it comes time to paint.  I know I’m guilty of those spontaneous purchases of beautiful new hues offered by Daniel Smith, Cheap Joe’s or other online catalogs.  Barb held up color charts she’d made of all her paints, arranged by color and temperature (cool to warm).  That way, when you’re needing a certain hue for your current painting project, it’s easy to refer to your charts.

So many mediums are now available to mix with oil paints.  Glazes, binders, gels, waxes and varnishes can make colors more transparent, give an even sheen to a finished work and protect your masterpiece.  When these additives are mixed in, it is prudent to employ a heavier substrate.  Canvases vary substantially, in texture, in weight and in quality of stretching (if pre-stretched).  Be sure to check for unwanted pockets in the corners, or if a canvas is stretched too loosely.  Pre-mounted canvas on masonite is another option.

When it comes to framing an oil painting, what is acceptable?  Is it necessary to use a frame? The general consensus was that unframed canvases are acceptable as long as the edges are painted and no staples or nails show.  Deep stretchers are preferable and look more professional than thin stretchers.  At one time, ornate gold frames with linen liners were the norm – not so much any more.  Metal, wood or composite can all look nice, although composite frames tend to chip easily and don’t always hold screw eyes firmly.  Dust covers on the back really aren’t required for oil paintings and tend to easily rip during transport.  If the choice is made to frame an oil painting, it must be done properly, as a poor framing job (damaged frames, chipped glass, improper hanging hardware) can be reason for rejection by a juror.

There’s always something interesting and educational going on at the Lakewood Arts Council Community Center and Gallery.  Check the website  to see what’s coming up next!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Great Holiday Party for LAC!

With holiday music playing in the background, the mood was set for a festive gathering of LAC members and friends.  Over 50 people attended the event (even with that Bronco's game!) and our place was filled with lively conversation and laughter.  A large pot of chili added a yummy smell as people filled their cups for a tasty treat - it's always a delicious concoction as several volunteers make their special recipes for tasting.  Everything is combined in a big batch for a unique and wonderful blend.  Add in an assortment of wine and desserts and you've got a sure recipe for a happy party.

If you didn't make the party (and WHY didn't you?), we still have two weeks of shopping fun at our art center.  Lots of lovely things to choose from - perhaps that special hard to find item you've been looking for?

 A very happy holiday to all of you!  Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 19th for our annual member's breakfast - we have planned one long party for 2013 as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary!
Submitted by Kathy Berls.  Photos by Charlie Casper.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Ornament Workshop

 A cheerful group of about 12 people attended the holiday ornament making workshop on December 4th.

 Instructors Ann Quinn and Lynnette Kupferer showed how to create three very different ornaments - all of which were easy to assemble and beautiful as a finished product.  For one ornament, the group was shown how to string beads on a star shaped wire structure - crafters selected various colored beads to create a design that sparkled in the light.  Another simple project involved painting and decorating a tiny wood birdhouse. One of the most complex and unusual ornament creations was directed by Lynnette.  Artists selected a clear plastic ball ornament.  Acrylic craft paint was dripped in the top opening and then the fun began.  By shaking and turning the ball, the paint ran down the inside and flowed together to create an intricate pattern of colors.
Even our youngest participant, age 3, enjoyed the morning. With his mother's help, and encouragement by the group, he created the bead ornament first - his little fingers fitting the beads onto the wire base.  Next came the birdhouse with paint getting on both the house and his "paint" shirt.  In between were several trips to the food table to enjoy the tasty treats.

  It was a fun morning and a lovely way to complete our craft making series of workshops for this year.  Several of the attendees were new to the LAC Art Center who found us due to the listing in the Denver Post.  We enjoyed welcoming them and watching as new friendships were formed. 
Submitted by Kathy Berls

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Greetings" from Miners Alley Playhouse

Mid-November and the festive holiday mood is just starting to hit me, helped along by driving through downtown Golden’s glittery trees hung with fairy lights, and anticipation of the Christmas play, “Greetings” at Miners Alley Playhouse.  It is Members’ Night, and even though I’m not a member, there were still a few seats on the side available when I booked online at the last minute.
Miners Alley is a member of the Lakewood Arts Council and offers wall space for LAC-arranged exhibits.  For a few weeks in October and November, the Ken Caryl Art Guild has contracted with the LAC to hang a Holiday themed show, and since I had two paintings hanging, that was another reason to visit the theater. 
After enjoying the artwork, we were ushered into the theater for the play by Tom Dudzick, directed by Rita Broderick.  As the lights went down, an announcement was made and the audience was introduced to four individuals who are taking over for Rick Bernstein, founder of the Morrison Theater Company that became Miners Alley Playhouse.  He is handing over the reins after 24 years, but plans to remain active with the playhouse in a smaller capacity.
The play itself is about a conservative Catholic family thrown into disarray by the arrival of the son with his Jewish but atheist fiancé.  As you can imagine, beliefs and morality are tested, with comedic and  miraculous results.  Amazing things happen within the hearts and minds of the rest of the family.  I took away from this play a message of unconditional love, a broadening of perspective and experienced a range of emotions teased out by relating to the characters, their personalities and inner battles.
Members’ Night at the playhouse gives the added advantage of the cast “talk-back” where they discuss the play and field questions from the audience. Rita Broderick, director, was all praise for this ensemble cast, none of whom (except Rick Bernstein) had performed at Miners Alley previously.  It was her intuition that chose these cast members and allowed for their natural characterizations to mesh with the other actors.  Her favorite line from the play embodied that we don’t all have to believe in the same thing, but we have to believe in something.  When Rick (who channeled a grumpy old Italian New Yorker for his character, not unlike Archie Bunker) was asked what he took away from this play he said it was that he appreciated the opportunity to learn to love. And we can all use more of that – especially during the holiday season!  “Greetings” runs through December 23rd. Tickets are available at or 303 935-3044.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

LAC Planning Meeting

Running an organization as comprehensive and orderly as the Lakewood Arts Council requires not only a large group of volunteers and paid staff, but a lot of brainstorming and planning ahead.  And that’s just what we did the morning of Saturday, November 17th at the home of Kathy Berls, artistic director for the LAC.
       Even the drive up the hill to Kathy's house was inspiring.

Incoming and current board members were invited to attend the LAC planning meeting where we discussed the Council’s budget, membership numbers, long-range plans, exhibits and events for 2013, and of course, fun fund-raising ideas.  Welcomed were new members-at-large for 2013 Gail Firmin, Christina Taylor and Katy Haas, while outgoing members Marcia Brill, June Davis and Cindy Haase will be missed.
      Did Kathy plan the meeting agenda to match the coffee cups?

2013 is a big year for the LAC – it’s our 25th anniversary.  That’s quite an accomplishment for a group that started out with just a few people intent on supporting the arts, that now has over 270 individual and group members.  A special 25th anniversary art exhibit will start out the year, parties, a picnic and other creative options will follow throughout the rest of the year to offer fun times and show appreciation to all of you who have supported this organization throughout the years.
                                                   Getting down to business.
An events calendar was presented and discussed, which included popular and successful events that have become tradition at the Community Center and Gallery, such as an evening of Soup Tasting, a Members’ Holiday Party, and Art and Music collaborations.  Some exciting new ideas have also been added to the 2013 calendar, which I’ll leave as a surprise for now, but look for these events when you receive your flyers in the mail.  Hint: Yummy food, creative ideas, engaging conversation with friends!
                                                         Marje Walsh and Gail Firmin

Fundraising is always a big concern for a non-profit agency.  Once again the summer Garden Tour and Garage Sale will get the community involved, and art supply and holiday basket sales will help bring in needed funds.  But I can’t wait to see what our council and members come up with for a fall “Country Fair”!

Discussing all this official business started stomachs growling, so when it was time to break for brunch, we all filled our plates with a sampling of pot luck dishes. There are a lot of good cooks on the LAC board, I’ve discovered.  From hash brown and sausage casserole to blueberry buckle, we enjoyed our feast.  Hmm, perhaps an LAC member recipe book might be a good fundraising item. 

  Sweet,  savory, and a mug of coffee fueled more input to allow us to wrap up the planning meeting.  With all these creative ideas and valuable help from volunteers, next year will offer exhibits, events, projects and workshops that will make the 25th Anniversary of LAC a celebration to be proud of!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Tasteful Event

 One of the LAC’s most popular events, the annual Soup Tasting, held Thursday evening at the LAC Community Center and Gallery was once again a well-attended gathering.

It was also a feast for the senses as savory aromas drifted from the kitchen, lively jazz tunes filled the air, there was plenty of artwork for viewing and of course, delicious tasting soups warmed our bellies.

Tables were set up throughout the gallery to provide enough seating for the large crowd, and it was fun to visit with neighboring tables as guests refilled their sample mugs with the various soups.
Twelve different soups – how best to approach this?  My tactic was to try the non-cream based soups first.  Italian Wedding Soup with its lovely little meatballs, spinach and pasta, the perfectly spiced Gumbo, a vegan soup made with butternut squash, leeks, rosemary, and a vegetable broth made from boiling the leek greens.  Now that’s really made from scratch! 
 Loraine Miller’s Borscht was a beautiful red-hued mix of tang and sweet.  “A painstaking process to make”, she explained to Lynnette, who deemed it her favorite.  “You must slice the cabbage very thin, then the potatoes”.  I also identified beets, carrots – I’ll have to ask for the recipe. 

 Next came the potato soups – some with ham, or cheese, or bacon – how to decide which I liked best?  Chicken Enchilada, two types of Clam Chowder.  Oh boy, I’m getting full and there’s delicious looking cookies for dessert that I can’t possibly pass up!  Hopefully my Black Bean and Pumpkin soup was good as I didn’t even taste it.  But by the looks of the empty crock pot, I guess it was.  
As more pots emptied and tasting slowed, the fully sated guests said their goodbyes and Geoff Cleveland’s keyboard closed up.  Kathy and Jan cleaned up the kitchen and thoughts strayed to the next big event coming up – the Holiday Fine Art and Crafts Sale.  “Tis the Season!