Saturday, August 4, 2007


Saturday morning, July 28th started out enveloped in fog. It was the day of the 17th annual Mill Valley Paint-Off. I had heard about it, but never attended or participated. I knew about it because I have exhibited my work several times at "At The Top" --a fabulous hair salon/art gallery in Mill Valley, and been a part of the Mill Valley Art Commission's First Tuesday Artwalk. The cover of July's Artwalk program featured a painting by Gary Kell , which he did at last year's Paint-Off event. It is a wonderfully humorous and surrealistic image--and, in fact, is what inspired me to sign up as a participant this year. I am not a plein air painter---I do my work in the studio---and if I use the outdoors as a reference, it is usually a quick sketch that is then transformed by memory and imagination. And I am a slow painter--I layer on the paint in transparent washes, and go over & over things. In the studio, I usually have 2-4 pieces working at a time & go back and forth between them. One of the challenges for me at this event was to complete a painting in 4 hours! And I don't have the right equipment to do plein air painting, either. So I was a little worried how I was going to pull it all off---but I came up with an idea--I decided to use one of my A frames that I use to display my work when I show in San Francisco with The Red Umbrellas. I made a little shelf to support a canvas, and took my director's chair and a small table. And I took a very small (for me) canvas (9 x 12) so that I would have a better chance of completing something. And you know what? I had a great time! There was a great camaraderie between the working artists, and the spectators were very appreciative. The completed pieces were voted on, and prizes given out. All the participants will have their work shown in September's exhibit at the Mill Valley City Hall. The reception will be Tuesday, September 4 from 6 to 8 PM. Check it out!

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