Focus on Art
By Rob Mohr
Lake Chapala Painting Guild – A “New” Direction
Significant art engages the viewer. We are seized by a force that moves us beyond current definitions of reality. Captured, we find ourselves moving between emotional ecstasy and rapture, outside our social and cultural formation, looking past prejudice and conditioning, to watch the known world vanish, replaced by worlds previously impossible for us to imagine.
Lake Chapala Painting Guild’s May, 2012 exhibition at the Old Train Station in Chapala, awoke in me a sense that here at Lakeside, we, artists and lovers of fine arts, are doing something special and unique. An exhibition with works of consistent quality is a privilege to view and to write about. I am sad that there is not space to mention all of the guild members in this column.
Lois Schroff, whose jewel-like painting Striving Heavenward is both beautiful and exciting to explore, wrote about the guild, “My involvement in LCPG is centered on creating challenging, competitive venues which will inspire members to become better painters - hence the reason for juried shows.”
Bev Kephart’s handsome small still-life paintings of intimate objects found in her kitchen are appealing and well-composed. One gives vivid life to three ripe tomatoes in a ceramic bowl that rests against a large multicolored ceramic cookie jar. It presents an example of the power of solid composition that incorporates a variety of colors and forms. Bev reflected, “Our mission statement is to further the professional development of brush and palette painters that use oil, acrylic, and watercolor. This is exactly what I needed.”
Mary Ann Linhart’s Mexican Mélange ll reveals a white cockatoo intertwined with a cornucopia of flowers and plants rendered in vivid hues against a patterned background reminiscent of Henri Matisse (1869-1954). The work radiates translucent color. (photo)
Julie Mignard’s fine abstract painting, Flight Pattern of Angels, with strong contrast between dark and light, emotionally and spiritually drew me into a new world where I moved through galaxies in formation. Subtle rose and blue tints impart a solid, resolved feel to the overall work. (photo) Equally interesting, Joan Lowndes’ painting of a strange world cast in green tones, pulls the viewer inward while the overall composition pushes outward, offering a clear example of how push-pull creates focus and interest without depending on objective realism.
Clearly the artistic chemistry among guild members is synergistic. Winnie Hunt stated, “The Lake Chapala Painting Guild offers a combination of shared passions, common purpose, social connection, and creative stimulation. What more could one want?” Julie Mignard offered, “I am happy to be associated with a smaller group which facilitates the inclusion of my larger paintings.” And Geraldine Classen added, “I am able to work with other like-minded painters to both develop and promote our art through juried exhibitions.”
Three approaches distinguish LCPG: juried exhibitions, shared critiques of member’s paintings, and joint workshops to improve the quality of their paintings. During their joint critiques, analyses of first impressions; consideration of the use of color, shape, line, texture, space, form and value along with design principles such as balance, contrast (conflict), emphasis, movement, rhythm, unity and variety; and interpretation of the emotional and psychological impact provide keys to the professional growth of the participating artists. Members dare to ask themselves, “What does this painting teach us?”