Grass Roots Art

At this time of the year as the season of giving approaches you can see  un-leased spaces in  local shopping malls suddenly come to life with vibrant colors. This is the prime time for  local Art Societies to present their creations to the public.

 On Friday the 14th I was fortunate to be invited by the son of one of the artists to attend the opening, at Park Lane Mall on Spring Garden Road, Halifax. It’s the fall show for the group known as The Association of Atlantic Area Artists in Halifax. I believe they have taken temporary possession of the former Plovers store, on the first level, which has moved to a new location.

 I’ve attended many opening receptions in the past. These being public galleries or larger commercial ones where you feel intimidated being there if you don’t intend to purchase. To be honest, being a bit of an art snob, I gave a pass to these smaller Art Society  openings. After Friday’s opening I will be attending more of these.

My friend’s mother, Jean MacKaracher-Watson one of the organizers of this show tells me there are twenty -three artists, from the core group of forty members, exhibiting at this show.

The space is shoulder to shoulder with guests viewing the works and partaking in the well laid out eats and refreshments at the back.

 Over the past forty years as a photographer specializing in art documentation for artists and galleries, I’ve scrutinized many works mostly paintings. I believe, although it is surely a subjective response at first, I have developed an eye for what is good and bad in paintings. I’m impressed with the quality of this showing.

At this show there are some very good works of exceptional technique and execution and some a little less so but no really bad pieces. Jean explains that the group has no  jury and new painters if they feel confident, can exhibit along with veterans. She explains the importance of art groups and associations heading them as an outlet for artists who want a hobby and who have always wanted to paint but were too busy in the past and now at a later stage in their life, can  pursue their passion.

 As a guest of Jean’ son I concentrated on her work which is very well done especially her depictions of dogs and horses, her favourite subjects.

Jean was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia. Her interests are in local history as can be seen in some of he paintings which depict her Scottish background and Celtic culture.

 In the past she has studied under Tom MacKay, John Cook, Dorothy Jackson, Marion Silver and Anthony Law.

 She is a member of the Dartmouth Historical Society. She is founding member of the 14th Palette group of artists, the Bedford Basin Artist’s Society and is a member or the Association of Atlantic Area Artists in Halifax.

 I’m pleased that I had the opportunity to attend this show and will now go more often to these openings which seem to be more than just an opening. This is more of a community meeting place. Small and intimate. I met artist friends there I haven’t seen in years. The food was good and plentiful, the conversation lively and the walls covered with a barrage of color.

In closing I will add that I have a rule which I established early on, that being: I show only original art on my walls. With the quality and the more than reasonable prices at these shows everyone can afford original work on their walls. Get out and support these showings especially this time of the year. Original art is the gift that lasts.

The above show at Park Lane Mall lasts until October 1stwith many more to follow. If you have ever had the urge to paint, join an artist group in your area.

Gary Castle 2012

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