Mary Montague Sikes | June 2016

1. Summer Picnic Event at Prince George Gallery in Williamsburg ... The Prince George family of artists will celebrate the beginning of summer with a picnic on Saturday, June 25, 2016 from 1- 4 p.m. I'll be one of the artists painting, drawing, printing, sculpting, and potting. We will also be available to discuss our work. Jan Ledbetter will be drawing in pen and ink and her creation will be the prize in a raffle. Karen Schwartz, Fran Jones, Bonnie Coyle, and I will be painting a floral still life. Hank Mook will demonstrate his papier mache sculpting techniques and Karen Podd will paint pottery plates. Paula Koz will show how she uses her block printing techniques. Gallery owner Fred Miller will demonstrate his printing processes in giclee and photography. Fred says, "For our Summer Picnic we will be munching on Italian style fare in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the great flood of Florence in 1966. This is not a 'celebration' but rather to increase awareness of this tragic event. Please plan to join us for this little celebration of our love of art and craft on Saturday, June 25th from 1-4pm. I promise a good time and light snacking. We had great fun last year with our Paris Picnic and expect this event to be as much fun for all."
2. Painting Juried into Virginia Watercolor Society Show ... "Journey of the Dragonfly" is part of the 37th annual Virginia Watercolor Society Exhibition at Gloucester Arts on Main that opened May 20th with gala weekend events and will continue through June 25 with a closing reception for the artists. My painting was juried into the show by the juror, renowned artist Mel Sabin who presented a five-day workshop at Mathews Bay School and gave a talk at Gloucester Arts on Main. The special area event is co-hosted by Bay School and Arts on Main. I was pleased to have my painting selected for this show. It is part of my "Dragonfly" series that I created in April of last year as an art show for the promotion of my novel, Evening of the Dragonfly.
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3. Painting, Poetry, and Prose: A Creative Encounter ... "Painting, Poetry, and Prose: A Creative Encounter" features art and writing by members of the Chesapeake Bay Branch of the National League of American Pen Women and is on display through July 9 at the Bay School in Mathews, VA. My Montana talc sculpture was one of the seed works, and my acrylic painting, "Through the Branches", is a response piece to Pen Sister Bev McMillan's poem, "In the Trees". This is a fun show to visit and enjoy the various seeds and the responses to them.

4. Being with Creative People Brings Joy ... In mid-June, I spent five days with a wonderful group of creative women in Mary Ann Beckwith's experimental painting workshop at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff in Boone NC. Since I first met Mary Ann in 2005, I have loved her. The atmosphere around her overflows with excitement and positive energy. I listened to her and watched her painting demos, and I just wanted to paint, paint, paint. The high energy focus led me to new ideas and thoughts about making and finishing art. Much of Mary Ann's direction is toward developing design in paintings. I remembered my early painting classes with Thomas Thorne at the College of William and Mary. He talked about design in artwork then, but it didn't make the impression on me that it should have. I was too enthralled by the intense color of my newly-discovered tubes of acrylic paint to care about anything else. I wanted to be a colorist. I had started out with oil paints that dulled with my overuse of turpentine. I didn't like the smell nor the slow drying of the oil materials. Acrylics cleaned with soap and water. I loved everything about them, even the scent. In 2005 Mary Ann taught me to like watercolor paints, and she introduced me to Robert Doak watercolors that he produced in his studio in Brooklyn NY. When I first painted with those intense watercolors 11 years ago, I was thrilled by the color and what it would do when used on Yupo (a synthetic paper). I've experimented with them on various papers and canvas. Now, I am longing to try out new ideas for painting and design and am looking forward to spending more time in the studio. Being with creative people brings joy and excitement. Thank you, Mary Ann Beckwith and all my talented classmates.

Please contact me if you have questions or need directions for any of these events. They should be fun, and I would love to see you at any or all of them.


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