Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monster Drawing Rally

Today was really fun!  1708 Gallery here in Richmond had their First Annual Monster Drawing Rally.  Here's the press release if you want lots of information along with a cool drawing for it: link.  It was an event, a happening, an opportunity to see about 70 artists doing their thing in one place over the course of 5 hours.  AND a chance to buy some really good art for just 65 bucks a pop.  I couldn't believe it was so inexpensive.  Many of the artists who participated regularly sell their work for $300-400/drawing of the size that they were doing today.  Chris and I bought 4 pieces when I was done drawing cuz we loved what they were doing so much.  It was great to support 1708, terrific to make the artists feel good by buying their art, and, best of all, fantastic to get such wonderful artwork for such a great price.  I can only imagine that next year it will be much more crowded and the pieces will be that much harder to come by. 

Today Chris and I already had to compete for Mary Scurlock's drawing of a tree.  Another woman wanted it too, so the seller had a deck of cards - we each chose a card with the higher card winning.  Thank goodness Chris got an 8 to the woman's 3.  Sorry for her, but I was kinda excited that we got it!  It's quite a wonderful piece!  Mary had an exhibit at the Page Bond Gallery here in Richmond with many of her trees there.  It was a beautiful show and I was tempted to buy a piece there.  I think I like this one even better.  So delicate and beautiful.

We also bought a piece by Diego Sanchez.  He had the kids who were there participate in helping him spread the charcoal he used as a base.  They were enthralled then watching the rest of his process as he erased a spiny shell out of the blackness.  I was delighted by the piece so we snagged it too!  I have long wanted to own a piece of Diego's work because I admire it so much, so this is a double delight.
Then there was Jordan Roeder's piece, also out of compressed charcoal.  Watching her draw was like watching beautiful choreography.  She wore black; her hands were black; she had a lovely smile on her face the whole time and she shared beautifully about her work as she did it.  We talked to her about it afterwards and found out it was inspired by her recent travels in Peru - a lovely coincidence since Dylan spent the summer a year ago in Peru and loved it very much.  The piece is a series of concentric circles with mountains in the background.  I didn't know what it was when we bought it, but it's clear now that I know it.  I just like the strength of her drawing.

The fourth piece we bought was by Christine Gray who is an assistant professor at VCU.  When she began the piece, I couldn't get a sense of what it was going to be, but I kept walking by and watching it evolve.  I became more and more intrigued and interested.  By the end it became a beautiful almost ethereal enigmatic image that I still couldn't identify.  She told me she'd been doing a series of backyard paintings and had been finding nets interesting.  She said this piece is black moths in a net.  I find it hauntingly beautiful.

I apologize for the quality of the photographs of these beautiful works - they're still in plastic waiting for us to frame them, but I wanted to write about them while I was still feeling excited about the happening.

The other fun I had today, other than buying lots of wonderful art, was drawing at the rally also.  I was in the second round of artists who were drawing.  By that time the space was starting to get crowded.  There were probably 50 people watching us.  It was a little bit nervewracking at first to be observed by so many people.  Some would talk to me but not most.  Usually they stood quietly and watched.  I chose to draw an eggplant I'd gotten at the farmer's market this morning.  It is a very beautiful vegetable with gorgeous white striations on the lovely eggplant purple.  It has a pistachio green stem which offsets the purple beautifully.  I had a good time drawing it, so much so that I almost stopped thinking about all the people, though  my adrenaline was pumping - the sense of time passing and having too little of it overall.

I finished the eggplant in about 45 minutes.  Someone whisked it away to be photographed and catalogued, then it was hung on the wall to be bought. 

I began drawing an apple in the remaining 15 minutes.  I used my brand new brightly colors Diane Townsend pastels - I LOVE those pastels! - and rushed the colors on.  I had a great time swerving through the form, laying in the colors, careening across the surface of the fruit, then screeching to a halt at the stem before time was called!  It was very loose and fun before all was said and done.

I must admit I watched the wall to see if my pieces got bought.  I was pretty excited to see that both were bought, one by someone I knew, one by a couple I didn't.  It felt good to know the pieces will go to a good  home, and 1708 made $130 from my efforts (not to mention the other $260 they made from our purchases!)  There were LOTS of pieces sold - probably at least 70 by the time I left around 7, and the rest of the work will be for sale for a few more days.

If you live in Richmond and have time this weekend, you should do your best to get to the gallery before they take down the artwork.  It's remarkable to see the wide variety of pieces artists did - so many styles, media, subject matters.  It was really fun watching the artists create in so many different ways.  I've got some new ideas for fun things to play with in the studio this month! 

And I'm already looking forward to next year's Rally!  Hope you can make it too!

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