SAN JUAN SALON

Posted by Jack on February 14th, 2009 filed in About Ann

Ann's StudioEach Monday, except when she is traveling, Ann hosts an afternoon of painting and conversation in her studio.  This exercise of talent and mind began a couple of years ago at the suggestion of an artist who is a part-time resident of San Juan Island with a day job as an architect in California.  He knew that life drawing and painting of a nude model was a standard classical means of tutoring and fine-tuning control of line, shape and color for artists, not just a chance to feast one’s eyes on a well-formed female body, or at least not entirely so.   As is common with such groups, this congregation has had drop-outs, drop-ins, additions and alterations of focus, creating a constant state of healthy metamorphosis.  

For many months, the group had a wonderful model, a statuesque dancer and teacher of dance whose fine figure was capped with flowing red hair.  Then, as a diversification, from time to time a local notable with a particularly distinguished or at least distinctive face has been asked to sit for studies in portraiture.  While these brief sessions do not allow for creation of anything approaching finished portraits nor of frame-ready life studies, the resulting drawings and paintings are often nicely-rendered, fresh and very agreeable works of art that show imaginative images and color.  

At each session’s end, the artists show their works to one another.  Some of these are simply quick sketches, others the beginnings of what may become fine paintings.  These end-of-day displays are not to critique or teach, but to examine and comment on technique and result. It is a wonderfully heterogeneous group, these artists in the Monday salons.  They work side by side: a retired professor from an Ivy-League university paints along-side a professional cartoonist, an artist whose income comes from sheet-rocking construction jobs flanks a Fulbright scholar who writes and illustrates books.  There may be an artist who is also a professor of marine biology, one who was a surgeon in earlier life, another who owns an antique store.   This diversity enriches and enlivens the artistic and intellectual broth.  As in any such symposium, the learning experience is mutual and is, finally, a product of the contrasting and complementary skills and ideas of the whole.  Indeed, the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts.  One remarked that doing these drawings, sketches and paintings is for an artist like playing the scales is for a musician. Little doubt there is much value in the skill enhancement from these sessions, but another bit of glue that keeps the group intact is the mid-session break for lunch.  

You will be pleased to know that practicing professional artists do occasionally accept a glass of wine or two to wash down the tuna salad or fruit and cheese.  It is at this point that they keep the spirit of “salon” alive by selecting as the topic of the day a particular noted artist, past or contemporary, for serious review and commentary.   Others have remarked on the intellectual and artistic skill and diversity of San Juan Island, this small, rural fragment isolated in cold water on the outer edge of our nation.  Not many island activities demonstrate this intensity of skill and breadth of diversity quite as well as these little Monday salons at Ann’s studio.

 

Portrait Exercise

Portrait Exercise


One Response to “SAN JUAN SALON”

  1. Annie Howell-Adams Says:

    Nice description Jack, Ann makes our Mondays the best!

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