Open Paint Sat 6/29/2019

If you’re interested in painting, drawing, and illustrating, we have the perfect Saturday lined up! It’ll be a great time with laughter, conversation, creativity, and the space to stretch out!

We’ll do hands-on help with Instagram for anyone who brings in a smart phone or tablet!

Open Paint 10am-3pm
For the entire day, it’s an open paint! All are welcome, including the public, family, and friends! It’s free! We have watercolors and acrylics on hand, or bring your own if you wish.

If the weather is nice out, visitors can also embark on an Uxbridge sketch walk. We have the maps all ready.

When:
Saturday, June 29, 2019
10am – 3pm

Where:
BVAA Open Sky Uxbridge Community Art Gallery
5 South Main Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

Our Saturdays at the gallery include an open paint session where all styles of art are warmly welcome. Whether you’re 12 or 102, whether you’re a new beginner or a seasoned artist, we would love to have you. It’s completely free to participate in the open paint. You can bring your own paints or we’ll have watercolors and brushes to share.

There is a TON of free parking immediately next to this building. It is fully and easily handicapped accessible.

BVAA Open Sky Uxbridge Community Art Gallery Information

Feel free to show up for some or all of the day to paint. Some come for just the morning, some for the afternoon, and some for the entire time. There are several options on the same block to grab lunch if you’d like. We also bring in a pizza and those who want slices chip in a few dollars.

Our Saturday events are free, casual, relaxed, and fun! All levels are welcome.

Ask with any questions – we’d love to have you join us!

This Uxbridge gallery is supported in part by BVAA member dues, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and by ValleyCAST. The space use is kindly donated to us by Open Sky Community Services. Open Sky uses this space for client activities during weekdays. They allow the BVAA use of the space – and its gallery walls – on evenings and weekends.

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Values of Light and Dark in Art – Art Show Judging

When a piece of work is evaluated for an art show, one of the key features most judges look for is a healthy range of values. For a number of judges, this is the most important aspect of an artwork.

Just what are values in terms of an artwork’s presentation?

In this context, the term “value” refers to the lightness or darkness of a given area of an image. This isn’t about the color of the area. It’s about its relative lightness or darkness compared with other aspects of the painting. For that reason, value is also called “lightness” by some.

Let’s look at Turner’s painting “Dutch Boats in a Gale”.

If you imagine this as a black-and-white image, you’ll see that there is a full range of grays represented. It goes from the nearly-pure-white of the tops of the waves, through the softer white of the sail, to the medium-dark of the clouds, all the way down to the near-pure-black of the shadows in the waves.

In general you want to avoid pure white or pure black. Those aren’t colors usually found in nature. You want to aim for a black which is made up of dark colors – dark blue, dark red, and so on. You want your whites to have a tinge of something in them – yellow, green, whatever is appropriate.

The human eye is generally drawn to the brightest spot in the image. In this case the eye is swept in by those frothy white waves to the bright sail, which is the center point of the image. Then from there the eye flows back toward the ships in the distance. So the use of values also influences how the eye moves through the image. This is also key.

An artwork is like a book laying open to be read. Where does the eye start? Where does it flow? Values strongly influence that, along with shapes and forms, which we’ll cover separately.

Let’s look at another artwork. This is “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth.

Where does your eye go first? To the brightly lit young woman. Note her shoulders are not pure white, but they’re nearly white. The eye then follows the woman’s gaze out toward the house, which is much darker. The door is nearly black but it isn’t quite black. Between those extremes, there’s a full representation of values here.

Sometimes in photography images can get “blown out” where the whites are too white, or it can get underexposed where the blacks are too black. Those are tricky challenges to fix. To show a well balanced photo, here’s work by one of our BVAA members – a true master – Al Weems. He wins prizes frequently at our shows. This artwork won first prize at a recent show. Judges often praise his exceptional technique with his range of values.

This image also shows that rules always have exceptions. In this image, it’s the central dark tree which tends to draw your eye first, because no white area “stands out”. Al carefully balanced the whites so that none competed with that tree for the focal spot.

To review again, values aren’t necessarily about black and white. Rather, values are about the lights and darks. It’s often just easier to think about values by thinking about an image in black and white. That makes all the shades of gray become easier to visualize.

But what about pop art styles, which are more of a cartoony / stylized presentation? Let’s look at The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai. This is a woodblock print, so by necessity it was done with only a few ink colors. Even so, Hokusai was able to get a range of values to be represented, from the light end down to the dark end.

There is definitely a sense here that it’s an abstraction of the scene, rather than a realistic version. The colors are bright and the light / dark contrast is emphasized.

But, even so, the whites aren’t glaring white. They don’t create a “solid field of empty”. There’s enough softness / tan in the white that the eye can move through it. The eye tends to be caught by the big area of light in the top left, and then the eye flows down through the wave, to the boat, and in to the white-topped mountain.

There are darks here but again, they’re a deep, deep blue, rather than a solid black. There’s texture and dimension there.

Now, it’s also fine to remember that there are always exceptions to rules. Let’s look at “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Vermeer.

That background is fairly black. The collar is fairly white. Your gaze tends to go to her eyes first, because human eyes are what we naturally tend to look at. But then our eyes tend to go down to that white collar, which draws us along to the shiny earring. The darkness in the background fades away and becomes non-existent.

This background may look black on your screen, but it’s actually a gently textured dark-dark-brown so it’s not as sharp against the image. It lets the main image stand out better.

On the topic of values, though, you can see that the image still has a nice range of values here, from the lighter areas down through the darker ones.

To show what I mean about the grayscale version of an image, here’s the above image converted to grayscale. The only area which ends up solid black is in the top left and that’s probably a result of the camera’s sensor. You can see how there are a wide range of values shown, from the bright light of the collar to the darker areas of the eye.

Try this with your artwork. Turn it into a grayscale version and see what happens. Is it still clear? Do areas get muddy? Is there a representation of all sorts of different shades of gray in it?

So, to summarize, if you’re painting, whether with physical paints or computer screens, think about selecting or mixing your paints so you create those ranges of values. Stop thinking about color for a minute. Think about the lightness or darkness of what you’re working with. Is there a good spread of values, from the lightest lights to the darkest darks and a range in between? Have the darks become too muddy so they’re hard to see? Have the lights become blown out and glaring? Is there enough of a range?

Also, think about how you’re using values to guide the eye. Is there a specific bright area which catches the eye and gives the viewer a starting point? Do the values then help guide the viewer through the image? An image should rarely be “stagnant”. It’s good to have some sense of where the eye should go as it moves around the image. Even with something which seems a single subject, like the girl above, there is still going to be movement of the eye as the eye takes it all in. What is that path? How do values guide it?

If you’re doing photography, learn your camera’s settings. If possible, have the display flash for you if it detects areas which have become solid white or solid black. That helps you to adjust the exposure to fix the problem. Sometimes it’s necessary to “bracket” the image – take multiple pictures at multiple exposures – to get the full range in a final image. The technology of HDR (high dynamic range) images does this automatically for you. If a picture has been taken where a region has been lost to all-white or all-black, it can be nearly impossible to get the detail back in that space. So it’s best to get the photo exposed properly in the first place, so it can then be worked with.

Here’s the Wikipedia page on values and lightness, with examples involving shades of colors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightness

Ask with any questions – we’re happy to provide ideas!


2019 BVAA Sunflower Show at the Booklovers’ Gourmet


Image by Betty Havens

Our Third Annual BVAA Sunflower Show celebrates the sunny beautiful flower! The art show is in conjunction with a stunning lush garden of sunflowers out front of the Booklovers’ Gourmet.

Where?
The sunflower art show is held at the:
Booklovers’ Gourmet
55 E Main St
Webster, MA 01570

About the Show
If there ever was a flower which symbolized glorious summertime, the sunflower is the one. Did you know that nearly all of the 70 species of sunflowers are native to North America? They can grow to be up to six feet tall and they even tilt as the sun moves so they always face it!

The Blackstone Valley Art Association is celebrating this sun-shaped delight with a sunflower show throughout the month of August at the Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster. Our show complements the stunning garden of live sunflowers which the bookstore is famous for. Come on out to admire the live flowers, appreciate the artistic versions, and explore the shop’s offerings!

Submissions
The submission deadline for the sunflower show is Monday, July 22nd, 2019. We have limited wall space here for about 20 items so what we’ll do is have each member submit one JPG of an artwork via email to info@bvaa.org they’d like to include. If we get too many we’ll do a Facebook vote. This show is open to all BVAA members and is free to participate in. This is not a judged show – it is primarily a visibility and sales opportunity. Any sales will include a 25% commission taken by the shop. The BVAA takes no commission on this show. Full BVAA terms: BVAA Show Terms and Conditions

Here’s the current list of what we have, both on Facebook and here on this website:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/BVArtAssoc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2366788040064631

Drop-Off
The drop-off for the Sunflower Show is either Tuesday, July 30th or Wednesday, July 31st between 10am-6:30pm. If you can’t make either date, contact Lisa via the info@bvaa.org email and she’ll arrange something. The Booklovers’ Gourmet shop will take care of hanging the items.

Public Reception
The reception will be 2-4pm on Saturday, August 10th at the Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster. Invite family and friends!

Pick-Up
Pick-up for the show is Saturday, August 31st, any time during their open hours.

Theme
This show is all about sunflowers! The Booklovers’ Gourmet is well known for their beautiful sunflower garden, which will be in full bloom during the show’s run.

News Clippings from the 2017 Sunflower Show

Photos from 2017 Sunflower Show

Photos from 2018 Sunflower Show


Plein Air with Dianne Panarelli Miller – July 21

Dianne Panarelli Miller is an amazing artist. Be sure to visit her website here:

http://diannepmiller.com/

She’ll be leading us through a plein air painting session at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA. All are warmly welcome to attend! If you don’t have your own paints, let us know in advance so we can bring some for you. Or you could just come and watch!

Here’s some tips for doing plein air painting, if you’re curious!

plein air painting tips

Date: Sunday, July 21st, 2019
Time: 10am – noon

Location:

River Bend Farm
287 Oak Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

Dianne will first do some painting and then help provide feedback for anyone who wants advice on their own works.

Here’s a link with more information –

https://www.mass.gov/locations/blackstone-river-and-canal-heritage-state-park

There are lovely talking trails along the canal, quite flat, and a fishing spot as well. You could always do photography or something else if you wished!

This is just one part of our month-long Celebrating the Blackstone artistic celebration. Be sure to check out all of our events!

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.


Plein Air Painting Workshop – Blackstone Gorge – Sun July 14

Plein Air simply means we’ll be painting outdoors, and attempting to paint the landscape we see. It’s a great way to get out into nature, relax, and have some fun. If you’ve never done plein air painting before, come join us! We warmly welcome newbies to come. We have all the supplies! Come try it!

We’ll meet at 10am and paint for an hour or two. If you want to stay longer, or show up later for light reasons, that’s quite fine! This is a casual, relaxing painting and photography day.

The Blackstone River is an incredibly powerful waterway, going 46 miles from Worcester to Pawtucket, RI. Over that length it drops a full 450 feet in height. This awesome power is what gave motion to the many mills which developed along its length. It’s also what carved out the beauty of the Blackstone Gorge.

The Blackstone Gorge, with the Rolling Dam right above it and the Tupperware Mill right below it, is right on the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The Rolling Dam is in Blackstone, Massachusetts while the Tupperware Mill is in North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Directions and Time
Parking is found at the corner of Staples Lane and County Street in Blackstone, MA.
To find that, search on:

66 County Street
Blackstone, MA

The parking lot is immediately across the street from that house.

Date: Sunday, July 14th, 2019
Time: 10am to around noon, or you can stay longer if you have your own supplies.

Supplies
We’ll have tray watercolors, brushes, and watercolor paper available. If you’d like to bring a beach chair to sit on, and snacks / drinks, feel free. If you have your own painting supplies, that’s fine too!

If you’ve never done a plein air paint before, you might read: Plein Air Painting – Preparing for your First Outing.

Please RSVP via our BVAA Contact Form so we know how many paints to bring.

National Park Service page on the Blackstone Gorge

This is just one part of our month-long Celebrating the Blackstone artistic celebration. Be sure to check out all of our events!

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.


Ashton Mills Plein Air / Photography – Sun July 7 – Celebrating the Blackstone

During its heydey, the Blackstone River was the powerhouse behind the many mills which sprung up all along its length. Town after town boomed due to the jobs and products created at these mills. Many of these large brick structures represented prosperity for the entire town. The mill owners would often build smaller brick houses for their workers.

The Ashton Mill complex is a great representative of what these communities were like. The area was put onto the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1984.

Come on out with us to get a solid look at this amazing part of our history! What would it have been like living in the era of the mill? Where all your family and friends worked in the same place and could hang out together side by side on weekends?

Location and Time
The location is now apartments. The address to get there is:
Ashton Mills
51 Front St
Cumberland, RI 02864

We’ll start at 10am – this is a CASUAL event. Lisa Shea will be on hand at 10am to greet people and answer any questions about the BVAA. She’ll wear a BVAA t-shirt. Feel free to come whenever you wish and to stay for however long you’re entertained. Bring paints, cameras, notebooks – whatever strikes your fancy!

Across the street is the The Captain Wilbur Kelly House Museum which has great exhibits about the mills.

This is just one part of our month-long Celebrating the Blackstone artistic celebration. Be sure to check out all of our events!

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.


Celebrating the Blackstone – July 1 to 31 2019

Celebrating the Blackstone

a community artistic exploration of the Blackstone River

For hundreds of years the Blackstone Valley has been defined by its river. Native Americans treasured it for a safe means of travel through thick forest. The Industrial Revolution puts its currents to work powering mills all along its length. In modern times we can still see remnants of the Blackstone Canal and its many locks.

Throughout the month of July 2019 we’ll provide a wealth of ways for you to explore your creativity, get in touch with the history of our beautiful landscape, and have some fun.

Here’s just a few of the events we’re planning. Dates and times are subject to change as we finalize the schedules. Be sure to check back for more details as we get closer!

Sun July 7th:
Ashton Mills Plein Air / Photography
Ashton Mills, Cumberland RI – 10am

Sun July 14:
Blackstone Gorge Painting by the River
Blackstone, MA – 10am

Sun July 21:
Plein Air with Dianne Panarelli Miller – River Bend Farm
Uxbridge, MA – 10am

Sun July 28:
James Hunt Millbury Bike Path Photography Workshop
Millbury Bike Path, Millbury MA – 10am

Where else should we go along the Blackstone River? Let us know! What else should we do that is art-related and Blackstone River related?

Here’s a map to get you started:

Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

We’ll then have an open art show, free for community participation, to celebrate all the art we’ve created. We’re still planning when this will be.

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.

To see what we did in 2018, visit:


Unexpected Connections – Mon June 24 2019

On Monday, June 24, 2019 from 5:70-7pm there’ll be an invitation-only event held at the Singh Performance Center in Whitinsville, Mass. This inspiring evening will bring together 20 local community members from all walks of life to learn about each other, explore their creativity, and try out a variety of fun activities.

If you’ve been invited to attend our Unexpected Connections event – welcome! Here’s what we are planning.

5:15pm – arrival period and community sculpture creation. Participants receive colored name tags which sort them into four groups of 5 each.

5:30pm – introduction and song singalong

5:45pm – icebreaker! Each group creates fun “machines” with our bodies.

6:00pm / 6:15pm / 6:30pm – the groups rotate through three stations:

  • Creating string art
  • Planting edible flowers
  • Writing a joint story

6:45pm – light snacks and drinks are provided. People relax and share their thoughts

7:00pm – goodbye song

This event was developed out of a workshop series on “Arts in Complex Community Change” – a series designed to help local community leaders in the Whitinsville area develop new ways for the arts to help foster improvement in community relations. It’s run by EmcArts.

A purpose of tonight’s event is to help play-test the idea of having events which are focused on a particular topic, such as gardening, storytelling, music, and art creation. We’re interested in finding out which types of activities individuals would be interested in attending. We’re also examining if this type of activity helps to foster stronger bonds between diverse members of our community.

We look forward to seeing you there! Ask with any questions!

This workshop is planned and run by:

Donna Blanchard and Alaina Calloway Bolton, Apple Tree Arts
Peter Friedland and Matthew Johnsen, Worcester State University
Phil Marshall, ValleyCAST
Dennis Rice, Open Sky
Lisa Shea, Blackstone Valley Art Association


Open Paint – Sat June 22 2019

If you’re interested in painting, drawing, and illustrating, we have the perfect Saturday lined up! It’ll be a great time with laughter, conversation, creativity, and the space to stretch out!

We’ll do hands-on help with Instagram for anyone who brings in a smart phone or tablet!

Open Paint 10am-3pm
For the entire day, it’s an open paint! All are welcome, including the public, family, and friends! It’s free! We have watercolors and acrylics on hand, or bring your own if you wish.

If the weather is nice out, visitors can also embark on an Uxbridge sketch walk. We have the maps all ready.

When:
Saturday, June 22, 2019
10am – 3pm

Where:
BVAA Open Sky Uxbridge Community Art Gallery
5 South Main Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

Our Saturdays at the gallery include an open paint session where all styles of art are warmly welcome. Whether you’re 12 or 102, whether you’re a new beginner or a seasoned artist, we would love to have you. It’s completely free to participate in the open paint. You can bring your own paints or we’ll have watercolors and brushes to share.

There is a TON of free parking immediately next to this building. It is fully and easily handicapped accessible.

BVAA Open Sky Uxbridge Community Art Gallery Information

Feel free to show up for some or all of the day to paint. Some come for just the morning, some for the afternoon, and some for the entire time. There are several options on the same block to grab lunch if you’d like. We also bring in a pizza and those who want slices chip in a few dollars.

Our Saturday events are free, casual, relaxed, and fun! All levels are welcome.

Ask with any questions – we’d love to have you join us!

This Uxbridge gallery is supported in part by BVAA member dues, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and by ValleyCAST. The space use is kindly donated to us by Open Sky Community Services. Open Sky uses this space for client activities during weekdays. They allow the BVAA use of the space – and its gallery walls – on evenings and weekends.


Portrait Sketching by Laura Sfiat using Reilly Method

For the afternoon of our 2019 Uxbridge Sketch Walk, on June 8, 2019, talented instructor Laura Sfiat guided us through how to create portrait sketches.

All levels of artists were welcome to join us and participate.

Laura uses the Reilly Method of sketching portraits. These are the supplies Laura recommends:

bristol smooth pad
2b and 4b pencil or mechanical pencil
kneaded eraser

Thank you to Dennis Smith for setting up this day of creative exploration.

Thank you also to the Massachusetts Cultural Council Festival Division for supporting this Second Annual Sketch Walk experience.

Here’s more information on Laura:

https://belleartwork.wordpress.com/