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  • Artists of the New Century at the Bennington Center for the Arts
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Winter Grays

March 27, 2013 by admin

I was in a juried show late in 2012, where I was fortunate enough to take an award for a painting I was not holding much hope for. Into the Los Pinos ValleyDuring the reception, the juror, a Dr. William Eickhorst was good enough to talk to all the artists, and to explain why he picked what paintings he did. It is not always required at juried exhibitions for the juror to do this, but always appreciated. What Dr. Eickhorst had to say about some of the art he chose and didn’t choose was to say the least informative, definitely entertaining, and at times brutally honest.

I love this sort of candidness from a juror, he pulled no punches when letting the artists know what he thought was good, or should not even been ever painted EVER! Now if he’s picking on your painting, this can be quite a blow to not only your ego, but wondering whether you should be even considering a career in art. It takes a very thick skin to be an artist, and to put what you worked so hard on out before the people and their sometimes rude insensitive remarks. But Dr. Eickhorst knows what he is talking about, and has quite a resume to back up what he says.

I try not to let it bother me too much, I’ve seen a juror reject a piece of art, and then that artist enters it in a different show, and it wins “Best of”.  Try to figure that one out! (actually, that’s easy, different juror’s like different things)

At this show, on this night, Dr Eickhorst was discussing with the artists afterwards, and was talking about some of these “gray” paintings. “What Monet was doing when creating the Impressionistic movement was light and colorful! Not dark and gray! He actually pointed to one of my pieces when refering to the grays. Some of the other artists when their piece that they had toiled long and hard over actually got into verbal battles with the guy trying to rationalize their creations. When he pointed out my painting as one of those art in parkville“grays”, I said nothing. Was it from biting my tongue in anger, or dumbfounded by the pure audacity of this guy? Really, I’m no different than the rest of you, I have feelings, though I have had to become a little more resilient from all the rejection through the years, but this time it wasn’t that. I was smiling inside, because I had finally did it. I had finally stepped away from the brilliant colors of my previous pallet. For over the past year my mentor had been working with me with creating “beautiful grays”, and it was hard. My colors were always too bright, too rich. Not that that is a a bad thing, I love color, but I was looking for more subtle color. Rick’s paintings mastered this, and he had been working with me to achieve this on a different level.

Rick had died shortly before this, and will be truly missed, though I still turn to him for help and direction. And on this occassion when Dr William “Bill” Eickhorst was talking of the impressionistic colors of the masters, and not these grays, I again turned back to Rick, and this time he was smiling. He had did it!

I have a long way to go in this pursuit, but I will get there.

3 Responses to “Winter Grays”

  1. Marilyn says:

    I love your grays. Rick always said it was always other artists that appreciated the tonality (he didn’t want to be referred to as a tonalist!) of his work. Rick’s work was always so distinctive – you knew when you saw a Howell.

    Bravo on your continuing achievements!!


  2. You know I’m a lover of grays, too! That’s one of the reasons I ended up studying with Rick myself. Along with his superb brushwork he was a master at those subtle nuances in nature and interpreting them on the canvas. He is sorely missed, but like you I hear his thoughts and words from his teachings. You are doing him proud so continue to do what he so often talked about…paint and convey the message YOU want to and forget about what others might say. Yeh, it’s not easy sometimes like when a well meaning relative says “Oh, I like this painting with more color…you ought to do more like that.” 🙂 I also love color and if a painting calls for that then that’s fine…but the beauty of a painting with a grayed palette and a few more vivid color notes is divine in my book. Keep up the great work Greg!

  3. Greg,

    That was so amazing to have Dr. Eickhorst discuss his choices in that show. I had labored so hard over one of the two paintings I submitted, and was able to ask him why it got honorable mention instead of first place that the other one got. Very informative. Sometimes I think it just boils down to subjective choice. As someone who used to be a raging colorist I can understand his bias. But I know there is also great beauty in grays.

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