Twenty years ago on a rainy afternoon, three artist friends and I were hovering over warm cups of coffee in a bakery — sharing thoughts, frustrations and dreams. All of us were professional painters who took our work seriously. As the conversation progressed, we all agreed that what we all hungered for was another well informed opinion on our work...as it progressed...”a pair of fresh eyes” giving us a new perspective during the process of completing a work. A critique of our work as it progressed! I suggested we could meet at my Studio; someone else suggested we meet once a month, someone else said lets keep the membership small...no more than a dozen. Eventually, the four of us developed a
plan that became what is now called BRUSHWORKS...and that name was suggested by one of our members, Jacqui Moran. Its pretty simple really...a group of women meet the second Wednesday of each month, bringing a painting or two with them to be critiqued. For three hours once a month we take turns placing our unfinished works on the easel and listen as our peers/friends criticize (critique) our work. At noon we adjourn to one of the local restaurants and over lunch we talk...mostly of art, artists, current museums exhibits, the art community. This kind of sharing and bonding over art is not available to any of us anywhere else!
That process began twenty years ago and continues to this day. I believe each of these women would testify that this monthly gathering has enhanced their artistic abilities greatly and the camaraderie has encouraged them to blossom and grow in ways they would never have imagined!
During the COVID19 pandemic we had to suspend our meetings, of course. No one thought it would be for long....two weeks...then two months! Now, seven months later we are all missing each other and missing the critiques of our paintings so much that we have decided to put a program together in which we can all participate in virtually — on line. So many benefits come out of a cohesive group that regularly meets together over many years. The technical critiques about the painting as well as the emotional connections the paintings elicit are stimulating and inspiring to the work we each produce. The personal dynamics that have developed among us are invaluable. We “know” and understand the goals and abilities of each other. At times the criticisms can be hard to hear....but we are hearing them in a safe place ...among people we know care and understand our struggle and want to help us create our vision. Groups come and go...rarely do groups stay together for twenty years. Over the years some of our members have moved, some have passed away. When we have a vacancy we invite new artists in the community to join us, careful to maintain the great dynamic we have going for us.
Its a great group of women who paint in oil, watercolor and acrylic, in every style from plein air realism to abstract and everything in between. There are no wallflowers in the group...after all, to us putting our work up there and getting criticized—that what we call “A good day!” abstract style. Inviting criticism of our work is what we call “a good day!”
Founding Artists: Gladys Hoefer, Helga Barris, Roberta Salma, Judy Sherman (deceased)