In its 23rd year, the annual Art Exhibition and Show put on by the Friends of Bon Echo was down a few exhibitors (to 25), but still managed to bring together a tidy little show that focused more on the “fine” art of painting than many shows of this nature.
Co-chair Sue Whyte (along with Debbie Alger) said this year’s show likely reflects a changing of the guard, as many of those involved have been doing so for 23 years, but she’s optimistic about future shows.
“There have been a few glitches but hopefully nobody will notice,” she said. “We’re looking ahead to next year.
“I’m really looking forward to the artists’ feedback.”
Long-time organizer Ernest Lapchinski said Whyte was the most instrumental person in getting this show off the ground, but lamented the fact that, like just about every other volunteer organization around, they are having difficulty replacing aging volunteers.
“I hope that young people might think about volunteering more,” he said.
Whyte also noted that there are a lot more summer art festivals these days (as opposed to when they started), but given the setting of Bon Echo Park, she believes they will remain competitive for artists for years to come.
“We’re unique in our setting,” she said. “And we keep to our core mission statement of Art in the Park.
“And Rick Guthrie has been a big help.”
One veteran of the Bon Echo show is watercolor artist Dave Gordon. He does about 25 shows a year and has been in this show 20 times. He plans on coming back.
“We love it,” said his wife, Linda. “We come and camp here for the week.”
One of the things Gordon likes is that his work fits in to the theme of this show.
“Fall colors have always impressed me,” he said. “I think nothing of taking leaves from trees into the studio.
“I also like to see how they shrivel up and try to paint that too.”
He said this show fits in with his “cottage life” subject matter.
“I won’t allow myself to do portraits,” he said. “Except for my grandchildren.”
Gordon is rather unique himself in his approach to painting. He uses watercolors exclusively, but unlike most practitioners of the medium, he uses very little wet-on-wet technique, opting for an opaque style that at first glance could very easily be mistaken for acrylics.
“I only dip the brush in the water once,” he said.
Also, unlike many watercolorists, he eschews the use of glass as part of the framing and presentation process, opting for three or more coats of preservative. This tends to add depth to his works as well.
Gordon has retired to his painting, which he learned “by my own mistakes. I only ever took night school classes.”
But he has learned one lesson that he’d like to pass along to budding artists.
“Have a spot where you can leave all the mess out,” he said. “If I get an idea, I might try it right away.”
Anyone wishing to get involved with the art show or any of their other activities is asked to call the Friends of Bon Echo at 613-336-0830.