New Headwaters Arts show opens next week, to focus on Diversity

July 4, 2019   ·   0 Comments


Headwater Arts is opening its next show, Diversity, from July 10 through to August 11, with the opening on Saturday, July 13, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Deb Menken, one of the five featured artists, is an abstract painter who works exclusively with acrylic paint. 

Said she, “What attracts me to abstract is I like the freedom of it – I tend to paint intuitively, which means I don’t have a plan when I paint. I just start off with random marks and I just start with colours that I like. For this particular show, though, I have focussed on landscape, all having something to do with water. Sometimes, I think I’ll attempt a landscape and it turns out to be a floral – I paint until I see a direction and then I go in that direction.”

A recent entry into real involvement with art as an occupation and a community, Ms Menken continued, “I started painting four years ago. It was something that I wanted to do for a long time and I thought, ‘If I don’t start soon it’ll never happen.’ 

“I took some classes at Maggiolly’s. I took classes with Peter John Reid, Emilia Perri and Sharon Wadsworth Smith. 

“She’s not abstract. A lot of it was techniques: how you put the paint down, whether you’re using a brush or a scraper or layer. Sharon taught us how to take a landscape photo and abstractify it. But I tend to paint out of my head. I guess it’s memories.”

Talking about colour, “Colour – I love turquoise – and then I tend to gravitate to complementary colours, like orange. So, there ‘s a lot of orange and turquoise in my work. For this particular show, you’re actually going to see a lot of pink and green – I don’t know – one of my recent Instagram says I’m really into pink these days.”

With such a short history in art, Ms. Menken clearly had a life before: “I was mostly helping my husband [carver, Jim Menken] with his business , looking after his website. 

“I have a computer science degree and was working in IT.. I loved it; it’s the logic and order, that’s what I loved about it. It does help me to think methodically; for example, when I making marks and changing colours, I do analyze what I’ve done before, to help me decide what I do next.” 

It was Emilia Perri who told her, “If you want to start selling your work, you should join a group.”

“I love the Alton Mill, so, Headwaters Arts [was] the group for me,” declared Ms. Menken. “I’m doing very well. I had a solo show at the Millcroft Inn and sold four paintings, which was a record.”

She explained, “I joined after I painted for a year… in 2017. I’ve been in nine or ten shows here. I participated in the juried shows and sold a painting in the first show but none in the second.”

The upcoming exhibit, Diversity, according to the notes, “unites five artists in their individual exploration of creating art.”

Ms. Menken added, “We’re all presenting work that is quite different from each other.”

What this vigorous time of painting means for her: “I’ve always had a creative outlet and this is the biggest. I used to do folk art in my early 30’s, but it’s all about putting colours together. You don’t really have time to paint when you’re raising a family. 

“The discovery that I could paint was a surprise. My first painting with Peter John Reid, he does step by step – he does something, then his students do that – everyone ended up with a painting that was similar to his but mine was just as good as everybody else in the room.

“So, I thought, hmmm, maybe I can do this.”

Also appearing in the upcoming show are Joanne Lomas, Landscapes and printmaking.

Sue Street’s works are unique collage pieces from her “Chance” collection. Gita Karklins paints with humour but with an underlying interest in contemporary issues.

Ann Randeraad produces beautiful pottery pieces through her unique wood fire process, made wonderful, yet still good for every day use.

Patrons to the Alton Mill still have time to catch the standing show which runs on until July 7 and is aptly themed Turning Up the Heat.



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