Warren Tri-County Art Association Pastel Skill Sharing Session Visit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI decided to stop by the Pastel Skill Sharing Session, which is held every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Warren Community Center, to get an understanding of what it is all about.



There were about nine Warren Tri-County Art Association members present today, to work on their pastel paintings. I noticed right away that there is plenty of lighting and space to spread supplies out on tables. There are sturdy aluminum easels with clips to hold reference material above the paintings.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe coffee was brewing, and so was the creativity! The atmosphere is welcoming, warm and friendly. Conversations both on and off the art topic are everywhere. Although I have not pursued pastel painting, I immediately felt welcome and right at home in this casual atmosphere.


I found out that some folks stop in on a very regular basis, and others just drop in when they can. There are OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnone of the regular distractions that an aspiring artist has to work around at home, and it certainly feels good to be in the presence of so many like-minded people!






There was a great deal of encouragement and friendly helpful critiques about how to proceed with a piece amongst the different artists. After a few minutes of setting up and chatting, everyone settles into their painting.





OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you are a beginner in pastels, you can pick up a lot of tricks and tips just from observing these dedicated pastelists, all without the constraint and formality of a class or art instructor.








I spoke to Sue, who joined the group last February. She was in a craft class at the community center when she bumped into Clare, who encouraged her to join the group. Sue said she never knew she could paint, and to look at the mountain lake painting she is working on you would not even guess she has been at it for only a year!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho knows what hidden talents you might discover if you stop in and participate in the pastel session?


It is a first come first serve basis, but  everyone is more than happy to make room for more. No sign up is needed. Stop in and discover what pastel painting is all about!




Artwork For Sale By Warren Tri-County Artists At Great Lakes Family Restaurant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew artwork has arrived at Great Lakes Family Restaurant located at 36830 Harper Avenue in Clinton Township, Michigan.

A great deal of effort from participating members of Warren Tri-County Arts Association goes into creating a beautiful space to dine in.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst, artwork from the prior show has to come down.

Everyone who is able to pitches in! 

Then, decisions have to be made as to where to hang the new art so that it all works well  together. Clare Wolfe is in charge of this, and she thinks hard about where to put each piece! All of this takes a few hours to accomplish! But it is time well spent!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, there is time to chat, get caught up on new event, and socialize. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The end result is worth all the time and effort, and creates a very pleasant dining space at Great Lakes Family Restaurant!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe would love to see new faces stop in, dine, enjoy the artwork, and even participate in our gallery events! The work will stay up for two months, and then new work will take its place. Every piece is for sale, and you can contact us from the number on the information cards attached to each artwork if you have any questions!












Critical Criteria for Fine Art

I started out to post a ‘short’ list of 5 points on which a Critical Appreciation of a work of Fine Art can be based. I thought that I should say a few words about what Fine Art is and after about an hour I realized that it would be months before I finished the thing that I was trying to say………So I deleted what I had written and put the words of Ted Lang, our beloved Website Master in mind. …”keep it short or nobody’s going to read it.”…..and I’m going to try to start over and do that. So………….

A long time ago, my Aesthetics Professor gave me this list and I would just like to pass it on. The points will be listed in an ascending order of importance with the lowest or 5th point first and the 1st or highest most significant criteria last.






OK, there it is. Short (for those of you who want short), but for those who think that FORMAL refers to wearing a TUX or a FLOOR LENGTH GOWN it isn’t going to be much help.

I’m going to talk about each one of the points a little so those of you who ‘only’ want short may be excused.

Now that they’re gone… For the rest of you don’t worry I’m still focusing on ‘short’… if you want the full version there are books written on this stuff and you could spend a lot of time and money studying this stuff and even get degrees in it…… well here it goes…’short’……………

5th. SKILL, TECHNIQUE: that would be about judging or appreciating the Level of mastery of the methods, mediums, and physical abilities of the Artist.
It helps if you actually have some personal experience and knowledge of what it takes to use “ART” media masterfully in order to appreciate Art on this level.
Sad to say that most people, especially those who don’t actually have any idea of what Fine Art is, never get past this level if they even get to it at all… that is as far as critical appreciation of Fine Art or even non-critical appreciation for that matter.
People tend to look at ART the same way that they look at the every-day world around them.
Realize that somebody who is looking at a painting and saying, “isn’t this a pretty tree?”,…is appreciating the natural aesthetics of an object (a tree which isn’t even there) which has absolutely nothing to do with Fine Art… they are in fact “ART BLIND” and don’t even know that they aren’t appreciating the Genius of the Artist and in fact are appreciating something other than ART.
However If the notion that this isn’t a tree and it is something that was created by an Artist does creep into their appreciation and they appreciate the human accomplishment they have moved into appreciating the Art and this consideration is a valid point on which to begin to make a value judgement.

4th. CHOICE OF SUBJECT MATTER: What is this exceptional idea that interests this mind that is manifesting in this Artwork? Fine Art aspires to manifest “the Beautiful” as to the highest aspects of humanity. For example, in a landscape painting, the artist isn’t just trying to express that he saw some trees. The artist is trying to express and or communicate a feeling that was in his being during an experience. The fact of trees may be insignificant and the subject matter of the painting might more properly be identified as perceived grandeur or majesty. Beauty is a value judgement and what is valued is a significant aspect of the Character of the Genius being appreciated. This is not about natural aesthetics. This is an entirely separate branch of aesthetics dealing with the beauty coming into being through the manifestation of Human Genius.

3rd. FORMAL DESIGN: Art is both expressive and communicative and it does this through Form. Formal Empathy is very significant in the appreciation of Fine Art. Art is not just about WHAT it is; it’s also about HOW it is what it is.
Form? Let’s consider the elements of form in painting. Points, Lines, Shapes, Light to Dark Values, Colors, relative scale, movements, rhythms, textures and anything else you can come up with all can be composed into a work that can then be submitted for appreciation. All formal elements have abstract components that can be used to express and communicate. This can be complicated and hard to explain. The Book that I wrote “COMPOSITION and the ELEMENTS OF FORM” is an introduction to the subject. It takes about 3 hours to go through the material. so you see there isn’t time to say too much about it here.(keep it ‘short’ stupid!)… but I will say “think of the Idea of communicating with COLOR.” Happy colors… Warm colors… Sad colors… restful color combinations…. color is an element of form and communicating with it is a Formal Communication. Formal Design is about Formal Communication. It is just as significant in objective Art as it is in Abstract Art. In fact it can be argued that all Art is Abstract Art.

2nd. DEGREE AND QUALITY OF INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL CONTENT EXPRESSED: Remember that Aesthetics is about a value judgement. Beauty doesn’t exist as an objective substance. THIS CAN GET COMPLICATED! It can be so subjective as to create irreconcilable disputes. Critical judgements regarding this aspect are related to personal value systems. It’s hard to maintain a totally disinterested viewpoint when judging Intellectual and MORAL values… and the FIne Art Aesthetic viewpoint supposed to manifest from a disinterested mind-set. You can start to see a seeming contradiction between disinterested mind-set and value judgements. You might hear from a critic who agrees that something is ‘ART’ but calls it “degenerate art”.
I just want to add that I believe that there is a lot of Intellectual and Moral degeneration going in in the world today… so it’s no surprise to me that it would be reflected in what is passing itself off and being accepted as Fine Art.

1st. THE SUPREME UNITY OF FORMAL PROPERTIES AND EXPRESSED CONTENT: Do all of the Formal Elements work together perfectly in this exceptional manifestation of Creative Genius to communicate what the Artist is expressing? Whether the work may be addressing issues considered in themselves to be of questionable value, is there a Formal Communication that is working in perfect unity with the concepts being explored.

…… Hope this is clear enough to get some of you thinking about this ” Fine Art Stuff”.

Remember,there’s nothing wrong with ‘picture-making’ and there have actually been many Fine Art works created by Artists who mistakenly believed that ‘picture-making’ was what they were doing…… but that’s a topic for another day.