A British expression that means “in a state of total confusion” is the inspiration for the title of a new show opening at Gallery 625 in Woodland on December 3. At Sixes and Sevens showcases artwork created by seven artists who came together amid the disarray of the pandemic at virtual painting sessions with well-known northern California painter and Davis resident, Phil Gross.
The artists who attended “Phil’s Thursday Night Zoom Painting Party” and are exhibiting their pandemic created work include: Lynn Christensen, Jan Garrison, Ruth Santer, Mark Spencer, Spring Warren, Victoria Whitworth, and Steve Wilson.
“While the world was hunkering down, these artists dived into painting, many for the first time, and created a fascinating body of new works in styles that span from quirky to sublime, each intriguingly different from the other,” said Gross, instructor and painter.
At Sixes and Sevens has been curated by Gross and includes oil and acrylic paintings, and fiber art. With backgrounds in watercolor painting, small business, middle school education, sculpture, quilting, art museum exhibition design – most of these artists had some apprehension about the medium of oil painting.
Artist Whitworth said, “There are plenty of practical reasons why I had never tried oil painting before: it’s expensive, smelly, and indelibly drips on favorite shirts and pants.”
Artist Wilson said, “I spent the first 20 years after receiving my BFA from CSUS as a cautious and careful engraver. In this latest chapter of my artistic journey, I’ve worked in oils and discovered the joy of a medium where precision and carefulness are not my barometer for success. I’ve come to learn that trusting the palette is where beauty and truth reveal itself.”
The virtual opportunity to learn from a master painter continued the learning of some of these artists who began studying with Gross in his studio.
“I was more like the ‘talent inspirer’ than a teacher. I started giving lessons on understanding hue, saturation, value and composition; as the pandemic continued that changed to us logging in on Zoom and at that point we’d spend some time talking about what we were working on, then we would mute our screens and paint for two hours, still on Zoom,” Gross said recently. “Painting is lonely, more so in the pandemic, so even though we were not paying attention to our screens, we were together painting via Zoom.”
The artists will be attending the opening reception, 5:30-8 p.m. Friday December 3, coinciding with downtown Woodland’s First Friday event. Live music will be performed by The Regal Beezers and include jazz standards, covers of the Beatles and 1960s music. Light refreshments and Yolo County wines will be available.
Face coverings are recommended indoors at the gallery for all guests in accordance with the most recent recommendations from the Yolo County Health Officer.
The artwork can also be viewed (and purchased) online at yoloarts.org/online-galleries.
At Sixes and Sevens continues at Gallery 625 through February 1, 2022.
Gallery 625 hosts exhibitions and receptions every other month and is located at 625 Court Street in Woodland, in Yolo County’s Erwin Meier Administration building. New exhibitions typically open on the first Fridays of February, April, June, August, October, and December. Regular open hours are Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, contact YoloArts at 530-309-6464.