Today I spent a delightful 2 hours with local artists Kimberly and Nancy looking at art on the New Mexico Highlands University Campus.
First we visited Burris Hall in the NMHU art department's building and admired a variety of prints by professor Todd Christensen. Nancy had taken classes with him and was able to explain his process.
Then we walked through the New Mexico Painters' Exhibition in Kennedy Gallery. It featured art from NMHU students and professionals around the state. There was a lot of variety in both subject matter and mediums the exhibit.
Ever since meeting Nancy Lucas-Williams in Port Townsend, WA and learning new ways of appreciating and talking about art I've been hungry to find the same here. It was refreshing to spend a couple of hours discussing the works on display and elements of painting:
(6) Edge variation
(7) Application of medium (strokes/marks)
(8) The "IT" factor
And of course we played my favorite game..."which painting would you take home?" I love this game because it shows what people respond to the most.
Nancy selected a New Mexican acrylic landscape that had a feeling of familiarity to her, so the subject was the most important aspect.
Kimberly chose two, a semi-abstract landscape in watercolor and a self-portrait of Todd Christensen in oil. Both had good examples of all 8 factors listed above.
I also chose two--a soft pastel alpine landscape that simply seemed to "work" and an egg tempera social/political commentary painting. The first one seemed to have all 8 factors and the second one was all about the subject matter and the conversation it evoked.
The next time YOU go into a gallery play this game and ask yourself which of the 8 factors are the most present in the piece you select.