For several years now, I have made a November pilgrimage to the Oregon Coast. The reason–The Stormy Weather Arts Festival. Now in its 27th year, Cannon Beach, Oregon, which is considered one of the 100 best art towns in America, has hosted this popular event.
Successful regional artists converge on this picturesque coastal community to exhibit their works and demonstrate their techniques. This is a good opportunity for artists at any level or anyone who appreciates good art to come and observe accomplished artists as they work on their latest pieces. The artists are very approachable and will gladly answer most any questions you may have.
There are a couple things you can always count on at the Stormy Weather Arts Festival.
First… well, at least a bit of stormy weather. Although the weather was exceptionally nice this Saturday, some heavy wind and rain came in overnight.
Another thing you can depend on, is that you won’t go away disappointed. And this year was no exception. Besides some particularly nice receptions and demonstrations over the course of the weekend, there was also a special event on Sunday which was not only educational and inspirational, but also provided a good amount of entertainment.
This first time event was called Dueling Easels. It featured two seasoned painters, Michael Orwick, and Anton Pavlenko. The DragonFire Studio and Gallery, which features the works of dozens of artists, each with their own distinctive style, was the venue for this event.
The format for this “duel” began with each artist starting an oil painting. The two artists were nearly side-by-side but turned enough so neither could see the others’ painting as it progressed. After 30 minutes of frantic painting, the two artists switched places, and worked on the painting started by the other artist. They switched again, going back to the painting they had started, and then once more as they finished the painting the other had started.
Anton and Michael are friends who often do plein air paintings along side each other.
At the outset Michael suggested that the event could turn out to be a slow moving disaster.
Right from the start, it was apparent that Michael and Anton had very different ways of starting a painting.
The painting session was complete with it’s share of playful banter, trash talk and posturing, but it was all in good fun and drew laughter from the crowd. And the collaborative effort made for a thrilling event for the large crowd that gathered to watch.
At one point Michael called the event “intimidating,” and yet he looked at ease, and in his element.
Besides the difficulties of continuing to work on a painting that was started by someone else, there was also the issue of using an unfamiliar palate. Michael said, “I’m actually dipping into colors that I don’t even know what they do or what they are.”
Just before the first switch, Anton put squiggles in a few large areas that had been left unpainted. When Michael moved over to the painting, Anton announced that they were paint by number numerals left to give Michael a little needed help.
Shortly before the last switch, Michael called on his secret weapon, his daughter Elena Grace, who added a few strokes of her own. Although Elena Grace is only nine years old, she is a budding artist in her own right.
Those in the crowd were curious to see if two talented artists who have different styles and different approaches to painting, could join together to create works that were not complete disasters. The consensus, at least in this case was that, despite the challenges thrown in front of them, Michael and Anton were able to team up in a way where both of their individual styles were able manifest themselves, and the pieces were stronger for it.
Following the event, the two pieces went up for auction. The vertical painting was sold for $1,000, but the horizontal painting didn’t meet the $800 minimum bid. I think that it has sold since then but I have not been able to confirm this yet.
To see a You Tube video of the the 2014 Dueling Easels, click here.