If You Paint It, These Friends Will Critique It

New Preston Hollow Women’s Club interest group offers artists feedback

The Preston Hollow Women’s Club has added a new monthly special interest group where members provide refreshments and an easel for artwork to be displayed and critiqued.

“You’re critiquing the painting and not the person,” said Marie McCoy, who leads the group with Jill Winspear. Both women are knowledgeable artists. “You want to be kind, but the whole point is critique. So, we want to learn something.”

The Art Critique group began when McCoy was having trouble finishing a painting.

“You know how you finish a painting [and] it’s right, but it’s not quite right,” McCoy said. “Something [was] off, and [Winspear] was giving me some tips.”

The experience led McCoy and Winspear to e-mail other club members to garner interest in forming a new group to join a plethora of other opportunities for members to connect. Others include book clubs, gardening, knitting, and wine tasting.

Six came to the first Art Critique meeting in September, McCoy said.

Artists bring one or two pieces that are finished or need tweaking, with mediums including oils, watercolors, acrylics, and encaustic.

“We always start with what’s working in a piece of art,” said Valerie Boyd, artist and author of Badass Women. Then, Boyd said members discuss different ways to improve the painting.

Some critiques carry over to an artist’s subsequent pieces.

Winspear, whose painting style is abstract, recalls a critique from McCoy when she paints.

“There’s one thing that [McCoy] often says, that one of her painting instructors [said], and it sticks in the back of my head when I’m painting,” Winspear said. “She says, ‘Make this look different than that.’”

Meetings also serve as a creative catalyst.

“[Meetings] give you motivation to take [on] something new every week or two,” Christie Cavitt said. “Because we only meet once a month, and you want to have something to take, it gives you a lot of motivation.”

Although they all are amateur painters, many members have years of experience painting, taking classes, and learning from various instructors.

Boyd enjoys supporting members’ artistic journey and sharing the “pearls” instructors and others have suggested to improve paintings. She explained, “Everybody [wants] the best for each other’s art.”

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