Visitors at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center on Jan. 26 had a chance to see artists “in action” as they created landscapes with pastels, abstract art with acrylics and tigers with oil paint during a pop-up demonstration.
The artists, part of Northwest Artists in Action, create and display their work in public, as well as in venues around the Eastside.
Many of their pieces are currently hanging on the walls of the Community and Event Center. The exhibit will be on display in the Mercer Gallery until Feb. 22. and they’ll be back for another pop-up on Feb. 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“So many people have misconceptions about how art is done,” said Terri Davis, the director of Northwest Artists in Action. “We like to bring art out to the people, so they can ask questions.”
Her group sees art demonstrations as a teaching opportunity — to educate people about the intricacies of the artistic process and show them that they too can draw, paint and create, if they want.
Many of the artists have been painting for more than 30 or 40 years. Some said working in front of people made them self-conscious at first, but that faded with time and as their confidence grew.
“Some artists like solitude, but we’re comfortable with this,” Davis said. “That’s kind of a necessity for joining the group.”
Many of the artists in the group picked up painting as a hobby later in life, but all have years of experience now. They all support and help each other, Davis said, though they have different mediums.
“We all have different styles,” said group co-founder Vasana Monti. “None of our work looks the same.”
Davis is a realist painter. On Saturday, Ann Davenport was demonstrating her use of pastels, Sandi McGuire was doing watercolor painting and Judy Moritz was using colored pencils, though they all dabble in other mediums. Monti and Masako Thrower have even done sculpture.
“It’s very rewarding to let people see what I do,” Thrower said. “My favorite part is encouraging young people.”
This is Northwest Artists in Action’s first show on Mercer Island, and all of their art is available for purchase.
The pop-up events are hosted by the Mercer Island Arts Council, which hopes to do similar events in the future.
“We want to provide more opportunities for people to engage with the art, beyond just looking at it,” said Sarah Bluvas, the city’s arts and culture coordinator.
Find more information about the gallery and exhibit at www.mercergov.org/mercerislandgallery.