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  • Kenneth Cook

You won't believe this roomful of weird tricks...

Shamelessly flinging click bait to introduce the 'Art of a Community' show at Arts Benicia Gallery. I had a great time at the reception visiting with friends, seeing their new art, and learning about so many other artists in this crazy collective. Come visit the show and you'll find a roomful of surprising explorations, powerful statements, and, yes, plenty of weird tricks. Not the least of which is the trick of getting one of my paintings on the wall.

This is Beach Walk. Her sister, Beach Nap, is over at Gallery 621. The title is more suggestive than needed, but it's a small title so I hope it is easy to ignore in favor of your own impressions. What weird trick am I pulling here? I'm not sure (or I won't tell). I will say that after some real questioning about what the heck was going on with this canvas, this piece just became more and more fun to work on. I've got a few canvases in the studio right now that are just turning that corner into that fun stage. It's worth slogging through the creative muck to get there.

Ready for another comparison? Now that it's done, Beach Walk reminds me of the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Not by design. In fact, I usually worked on it turned upside down from what you see in the picture.

Hear the gulls? It's about 11 am. I'm painting in my studio, enjoying the sunlight reflecting off the ocean, when the goddess Nike comes back from her swim at the beach. Her wings are stretched and she brushes past the flowers on the garden path. I set down my brushes to watch her. Now that's a trick.

After the reception, some leaders in the community hosted a party in a nearby studio with sweet wine, a blues band, and some open mic time for poetry and song. Seemed like the right time to sing Raglan Road by Patrick Kavanagh. The poem, set to a traditional Irish tune, is one that I've sung for years. It ponders the question, "Can a down-on-his-luck poet make it with a beautiful up-and-coming medical student?" I enjoyed singing in that great space for a really attentive audience. Joy happened.

The Art of a Community show continues at Arts Benicia Gallery, 911 Tyler St #114, Benicia California, until February 24, 2019.

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