Art through the Eyes of Barbara McLaughlin – Ramblings of a Ten Year Tuesday Painter by Wendy Macdonald
Ten years ago, I discovered the Tuesday Water Media Class at the La Habra Art Gallery. Barbara McLaughlin had been teaching it for thirteen years along with classes at surrounding cities. Her MFA background in assemblage and printmaking gave her a very eclectic approach to art with a strong emphasis on good drawing. We spent the first six weeks drawing and people still laugh about the infamous first wine bottle. If you got even shoulders the first try, applause was your gift from the class. Barbara’s critiques at the end of the day were like a master class in tangents, composition, perspective, and VALUE. She would see things no one else caught but there was always a way to fix it. We all learned a better way of seeing. More and more students’ comments reflected what we were learning although the fix was not always unanimous. Barbara encouraged each student to find their style. Her annual student shows always had great variety. My first eight years were enriched by her keen eye and sharp wit.
As Barbara’s health and eyesight diminished, the class members took on a stronger role in helping each other achieve the look and feel of the current work which brings me to the present-day Tuesday Painters Open Studio. A dozen or so artists share work space and ideas every Tuesday from 10 am to 2 pm. There is no formal instruction. Just as many men as women usually guarantees interesting conversations. We continue the tradition of an informal lunch and an afternoon sit down, shared critique. There are watercolor, pastel, acrylic, collage, and water soluble oil artists represented at the moment. An off shoot is a plein aire group that meets at least a couple of times a month. When anyone attends a workshop or class, an informal sharing enriches us all.
We greatly miss Barbara, who passed away last summer, but continue to say “Barbara would say ….” as we share our understanding of the art concepts we have learned.
We are a group of artists meeting at the gallery Tuesdays from 10 am to 2 pm, dark Thanksgiving thru New Year’s and August. We continued to hold a Student Show each spring. New members welcome. The fee is $20 for 10 weeks to rent the space from the Association. For more information, contact me at (562) 941-2745.