All about the 6-by-6: I popped into Kefauver Studio & Gallery in Damariscotta last Thursday, Oct. 11, hoping to find exactly what I did find: painter and gallery owner (and super nice guy) Will Kefauver and a whole lot of excellent art. I caught Kefauver while he was busy hanging the gallery’s new “6 x 6” show, set to open the following day. The show, as the name implies, features pieces that measure 6 inches by 6 inches – little squares of artistic goodness.
I have found from past experience that no matter what he’s got going on – such as being in the middle of hanging an exhibit – Kefauver is more than willing to take the time to chat about what he and his fellow artists are up to.
“Like all other shows, I put on the shows that I like to paint. That’s why I do a ‘Rock ‘n’ Wave’ show. That’s why I do a ‘Boat Show,’” Kefauver told me as he took a break from hanging painter Marcia Brandwein’s group of 6-by-6-inch flower close-ups, including the striking “Vermilion Zinnia.”
That’s why he does the “6 x 6” show, which this year features Kefauver’s paintings alongside the work of Brandwein, Sandra Dunn, Chris Essler, Sandy Harper, Jan Kilburn, Lisa Kyle, Kathy Lane, Sally Loughridge, DiTa Ondek, Scott See, Helen Warner, and gallery newcomers Joyce Smith and wood sculptor Bruce Goodwin.
One might wonder how sculptures can possibly fit into the 6-by-6 category.
“I gave a little leeway to the sculptor – but they fit within a 6-by-6 cube,” Kefauver explained, smiling.
As I stood near Kefauver while he worked, he offered a bit of history on the show, which started several years ago. “It has evolved over the years from ‘6 x 6 x 6 x 6’ to ‘6 x 6 x 6’ to ‘6 x 6,’ starting this year,” he said. (Got that?) “6 x 6 x 6 x 6” meant six 6-by-6-inch pieces by six artists. Last year’s “6 x 6 x 6” got rid of the six-artist limit for the show. This year, there is no requirement to show six pieces.
The new, simpler parameters work well for “people who wanted to be in (the show) who didn’t have six pieces,” Kefauver said. Smith, for instance, has just two pieces – lovely floral paintings – in the show.
“I like these little guys just because they are little gems,” Kefauver said of the small square paintings surrounding him. “You get your face up next to them and it’s just wonderful.”
“As far as my work goes, they are often the things that will turn into 30-by-30 pieces,” he added before leading me into an adjacent gallery room to show me a 30-by-30-inch painting of the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse that he based on a 6-by-6-inch piece that he said looked basically the same except for the 30-by-30’s “pink ground.”
The pink ground – flat pink paint applied to the white canvas before painting – peeks through the final image in teeny-tiny spots and lends a feeling of depth to the piece.
Kefauver, ever the helpful host, led me into his studio at the back of the gallery to help illustrate just how this works. There, on a large easel was a canvas painted with a pink ground and covered in wavy white chalk lines. From the adjacent gallery room, he retrieved his meticulous 6-by-6-inch painting of a crashing wave and placed it on the easel.
“This,” he said, motioning to the little wave piece, “will be painted onto this canvas,” indicating the large pink-ground canvas.
Lesson learned. Thank you, Will.
The “6 x 6” show runs through Sunday, Nov. 4. Kefauver Studio & Gallery is located at 144 Bristol Road in Damariscotta and online at kefauverstudio.com.
Additional images of the “6 x 6” show are available online.
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