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Mar. 21, 2019 | Thursday
Local News
The Tribe of Seven: Brush Strokes
Tribe of Seven artists Murray Wilcox, Judy McHattie, Gordon Pollock, Diane Croker and Richard West. (Jer Houghton/Niagara Now)

A group of seven local artists have banded together as the Tribe of Seven to showcase their art exhibit, Brush Stokes, in the rotary room at the NOTL public library between January and February.

What started from introductory painting lessons at Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre for the group over three years ago, has now resulted in a two-month long exhibit, in which dozens of residents attended the opening reception on Jan. 5 to view the works.

“It’s about a group of seven painters locally who got together after taking painting lessons at the Pumphouse, and we decided, ‘Well, let’s get together on Fridays,’ ” said Richard West, a group member of the Tribe of Seven, which also includes local residents Judy McHattie, Albert Towers, Murray Wilcox, Gordon Pollock, Diane Croker and Marilynn Crow.

“So for the last three years, we’ve met every Friday at each other’s houses, and we try to exercise what we’ve learned at the Pumphouse, and what we’ve learned from other people, and try to paint things.”

The group spent every Friday over the last three years supporting each other with their painting, everything from picking the right colours. They would even host other artists outside the group and have them teach new techniques such as finger painting and paint pouring.

“So we would be there and someone is painting watercolours, someone might even be doing pen and ink. I always paint oil. Someone else always paints acrylic,” said West.

“And then sometimes we get someone to come to our house, and we’ll say, ‘Well, teach us a bit about what you do.’ ”

Three years later, the group has since formed as the Tribe of Seven to welcome their very first exhibit featuring these works, entitled Brush Strokes.

“We’ve got portraits, we’ve got landscapes, we’ve got watercolours of, you know, abstract sort of things – there’s quite a wide variation of topics, sizes, techniques, the lot,” said West.

“And it’s also very interesting, even for us, because now we see them on the wall, and we can really see the differences in our personalities and our techniques and how we’ve improved.”

Prior to the exhibit, the group has shown their works in the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre as students, but never as professionals.

“There’s usually a painting from these people somewhere in the Pumphouse, but we’ve never done this together before. This is totally new. And even for us, a surprise, and we go, ‘Wow,’ ” said West.

The exhibit is offering most of its pieces for sale. A third of them range from $125 to $550 depending on the painting, which what West said reflects the group as new artists who are not used to selling their artwork.

The remaining are reserved for the artists and are listed as, not for sale.

“When we do a painting we like, we tend to put “NFS” on it – not for sale – because we like it, and we want to hang on to it. You have to mature a bit with your painting before you can say, ‘you can buy it,’” he said.

“You’re not confident you can paint it again, whereas an established artist can paint that 10 times over.”

West said that some of paintings may end up in galleries, while most of them will appear in the Niagara Arts Pumphouse Centre after the exhibit finishes at the end of February.

Depending on the success of the showcase over the next two months, the Tribe of Seven may host another exhibit – but what’s for certain, their Friday’s will continue.

“We’ll just keep paintings on Fridays’,” said West with a chuckle.

“We’ll usually have a drop of wine and then in the evenings we’ll usually have a meal – so it’s also a friendly and social thing.”

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