Artists raise money for Phippen
PRESCOTT Merilee Adams of Phoenix has been an artist for 30 years and has painted for the past four years.
However, Adams is a neophyte when it comes to participating in the annual Quick Draw the Phippen Museum of Prescott conduced Saturday and continues today at the Yavapai County Courthouse plaza.
She and 19 other artists from Arizona, California and other states whipped out paintings within 45 minutes for an auction that followed on the courthouse steps. Artists donate part or all of the proceeds from the painting sales to the museum, which specializes in Western art.
Quick Draw, in which artists start with blank canvases, enabled participants to use their creativity and skills on a deadline, according to Kim Villalpando, Phippen director. An estimated 200 people observed the artists from outside a roped-off area where the artists worked.
Quick Draw master of ceremonies Joe Netherwood introduced Adams first of all the artists as he walked around with a microphone. He told the crowd that Adams said that she rides motorcycles with Hells Angels from San Bernardino, Calif., as a hobby.
It is not true that the bikers belong to the Hells Angels, Adams said afterward.
Asked why she entered, Adams said, "just to stretch myself. I thought it was a good idea to stretch the envelope."
She used a color photo of two vases and geraniums as the basis of her acrylic painting. She penciled in her design.
"Being a newbie, I am not about to start with a brush," she said.
By contrast, Tempe artist Raleigh Kinney used a bluish watercolor sketch of a saguaro as the basis of his 45-minute draw, also using watercolors. He painted the original saguaro from Saguaro Lake.
Kinney, a full-time painter for 26 years and a former art teacher, said that he has participated in the Quick Draw for at least 20 years.
"I keep coming back," Kinney said. "It's a great show. Interesting artists. Nice people. Great institute that represents the best in the art world."
Quick Draw provided a "nice atmosphere," said Leslie Kirchner, an oil painter from Green Valley, Calif., who entered the event for the third time. However, she said with a laugh that doing a painting in 45 minutes amounted to a "huge" challenge that "can be pretty scary."
She used a photo of a mountain lion as a basis for her painting.
Only one artist, Hyrum Joe, of Kirtland, N.M., used a live model: fellow Navajo Alvin Marshall of Flagstaff. Joe is the son of Navajo cowboy artist Oreland Joe, who is displaying his works in Phippen's 32nd annual Western Art Show & Sale in the plaza.
Artists at the Quick Draw answered a number of questions, which made the event interesting, said observer Bob Rauch, a retired police officer who lives in Prescott. "They have been very informative about their subjects," he said.
Quick Draw is a "great outdoors event," said Ned O'Hearn, a principal with a commercial real estate company in Scottsdale. "I think it is fun to observe how quickly they can produce a stunning piece in an hour. I would be staring at a blank canvas in 45 minutes."
The only criticism came from Scottsdale home-maker Kristina Fauer, who said it would be easier to observe the artists if they appeared on a stage.
Quick Draw resumes at 2 p.m. today.
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