BRAWLEY — Young artists displayed and sold their artwork Friday evening at the tenth annual Gallery Night & Silent Auction at Del Rio Country Club in Brawley.
Art teacher Debi Smerdon said, “It gives children a chance to showcase their work and an opportunity to see the value of their artistic skill and work. Artists get to keep 80 percent from their sales and the other 20 percent is donated to Imperial Valley Wounded Warriors and the Pioneers Historical Society.”
According to Smerdon, more than 50 artists participated Friday night at the event with the theme “Form in Motion.” Artwork media included acrylic, oil pastel, graphite sketch, wash pencils, and mixed media. The displays also included woodwork and sculptures.
Consistent with the evening’s theme, the youth adorned themselves with luminescent glow-in-the-dark glow sticks and commercial dots. As a result, children were easily spotted as they played with their friends on the grass just outside of the dining hall.
One of the projects for young artists this past year was the use of primitive tools, according to Smerdon. Children made their own paint brushes using primitive tools such as horsehair, lambswool, twigs, and chopsticks. And the children loved it, she said.
One thing Smerdon had observed was parents tend not to want to market their younger children’s art. However, the older children were eager to sell their artwork.
This was the case for young artist Josue Pimentel, 13. According to him, he remembers getting interested in art in fourth grade. He was confident of his abilities and thought he didn’t need training. However, he took heed of his parents’ advice.
“I figured, I was already good,” Pimentel said. “I didn’t think I would need more training. But when I started learning, I started to learn a lot more and how to make my art even better. I’m very proud of myself: that my art is getting more popular.” Pimentel said he is pleased that three of his eight paintings were sold.
It was not just the youth who were interested in the paintings. Other children, not necessarily painters or artists, were interested in purchasing art. While they could not afford to purchase many of the items, they expressed their interest to their parents.
Linda Floyd attended the art show together with her daughter, Tawny Floyd, 11. “I am here to support local art and my niece, Bella, is one of the participants,” said the mother.
As mother and daughter viewed the art displays, a painting caught the attention of Tawny. It was a painting of ballerinas wearing white tutus dancing inside a studio with wide, gaping bright windows. Tawny, who danced ballet for two years, but had switched to jazz, said of the painting, “I love ballet.” Floyd said she bought the painting for $50 and it will be displayed in her daughter’s bedroom.
Donovan Clayton, 15, a freshman at Brawley Union High School, takes art lessons from two art teachers —Debi Smerdon and Raymond Lopez.
Clayton, a student of Smerdon these past two years, said she had four paintings on display. One of them was a building with red doors, and green overhanging ornaments above a veranda overlooking a brick street. She copied this from a photograph she had found on Instagram, she said. Before painting it, she contacted the photographer in France, asked and was granted permission to copy and paint the photo.
The bright-eyed, petite painter was straight forward during an interview. Clayton described her acrylic paintings, “I like to describe my paintings as very detailed and very exact to the point.”
Another painting she created was entitled “Floats.” It depicted several circular patterns of varying sizes and perspective darker shades against a light blue background. A single beach ball is shown at the lower portion of the painting.
“It was inspired by the upcoming summer; just getting ready for the summer. I was really inspired to paint it, because I have a pool in my backyard and it just made me feel like summer,” Clayton remarked about her painting.
“I would really like to thank our community sponsors. I just feel blessed that I get to work with so many great kids and I see so many amazing potentials,” said Smerdon.