ROCKPORT — A painter’s wooden palette becomes a work of art.
And 89 such pieces will be auctioned off Friday night in this special benefit event. The works showcase local landscapes and seascapes, as well as still life and portrait work.
The last time the art association held such an auction was eight years ago, and the event sold out, with the association raised $30,000. But the year was 2005, and the timing coincided with the Katrina disaster.
”We voted to have one third go to the Rockport Art Association, one third to the museum collection and one third went to Katrina relief,” Carol Linsky, the RAA’s executive director, recalled.
She said the organization is gearing up for the Friday night event.
”The buzz is starting to build,” said Linsky. “We are hoping to do well again. Like all non-profits, there is always a need to raise money, and these palettes are really fabulous. The artists have really done their best work.”
Local artists Donald and Christine Mosher suggested such an auction after they had seen some in New York City’s Salmugundi Club back in the 1970s.
He later bought one himself with the portrait of the marine painter, Charles Woodbury.
“I always thought we should do something like this,” said Mosher who both contributes a painting to the benefit auction and also bids on other’s works of art.
He applauded the artists for their creative ideas in the works submitted for this auction.
In this auction, Mosher painted a portrait of a fisherman on a palette he has been using since January. Christine Mosher has a woman’s portrait with the unique addition of a bow tied to the palette.
Linsky said this auction is exciting for a couple of reasons.
“One reason is that the artists think enough of the association to put so much time and effort into these works to help us raise money, and it’s telling of the esteem they hold the organization in to make this kind of commitment,” she said.
The organizers noted that many of these works of fine art will sell for a fraction of what they would cost in a frame on canvas.
“This is an opportunity to buy an affordably work of art and also support a cause,” said Linsky.
She noted that painting on an artist’s palette is an old tradition among painters, who often gift such works to other artists, but in this case these palettes are a gift to their art organization.
“A palette is made to receive paint and is an excellent and permanent surface on which to create,” according to a press release. “...That reason alone may account for the popularity of palette paintings among artists. Many of the great masterpieces of history have been done on wooden panels. The oldest surviving paintings in the world are the portraits painted by Egyptians in the first century BC on wood.”
Dr. David Vastola, a Rockport resident, took interest in the painted palette benefit auction because of the unique nature of the work.
”It’s a nice little twist, and people can have a piece of Rockport for a reasonable price,” he said.
One of the oldest art associations in the country founded in 1921, the Rockport association was established as an artist cooperative and social gathering place for artists and art lovers. The association currently includes more than 250 artist and photography members, as well as 600 contributing members.
Linsky noted that the association remains dedicated to its mission of making fine art appreciation accessible to all. She also thanked the Cape Ann Savings Bank and Rockport National Bank for their support of this event.
Tickets available at the door and in advance at the Rockport Art Association at 12 Main St. in Rockport. The reception starts at 5 p.m., and the auction starts at 6:30 p.m.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at email@example.com.
If you go ... What: Painted Palette benefit auction When: Friday, with reception from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and auction starting at 6:30. Where: Rockport Art Association, at 12 Main St. in Rockport. Tickets: $20, available at the door and in advance at the art association. For information, call 978-546-6604 or visit www.rockportartassn.org.