July Featured Artists: The San Diego Drawing Guild – La Mesa Courier

By BONNIE OWEN

The San Diego Drawing Guild i(SDDG) s a group of artists, graphite and colored pencil, who meet weekly in the Foothills Art Gallery, La Mesa, California. The group is unstructured, with no officers, and gathers for four hours each week to draw and enjoy the companionship of fellow artists.

Members of the group, which has been meeting for over three years, offer each other support, encouragement and loving critique and have become good friends. Almost all the members work in colored pencil (as well as other mediums) and are members of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA). Four members — Connie Grace, Carolyn Kenny, Rhonda Anderson and Aida Masliah — have been accepted in CPSA’s prestigious international show. Members are also active in the Foothills gallery and have been featured as “Artist of the Month.”

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When the pandemic required quarantine and the gallery closed, group members missed each other and the camaraderie they shared. They started meeting once a week on Zoom but the free 40 minute sessions just weren’t enough togetherness so they purchased a business account, costing each of member $2 per week. In this way, they were able to continue their friendship and encourage artistic progress even as everyone coped with the reality of the pandemic. In the Zoom meetings, they continued to share their lives, their art, their frustrations and their joys.

SDDG is a diverse group of artists. Connie Grace and Sharon Meng do primarily portraits. Rhonda Anderson does portraits, flowers and other subjects as does Lois Adler-Roussell. Judy Sawyer, Carolyn Kenney and Terri Csori do landscapes and animals. Aida Masliah draws conceptual art while Gary Dyak’s work features birds and flowers with abstracts and geometrics. Eddie Stewart draws historical figures in graphite and Nancy Dobbs does still-lifes.

During one of the Zoom meetings, Eddie was sitting in his kitchen with beautiful lighting and Connie suggested that the group should all draw his portrait. A screenshot was taken and distributed to all members. From there, it was an easy leap to deciding that each member should pick a reference photo of a subject that they were comfortable drawing and everyone else would have to attempt it. For many, this was an artistic stretch as some artists might never have attempted a portrait or a landscape. The project lasted for several weeks and produced some wonderful results. Among the subjects drawn were a mountain landscape, an abstract succulent, a depiction of how the corona virus was affecting the world, a drawing of the concept of togetherness and a kitten in a pirate hat.

— Bonnie Owen is editor of Footnotes, the monthly newsletter of the Foothills Art Association.