Category Archives: Valley Art Center

Art Critique


While travelling towards the 42nd Valley Art Center with my brother,

Randy, his good friend, Randy and his wife of over 20 years, along

with Dan, we all talked about how it has been an off and on, lovely

beginning to Autumn. As we entered the Chagrin Falls’ town area,

we saw a lot of wonderful “homemade” or home-inspired costumes.

Dan pointed out a horse head made of paper mache and I saw a

whole set of parents guiding their crew of children, each dressed up

as the main trio of the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow costumes, also

accompanied with Glinda and Dorothy.

We all commented that this was like a town out of the sixties, with

so many people filling the sidewalks, lovely decorated homes and

even a few bonfires, fire pits and a tent with Halloween decorations.

The tent enclosed from the raindrops coming down upon the town,

a couple of costumed adults who were passing out treats from a

huge cauldron on a table with pumpkins and a sash of fall leaves.

We “oohed” and “ahhed” along our way, finding the arts center

and parking in a crowded community parking lot downtown.

The art opening was on Friday November first, I had read about the

recent filming of a movie, “Jenny’s Wedding” in downtown Cleveland

and was surprised to see a couple of blank areas on the walls, where

a thoughtful set designer from that movie had “snagged” the artwork

and left a note that said the piece was going to featured in the movie.

How outstanding was that?

Just a quick summary of the movie and its news-worthy Cleveland

filming. The movie and screenplay was written by Mary Agnes Donaghue,

who also is known for “White Oleander,” “Veronica Guerin,” and a critic

“panned” but one I enjoyed, “Beaches.” Her characters are well defined,

include interesting and diverse plots, and female-driven stories.  Katherine

Heigl is being filmed in this movie as the main character. The plot summary,

“A woman shocks her family when she announces her startling choice for

a marriage partner.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer said that there will be 3-4

more movies being filmed locally. I enjoyed seeing the recent Avengers’

movies that were filmed not only around Cleveland’s Public Square but

also on one of the main highways, causing traffic to be rerouted!

I also enjoyed the treats provided by Whole Foods, fresh vegetables and

dip, fresh fruits and some little appetizer treats. The little chocolate truffles

were scrumptious.

Onward to the awards! I was dismayed to hear the names called out,

looking to where the art director for the center pointed. We had circled the

100 art pieces and “chosen” our own award winners!

First of all, my brother, Randall Oldrieve (all of his art is on Facebook, open

to view there: public domain.) We thought his wooden sculpture was breath-

takingly natural and yet very much created to evoke thoughts. It was titled,

“Stormbreaker.” It is composed of layers of wood that first is carved out of

real pieces of osage orange, cherry, black walnut, spalted maple and walnut

pieces. It is then refined, sanded and transfixed into a moving, flowing and

arcing sculpture that is about my height of five foot tall. It took months to

create and yet, seems very much natural, too.

Our (friend Randy, wife, Kristen and friend Dan) second choice could have

been the European city street created from hand cut pieces of paper. These

intricately layered paper pieces, look exactly like a painting from a distance.

This marvelous “collage” (and I use that term loosely!) is the fine art work

by Christine Weigand, entitled, “Look Left.” We did not have a chance to

meet the artist, although we circled it probably 10 times, we never caught

a woman standing by it.

The third place winner may have been Megan Frankenfield’s “Marblehead

Quarry” art piece that was about 3 or 4 foot tall and 3-4 foot wide. I am a

bad guesser, possibly but it was striking in its colors and composition. The

whole picture using acrylics and a photo superimposed on canvas would be

well worth the price attached of $500. The large wall hanging appears like

you are looking through a warehouse’s window, along the water. The squares

or “panes” of the window are in different shades of green, ochres, oranges,

turquoise and golden colors. The sunset effect is striking and draws your

eyes towards it.

The last piece, my personal: “I would put it on my own wall” type of art

was Annemarie Kall’s “Go With the Flow” pastels done on ampersand board.

I enjoyed the way with simple strokes this painting evokes the reflection of

water and the serenity of the countryside around a lake. I would have given

it an award due to how challenging I have found pastels to be, when you

work with them, the chalky appearance can really look “muddled.” This

“painting” is outstanding in its clarity and precision.

Of the four above mentioned pieces, NONE of them won any awards! The

third choice one won “Honorable Mention.” We were disappointed about

my brother’s work but I told the guests that were with us, he has won from

out of town, out of state jurors along with the People’s Choice Award at the

Ohio State Fair Professionals level entry. He was not dismayed and has high

hopes of someone wandering through the small venue and purchasing his

sculpture or at least, enjoying the view.

Our night out together, led us to drop off Dan and going on over to the

Fatheads’ distillery, newly opened on October 18th, called The Tap House.

This place, different from the restaurant, houses the huge vats or large

silo-shaped distilleries for the varied Fat Heads’ hometown brews.

I enjoyed tasting over the summer time, the Bumbleberry brew, which

happened to be Kristen’s favorite. My brother, Randy, chose a darker

beer and his friend, Randy, chose one of the lighter (Pale India Ale) ones,

with the Headhunter logo on it. I tried a new

brew, “hop nectar mead.” It is my favorite one yet! It has a strong flavor

but does seem to make me think of wine, too. The Bumbleberry brew

is my second favorite. Creative names range from “Bean Me Up,” “Oompa,

Loompa” and “Battle Axe,” with each of their logos funnier and crazier

than the next. The “Kohlminator” was inspired by a dark German draft

beer, could have been the one my brother drank.  There was a great crowd

considering its being opened only a short time. I am hoping to spread the

word amongst Ohio beer drinking fans… Oh, there is a Pittsburg, PA and

will be Fat Heads in Tennessee and Oregon, too. They have won National

awards for their brews.

We were very thrilled to go to this place, seeing the clouds throughout

the huge building on the inside walls, the different voodoo guys along the

one area, the tables made out of barrels and the arrows in the wooden

pillars, and the hops vines crawling along varied surfaces, even wood-

burned into a wooden sign:  all the handiwork of my brother.

Well, that is about all for the creative endeavors of my brother for this

post, the “critic’s hat” that I placed upon the other Randy, his wife,

Kristen and friend, Dan, too. We had a blast the whole night out!

Getting home to my Mom’s apartment, you needn’t worry about my

waking her! She is sometimes up until 2:00 a.m. and when I opened

the door at only midnight, she exclaimed, “Home already?!!”

We had our little juice glass of Sangria, looked into each other’s eyes,

saying our little Spanish toast together in unison, then watched a couple

of old detective shows on television, until I started to nod off. Mom got up

and covered me up.

On my last night visiting Mom, I had felt guilty leaving her. We had had a

lively conversation and loads of memories all week long, some personal

revelations on both sides, like two good old friends.

Mom had been happy, showing her thoughtfulness in this,

“So glad you had some fun tonight, Robin.”

I replied, in all earnestness and lovingly,

“I always have fun around you, Mom. I wish you would have come but am

so glad you were here at the end of the night to tuck me in. I miss you,

always, back in Delaware.”

Who knows, hopefully Dad had fun looking over our shoulders, at the

art gallery. He always had loved painting with bold, broad and big strokes

of intergallactic spaceships and large Lake Erie ships, too. With darks skies,

either stars and constellations or storms brewing in the background. He

would have loved the brews, too, seeing his son’s artwork presented in a

gallery and a brewhouse would have tickled his fancy. If he had been around,

Mom would have “rode along” from the gallery, dissecting the art pieces with

Dad. Then, to the Tap House, where she would have been the “designated

driver” between the two of them.

I am sure while I was gone, Mom spoke to Dad, she does this daily. Of her

thoughts on the news, her views of television and her looking and searching

the sky for falling stars, our family’s sense that Dad is playing with the

constellations, keeping them in order so all will be “right with his family’s