GREENFIELD – Bob Hunt lifted his brush, took a long look at the painting — four storage cans hanging from a beam — and paused for a moment to critique his work.
“These two are very reserved,” he said, gesturing toward two of the cans on the canvas with his brush. And then, the others: “These, they’re way too vibrant.”
Hunt hopes to finish the painting in time to include it in the upcoming exhibit, Ripple Effect: Making the Circle Bigger, which opens Friday night at the Twenty North Gallery, 20 N. State St., with a reception for the artists.
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The art show, organized by retired art teacher Sandy Hall, features the work of Hunt and nine other artists, six of whom are a part of an art group that has met every Thursday morning since April 2015 for painting and camaraderie at the Creative Arts & Event Center in downtown Greenfield.
Hunt, 61, who has been with the group since its inception, retired from Eli Lilly in 2014. He joined the group to keep a bucket list promise to himself — to someday return to art.
From an early age, Hunt had accompanied his artistic mother to a group very much like the one he attends now at the East Side Art Center on East 10th St. in Indianapolis.
He still remembers sitting by her side, watching her paint with oils.
“I was fascinated by the whole thing,” he said.
One day, long after his mother had laid aside her brush, Hunt discovered his mom’s paint set and an extra canvas. He tried his hand at oil paint, this time with his mother at his side. She watched — measuring his commitment to his newfound hobby as he painted a bear, a still life and copied some photos he found in magazines.
“After the third or fourth painting, she said, ‘OK, we’re going to get you lessons,’” Hunt said.
From that moment and all the way through high school, Hunt studied under private instructors and belonged to an Irvington art group. But after high school, he got too busy — for about the next 35 years.
Now that Hunt has returned to his former hobby, he and the other artists of the Thursday morning gathering have been meeting for more than a year. The group members help each other see their paintings with fresh eyes in order to improve, he said.
Although his work has been in several shows — and he’s even sold a couple pieces — Hunt isn’t one to boast.
“If being an accomplished artist is 100, I’m about 13,” he said.
If he misses the mark with his self-critique, Hunt’s daughter-in-law, Autumn Bussen, an assistant professor of art at Ball State University, offers pointers to help him improve his technique in coloring and shading.
Fellow artist Bill Rieske, whose work will also be featured in the upcoming show, has also been with the group since it started. He enjoys the Thursday morning paint sessions in the brightly lit front room of the Creative Arts and Event Center.
“People drive by, see us and stop in,” Rieske said.
And their themes are as unique as the artists.
Rieske’s current project involves a series of paintings to demonstrate the seriousness of the effect of radiation on our society. As a retired radiation safety officer, Rieske worries that people have no concept of how bad radiation can be.
One painting in his series represents a nuclear power plant and its affect on the web of life. Another symbolizes the beginning of a nuclear winter.
Hunt keeps painting. He puts brush to canvas again to try to tone down the offending vibrancy of the two storage cans.
“Sometimes when I get stuck on a painting,” Hunt said. “I always push through to finish, to convince Mom I can do it. I won’t quit.”
A reception for the artists of “Ripple Effect: Making the Circle Bigger” opens at 6 p.m. Friday at the Twenty North Gallery, 20 N. State St. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.
A Thursday morning art group meets from 9 a.m. to noon at the Creative Arts & Event Center, 2 W. Main St. No instructor is present, but members are willing to give and get critiques.
For more information, contact SandyHall68@sbcglobal.net.