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An "Art Buffet" of miniature paintings, plein air oils, pen-and-ink tree drawings, murals...

They became the Art Buffet almost by accident.

Now the group of seven local artists are putting on their premier art show together — "From Miniatures to Murals" — between 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 18.

Artist and owner of Silverdale-based @WORK artwork, Denise Gargano is organizing the event for the Art Buffet of seven.

Gargano said she was tapped to help with the "finger foods and wine, classy little art social" because three of the Art Buffet members are featured in her artistic services company.

It all started a little longer than five months ago with a small critique group of four artists — Elizabeth Smith of Suquamish, Gillian Bull of Bainbridge, Sylvia Carlton of Bainbridge and Pamela Fermanis of Bainbridge.

Bull, a plein air (outdoors landscapes) painter, met a fellow Bainbridge resident, Sophie Frieda. Frieda, an oil painter of landscapes and tropical vegetation, also was a Brit, like Bull and Smith.

"That's always a starting point of conversation when you find somebody with the same accent as you," said Barbara Wilson, yet another Bainbridge islander who hails form Great Britain.

Bull invited Frieda to join in the critiques of the small artists' group. Soon, Frieda brought along her friend Wilson, a murals artist and abstract/landscape oil painter.

Carrie Goller, a Poulsbo resident whose specialty is mixed media encaustic — a technique of applying melted bees wax to paintings — soon joined the growing group. Goller, Frieda and Wilson are part of @WORK artwork's team of local artists.

"We decided not to expand our membership for now," Goller said, though Art Buffet has received inquiries from other local artists. "It would change the group dynamics," she added.

The purpose of the group has shifted too, it is not all about critique anymore, but about sharing ideas and marketing their creations to the community.

"We are very serious artists," Goller said. "Everyone is trying to make at least a portion of their living from selling their art."

Because every one of the seven artists brings a different style and often different medium of preference, the name of the group came to be symbolic of that diversity.

"What it represents really is the fact that we're all very, very different," Wilson said.

"We were joking around and Sylvia Carlton actually came up with the name," Goller said.

An artist's studio can be a very isolated place and Art Buffet has become an opportunity for interaction with fellow artists, she added.

The group's first joint art show is from 3-7 p.m. March 18 at 1599 Mountain View Road Northwest in Silverdale. For more information, contact Denise Gargano at (360) 471-0583.

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