South Valley Open Studios Call to Visual Artists
South Valley Open Studios (SVOS) is calling out for artists, a new venture for artists residing in Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy. Come on out this October and show off your talent and artistic wares.
Fun opportunities abound for newbies and veterans in the art world to display their multiplicity of talent at a two-day sale and group exhibition on October 15th and 16th, 2011.
Out and About Magazine and The Gilroy Arts Alliance are hosting the premier fine are show.
"We decided we were going to do it <open studios> because downtown Gilroy was doing an art and wine stroll, but this year they said they not going to do it. They left everybody sort of high and dry. So it's time for the Gilroy Arts Alliance to do South Valley Open Studios." Says Sylvia Myrvold, SVOS Chair.
The entry fee for the inaugural exhibition and sale is $150. The proceeds will go toward promotions and marketing to ensure the public visiting various locales in the south valley on open studios weekend.
Artists who do sign up will have their bio and photos of artwork compiled in a unique booklet for potential buyers to browse through. The publication will also list locations with adjacent detailed maps.
Several locations in the south valley are the Gilroy Arts Alliance, a few wineries, restaurants and Hoey Ranch off Hecker Pass for starters.
The nice thing about open studios is for artists to meet the public and share with them their creative techniques. This is where people can view the artist at work behind the easel, potter's wheel or at the workbench soldering an elaborate jewelry piece. The customer can purchase artwork on the spot.
Any type of artwork is fair game: oil, acrylic, watercolor, soft pastel paintings, illustrations in pen and ink, comic books, graphic novels, humorous greeting cards, colorful inspirational postcards, knitted hats, quilts, ceramic dishware, statues, and metal sculptures.
Myrvold will help artists with any needs they have regarding SVOS. For applications and details please contact her at 408-761-2122 or you may reach Myrvold by email email@example.com.
A Heart for the Arts
The charming artist’s eyes twinkle every time he speaks about having an arts presence in his community. Gilroy’s Nader Khaghani doesn’t hold back his punches when he pours out his heart about the art community in Gilroy. He would like to see more happen with visual art in his hometown and not just watch other cities around him flourish in the creative scene. He is active in several south county art groups such as Gilroy Arts Alliance (GAA), Theater Angels Art League (TAAL), Valle Del Sur (VDS) and his own organization Visual Literacy Institute (VLI).
His love for the arts is tangible and practical not in empty rhetoric. He built the non-profit organization--Visual Learning Institute to teach others how to see creatively. Khaghani believes in order to influence a large city like Gilroy to become more involved with the arts; he has to educate one person at a time.
“I feel you have to start somewhere, that’s what Visual Literacy Institute is for,” Khaghani says. “As children we are told what to draw, a house, a flower, a dog, etc. Later on in a color class or <other art class> they will tell you that a flower or a bird doesn’t look like that in real life and stifle creativity. VLI frees people to make art from the unconscious mind.”
Enrollment into one of his workshops isn’t limited to artists but to anyone who wants to explore their creative side. His is offering a class in Exploring The Language of Image on June 22nd, on Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Another feat for Khaghani is getting juried for the second time in the largest one-day art festival on the west coast: the Saratoga Rotary Art Show. This is a tough show to get juried into. As far as Khaghani knows he is the only one from Gilroy who will be present in Saratoga on Sunday, May 4th. He would like to see more artists from Gilroy try out for Saratoga like those in Morgan Hill and surrounding areas.
The May 4th art show and sale on the West Valley College Campus is expected to have excellent attendance. The people there purchase art. It’s one of the better venues for artists to sell their work in the bay area. Every artist would love a chance to be there so the organizers of the one-day festival have to jury the entries and pick only the best from hundreds, possibly thousands of applications. Two hundred artists will display paintings, jewelry, and sculptures and will be on hand to greet you the art lover and collector in May 2008.
For more information on the Visual Literacy Institute and workshops please contact Nader Khaghani at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-842-6269. If you’d like to attend this year’s Saratoga Rotary Art Show then go to www.SaratogaRotary.org.
What does garlic, paint, international, creativity, cooking contests, huge crowds, wine and art have in common? You guessed it, the 26th Annual Garlic Festival coming up on July 28-30th, 2006. From an artistic viewpoint, the premier food celebration is an excellent way to gain exposure in the form of poster art plus receive cash prizes. Every year on the first day of March the organizers accept submissions of paintings, photographs or graphic art from around the south valley and abroad; throughout that month the judging committee selects the top three winners and notifies them by phone and the rest is history.
Gilroy resident, JoAnne Robinson’s watercolor of braided garlic cradled around a bottle of wine snagged first place. “Telling a story makes it more interesting and I think that’s really cool when people want to get into my painting,” Robinson says. She emphasized the balance of components in relation to one another, not having shapes look the same, good use of color and having a centralized interest, which will draw the viewer inside the piece. She’ll be at the garlic festival signing posters, cups and t-shirts.
Jean Castillo of Gilroy entered a clever design with the words “Garlic” emblazoned over a frying pan in brilliant yellows, orange and red, the blue background brings this kinetic piece to life. “It was very exciting . . . I thought I entered a thoughtful piece, very gratifying that they would use my piece for the garlic festival,” The graphic artist says.
“I was really surprised to win this year since I’ve won two years ago,” Karen Hinds says about her first place entry in 2004. “It was fun signing posters and meeting people. The garlic festival is a big event and it’s an honor to be selected.” The Brentwood resident dished up a savory third place finish with a stunning tableau of the aromatic bulb in the midst of an inviting meal along with grapes, floral bouquet, loaves of French bread, cheese and red wine. The bucolic backdrop serves as a reminder of our rich agricultural heritage; the royal purple border frames the lovely still life. Hinds who hails from the east bay, skillfully applied acrylic paint to tell us a story about the union of garlic and wine on a blissful summer afternoon.
To meet JoAnne Robinson and view the posters please go to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in late July 2006.
MORGAN HILL CENTENNIAL POSTER COMPETITION
French artist Marie-Christine Briot-Connolly crossed the Atlantic Ocean with her husband Peter, three years ago and settled down in the south valley. The charming Parisian imbued the spirit of Europe with all its complexities, romance, and vibrancy into her paintings. She paints in her studio daily, working on technique and always improving her style. It wasn’t surprising for Briot-Connolly to beat 20 finalists and win Morgan Hill’s Centennial Poster Contest with her entry “Summer Afternoon Bliss.” Her depiction of downtown captured what the celebration is all about. “How do you convey the love you have for the place you live?” Briot-Connolly says. “Through poetry or painting or taking a great photograph—you express it artistically.”
Back in August 2005, Briot-Connolly was near Monterey and First Street in downtown and spotted the perfect scene for her poster art submission. The afternoon light shimmering on the trees, smooth shadowy fingers stretching across and softly brushing the sidewalk caught her attention. “People are fond of El Toro,” she said, realizing that inviting the ubiquitous mountain—the symbol of Morgan Hill in her composition, matters very much. She sketched the captivating scene around her and took it back to her studio to complete the image. “Paintings are like children you send into the world . . . I tell people my painting won instead of telling them that I won.”
The Morgan Hill Centennial Committee worked alongside with Thomas Kinkade Company in reproducing Briot-Connolly’s “Summer Afternoon Bliss” into posters. Local wineries such as Pedrizzetti and Guglielmo printed the winning image on one of their wine labels. Briot-Connolly’s poster signing reception took place in February but don’t worry, many local businesses in Morgan Hill will have posters for sale throughout 2006. For more information, please contact Marie-Christine Briot-Connolly at 408-779-3010 or via email email@example.com.
Because Briot-Connolly studied art and design in Dublin, Ireland and trained abroad in Europe, there is an “Old World” impression about the way her pieces are masterfully rendered to capture the essence of the subject itself, whether it’s a golden California landscape or a vase of crimson tulips. The kinetic swirls of yellow ochre, cerulean blue, forest-green, red cadmium, or bright orange in Briot-Connolly’s paintings will make any art lover’s day a happy one.
Letting in the Light
Kim Fancher Lordier
Millbrae artist Kim Fancher Lordier’s career is on an upward swing; recognition by premier outdoor painting exhibitions, surrounded by top painters in her field, and receiving awards for her soft pastel landscapes is what most artists pine for. This young woman devotes her time to painting nature throughout California and when she isn't creating a luminescent scene on paper, she's taking care of her masterpiece, her one-year-old son, Ryan. Life is challenging enough to make a living as a full-time visual artist, but imagine trying to pull that off and have a child to feed, change its diapers and do the whole routine simultaneously.
Thirteen years prior to her becoming pregnant with Ryan, she worked for United Airlines as a flight attendant and painted animal portraits on the side. Lordier’s portraiture business was successful, however she felt stunted as an artist. After leaving the airline industry, in September 2001, her focus shifted toward landscapes full-time. “I found where I belong. I had really just started my art career, and was on a great role. Then I got pregnant,” She said. One of her teachers told her that her career was over and cited examples of other female artists who failed in their professions because of family obligations.
Although when things got tough during pregnancy and she felt like quitting, she kept going and submitted slides for plein air painting competitions anyway. Lordier’s perseverance paid off and she got accepted into the juried Carmel Art Festival more than once. When she participated in Carmel last spring, she won 2nd place overall and took first place in the quick draw competition defeating several well-known artists. Recently, Lordier won the prestigious “Artist Choice” award at the Sonoma Plein Air 2005 exhibition and sale in September. Her artwork was featured in The Pastel Journal, local newspapers, and will also appear in Southwest Art and The Artist’s Magazine in the future.
Sometimes, Lordier struggles with guilt for her not being the typical stay-at-home mom that most children have (in her view). Her husband, parents and in-laws help with babysitting duties whenever she's painting on location, working in her studio, or attending a prominent art show. She has a great support team and a bright future as a mother. By that alone, she deserves a medal.
To view Lordier’s artwork please go to www.kimfancherlordier.com.
Summer and fall are an excellent time to party with other artists at fine art exhibitions, competitions and paint outs. What better way to embark on a creative journey with compatriots who share the same zeal for fashioning paintings, sculptures, drawings or taking photographs with like-minded individuals? I have more fun talking to artists from all walks of life at paint outs, meetings and shows. Often, I prefer sharing my zany ideas with others rather than being isolated in my studio; alas my paintbrushes don’t like to talk much. So for us chatty artists, we prefer to join Valle Del Sur Artist Guild (VDS). Let’s take a look at their history first:
In 1974, a handful of Morgan Hill artists created Valle Del Sur for the sole purpose of creating art together; Karen Garnett and Mary Hiller are among the original founders. Over the decades the nonprofit organization went through several changes and with the birth of Gallery Morgan Hill in1991, the volunteer-run art guild poured its energies into that new enterprise. VDS remained unknown to the outside world until after the new millennium.
The first time I heard about Valle Del Sur was in 2004 when photographer Steve Soult, and Karen Garnett invited me to paint with them at Guglielmo Winery last summer. They were visiting different wineries throughout the south valley for their themed art show last fall. I met many people who love to paint outdoors. I was hooked. This year, VDS is traveling to Big Sur for the paint outs on a monthly basis until October. In the winter, they paint indoors at the gallery.
Thanks to Soult’s commitment to foster the visual arts in the area, VDS became more visible. Under his direction, Valle Del Sur garnered awards among its membership and more people are joining the south valley gaggle of creatives for painting outdoors, art demos, workshops and participation in exhibitions. You’ll be seeing a lot more out of these guys in the future.
Valle Del Sur welcomes art enthusiasts to join them at their monthly meetings on the third Tuesday at 7p.m at Gallery Morgan Hill. For more information please go to http://www.gallerymorganhill.org/vds.htm or call GMH at 408-776-9337.
Sierra Peaks, Lake Tahoe
Most likely you can find this intrepid artist painting on the beaches near Half Moon Bay, creating dynamic pieces from nature. Redwood City’s Ed Terpening shares his fondness for the pristine California coastline through his artistic depictions; the evidence of his skill and hard work are in every loving stroke. What drives the former software engineering manager to spend hours everyday to produce award-winning plein air art? It’s his desire to evolve and grow as an artist.
Contrary to popular belief, artists are not temperamental people walking around waiting for revelation to hit them. Terpening is a good example of this. His artwork isn’t inspired by an unseen-muse. He depends instead on a steadfast diet of discipline, research, training, and common sense. He plans his paintings, rather than rely on the state of his emotions.
Terpening says, “If you have something to say, it’s not enough. You need the foundation and technical skills to express it with the same amount of power that you feel.”
Before he lifted a paintbrush, Terpening was an accomplished trombone player and classical pianist. However, in college he saw too many highly skilled musicians struggling financially. Thus, he changed majors from music to the engineering field. After twenty years of high-tech servitude, things suddenly shifted in his life. In September 2001--due to diagnosis of cancer, the stock market plummet and the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Washington, D.C. and New York City--he left the technology sector and pursued art to gain control of his life.
“As an engineering manager I reached a professional plateau . . . in art there’s always a hill to climb,” he says.
With the help of professional painters Camille Przwodek, Ken Auster, Douglas Morgan, Jim Smyth, and Bridgette Curt, he improved his skill, becoming grounded in the basics of light, composition, design, color, and depth. Terpening competes in outdoor painting contests and is a member of Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. He also co-formed the Verde Artist Guild that comprised of seventy-five members, including several outstanding award-winning plein air artists.
A painting by Tina Short
Most artists wish they could instantly download the magic formula to create eye-popping images that move the heart and soul of viewers. Santa Cruz artist Katharina Short (Tina) achieved this goal quickly compared to others who strive for a lifetime to make their mark in the art world.
Short’s trek through art began at an early age when she would draw for hours with crayons and paper. Through high school and college she took a few art courses but mainly was self-taught. She loved painting and did it for sheer pleasure. Overtime she built a sizable body of work. Trips to Brazil, Mexico and Thailand while she worked as a waitress influenced her creative expression into brightly colored tapestries.
In 1995, a friend convinced Short to exhibit her paintings in a solo show at a restaurant in Santa Cruz. She followed her friend’s advice and took a plunge and successfully sold every piece. Subsequently, she displayed her work at the local cafes, restaurant and coffee shops in the area. People loved her art. She eventually landed a few galleries in Pacific Grove, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Saratoga. Her coveted pieces landed her entry into the juried Santa Cruz Open Studios, which many artists have to be put on a waiting list if chosen.
In 1998 Short researched and sent out slides/packets to twenty different companies that would license art. Nineteen rejection letters came back, however, one company did call five years later to tell her she was working on a deal with a client for licensing Short’s artwork and would contact her once things were confirmed. The company didn’t say much else. Then in 2004, Trader Joe’s Franchise liked Short’s unique folk art style, and had her send in professionally rendered slides for their greeting cards.
Many of her pieces remind me of the renowned Mexican painter Diego Rivera and most certainly her vivid folk art captured me the first time I laid eyes on her handiwork on a Trader Joe’s greeting card. I fell in love with the rich, bold hues and how she portrayed people in her whimsical scenes. They weren’t boring and lifeless like in some paintings I’ve seen. Instead, they were vibrant elements festooned in romantic landscapes.
To see more of Tina Short’s paintings please go to www.tinashort.com.
3 red mangos
Today, let’s visit your home. Why?? Because that’s where we’ll find our next featured artist from Morgan Hill named Jeanie Watson. She is an interior designer. What does this have to do with visual art, you may ask. Everything! Don’t you realize that most people purchase paintings or sculptures to decorate their houses or offices? And for some, they don’t have a clue in how to achieve this. That’s where the interior design expert enters the picture. Keep in mind, there are others who collect art for investment strategies, but for now let’s focus on Jeanie’s world of decorating peoples’ abodes.
Her career launched over 25 years ago when she worked in retail and sales; sometimes she purchased antiques, home furnishings and local art with positive feedback from the customers who visited her store. They loved her taste and thus she studied interior design at Modesto Junior College. After graduation, she obtained a professional status with American Society of Interior Designers. Down the road she started her business “Design by Jeanie” and later changed the name to “Belle Cose.” During that time Jeanie yearned to paint more. Since 2003, Jeanie increased her painting schedule while maintaining her design consulting.
Her clients know Jeanie’s knack for color and for pinpointing what looks best hanging in various rooms in residential and commercial buildings. Her still lifes consist of glazed pears, huge, bright red mangoes or the impressionistic landscape. Jeanie’s artwork is on display with Galeria Tonantzin in San Juan Bautista, Vintage Pear, and Gallery Morgan Hill. She recently exhibited her paintings at Silicon Valley Open Studios in May at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center.
Jeanie Watson’s professional training enables her to judge what art pieces fit perfectly for clients’ homes and often refers other artists to them before suggesting one of her own paintings. Jeanie’s goal is to make a living as a painter with her work represented in different galleries all over the country. This doesn’t mean she’ll quit interior design; she loves to exercise her artistic talent there too.
Some of the artists in the
Morgan Hill Open Studio 2005
South Valley artisans will be exhibiting their wares at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center in downtown for the 19th annual Silicon Valley Open Studios (SVOS). You’ll have opportunity to schmooze with the artists and buy fabulous paintings for your living room or the sculptures on display. If high-end wood pieces thrill you or you prefer functional art then you don’t want to miss attending the group exhibition in May.
They don’t mind spending a weekend to share their wealth of creative genius with you; may I introduce the following: Rosalinda Bush designs jewelry for the savvy woman who isn’t afraid to make a bold statement with pizzazz; Award-winning photographer, Steve Soult is not only passionate about creating superior photos, but he cares about the South Valley art scene art; Suzanne Perry is a sculptor from Gilroy, her whimsical animal figurines are a delight for the home, office or even your car! Evelyn Davis’ unique bronze sculptures are a tribute to the wildlife in the South Valley, she truly cares about the environment; Marie-Christine Briot Connolly is a charming painter from France, her acrylic landscapes are full of color and zest; Jeanie Watson’s still lifes of pears and mangoes on canvas is a must for the kitchen/dining room. Don Jensen transforms ordinary wood into fine art, and Jerri Kuehn’s impressive graphite drawings will capture the visitor’s heart.
The doors opens at 11a.m and close at 5p.m on both Saturday (May 21st) and Sunday (May 22nd). Exhibiters are: Rosalinda Bush, Sheri Chakamian, Marie-Christine Briot Connolly, Evelyn Davis, Renee Filice, Mary Hiller, Jerri Kuehn, Anita Mason, Suzanne Perry, Brenda Ranzulli, Marge Regan, Steve Soult, Satu Viitanen, Jeanie Watson, and Angela Young. Don Jensen and John Hughes will be showcasing their artwork around the block from the community center at Don’s studio.
Artwork from students who took art courses at the center will be present in the classrooms for the public to see. A preview reception of the artists and a sampling of their work will be held at the same location on May 6th, Friday night from 6-8. I look forward to meeting you there!
The community center is at 17000 Monterey Road near Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill; please call 408-782-0008 for details on the group show/peek exhibit.
Angela Young painting en plein air
Martin's Beach in Northern California
done on location by Angela Young.
I’m glad you’re back. This time, I’d like for you to grab your art supplies because we’re leaving our art studios again. It’s springtime! Plein air painting is addictive; I’ll travel anywhere or simply paint in my large backyard garden. Please enjoy the outdoor pieces I photographed to accompany this article. While you’re gazing at my artwork, I’d like to give you a few tips on how to maximize your painting experience when you step outside.
Be organized. It really helps, believe me. One of my most frustrating moments was searching for the Titanium White in a tote bag full of mangled paint tubes, while the wind howled around me, drying off what I already put down on my palette. Less is more. Bring only what you need for your trip; have a separate set of brushes, paints, and canvases for the task. The most important tool is an outdoor easel designed to withstand the elements. I’ve seen a woman’s wet painting land facedown in the sand because her flimsy easel fell over from the wind. Mabef makes excellent French-style easels for outdoor art. Gorilla and Pochade boxes are another type of easel easy to carry and set up quickly. You can purchase these at an art store in your community or order them through a catalog such as Dick Blick.
The idea behind painting outdoors is working with available sunlight and completing the painting on location within 2-3 hours. This trains the artist to study the environment closely and quickly design the composition on canvas. Don’t be married to your sketch. If it looks wrong then rearrange the composition until it looks like what you see in front of you. I bring a digital camera just in case I run out of time. Set your own goals. I prefer to paint with oils, however you can work with any medium of your choice.
Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, water, snacks, insect repellent, hat, umbrella, chair, comfy clothing, portable CD player, plastic bag for garbage, and a map to find the place. If you have any questions, please contact me.
This month, let’s traipse through the national parks with San Francisco artist Stefan Baumann. Stefan’s fondness for oil painting and the great outdoors combined creates awesome artwork, which he is renown for in California and abroad. His artwork was featured in Southwest Art, American Artist, People Magazine, prominent galleries, and in private collections around the country. Stefan’s masterpieces garnered awards in exclusive competitions and exhibitions too.
Stefan’s journey in art began when he was 11, living in South Lake Tahoe. His parents encouraged him to take art lessons from an established painter named Rom Villa. Things didn’t click until Stefan was 13 and went on a painting field trip with his class to Hawaii. Two things happened that sparked Stefan’s career: a tourist stopped by and asked to buy his newly created art piece for $35, his first sale. The other is Stefan’s discovery of an oil painting in one of the Hawaiian galleries.
He saw a small painting from a mainland artist named James Fetheroff. The magnetic scene of the Maui Ocean on masonite board, captivated Stefan for almost an hour. He couldn’t believe a person could create something so riveting. “If I can develop the skills to communicate to others like this artist communicated to me . . . what a great gift!” At that point, Stefan dedicated his life to art.
Today, Stefan inspires millions with his outdoor painting techniques and by hosting plein air painting workshops in the bay area and beyond. Since 2001, Stefan’s PBS plein air series, The Grand View, hit the airwaves with success. His show features painting outdoors in national parks. In January 2004, it went worldwide. People will stop him on the streets wherever he goes and exclaim, “You’re the guy on TV who paints!” They gush over his artwork on television, and others call him, telling Stefan how his show fills the emptiness in their lives. He prefers to impact lives rather than be self-absorbed about his art. Stefan is the kind of guy who gladly shares his passion for oil painting with anyone who’d take time to listen.
For more information on The Grand View TV program, Stefan’s art workshops, oil painting, life drawing classes, please go to www.thegrandview.org.
Howdy everyone! Let’s park our selves on tree stumps with notepads on hand and listen to the charming stories of Morgan Hill 3D artist Don Jensen. This ubiquitous figure of the South Valley area loves to transform ordinary, local lumber into priceless fine works of art. Hence, his name--the Wood Alchemist. Don is not limited to wood found in these parts; he also works with species of hardwoods from exotic locations.
For local resources, Don loves to collect wood from discarded tree parts in the area (that’s one way) and recycle them instead of seeing those pieces of lumber thrown into the fire or landfill. Dead, infested branches with beetles and filthy trunks covered in slimy moss may come to mind, but Don is selective on what he chooses. Each piece has a story and he brings out the elements of the tale in his art; the customer sees that in the finished product.
One example: the tree quilt Don made is a 3’ x 6’ square composed of 5-inch light Maple tiles held together by a thin chain. The central design is an embedded dark walnut tree, telling the world about the walnut orchards that once dominated the Santa Clara Valley. One of my favorites is a board with carved out wine grapes and luscious green leaves. It’s simplicity and elegance captured my eye immediately.
Don’s quirky creations: Tiki a five-footer, made from Douglas Fir, is a smiling giant and won the heart of a business owner Brad Jones of Book Smart and Café Koffee Vin. He calls it “Big Foot.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tiki Man ends up in his living room. The other is a lofty, drift wood named “Survivor”; its weathered old man’s expression and huge metal bolt harpooned in the center of it’s 6-foot frame tells a sobering tale. I found Survivor peeking forlornly from the corner in an exhibition in Gilroy last fall.
The Wood Alchemist of Morgan Hill builds beautiful, functional art in furniture and mundane objects too. Don’s architectural background and engineering knowledge gives him an edge in designing the latest and practical in home furnishings. You can see his handiwork outside the home in landscape architecture and more by checking out Don’s website. Go to www.donjensendesigns.com.
What better way to start the year than with water-based pigments? Pastels, oils, and other media have stirred our imaginations, but we haven’t yet treaded onto the lush scenery of the watercolor jungle. By reading a few descriptions of her work, you’ll get the grand tour of watercolor from Santa Cruz County artist Brenda Mills.
Brenda’s alluring paintings will impress you with their stunning use of rich, bright hues: reds, maroons, royal purples, velvety greens, smoldering ochre yellows, fiery oranges and dark blues. Her works don’t suffer from the common, washed-out technique seen in many watercolors. Instead, Brenda devotes most of her time building layer upon layer of thick watercolor paint onto canvas to create the perfect piece. She describes her own art as Contemporary Realism—a blend of abstract painting and realistic representation.
Surprisingly, her exploration into the watercolor jungle begins not on canvas, but in hours of design. When an idea knocks on her door, she invites it inside and works with it by sketching it out on plain paper. Then, if it’s acceptable, she transfers the freshly created design onto Arches 300lb watercolor paper via a graphite sheet, saying plainly: “Everyone needs to learn how to draw before they paint.”
Because of this, Brenda’s paintings of vineyards are captivating images of ripened fruit clusters, suspended among the deep red leaves; each moist grape a vibrant purple; ready to burst its succulent juice, tempting the viewer to reach out and pluck a tasty orb.
Another piece aptly named “Quiet Turbulence” vividly portrays a white dove perched on the edge of her nest, overlooking three speckled, powder blue eggs. The nest itself sits on a thin branch, while a swirling tempest of maroons, violets, turquoises, blacks, and gradients of raw sienna are about to erupt in the background. Right below the nest, however, a calming yellow-white light seems to push the oppressive clouds back.
An accomplished watercolorist, Brenda’s creations appeared in Splash 5 publication, Artist Magazine, and galleries and shows in the Western United States. Presently, her paintings are on display at the Aquarius Gallery in Cambria, California. Recently, “Quiet Turbulence” got accepted in the SVOS Stars Collection show in April 2004.
To see more of Brenda’s art, go to www.bluewingart.com.
CJ Myers relaxes in her gallery
We meet again in the art scene; this time, we’ll depart from the wacky surrealistic planet and journey instead, to the charming, panoramic world of Morgan Hill artist CJ Myers’. Myers is a multiple award-winning painter, and she continues to amaze the masses with her graceful strokes, using the array of colored soft pastels at her fingertips. Before we dive deeper into CJ’s career, let me introduce you to the medium of her choice. What’s so special about pastels? You’ll see.
Pastels made their debut in the 16th century, thanks to German painter Johann Thiele, whose pastel pieces opened the door in the following centuries for artists like Chardin, Manet, Renoir, Millet, Whistler, Degas and Cassatt. Pastels don’t fade, darken, yellow, crack or blister from age like other mediums with a liquid binder such as oils, acrylics or watercolors. Pastel paintings from past centuries look as if they were painted today. Not bad for a colored stick.
Contrary to what their name suggests, they aren’t the washed-out colors found in spring fashions. In fact, they range from fiery reds, gold, silver metallic shades to dark blues and browns. They aren’t a fancy word for colored chalk either. Chalk is grounded limestone mixed with dyes. That’s the reason why CJ Myers uses pastels for her paintings: because they’re efficient, immediate, and they don’t require drying or mixing time like their liquid-based cousins.
Early in CJ’s art venture, she faced some tough situations where she had to find full-time work outside her passion for painting. She devoted her life to raising her daughter Cynthia alone. While working as an engineering technician for the city of San Jose, CJ squeezed out portraits whenever she had time.
After her retirement in 2000, she pursued her dream to paint full time. CJ has her gallery/studio in Morgan Hill and continues to accept commission work and enter competitions, festivals, and galleries. Her art background and training with established artists like Albert Handell, Bob Gerbracht and Daniel Greene is paying off. CJ’s accomplishments include: Best of show in 2003 at Gilroy’s art show, acceptance into the Pastel Society of West Coast juried competition at the Triton Museum, and two awards at the Los Gatos Art Association juried members show. In addition, her art was published in the Pastel Journal, a prestigious magazine.
To see more of CJ Myers paintings, go to www.cjmyers.com.
Artist Frank Sustarich standing near his surrealistic paintings
I hadn’t met many artists who paint surrealistic pieces until I ran into this exuberant gentleman named Frank Sustarich. He is as lively and energetic as one of his paintings and what a delight to spend an afternoon with the witty creator of some of the strangest works of art I’ve seen hanging in Gallery Morgan Hill. I’m a big fan of surrealism and long to create the cool things Frank does. He’s bold and funny and isn’t afraid to express his heart on canvas.
Some of you may wonder what Surrealism is, so I’ll give you a sound byte on the unusual and provocative form of visual art. Surreal art isn’t entirely rooted in realistic representation. Surrealists shoot for weird imagery that shock or amaze people. Famous artists who pioneered the way for Surrealism were Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Rene Magritte, and Meret Oppenheim. They dug into their subconscious minds mining for gems with which to express themselves beyond the conventional in modern art in the 1920’s and ‘30s.
Illustrator and painter Maxfield Parrish’s well-executed draftsman quality work influenced Frank Sustarich as an artist as did Yves Tanguy. His art is similar to Dali without the Freudian philosophy. Frank also finds inspiration from living San Jose artist Sonya Paz—whose works range from Cubism and Pop Art with a hint of Surrealism.
“If I wanted to do something realistic, I buy a camera,” Frank says as he draws from his unlimited imagination, designing precise curves, lines, and brilliant colors. His engineering background plays a part in his tight renderings of the weird, wacky and wonderful. That is the reason why many who view his paintings are drawn into the surrealistic and technical world of Frank, including myself. One of my favorite paintings is titled, “Lemon Tree” and underneath the piece he wrote some prose explaining its meaning. The bright green tree with yellow globules floating in a milk-chocolate countryside is captivating.
Frank is represented by Belmont Village Gallery, Aegis Gallery in Saratoga and Gallery Morgan Hill. To view more of his work, please go to www.mindspring.com/~fsustarich.
On the right we have Sonya Paz, pop artist.
On the left we have Angela Young.
That's Sonya's work in the background.
This is the photo from page 2 of the article in color.
Let’s take a break from the serious stuff in art and have fun. Today, we’ll grab a few paintbrushes, tubes of paint and a canvas. We’re going on a wild ride into the Modern Art scene. Let's start with Pop Art, which was a movement launched in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s based on popular mass media. The famous Campbell Soup can painting and multi-colored renditions of Marilyn Monroe created by artist Andy Warhol are examples of Pop Art. Other notable artists who contributed were Jasper Johns, who painted the American Flag in different sizes stacked upon one another; Claus Oldenburg and his over-sized paintings of lipsticks, shuttlecocks and baseball bats; and Roy Lichtenstein who introduced comic strips in the fine art world by his huge incredible works.
However, there wouldn't be Pop Art if it weren't for bold pioneers in the Modern Art movement like Henry Matisse, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso before the mid-20th Century. They shocked, amazed or angered the art world (mostly art critics) by breaking down nature in spheres, cones, and squares in intersecting planes rather than what the other artists were painting at the time . Post Impressionism was the rave before these artists created a stir in the art world and helped push Modern Art onto the scene. Picasso and Braque’s art were labeled Cubism based upon the “cubes” in their paintings by a disgruntled art critic Louis Vauxcelles and the name stuck. However, their innovative style was a tremendous hit and Cubism took off.
Today, we still see Pop Art and Cubism in galleries, museums and outdoor festivals everywhere. South Bay artist Sonya Paz, creates lighthearted themes in her paintings that are popular among collectors and art shows in California and New York. She incorporates Cubism and Pop Art in her work. Sonya isn't afraid to express herself through her art in a whimsical, playful way. Her metropolitan scenes painted in gaudy hues invite the viewer into her zany world where one can be free to laugh along with the subjects on the canvas. I highly recommend checking her web site: www.sonyapaz.com.
Now, that we had fun painting gourds, we’ll move onto another facet of the art world . . . the business side that is. Most artists don’t like to deal with the financial planning, sales, marketing, public relations and other left brain stuff of our creative careers. However, we can't ignore those items and pretend that money will fall from the sky and we become successful.
It doesn't work that way; we must become business savvy for us to thrive in the visual arts. Learning how to collect money from patrons isn't as painful as you might think. Some of you may enjoy sitting at a booth, selling your wares and schmoozing with the crowd at an outdoor festival, others may prefer a gallery to hang their artwork for sale or you like to do commission work where people dictate what you create and they pay you.
I found out the hard way (I'm not alone) that writing up a contract with a potential patron is crucial if I want to get paid. Verbal agreements don’t cut it when the customer defaults on their payments after I worked hours on a painting or drawing. It's best to get everything in writing and have you and the customer sign on the dotted line. You won’t regret it. Talk to your customer, have clear communication and understanding between the two of you so that nobody is upset later on. Make sure you both are in agreement with the arrangement. Always meet your deadlines. Be flexible with your client and respectful; don’t throw a temper tantrum if he doesn't completely agree with your ideas. I have learned plenty from my patrons and I like the results.
Business is built on trust and if there's no trust then there's no point in continuing the transaction—life is too short to waste time on bad business deals.
Whatever the reason why you create art; do it wholeheartedly and with joy. It doesn't matter if you get paid . . . unless it's your job and you have to pay the bills. Then get business smart.
It's time to move on from painting outdoors to splashing colors indoors on an ancient object from the garden—the hard shelled gourd, a member of the Cucerbiticae family. Some of you may wonder, “What in the world is a gourd?” It's a variety of fruit grown on vines like zucchini, cucumbers, cantaloupes or watermelons. Because people don’t normally eat gourds, many from ancient cultures utilized these hard shelled varieties for everyday tasks like holding water, carrying fish or serving food. Nothing changed over the centuries and you can still see folks in different countries using gourds for these purposes.
We, artists prefer to adorn the hard shelled beauties. We do everything from painting, staining, and drawing on them to carving, cutting them. Some of us use wood burning techniques while others glue clay or leaves to them, sew leather straps or weave natural fibers onto them. Paint a masterpiece on a bowl shaped gourd and then stuff Potpourri inside it to perfume your living room. Be creative and make functional art.
For gourd lovers and those of you who want to learn more about gourd art, there's a nationwide group of artists who devote themselves to growing gourds, creating fine works of art, promoting shows, festivals and classes to encourage the masses to do the same. The American Gourd Society has chapters all over the country and its California segment is the California Gourd Society (CGS), which I'm a member. Their web site is www.calgourd.com. Local artist groups who do gourd art within the CGS infrastructure are called gourd patches. You can find them on the Internet by going to the GCS web site.
Gourd patches throughout the nation, alongside with the growers who cultivate and sell gourds on a large, commercial scale host gourd festivals in the spring, summer and fall. Hard shelled gourds grown from the past year are dry and gobs of them are sold to eager artists who wish enjoy making turkeys, ghosts, witches, scarecrows, Santa Clauses, snowmen, bugs, humans, aliens, cats, bird houses, drums, maracas, and a variety of other zany things. Painting gourds are fun; give it a try this summer.
Nice to see you back. I'd like to have everyone follow me outside the city limits to the nearest wooded area. Don't forget your art supplies because we're going to work outside. The French name for this type of painting is called Plein Air, which is a fancy way of saying "Outdoor Painting." Lovers of Plein Air painting can thank famous painters from our past such as Claude Monet, Edouard Degas, Edouard Manet, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, Thomas Moran, Frederick Church, and John Frederick Kensett.
The idea behind painting outdoors is working with available sunlight and being able to complete most or all the painting on location within a short amount of time. This forces the person to focus. That's why I paint outdoors; it enhances my skills as an artist. The artist studies the environment closely and quickly sketches the picture/composition before adding the values, color and texture. You must pay attention to detail, but don't get lost in the minutia or you'll become frustrated at the end of the session with a less than satisfactory painting. I like to experiment, play and not get stuck on trying to create a masterpiece when I'm outdoors so that it doesn't block my creativity. I also bring a digital camera in case I run out of the desired lighting. Then I go back to my studio and complete it. My goal is to finish a piece on site without touching it up indoors. Again, this increases my capability as a painter. You can work with oils, acrylics, watercolors, pencils, pastels or any other medium. Bring an easel designed for the outdoors, and be sure to include sunscreen, a hat, comfy clothing, and a chair.
If you want to join others in your passion for Plein Air, go online and look up outdoor painting groups on the web, or go to your local gallery or art museum. One artist, Stefan Baumann, takes his students outdoors monthly in the bay area. He also hosts a national television series called The Grand View on PBS. To see Stefan's artwork, go to www.thegrandview.org or www.outdoorpainting.com.
Welcome back to the visual art tour. Please follow me to downtown Morgan Hill where we’ll stop at a charming, two-story house on Monterey Road. The manager of this 70 year old Craftsman home is Shelley Hanes, local artist and entrepreneur of Morgan Hill Art Guild and Gallery. The guild opened on April 17th for anyone who is a visual artist, musician, dancer, actor or writer. The venue’s purpose is for artists and non-artists to come and visit in a friendly atmosphere where one can work, relax or just have good time chatting to folks.
“It’s a great venue for you to meet and work with other artists in a bed and breakfast style environment. Sculptors can watch painters. Painters watch quilters, stained glass artists can watch how wool is spun into beautiful yarn on a spinning wheel. The public can have a comfortable environment to watch art in the making!” Shelley said. If you want to learn how to paint, write, throw mud, sew or dance, then Shelley will send the prospective students back out into the community to the Morgan Hill Cultural and Community Center, Gavilan College or Continental Stitch.
Membership to Morgan Hill Art Guild and Gallery is a maximum of $100.00 per year, and if you're selling art on consignment it goes down to $50. With open doors year-round, you can partake in this artistic society Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and you don’t have to sell anything to become a member. However, Shelley does offer a safe environment for anyone to learn the business side of art.
The guild also hosts Art In The Alley, which is a separate entity; it's an outdoor addition where you can display your artistic wares to potential patrons and keep one hundred percent of the profit. This venue is open to the community from April to November. If you wish to sell artwork at Art In The Alley, or have questions about the guild please contact Shelley Hanes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next time and thanks for supporting the visual arts!
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The venue has grown to include artists in their studios from all over the San Francisco Bay Area but my purpose is to spotlight the creative geniuses in our own backyard--members of the South Valley artistic community. SVOS is the window into the studios and hearts of painters, sculptors, potters, illustrators, photographers and others who wish to share their wealth of knowledge and goods with the rest of humanity.
Through this event you will get the opportunity to view them at work and talk to them about their latest projects. Those of you who are searching for that unique gift for your mother or best friend’s birthday, will be able to purchase items from these talented people during the exhibition.
A group of artists will be exhibiting their wares at the Morgan Hill Community Center on May 1st and 2nd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and solo exhibitors will open their studios on their properties throughout Morgan Hill. The list of Morgan Hill Cultural and Community Center’s artisans are as follows: Carol Belliveau, Sheri Chakamian, Renee Filice, Shelley Hanes, Mary Hiller, Anita Mason, C.J. Myers, Suzanne Perry, Marge Regan, Robert Rosalez, Steve Soult, Satu Viitanen, and Theresa Wayne. Those showcasing their talents outside the community center are: Don Jensen, John Hughes, Bob Freimark and myself (Angela Young).
We look forward to seeing you on the first weekend of May during Silicon Valley Open Studios. And now I would like to close this tour with one last thought . . . Art Rules!