Art of Sonoma County - Artists at their Source
Art of Sonoma County
By Kate Vassey
Our county is rich with art. Visual artists are perpetually inspired by the abundance of beauty found here in every season and passionately engaged in their art making whether it be in a solitary studio, collective, workshop or class. Most towns in Sonoma County have numerous venues for art to be created, exhibited and enjoyed by all ages. Popular annual events such as Art at the Source and ArtTrails are the mainstay of exhibited art in our county and have an enthusiastic following. The Sonoma County Gallery Group (SCGG) is a resource for locating galleries and artists year round. Arts Councils in various towns now offer web sites with updated information as to artists and exhibits in the area. The Gazette frequently features bios of local artists and monthly updates our arts calendar to include as many groups, individuals, and events as we can possible fit into our paper.
The rains have left our wild open spaces lush green, teeming with life and vivid colors. It could not be a more ideal time to experience Art at the Source Open Studios, which takes place Saturday and Sunday June 5 & 6 and 12 & 13. This highly anticipated event sponsored by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts is a unique opportunity to meet Sonoma County artists working in their studios, learn more about their methods and materials, and marvel at their accomplishments.
Art lovers and visitors to Sonoma County have found this yearly event to be an inspiration for their own creative journeys and also an opportunity to purchase unique art objects for their home or as one-of-a-kind gifts.
Among the 130 artists taking part this year there is a striking diversity in the styles and materials being used, which range from traditional painting, jewelry, ceramics and glass, to techniques that would be considered unique or out of the ordinary.
Traditional painters include Marcy Basel, who writes, “I find inspiration for my work from the untamed landscape and magnificent wilderness areas. My paintings are about the spirit of the place. The land reveals itself in unexpected ways. Each landscape has an atmosphere and mood, which portrays a presence of light and color.Painting for me, is about discovery and exploration, which coexists in nature and can be revealed as both realistic and abstract. I use sketches, memories, photos and my imagination to create a painting. The landscape is an ineffable manifestation of God where nature coexists peacefully.”
Painter Terri Sloat is another welcome addition to Art at the Source this year. You can read about her love affair with art and view her work in the adjoining article.
Join Lorraine Chapman for a demonstration of silk painting at her studio. Painting on silk, which has made its way from India to Java to Europe and eventually to the United States, uses wax resist techniques and various colorants that have been documented back to the second century A.D.
Here is a sampling of some of the more unconventional artists you can visit:
Jim’s Bronze Plus foundry is located in the industrial northeast section of Sebastopol, founded in 1989 by Jim Pollare. It is one of the few foundries in California that specializes in fine art bronze work, small to monumental in size. Jim’s personal work ranges from bronze replicas of vegetables grown in this region to more intimate pieces like shrines with an oceanic theme.
Working in ceramic, Gerald Arrington crafts stoneware teapots, fountains, and vessels that are “dead ringers” for natural river rock, driftwood, and natural elements shaped by natural forces.
Creating whimsical sculptures of fish, frogs, dogs, rabbits, and birds with re-purposed materials, Nancy Winn builds the body of her work with wire, crumpled newspaper, shredded paper, old postage stamps, maps, or even sheet music. Her use of materials is humble, but “green” and the final result tells stories beyond their origins.
Inspired by French Canadian quilts made by her family, Jehanne Hale quilts use sheets of golden beeswax assembled in ways similar to fabric quilts. She came to work with beeswax through lost-wax casting and fell in love with the saturated yellows, oranges, and browns of the honeycomb.
Joy Stockdale has developed an innovative process of polychromatic screen-printing that results in a limited edition from the original painted screen with no color registration. She makes wall hangings from these printed silk panels. The resulting work is strong yet delicate and marvelously detailed, like the canopy of a tree or a flock of birds. She is author of the book, “Polychromatic Screen Printing.”
Tim Fleming is not only an experienced fine art photographer; he also creates images of stunning clarity and beauty using everyday objects scanned onto a high quality flat-bed scanner. His scanner art uses current technology but “has the glow of 17th century European tapestries.”
An accomplished musician, Roger Dixon also finds artistic expression sculpting with PVC pipe. He continues to experiment with designing, cutting, and painting his sculptures that can be displayed either indoors or an outdoor setting, some reaching a height of 6 feet.
Nash Kunkle, “Metal Smythe,” finds something magical about working with metal and fire. Whether it is annealing copper, hammering red-hot iron, or pouring molten bronze into a mold, the results bear witness to the process and touch primal chords in the viewer long after the fire is gone.
The Sebastopol Center for the Arts will host a preview exhibition featuring artwork by all participants from May 21st – June 13th with artists’ reception May 21st 6:00-8:00 p.m.
More information about participating artists and their work, studio locations and maps can be found on the official web site, www.ArtattheSource.org, and also in the free color catalog available at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts as of April 30th.
Destination Art 2010
By Heidi Schmidt
One of the best places to begin your enjoyment of the arts in Sonoma County is the Sonoma County Gallery Group (SCGG) Map and Gallery Guide. Serving as the best year-round resource for locating over 60 member fine art and artisan galleries, museums, community arts organizations, and art related businesses, the SCGG Web site (www.scgg.org) where you will find free maps for your self-guided tours.
For example, head north and you’ll find a condensed array of fine art galleries in Healdsburg chock-a-block full and close to city culture and fun. Head east along Scenic Highway 12 to the town of Sonoma and there you’ll find gallery jewels mingled with tasting rooms and wineries or concentrate on the wild-west Sonoma County and winding through the redwoods to the ocean discover unique fine arts and artisan galleries while enjoying the views.
Head south toward San Francisco Bay and find a stimulating concentration of art galleries in Petaluma along side nightlife and musical performances par excellence.
If you edge your way north up Highway 101 deep into redwood country, stop in to the galleries just north of the border in Gualala.
By checking the Web site you can plan ahead to visit a gallery during an art opening or be spontaneous and go visit on your lunch or a day off. Most galleries are open year round and easy to get to. Visit the Web site for a preview of each of the galleries on the map and check the calendar for gallery receptions and events and their time and locations.
The Sonoma County Gallery Group Map and Guide is available at galleries in Sonoma County or can be downloaded as a PDF from our Web site or can be mailed to you at your request. www.scgg.org.
NOTE: I'll be out getting the print edition on newsstands for the next few days - I'll add more material form this collection of stories a piece at a time - thanks for your patience. - Vesta