Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Media Spotlight—Watercolor Artists 2013

Jarien de Ham—Watercolor

Jarien de Ham
I have been painting Chinese-style paintings for a decade. I hesitate to call myself a “Chinese brush painter” since I am not Chinese. I am an admirer of Chinese culture, art and philosophy from an early age. From looking at Chinese art, I have tried to translate what I see in my own environment into paintings with a Chinese feeling. We are surrounded with cypress trees and headlands surrounded by fog which work into the spontaneity of xie yi style. The mood is fresh and often nostalgic. Even though meticulous style, called gong bi, looks more difficult and shows off technical ability of brush control, to me it is simpler, while still beautiful. I have been fortunate to travel to China and study for a month at a time at a prestigious art school several times. I will be going there again soon and hope to absorb more of the aesthetics and incorporate it into new pieces.

Montana de Oro, Rough Water © Jarien de Ham

Inspired by local landscape. The tiny person is
dwarfed by powerful forces.
Man Walking, Lone Pine Tree © Jarien de Ham

A casual scene not depicting any particular place. This
is xie yi or spontaneous style. My goal was to compose
a painting in traditional Chinese style.

Ardella Swanberg—Watercolor

Of all the media I have studied, I love watercolor best. I started using watercolor when I was a freshman in high school and the art teacher told the class, “Well, it takes twenty years to become proficient with watercolor.” I thought at that moment, “I better get started!” Watercolor intrigues me because of the brightness of the colors and the way they mix on the paper which is an entirely different effect from any other medium. In the time since I graduated from college, I have experimented with print making, oil painting, and weaving but I always come back to watercolor. I was astounded when I took my first watercolor workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had been painting all my life but never knew anything about quality paper and paint. It is amazing how much better you paint when you buy fine quality supplies. Now, I am careful to select the most permanent paints, the most stable paper and archival matting and framing.

Cerro Romaldo © Ardella Swanberg
Cayucos Cove © Ardella Swanberg


Sarah DeLong—Watercolor

Sarah DeLong
I recently moved to Morro Bay at the end of 2011 from Grinnell Iowa. I have traveled throughout the United States but only a few times on the west coast.

I got hooked on watercolor over 26 years ago and I am in my element painting near a rushing stream or setting on a dock in a harbor. I am mainly a landscape painter but have painted people, animals, flowers and more recently fishing boats. Watercolor has allowed me to have a loose realistic interpretation of a subject. I love the transparent and glowing colors, soft and hard edges and the blending of colors one can create with watercolor.

I am a signature member of the Iowa Watercolor Society and have won a 1st, 3rd and two 5th place ribbons in their Annual Jury Show. I have exhibited in many shows in Minnesota and Iowa. In 2010 the National Transparent Watercolor Society accepted my painting called “Oaxaca Basket Weaver” painting into their annual jury show.

Morning Fog in Wisconsin © Sarah DeLong
Evening in Morro Bay © Sarah DeLong

Deb Festa—Watercolor

Deb Festa
Deb paints with passion and joy in her heart. She is known as the Happy Painter because of her vibrant color combinations and her spirit of life. She has been selling her art for over forty years, (ten years at the Gallery at Mariana Square) and loving every minute of it. Landscapes and florals are among some of her favorite things to paint.

Deb is a self taught artist who gets so immersed in her painting that it becomes a form of meditation. She feels blessed to have the natural beauty around her, which is a constant inspiration to paint and to create dynamic ways to share her artistic vision with others.

Deb’s artwork is in 43 states and 20 different countries. She loves to track where her paintings travel to. She has had over 60 solo exhibitions, many group shows, and a television appearance.

Deb’s purpose is to capture and share the serenity and joy of nature – a serene refuge from the modern world.

Burano, Italy © Deb Festa
Festa’a Paradise © Deb Festa


Virginia Mack—Watercolor

Virginia Mack
Capturing the moments: I love being afloat in my kayak in the back bay of Morro Bay gliding by the birds making quick watercolor sketches of them. I occasionally paint a quick scene of the rock or the peaks from mid bay. The waves, the tide, the wind all become a part of the paintings. I feel continuous with it all.

Watercolor is my medium for these paintings. Its fluidity and unpredictable ways add to my sense of capturing the moment.

Curlew © Virginia Mack
Kayak View Peaks © Virginia Mack

Susan Wood—Watercolor

Susan Wood
I love watercolor. It’s challenging, it’s translucent, it spontaneous. At least I think that the best qualities of good watercolor is translucence and spontaneity. I don’t want to paint to be exactingly realistic—I want to paint an expression of what I see.

Each medium presents challenges—and watercolor has several. Some colors are opaque, some transparent, some are staining, others non-staining, some are “sedimentary.” White is not normally used in watercolor—the white you see is the paper—so if I want to leave something white, I don’t paint there! Watercolor is much lighter when it dries than it is when still wet. Watercolor can be painted very wet, very dry, or anywhere in between for different effects, and the heat, humidity, and light will affect how quickly it dries. I paint “en plein air”—in other words, outdoors. This adds it’s own challenges, as the light and air conditions (and the water conditions if painting at the ocean) are in constant flux.

Painting outside in watercolor is a constant adventure.

Sweet Spring Reflections © Susan Wood
Windy Dunes © Susan Wood


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Media Spotlight—Photography 2013

Bill Sima—Photography

Bill Sima is a local orthopaedic surgeon who has been practicing in Templeton for twenty years. After graduating with his M.D. in orthopaedic surgery from USC and subspecialty fellowship surgery from Harbor UCLA Medical Center, he relocated to the central coast where he has been in private practice since.

© Bill Sima

Growing up in Hawaii inspired his enthusiasm for photography of landscapes.  He primarily captures pictures of the central coast's landscape highlights such as beautiful beaches and vineyards which he digitally enhances to reflect the beauty of the area.

© Bill Sima

Beth Sargent—Photography

Beth Sargent
Nature’s gift to us is the deep connection to its beauty and mystery. I experience such joy wandering in nature capturing beautiful moments in time, whether it’s the shimmering color of a sunset or the majesty of an owl in flight.

For me, nature and landscape photography is my soul’s purpose.

I have photographed most of my life, but digital technology really brought it home for me. When I purchased my first digital SLR camera, it started a wonderful journey that I could not even imagine. I have learned so much and have made many cherished friendships along the way.

My photography incorporates a technique called high dynamic range (HDR). This process blends 3 or more images at different exposures to create an exceptionally beautiful photograph that has a full range of light, color and depth.

I print my photography on professional metallic paper. This adds to the already diverse range of light, colors and depth and creates stunning photographs like no other.

My photography has earned awards and has been in juried photography exhibitions. I am very honored to be a member of the Gallery at Marina Square and a photographer on the Central Coast.

Blue © Beth Sargent

Tranquil Harbor © Beth Sargent

Here is a quote from a poem that really says it all for me:
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” 
Rumi—Sufi Poet

James Crawford—Photography

James Crawford
Crawford loves to use his cameras, computers and different softwares as a brush to create his visions. He enjoys photographing rocks, trees and water as well as different natural elements both in black & white and in color. “Crawf” is always experimenting and learning to expand his craft.

Cayucos Pier II © James Crawford

James has been displayed at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Orange County, California, Photo Technique Magazine, Preston Contemporary Art Center in Mesilla, NM , The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Co., L.A. Center for Digital Art, Cal Poly (SLO), SLO Arts Gallery, SLO Coast Journal, Johnson Gallery, The Photoshop, San Luis Artist’s Gallery, Gallery at Marina Square in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo City Hall, Gallery at the Network-San Luis Obispo, Olive Tree Fine Arts Gallery in Atascadero, Calif.  and San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Crawford's work also hangs in many private collections worldwide.

Stone Border to the Smooth Beach © James Crawford

Alice Cahill—Photography

Alice Cahill
In my photography I strive to see with the eyes of my heart, to find the essence of my photographic subjects. With a sense of wonder I explore nature’s wild places, her textures and designs. My images convey a deep spiritual connection with nature. I believe the natural world is a healing force and a refuge from the chaos of daily life. When we are quiet and listen, we can find peace and discover our own inner voice of wisdom.

Escape © Alice Cahill
Sand Prints © Alice Cahill

I have been honored to receive numerous awards for my photography. Most recently, I was the Grand Prize winner of Audubon Magazine’s 2012 contest and my photo of a Northern Flicker was published on the cover of the magazine. 

I am a member of the North American Nature Photography Association and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. My photography is also represented by GETTY Images.


Charles Pruitt—Photography

Chuck Pruitt
Chuck Pruitt was mentored by Boone Morrison, founder of the Volcano Art Institute in Volcano National Park during a time that he lived in Hawaii, he. This association led to meeting and learning from Brett Weston, Minor White, and Paul Caponigro. During this time Chuck began working in large and medium film formats, and abstract photography using color infrared film and long exposures, often taking a 4x5 Crown Graphic on backpacking trips.

Tranquil Evening © Chuck Pruitt

After returning to California, Chuck studied photography. In college he combined chemistry and photo classes to recreate historic techniques of wet plate negatives, cyanotypes, platinum and albumin printing methods. He received state and national recognition for his experimental prints.

Spring Storm—Half Dome © Charles Pruitt

Chuck took up digital photography in 2004, but also still uses his 50+ year old Hassleblad. In 2008 he began printing on canvas and other fine art media. This process is called Giclée (zhee clay) and uses archival inks and media.

Jack McNeal—Photography

Jack McNeal
I am by nature an explorer. My photographs represent what I find on my wanderings.  I try to present the feel of place rather than represent things.  My objective in this effort is to show my love for the outdoors, particularly the seacoast.  I walk, cycle and paddle, exploring primarily my immediate environs.

I hope these efforts successfully help others appreciate the beauty I find.

Jack McNeal

Evening, Hazard Beach © Jack McNeal
Sand Dollar Beach © Jack McNeal

Karen Peterson—Photography

Karen Peterson—already
a photographer
Karen’s interest in photography began when she received her first camera on her ninth birthday. After earning her B.S. in Recreation Administration her interest was rekindled by her Father’s gift of his old Zeiss Contaflex 35 mm SLR.

In the early 1990’s Karen began creating Polaroid image & emulsion transfers, printed onto Polacolor 669 film from her original slides, and transferred onto watercolor paper. Karen also worked with an SX-70 Camera and Polaroid’s Time Zero Film manipulating the soft emulsion layer. Polaroid has discontinued making both Polacolor and Time Zero Film.

The Line Up © Karen Peterson

Currently Karen is exploring a variety of alternative digital techniques including digital “hand coloring” and High Dynamic Range (HDR).

Estero Bay © Karen Peterson

Karen’s photographs have been accepted for juried shows including Visions, Shapes & Shades and Photomorphosis, sponsored by the Central Coast Photographic Society, and the Phantom Show, sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA). Her images have won awards at California Mid State Fair, New Times Photo Contest, Kodak International Snapshot Awards, and Visions Shows.

Karen has served as President of both the Central Coast Photographic Society and the San Luis Obispo Camera Club.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Media Spotlight—Oil Artists 2013

Nona Jane Siragusa—Oil

Nona Jane Siragusa
Plein-air artist Nona Jane Siragusa’s landscape and seascape paintings capture the clear and intense light of the Central Coast. Among California’s Impressionist-inspired painters, Nona Jane is trained to paint “en plein-air” or out-of-doors. Taking advantage of the bright light and warm climate, she seeks to catch the fleeting moments of specific natural light as it bathes the surrounding landscapes and seascapes. 

Morro Bay Park Trail © Nona Jane Siragusa

Nona Jane believes that the biblical analogy of light as the creative instrument is appropriate to the land and ocean of the Central Coast—for without that unique light and the divine energy it represents, the land would not exist. Nona Jane Siragusa lives in Morro Bay and paints her Central Coast landscapes and seascapes in oils on canvas. She also makes giclées of her work on canvas and archival paper.

A Windy Morro Bay Day © Nona Jane Siragusa

Carol Astaire—Oil

Carol Astaire
I absolutely love the ocean! Being on it, in it, or hiking beside it brings me pure joy. Every day is a new experience and I always start to smile and sing when I take off in my kayak. Born and raised on the California coast, it just simply is in my blood.

With a lifetime of education, teaching, exhibiting, and traveling to draw upon, I have devoted the last five years to exploring the ocean south of the Port of Los Angeles to north of Monterey County; photoraphing extensively in all conditions year round. Then I use my reference photos to help remind me of my experiences on the water when I return to my studio and get to work.

Calm Shore © Carol Astaire

I now try to bring it all together in a free and joyful expression of the things of the sea I love most. Still using the old masters’ techniques of multiple layers, glazes, and traditional mediums to produce the luminosity and visceral qualities that are so rich—I hope to share all of it with anyone who views my work.

Wet Wednesday Regatta © Carol Astaire


Kira Fluer Olshefski—Oil

Kira Fluer Olshefski
Kira Fluer Olshefski is a California Central Coast artist, residing in Atascadero. She has dabbled in a variety of media, but has found oil paint to be her media of choice. Kira taught elementary school for many years. Incorporating art into the curriculum was one of the highlights of her teaching career. Often one could find Kira and her students partaking in walking field trips with drawing pads and pencils in hand. She encouraged her students to create from the heart and connect with their subject. After leaving her teaching career, Kira wanted to focus on her art. She is happy to be out of the classroom and exploring the Central Coast for inspiration. Just like her students, she paints from the heart and connects with her subject.

Rural Route 4 © Kira Fluer Olshefski

Kira’s work is not only at Gallery at Marina Square in Morro Bay, but has been on display in various venues throughout the San Luis County such as Linnaea’s Café, Joebella Coffee Roaster’s, and the annual SLO County Open Art Studios Tour.

Out-standing in Her Field © Kira Fluer Olshefski

Patricia Newton—Oil

Patricia Newton
It’s hard to believe that I have been painting with oils for 30 years! In the beginning, I only had time to paint during weekends. These days, since retired from a full time career, I get to paint much more often.

The most often asked question I encounter is, “How long does it take to complete an oil painting?”

It’s the one question I have the toughest time answering! Once in a while I will paint Ala Prima, in which case the painting will be completed in one day. However, most of the time I paint with a little more traditional style, by glazing with several thin layers of paint. This process takes several days and more time in between to dry! Sometimes weeks. More important, it has taken all of those 30 years, to learn a painting style that feels right to me. I have at times felt completely defeated and scraped all of the paint off a canvas, left it to dry and come back to try again another day. Years of learning to fix mistakes. Then I think, hopefully, I will remember what I did during one of those happy accidents so I can recreate something done right.

Although I have much more to learn, I am enjoying the journey! Then, my heart fills with pure joy when someone like you comes along and says, “That one speaks to me, I have just the right spot for it in my home!” Then, suddenly, off goes a piece of my heart with someone who will love my work of art! I am humbled and honored! Thirty years of work comes together and it just doesn’t get any better than that!

The Romance of Morro Rock © Patricia Newton

Ardella (Jo) Swanberg—Oil

Ardella Swanberg
Ardella Swanberg has been painting the Central Coast for 14 years. She loves to paint outside (plein air). One of her favorite tools is the camera. She takes a thousand photographs a year. Thank goodness for digital cameras and the computer. Ardella was primarily a watercolorist for 50 years but lately she has expanded to acrylic and oil. Ardella finds that all media are challenging and surprising. That is what excites her.

The Ranch at Midnight © Ardella Swanberg

Producing a good design that captures the viewers imagination is Ardella’s primary goal. Although she does enjoy painting realistically, Ardella is expanding her horizons by venturing into abstraction and non-objective painting. This approach is exciting and dangerous. She never knows if the painting will be good or a total failure. It keeps her on her toes.

Oak © Ardella Swanberg

Ardella Swanberg has paintings in many private collections. She has also had paintings accepted in exhibitions in California, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, Italy and Malaysia.

Ardella studied art education at the University of Minnesota and in San Francisco. She teaches at the Cayucos Vets Hall on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 9 am to noon, and at Art Central in San Luis Obispo.

Galen Griswold—Oil

The experience of painting in oils is one that I relish. I will often do a quick sketch plein aire with acrylic and finish the piece in the studio with oil. I like the way oil paints blend and you can push the paint to please as you apply it to the canvas. Oils have a feeling for me in their application: passionate, flowing, colors integrating or connecting, creating hard edges or soft. I like the way the oils mix and work like a river flowing-glowing on the surface revealing depths beneath-within. Painting with oils for me is like having a great conversation with nature and an environs. Texture, color, rough and smooth surfaces are heightened for me with oils. Challenging, exciting, energetic expression--those moments with oils, I love IT.

Coming In © Galen Griswold
Bird Sanctuary © Galen Griswold