Archive for January, 2009

San Miguel is located in California’s Central Coast. That is where we met Robert, on his seven-acre horse ranch, which his shares with his wife, artist Brooke. His studio and home sits on a hilltop, so high we left our RV at the foot of the driveway and ascended the hill on foot. We were literally surrounded by rolling hills and hundreds of acres of vineyards with unobstructed vistas. Robert’s studio originally had only three walls and a concrete floor that sloped 3 inches. He kept the window sashes and added a fourth wall. The studio smelled of a nice mixture of turpentine and cigar smoke.

Although he was born and raised in southern California, most of his professional career evolved on the east coast while pursuing and learning from the long established and rich artistic heritage that is found there. Richard also made the beautiful bench, under the painting, to the right of center.



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When Kelsey met us on the street outside her home and studio in Corona del Mar, I thought that she was the California Girl the Beach Boys sang about. Young, blond, attractive and very athletic – she turned out to be a girl from the state of New York. She loves lacrosse, rock climbing and drawing. Kelsey moved to the Laguna Beach area about 5 years ago. She works in series of mix media and acrylics. Her studio is stuffed with bits and pieces of this and that.
Kelsey lives and works in a home filled with art and antiques, with 2 Bengal cats,  Miles & Da Vinci,  and her big Texan art broker partner, Michael, who you can see through the door just left of center. They own and operate a corporate art brokerage company, Kelsey Michaels Art Group, Inc. I really like this image, the word “strength” is featured proudly, right next to Kelsey… it seemed appropriate.


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For more than two decades, Deborah Oropallo has been pushing the boundaries of style, media, and technology. Her newly constructed space is an add-on to a building she shares with her husband’s furniture building company. The building was once a brass fitting foundry, located in the center of an industrial section of San Fransisco. The couple kept as much of the original as possible making the space bright and lofty.


For her newest series, Deborah uses the magic of digital photography to create provocative, multi-layered portraits of women that are based on Internet ads selling sexual fantasy costumes. These paintings merge the ads with elements of her childhood love of the “West”ern themed Rodeo Clowns. She combines her painting and Internet advertising to explore ideas about women, desire, power, and the commercialization of sex. Deborah is using aluminum to provide a canvas for her translucent images that shimmer with the contrast of cool metal and warm color. She has designed the frames that her husband fabricates for her work.


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We met Liz and her small terrier, Twinkle, at her loft studio, in an old cable building in the heart of San Diego. The walk up to the 2nd floor, took us through the open balcony that overlooked a courtyard made from bits and pieces of the original brick warehouse. Her tall studio was filled with light, color and treasures brought back from Liz’s trip to India. Spending time with her is relaxing, she has an incredibly calming effect on people. Liz has a soft voice that sounds remarkably like the tinkle of small bells and the floating body language of an angel.


Liz experimented with several forms of fiber arts working in professional tapestry studios in NYC, before making the shift to painting tapestries rather than weaving them. She translated her passion for textiles to the two-dimensional media of painting. Regardless of subject matter; be it antique French Aubusson flourishes or Tuscan Villa chic the demand for textile-inspired imagery continues to be her inspiration.
Liz’s newest series is All-Out Abstraction, instead of subject matter of any kind the story is color; layered rich color finished with a juicy coat of oil-based stains and varnishes to increase the reflectivity of those colors.


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High in the bluffs, overlooking rural Port Costa, sits the home, studio, workshop, sculpture garden and Kaolithic museum of the outrageous artist, Clayton Bailey. Newsweek Magazine calls his work “Crock Art”. All of Clayton’s art has a sense of humor about it, totally entertaining and many times some educational element. As a former pharmacy major, his ceramic sculptures reflect his fascination with science and chemistry, he likes to experiment with glazes and firing temperatures. Sporting Don Ed Hardy tattoos of Lena the Hyena and her boyfriend, one each, on his biceps, Clayton can be seen in this image multiple times, surrounded by more than 40 years of work; artist robots and ray guns, he makes out of vintage components like radios, vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances from the ’50s.


Clayton lives with his wife Betty, an artist in her own right, black Lab Molly and alter-ego Dr. Gladstone, a nut artist/scientist and Nobel Prize nominee. He retired from 27 years of teaching at cal state Hayward. As an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, Clayton creates a Bone of Contentment, a large gilded ceramic wishbone made with the bride and grooms’ names imprinted on its sides. A lock of hair from each is sealed inside and presented to the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony he preforms.


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June is a hard-edge painter who’s work consists of rough, straight edges that are geometrically consistent. It encompasses rich solid colors, neat surfaces, and arranged forms over the canvas. Her new landscape series  shows the shape and color relationships of the landscape that is uniquely Californian in composition and color.
After the  Northridge earthquake in 1994, June re-built the house, which looks completely different from the one she shared with her late husband, California writer, curator and art critic, Jules Langsner. Her cavernous studio and home is very modern and located in a quaint, quite neighborhood of  Studio City. African Art Masks and work from other artists fill the walls of her adjoining home. In addition to her career as an artist, June Harwood taught art for many years and recently retired from 33 years of teaching art at Valley College and Hollywood High.


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Nancy’s studio loft is located in the downtown LA Arts District. The warehouse red brick and cat walks lead to the 2nd floor and a beautifully painted piano, which Nancy used to explained the system of color she uses. It is based on simple physics. The colors of the twelve-hue color wheel are assigned to the twelve equal-tempered pitches in an octave of music. Both color and pitch move from lowest to highest frequency. Using the range of the piano keyboard, the hues of the low pitches are low in intensity and value, which relates to the rich, full overtones of the low frequency vibrations. Each pitch than becomes 1/12 lighter and brighter than the preceding one. The hues of the high pitches are very light just as the high frequency vibrations are thin and clear. If the system is logical the colors should relate harmonically in the same way as musical tones and translate into an accurate visual representation of the linear construction of the music, seen as a whole – all at once. Linear measurement represents meter and duration. Form and texture represent timbre and the intensity and layering of sound.


Nancy’s work is interdisciplinary and investigates musical concepts and theories, the relationship between color, form, texture, proportion and pitch, harmony, timbre, and rhythm. The content of her work also includes references to infinite cycles of time and planetary motion and the ultimate interconnection of all our perceptions as well as the relationship that exists between musical pitch and color.


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