By ELANA O’LOSKEY
The Lamorinda Arts Council is delighted to present the paintings of Kath Balamuth and Ruth Kolman Brophy and Friends, Sergiy Pechersky’s photographs, and ceramics from Ellen Sachtschale, Julie Langley and Miriam Jewell during the month of October at the Art Gallery in the Orinda Library. Join them on Sunday, Oct. 7, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., for the artist reception where light refreshments will be served.
Kath Balamuth’s Succulent Succulents Series¸ while almost impossible to pronounce, is entirely possible to admire. Both Firestorm I and Fireworks! – 20” x 30” and 20” x 24” acrylic paintings on panel respectively – carry you on a blast of color only nature could evolve. While diminutive in situ, Balamuth elevates our view and our viewpoint of these dazzlers by increasing their size. She is showing 19 works ranging in size from 8” x 8” to 30” x 46”. She says that succulents are easy for her to work with because they are easy to grow and offer her all the elements of art she enjoys: form, color, texture, scale, value, line and shape.
The Orinda resident owned an art supply store in Orinda from 1985 to 1997 and has also been a calligraphy instructor. Her BA in Design from UC Berkeley allowed her to work as a graphic designer in the past. “Now, in my eighth decade, I consider myself an ‘emerging artist’ and plan to continue learning and creating art for the rest of my life,” says Balamuth. Learn more about her work at www.kathbalamuth.com.
Ruth Kolman Brophy and Friends have an apt theme for the work they are showing – Abstract Rhythms. Each of them explores creating abstract art in a different way: some works combine figurative elements and some do not. Brophy, from Walnut Creek and her colleagues Lynn Glenn and Tina Pressler from Danville and Elise Marshall of Orinda have been meeting in Marshall’s studio weekly for about 10 years.
They are showing about 20 paintings. Kolman Brophy mixes abstract and figurative in On the Patio, her 24” x 30” acrylic on canvas. Go to www.ruthkolmanbrophy.com to see more abstract into figurative work. Pressler likes working in cycles using sections of squares and circles that are repeated. To see her work go to www.tinapressler.com. Creating Drifting, Glenn’s 30” x 30” acrylic, mixed media on canvas, allowed her to “enjoy art as it evolves because as I work it totally absorbs me, time is forgotten and I just love what I do.” Visit www.lynnglennfineart.com to learn more about her work. Marshall’s Winter Passage, a 42” x 66” acrylic on canvas, was created in the art studio in which they all meet, a studio specifically designed for Marshall’s sensibility with spacious views of the Oakland hills. See www.elisemarshall.com to learn more.
Sergiy Pechersky of San Jose just can’t stay away from Yosemite and the Eastern Sierras. An accomplished photographer who has exhibited extensively, he is showing about a dozen photographs. Take a tour of the ephemeral beauty he has captured such as his 12” x 16” eponymous photograph, Cathedral Peak. Not only does the 10,912’ elevation command your attention, but note the sun crawling up its peak reflected in the glassine pool below. John Muir said it best, “The front [of Cathedral Peak] is adorned with many pinnacles and a tall spire of curious workmanship.” Visit www.twowanderers.com to see more of Yosemite and other sites he has photographed.
Ellen Sachtschale of Clayton along with Julie Langley of Walnut Creek and Miriam Jewell of Pleasant Hill, create and fire ceramics in the studio they have been sharing for the past three years. Sometimes Langley and Jewell create their work at home before bringing it to Sachtschale’s studio to glaze and fire. Their theme for the 30 works they will be showing, Nature Pottery, arose out of their shared fascination for the myriad forms occurring in nature.
Sachtschale has been teaching ceramics for 22 years at the Center for Community Arts in Walnut Creek. She says, “Teaching keeps me in connection with a lot of other creative people and there’s a great exchange there. I give to my students, but they inspire me!” To ensure her work has some societal value, she donates funds for one meal to a food bank for every item she sells. Some of her favorite artists are Alice Ballard, who does porcelain pods and totems; the late William Kidd’s extraordinary extruded stoneware vessels with bespoke extruding dyes; Elizabeth Shriver’s ceramics; and Marvin Lipofsky’s glass creations.
Langley’s adoration of seafaring forms will impress anyone who has paid attention to what the sea leaves us on beaches far and wide. Seaside Garland, a 14” x 3” x 3” arrangement of stoneware, porcelain, driftwood and copper wire, recalls the last time you dug your toes into fine, warm sand. The subtle colors and intricate designs do indeed take us to the seaside.
Regarding the value of art to our community Balamuth enthuses, “It helps us communicate now and to the future.” Brophy adds, “Art expands your world, it makes people more aware and helps them look with more interest at everything around them.” She believes that “art creates a space for dialogue and unlocks resistance to imagination.” Jewell notes, “We often get caught up with technology. Nearly everything we buy is made complete and ready to use so we lose our connection to how things are made. Homemade objects feel good in our hands and add richness, color and texture to people’s lives.”
Visit the gallery at 26 Orinda Way during normal library hours – Mon. through Thur., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sun., 1 to 5 p.m. The library is closed on Oct. 8. Call 925-254-2184 for more information or visit