Artwork to Welcome Winter in Library Gallery This December

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Candy’s Magnolia, Lynette Ley’s 16” x 12” watercolor on paper, brings the delicate beauty of botanical art to the Gallery this month.

    The Lamorinda Arts Council will present the paintings of Lynette Ley, Rita Sklar and Joel Tesch and the ceramics of Terry Mar during the month of December at the Art Gallery in the Orinda Library. Join them on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. for an artist reception where light refreshments will be served. Help the artists in welcoming winter by forgetting about the rain and cold for a while and looking up, up, up at the chunks of color in their artwork on the walls and in the cabinets. Meet other art lovers and think of Mary Oliver’s poem, White-Eyes: “In winter / all the singing is in / the tops of the trees.”
    Lynette Ley of Orinda grew up in a farming family surrounded by nature’s gifts of trees, flowers, plants and vegetables in her father’s backyard garden. As she grew older, he taught her much about agriculture and horticulture. From him, she learned to cherish and appreciate the beauty of plants and this love eventually drew her to botanical art. In 2013, she began drawing and painting, first with graphite and colored pencil, then watercolors and acrylics.
    Botanical art is a very precise and scientifically accurate type of illustration. It requires many hours of plant study to understand and depict a plant realistically in a two-dimensional painting. Ley took her first botanical art class from Sally Petru, president of the American Society of Botanical Artists, in 2015. Drawing and painting all kinds of objects that have a meaningful story or memory attached to them is also of great interest to her.
    She trusts her theme, Stories in Art, reveals a lot about who she is and what she finds inspiring and interesting. Her hope is that people appreciate the beauty in the simple subjects and nature she depicts in her work. The tender beauty of Candy’s Magnolia, her 16” x 12” botanical watercolor on paper, would make even the formidable Redouté shiver with delight. Go to www.lynetteleyart.com to see more of her artwork.
    Rita Sklar of Castro Valley had an artist for a mom who gifted her with a box of oil paints when she was 10 years old. She really enjoyed using them with her mother’s guidance until she entered junior high school. At that time, she lost interest in painting but finally got back into it 20 years ago when she signed up for a watercolor class. Recently, she branched out to mixed media, collage and acrylics, combinations which she finds fascinating.
    Showing 25 plus small paintings, she hopes viewers walk away with some of the joy she felt while creating the paintings. Music lovers will appreciate The Jazz Man, a 16” x 12” watercolor that strums a standup bass tune in your head if you look at it long enough. The list of venues where Sklar has shown work is long; she has won many awards in juried shows. Often, she explores the dimensionality – emotional, perceptive and symbolic – of vanishing species and traditions. Her affection for wildlife can reveal, at the same time, the violence and the tenderness of our times. Searching for new ways to express the diversity of our fragile world keeps her busy. Visit www.ritasklar.com to view her extensive body of work.
    Joel Tesch of Orinda had a preschool teacher make a book of his cartoon drawings when he was three years old – now that’s starting young. He confesses to constant doodling and drawing throughout his life. While his day job is at Fictiv (www.fictiv.com) a company he describes as, “A super cool startup that helps companies make things faster!” – it hasn’t stopped him from painting for the last 12 years. That’s because 12 years ago when he met his wife-to-be, he was inspired to do a painting of the Golden Gate Bridge for her as a gift. Along with falling in love with her, he fell back in love with drawing and painting.
    He is showing 10 plus works in large and small sizes and works mostly from photographs. Themes include his Wild Skies Series, large paintings with dynamic contrast and saturated color. An Elegant Awakening, a 48” x 36” acrylic on canvas painting, will appeal to anyone who appreciates the sun as it breaks through the clouds in a riot of blues, oranges and yellows. His Icon Series includes paintings of Aretha Franklin, Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson. At www.joeltesch.com you can visit his full art gallery with 13 categories of acrylic paintings.
    Terry Mar, also of Castro Valley, has been working with ceramics since 1980. As he learned more about ceramics, he was drawn to the raku process because it allowed him to be more creative. Every aspect of raku glaze firing inspires him because he gets to “play with fire,” using mixes of white and red clay bodies to get different glaze colors and reactions. Mar prefers the raku process because he doesn’t like making the same thing twice and with raku it’s almost impossible to do that anyway because of its dynamic nature.
    Raku pottery is fired at a relatively low temperature and removed while hot to a closed container with combustible materials in it such as newspaper and pine needles; it then ignites. This produces an intense reduction atmosphere which affects the colors in glazes and clay bodies. The thermal shock also produces cracking, known as crackling since it is deliberate.
    His theme for the 40 plus pieces he is showing is Raku – Abstract Colors and Textures on Ceramics. How grand to see so many pieces and not one looking like another! For example, curvaceous lines and subtly washed teals and taupes wrap their arms around Mar’s Vase III, an 8” x 6” raku ceramic work. He mixes all his own glazes and says, “I can get relatively consistent colors and results by doing this, yet each piece is different.” To learn more about Mar’s raku adventures visit https://www.facebook.com/Maraku-Pottery-718807158150013.
    Regarding the value of art to the community, Ley says, “I love watching kids awed by the Wheely Whirly Peacock art structure outside the Orinda Library or watching a musician play and see the expression on her face change as she enters the ‘zone’ – oblivious to everything else but music. I feel goosebumps when I hear a beautiful voice reach that high note. Art energizes, relaxes, excites. It allows for all emotions to come through.”
    Introducing the community to different artists every month is something Sklar describes as “wonderful” and attributes to the foresight of the Friends of the Orinda Library. Mar believes that pursing any art form develops creativity which he sees as transferable to any endeavor, be it engineering, science, carpentry or plumbing. Like Mar, Tesch agrees, saying, “Art’s overall aesthetic can be applied to almost everything from business to how you interact with family and friends.”
    Visit the gallery at 26 Orinda Way during normal library hours – Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The library will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25 and closes at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31. Call 925-254-2184 for more information or visit http://ccclib.org.

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