Art Flourishes as Gallery at Wilder Opens, Students Win Awards

(Contributed Photo)
Artist David Fleisig contrasts olive wood and blood wood to stunning effect in 553 Pieces Seeking to Become Shrapnel.

    There are now two opportunities each month to view artwork in Orinda. Both the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library and the Art Gallery at Wilder display work by local artists, with a new show installed on the first day of every month.
    Both galleries are managed by a curation team from the Lamorinda Arts Council.
    At the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library throughout August, one can see wood turning by David Fleisig and paintings by Chung Ae Kim, Laurie Mansur and Patsy Taylor. A special part of the exhibit at this gallery includes the work of two winners from the Lamorinda Arts Council’s High School Visual Art Competition in February. Meet the artists at their reception Aug. 4 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
    Fleisig, of Berkeley, was a hobbyist wood worker for many years until he discovered wood turning. Whereas conventional wood working — making furniture — requires planning, precision and execution, wood turning is different. He says that in wood turning he is standing in front of a Powermatic Lathe running at 1000-3000 rpms holding a 2- to 3-foot tool (called a gouge) with a sharp end. What he cuts and makes is determined by minute movements of his body, arms and hands.
    Fleisig likens the process to watching someone throw pots on a wheel where the wet clay changes shape right before your eyes. In wood turning the wood is changing shape depending on how you move. “It’s creative and exciting all the time,” he says.
    His latest innovation is incorporating cast epoxy into wood. He tints the transparent epoxy with different dyes. Look for Moonrise Platter, a 12” piece made of maple wood with two cast and tinted epoxy inlays. A video on YouTube ( shows Fleisig at work.
    Not all of the 25 works he is exhibiting involve cast and tinted epoxy. His 553 Pieces Seeking to Become Shrapnel, a 13” x 12” vessel made of olive wood and blood wood shows off the beauty of both types of wood with an Impressionist twist. Go to for more of his work.
    Chung Ae Kim of Lafayette likes to paint scenes that attract her, mostly from travel but sometimes from her own house and garden. She enjoys views out a window of a particular scene or sometimes, the view of a window from the outside. “My challenge is to reflect the outside and inside as I see them, rather than literally,” she says. She teaches art at her studio in Lafayette; her instruction emphasizes representational painting using oil and acrylic paints.
    Her theme, “Memories of My Lifetime of Travels,” is reflected in the dozen original and giclée works she is showing. Girl with Noodle Bowl, a 24” x 30” giclée from an oil-on-canvas original depicts a scene from Lijiang, China. The image was published as a prize winner in American Artist magazine.
    “I’m 70 and while my traveling may be over due to Parkinson’s disease it hasn’t affected my ability to draw and paint so I still do it,” says Kim. The small scenes of everyday life interest her rather than grand landscapes. Her appreciation of different cultures, architectural styles and other eras shines through all her work. See what she’s up to at
    Laurie Mansur of Concord has been making art since she was little. She began oil painting about 10 years ago and likes how she can work wet for a long time before it dries. She says that the transparency some colors offer, while others do not, makes for interesting contrasts.
    Mansur’s inspiration comes from a lifelong love of the American Southwest through family vacations and time spent living in Flagstaff, Arizona. She counts Patsy Taylor as an invaluable mentor and teacher for the past 10 years. Learn more about her work at
    Taylor lives in Concord but teaches in Walnut Creek at the Center for Community Arts and Lafayette Studio on Saranap Avenue. She has a Masters of Fine Art from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has been teaching for over 10 years. She began painting in earnest at age 45 but is someone who was always drawing and painting as far back as she can remember.
    The 10 paintings she is showing explore family connections, how they shift through life changes, and the intimacy and fraying of those relationships. “Teaching is an enormous part of who I am. Pushing my students to find themselves makes me push myself as well,” she says.
    Taylor strives to express the space between abstraction and realism that allows the viewer to share in her love of the natural world. She often uses oil paints depicting landscapes (some plein air), still lifes and animals. She is known for mash-up — a creative combination of content from different sources. See more of her work at

(Contributed Photo)
Zebra on Cardboard, an award-winning painting by recent Campolindo graduate Shae Silva, can be viewed in the Library Gallery this month.

High School Visual Art Competition Award Winners
    Larkin Stephanos was a freshman at Campolindo High School in Moraga when she won overall in three competitions: The Lamorinda Arts Council’s High School Visual Art Competition, California Art Education Association’s (CAEA) Northern California Level competition and CAEA’s State Level competition. Her winning entry is entitled Book Jacket; she also received a $1,000 cash award.
    Shae Silva was a senior at Campolindo High School in Moraga when she won second place in the council’s High School Visual Art Competition. She is also winner of the prestigious CAEA Northern California 2019 Ruth Jansen Prize for her achievement in the visual arts. She received a cash award of $100 for her winning entry entitled Zebra on Cardboard.
    Jill Langston, art educator from Campolindo for both girls, will be present at the artist reception on behalf of the girls. She was awarded $1500 in art supplies from Sargent Art.
    The Art Gallery at the Orinda Library is at 26 Orinda Way and open 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. Call 925-254-2184 for more information or visit

(Contributed Photo)
The Claremont Hotel, a 24” x 30” oil painting by Joseph F. Lombardi, Jr., reflects the artist’s interest in architectural forms.

Gallery at Wilder
    On July 6 the Wilder Art & Garden Center was filled with art lovers eager to witness the opening of the gallery. Lamorinda Arts Council Board Chairperson Jenny Staelin, together with board member Denise Nomura, co-curator of the Art Gallery at Wilder, and July’s featured artist Judy Chamberlin welcomed the crowd.
    This month’s featured artist is Joseph F. Lombardi, Jr. of Manteca who has a penchant for painting portals — doorways, gates, windows and pathways that meander. His portals are portrayed within intriguing vistas of nature, seascapes and architecture found both in domestic and foreign lands. During August he has 15 oil paintings on display. Meet him at a reception 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 3. To learn more about his work go to
    The gallery is at 20 Orinda Fields Lane. Expect a new solo show the first of every month with an artist reception usually scheduled for the first Saturday of every month. The gallery is open 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and by appointment with Denise Nomura, co-curator at For information contact the Orinda Parks and Recreation Department at or call 925-254-2445. For more information on the Arts Council, go to

(Diane Athanasiou, Photographer)
Artist Judy Chamberlin and Lamorinda Arts Council board member Denise Nomura stand with Chamberin’s work in Orinda’s newest gallery space at Wilder.

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