December Galleries: Nature, National Parks, Wine Bottles and More

(Contributed Photo)
Sunlight dances on water in Judy Feins’ Autumn, Big Bear Lake, an 18” x 24” oil painting.

     The Lamorinda Arts Council this month presents the oil paintings of Judy Feins, 2D and 3D work from the Oakland Art Association, nature-rich photographs by Farzeen Taban and painted wine bottles by Kath Balamuth.
     Judy Feins of Orinda has worked in oils for two decades. She says, “Watching the play of light in the sky and over the earth adds another dimension and layer of enjoyment to life; it’s like the way music enhances a movie.” “Radiance” is her theme, meaning she works to capture light in the landscape on canvas. Examples are: the dazzle on a Sierra lake in the afternoon; a tree lit up to glow brilliant yellow with backlight; or the sun glimmering as it first hits a reservoir through a winter morning’s fog. She says she loves how Monet and local artist Bill Cone paint rocks seen beneath clear water, and that it took her a while to figure out how to do that.
     Artists who inspire her include John Singer Sargent, Sorolla, Matisse, Monet and Van Gogh. Local artists she likes include Tim Horn, Tom Hughes and Brian Blood among others. Feins is a member of the Lamorinda Arts Alliance and other arts organizations. Look for her Autumn, Big Bear Lake, an 18” x 24” oil painting on board. For more about her art go to
     The Oakland Art Association’s (OAA) juried show of 2D and 3D artwork encompasses many genres including ceramics, portraits, figurative and abstract paintings. President Rick Nelson’s Greek Vase, an 8.5” x 5.5” segmented walnut turning, is like a tactile puzzle – you want to pick it up. The OAA is a nonprofit group of artists, photographers and art supporters from Alameda and Contra Costa counties. They encourage artistic endeavor in the community, support public school art education and arrange show venues for their members’ artwork. Learn more at

(Farzeen Taban, Photographer)
From a field of straw to a snowy mountaintop, Farzeen Taban highlights nature’s contrast in his 30” x 40” photographic print on canvas, Half Dome in Winter.

    Farzeen Taban of Benicia comes from a family of art lovers – music, paintings, drawings, sculpture and every form of art was revered. He says this nurturing family circle taught him by example how to hold the ephemeral beauty in the natural world close to heart. Taban considers photography the ideal method for capturing such beauty. Self-taught, he pours over books and other media, ever enlarging his knowledge base. He shares Feins’ fascination with light and says, “The study of light alone could happily occupy the rest of my days.”
    His 30” x 40” photographic print on canvas, Half Dome in Winter, exemplifies his theme, “National Parks.” It rivets your attention to both the straw colored grasses bowed and huddled by cold as well as the whitecap beckoning from the Dome. Taban often juxtaposes viewpoints only nature offers in the ever-changing mantle of disguises we know as seasons. Look at more of his work at
    Kath Balamuth of Orinda says she enjoyed drawing and painting as a child and young adult and received a BA in Design from UC Berkeley but never considered herself ‘good enough” to pursue a fine art career. Those days are over; now in her eighth decade she says, “I consider myself an ‘emerging artist’ and plan to continue learning and creating art for the rest of my life — or as long as I am able.”
    For this exhibit she focuses on painted wine bottles, which was inspired by her visit to SFMOMA to experience Rene Magritte: The Fifth Season last year. She learned that during WWII Magritte was unable to procure canvas so he painted on what was at hand — discarded wine bottles. Balamuth, intrigued, began experimenting and came up with her eponymous “Bala Bottles” series. Several titles are riffs on famous artworks such as Wheatfield with Crows (Inspired by Van Gogh). Balamuth is also a member of the Lamorinda Arts Alliance. See what she’s up to at
    Join the artists at their reception 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8 .
    To learn more about the Lamorinda Arts Council go to Visit the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library, 26 Orinda Way, during normal library hours – Mon. through Thurs., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sun., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Dec. 24-25 and at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31. Call 925-254-2184 for more information or visit

(Contributed Photo)
Artist Linda Huffman captures the stark beauty of desert trees in sedona sentinels, a 26” x 22” oil on canvas included in her wilder exhibit.

Art Gallery at Wilder: It’s Kind of Eclectic
     The Lamorinda Arts Council presents a solo exhibit of Linda Huffman. Her theme, “It’s Kind of Eclectic,” arises from her peripatetic painting habits. Now retired after a 38 year career in secondary education she says she delights in painting what appeals to her and letting the themes and techniques evolve. “My choices must be challenging, and I stumble upon subjects as they appear to be intriguing enough to invest the months which I will need to complete them,” she says.
     Growing up was filled with art projects for things like posters for elections, cheerleading, stage sets, programs for drama, dance and the yearbook. Her dad employed her part time at his printing company and taught her typesetting, cropping photos, designing labels, menus, Christmas cards, paste-up and other commercial art skills which she has used for extra income.
     She has taken many classes and workshops through the years at various places: California College of Arts and Crafts, University of Hawaii, Walnut Creek Civic Community Arts, Oakland, Cal Extension, and from professional artists in watercolor, pastel, printmaking, airbrush, colored pencil, calligraphy, basketry, paper making, oils, sculpture, jewelry and ceramics. Her work is in private collections and has been shown and won awards in Walnut Creek, Concord, Berkeley, Martinez, Pleasanton, Livermore, Pittsburg and Palm Desert.
     Huffman paints with a serene yet startling realistic brushstroke, materializing scenes that often go unnoticed by the average person. She sees the shadows and crevices of trees, flowers, even bicyclists, and gives them emotion and voice. Her 26” x 22” oil on canvas Sedona Sentinels pulls you right into the world of desert trees, close up and personal.
     Learn more at her artist reception 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 7.
     The Art Gallery at Wilder, 20 Orinda Fields Lane, is open for scheduled events such as artist receptions on the first Saturday of every month from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., on Tues. and Thur. from 6 – 8 p.m. and by appointment. Contact Lamorinda Arts Council Curator Denise Nomura, at or for more information.
     Moving forward, more regular hours will be scheduled. The Orinda Parks and Recreation Dept. is seeking bookings of classes and meetings. Contact them at, visit them at 28 Orinda Way or call 925-254-2445.

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