Virtual Galleries: Persistent Creations of Paintings and Pastels

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(Courtesy of Dalia Alekna)
Dalia Alekna’s Mendocino Water, a 26” 20” (framed) pastel will be part of the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library’s virtual exhibit during September.

    The Lamorinda Arts Council (Council) has reconfigured all its art exhibits to be virtual until COVID-19 restrictions change. Artists scheduled to display artwork in the virtual gallery at the Orinda Library for the month of September include Dalia Alekna, Linda Kam, Felicia Morris and Jane Raymond. Learn more about them and the program at http://www.lamorindaarts.org/current-exhibits. A new feature offered by the Council is the ability to purchase exhibiting artists’ artwork online during their scheduled exhibit month. To see artwork for sale by the September exhibitors, visit the Online Galleries and Artist Videos page, www.lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries.
    Dalia Alekna of Walnut Creek is showing etchings, monoprints and pastels. Her lifelong love of art in many mediums came from her mother, who studied art in Lithuania and won a national prize there as the best female artist. Alekna notes how ubiquitous pigments are in the art world; the same pigments are used to make pastels, oil, acrylic and watercolor paint. Pastels are made from pigments mixed with gum Arabic and have a higher pigment concentration than any other artistic medium. The result creates rich, luminous colors. Mendocino Water, a 26”x 20” pastel, holds a quiet beauty, while the glowing, many hued blues tame the lapping of the surf at the shore.
    Working in more than one medium at a time helps to keep her artwork fresh; once in a while, she takes workshops just to try something new. “I work alone in my studio like many artists, which can get lonely. That’s why I’m involved in three galleries – Moraga Art Gallery, Valley Art Gallery and Blackhawk Gallery. Being with other artists and seeing their work helps me keep ideas flowing,” Alekna remarks. A longtime hiker, she loves nature and landscapes and often can be found in the foothills of Mt. Diablo. She enthuses that she feels as if she lives in paradise when on one of these walks. See more of her work at https://valleyartgallery.org/artist/dalia-alekna-2/.

(Linda Kam)
Lilium “Stargazer” Asiatic Lily, a 19” x 24” watercolor is one of artist Linda Kam’s paintings at the Orinda Library’s virtual exhibit during September.

    Linda Kam of Orinda also developed a fascination with art at an early age. Her father was a professional artist and talented cartoonist. He guided her into the world of art, and she has lived in that world ever since. After a 17-year career teaching art at Wagner Ranch, she now has time to devote to her personal passion – botanical art. Her theme, “A Diverse Collage of Botanical Watercolor Paintings,” consists of 20 watercolors. The delicacy of Red Impression, a 20’ x 24” watercolor of three tulips, belies the deep radiance of the red pigments on its petals.
    Kam takes classes from Catherine Watters who is teaching her new techniques which take time to master through trial and error. “Since sheltering in place, I have had plenty of time to think and plan what subjects to paint next,” Kam explains. When a viewer tells her it appears they can pick the flower or fruit right off the paper, she says she has achieved her goal, making her happy. To view a video of her virtual exhibit go to  www.lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries or see what she is up to at www.artzlinda.wixsite.com/mysite.
    Felicia Morris of Orinda says creating beauty through the visual arts has been a passion throughout most of her life: “As time has gone on, my focus became inspirations from paintings and symbols shown to me while sleeping. These gifts of the spirit can encourage self-awareness while giving expression to nature’s beauty.” Her 16” x 20” acrylic painting, Mary in Orinda, portrays a peaceful mantle of blossoms and flowers that Mary spreads in the Orinda hills. She quotes Meher Baba as one of her inspirations: “Art is one of the sources through which the soul expresses itself and inspires others.”
    Recently, she has been creating smaller works which sometimes include playful drawings. For instance, she painted three small signs to encourage herself and others. One said, “Be brave, be happy.” She affirms that she loves giving such gifts during these hard times because they make it easier to keep going on, even in small ways, because they can uplift people’s spirits.

(Jane Raymond)
Jane Raymond’s 16” x 20” watercolor entitled Jamie is part of the Orinda Library’s virtual exhibit during September.

    Jane Raymond of Orinda also spoke to what she sees as the function of art: “Life is in flux, always evolving. Art holds things still for a while.” You’ll find Raymond seeking beauty in the real world via subject, balance and harmony while composing her oil paintings. Another lifetime artist, Raymond, who has Masters’ degrees in Biology and Architecture, claims that both inform what she sees and does in her creation process.
    For a time, she sponsored a dressage-trained horse and then studied, trained and taught dressage for many years. “Dressage is a subtle art, seeking harmony balance between horse and rider,” she maintains. Now, she works in life drawing, using charcoal to quickly capture form, gesture and likeness. She then works in oils or watercolors, rarely in acrylic or graphite. Working on portraits in a group with models is part of her lifelong fascination with portraiture. One look at Dennis Hernandes, Cucina Paradiso, a 16” x 20” oil on canvas depicting the chef at her favorite restaurant in Petaluma, shows that she has reached her goal of harmony in proportions – no mean feat.
    Photographs of artwork from each artist are featured at the Council’s virtual gallery, which also includes videos of their exhibit at https://lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries/. To learn more about the Council go to http://www.lamorindaarts.org. Presently, access to the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library is not allowed. Front door service, however, for library transactions is available at the Orinda Library, 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.; closed on Sunday. Call 925-254-2184 for more information or visit http://ccclib.org/.

Virtual Art Gallery at Wilder: Creativity During Quarantine? Yes!

(Lara Horoupian)
Orinda artist Lara Horoupian’s Metamorphosis. The 24” x 48”mixed media piece will be on display at the virtual art gallery at Wilder.

    The Lamorinda Arts Council invites you to learn more about Orinda artist Lara B. Horoupian’s paintings at her virtual exhibit during September in the Art Gallery at Wilder at https://lamorindaarts.org/current-exhibits-wilder/. “I produced 27 paintings during quarantine, sometimes working five to six hours daily in my studio,” the artist noted. “I worked through bursts of feelings like passion, fear, mortality and hope,” Horoupian added. At one point, Horoupian ran out of paint and remembered pigments from Peru that her husband had given her as a gift 15 years earlier. She had saved them for a special occasion. They were used to create paintings in this exhibit, a special occasion, indeed!
    The centerpiece of her show is a 36” x 48” mixed media work entitled Transformation. She and her 13-year old daughter Pateel worked on it together to make it more dimensional. Pateel explained, “If you stand in front of it, you want to jump right into the painting.” Transformation, which certainly invites examination, will reward you for spending time appreciating it. Listen to a music video featuring Debussy’s Clair de Lune  while viewing this painting at www.lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries.
    If you do, here and there you will notice bats, flying free spirits, some painted in light yellow and gold with bits of laced origami papers surrounding them. Contrary to the views of most, Horoupian sees bats as a beautiful species that bring pollination and good things for nature if people just leave them alone. Horoupian maintained that shimmers of gold and yellow in her series of paintings are reminders to turn on the light of hope in her quarantine paintings.
    Horoupian runs Laratelier, a popular youth art school, out of her studio. She said being around the children she teaches is an unending source of creative inspiration. To see more of her work visit her website, www.larabhoroupian.carbonmade.com. All proceeds from the sale of her art in this show will be donated to rescue efforts for people affected by the recent tragic explosion in Beirut. Her father has a store there which was damaged. It is where grew up.
    To learn more about the Council’s virtual Art Gallery at Wilder with photographs of Horoupian’s work, go to www.lamorindaarts.org/current-exhibits-wilder/. To view Horoupian’s video preview of her exhibit, visit http://www.lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries. The brick and mortar Art Gallery at Wilder is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions; thus, the need for this virtual Gallery. Contact wildergallery@lamorindaarts.org with any questions.

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