Viking Vessels, Chinese Scroll Paintings, Jewelry and Abstract Retrospective

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(Courtesy of Lesley Jensen)
Leslie Jensen's 12" x 7" x 7" pit fired ceramic Viking Vessel shows an interplay of fume metallic glazes in grays to deep rusts overlaid with black grid-like lines. This striking piece has a curved lid and its top piece is reminiscent of Viking symbols.

    The Lamorinda Arts Council presents the work of Dina Asna, Raymond L. Haywood, Lesley Jensen and Joan Yao at the in-person and virtual Art Gallery at the Orinda Library during November. View their work online at http://www.lamorindaarts.org/online-galleries.
    Meet the artists at a reception in their honor outdoors Saturday, Nov. 6 from 3 to 5 p.m. where light refreshments will be served. All COVID-19 precautions will be observed for health and safety.
    Asna combines her love of painting with her jewelry designs. “I express my emotions through painting and, as a designer, transform them into earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings,” she said. Her handcrafted, handmade jewelry is inspired by her journey throughout three continents where she travelled, worked and lived. After traveling the world, she settled in Moraga.
    The Moon Whisper, her 11” x 15” acrylic painting, sets a playful tone with trees nestling around the silvery celestial body. Always on the lookout for new techniques, she has created a collection of lightweight hypoallergenic antique bronze jewelry. Visit www.din-art.com to learn more.
    Haywood, who lives in Berkeley, is showing a seven-year retrospective about the evolution of his abstract paintings. He moved from small, intimate 8” x 8” panels to 60” x 60” panels. His subject matter evolved from pure surface abstraction to abstract expressionist landscapes and seascapes.
    In Sister Typhoon, a 36” x 36” acrylic on wood, there are repetitions of linear elements and patterned voluminous surfaces. Movement is everywhere. Muted yellows, oranges and blues swirl in an atmosphere of grays.
    For Haywood, painting is a mode of communication utilizing vivid, dynamic color and gesture to provoke emotional responses to the work. He said, “How you feel after reviewing my paintings is as important as the craft of the messages embedded in the work.” For more of his work, visit 
www.raymondlhaywood.com. Catch his show at the Mercury 20 Gallery through Nov. 27, 425 25th St., Oakland, www.mercurytwenty.com.
    Jensen has been a ceramics teacher for 35 years and said this has impacted her work immensely. “Encouraging my students to explore the possibilities in this wonderful medium has allowed me the freedom to also embrace exploration,” she said. Her show of 20 pieces reflects her intrigue and deep interest in the ceramic processes of raku and pit firing.
    “I honor and love the work of Julia Galloway. I traveled from Lafayette, where I live, to her class at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, CO, where I saw the playful decoration on her work. I’ve learned many techniques from her. She makes pottery that is deeply personal for her with stories attached to her work. I hope to inspire my students in the way she has inspired me,” said Jensen.
    Jensen’s 12” x 7” x 7” pit fired ceramic Viking Vessel shows an interplay of fume metallic glazes in grays to deep rusts overlaid with black grid-like lines. This striking piece has a curved lid and its top piece is reminiscent of Viking symbols. It is featured in John Toki’s forthcoming sixth edition of his acclaimed book, Hands of Clay, scheduled to be released by Oxford University Press in 2022..
    Joan Yao, also of Moraga, counts her artistic life as beginning when she met the granddaughter of the renowned world-class artist Chang Dai-chien (1899-1983). Originally known as a guohua or traditional Chinese painter, by the 1960s he was also a celebrated modern Impressionist and Expressionist painter.
    Chang traveled the world and even gifted Picasso with a special set of brushes. “It was truly Mr. Chang’s character that influenced me the most. His tenacity in believing in himself, his relentlessness of never giving up and his free spirit encouraged me to be the artist and art educator that I am today,” Yao said.
    Yao considers herself fortunate to have a long history of teaching Chinese calligraphy painting to many students at both the Contra Costa Chinese School, part of Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, and her home. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to teach many students, their parents and adult students in the East Bay community since 2000,” she said. Many of her students compete in the Northern California Art Competition and receive awards and recognition. To learn more email Yao at joanyao1128@gmail.com.
    The paintings she is showing are inspired by nature, near and far. She hopes people will enjoy viewing her vertical scroll paintings, a form of traditional Chinese artwork. There are Chinese handscroll paintings dating back to the late fourth century C.E.
    To learn more about the Lamorinda Arts Council, go to www.lamorindaarts.org. This exhibit runs in the Art Gallery Nov. 1 through Nov. 30 during normal library hours at 26 Orinda Way. Hours are Mon. – Thur., 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed Sun. and closed Nov. 11, Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. and Nov. 25. Call 925.254.2184 for more information about the library or visit 
www.ccclib.org. Email the curators with questions at gallery@lamorindaarts.org.

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