Orinda Art Scene – January 2023

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January in the Art Galleries Orinda Library, Wilder and more

Art Gallery at the Orinda Library:
    The Lamorinda Arts Council presents a group exhibition, which features nature as its theme, Jan. 3 to Feb. 4. Linda Sutton, Teresa Onada, Lois Reynolds Mead and Doug Crooks will comprise the featured artists for the exhibition The opening reception is Saturday, Jan. 7 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Orinda Library, upper rotunda.
    Linda Sutton (www.ldsutton.com), a born animal lover, will have 20 oil paintings on display, including three large oil paintings of various giraffes which she saw while on safari in Kenya in 2008. Sutton is deeply involved with Artists for Conservation (www.artistsforconservation.org), for which member artists donate a portion of their sales to the conservation project of their choice. Sutton said, “Most people do not know that there are between five and eight species of giraffes, and scientists are discussing whether three other kinds are subspecies or bonafide species.”
    Originally trained in oil painting, Sutton switched to watercolor in order to break free from her teacher’s stylistic influence and develop her own style. Recently, a mentor suggested she might try oil again. The two mediums are very different from each other.
    She clarified, “You ‘push’ oil paint, but you ‘chase’ watercolor,” before clarifying that “watercolor paint dries very quickly and the artist must yield to that boundary, while oil paint is the opposite.”
    Teresa Onoda’s (www.onodaart.com) style of plein-air (open air) has a rich tradition in California, but her style is unique with its energetic brush strokes and use of bold color. She studied fine art at Creighton University and has taught art for many years. Currently, her work focuses on the “endangered landscapes” of Northern California, where beautiful rural areas are rapidly being developed to provide housing.
    Onoda’s roots in the Bay Area are tied to “The Society of Six,” a plein-air group started in the early 1900s and held together over several generations. Onoda said she had the good fortune to paint with the last members of that group. She is currently represented by the Nancy Dodds Gallery (www.nancydoddsgallery.com) in Carmel.
    Doug Crooks is a lifelong woodworker, who has created art that runs the gamut from small, intricate things like walking sticks to large structures such as his tear-drop trailer or his home. He won first prize at the California State Fair in 2010 for both his rocking horse and carved walking sticks.
    Sixteen years ago, Crooks retired from his position as a firefighter at the Albany Fire Department. Since then, Crooks has devoted himself full-time to his craft. He was very taken with the folk stories about wood spirits and began making wood spirit bird houses.
    Wood spirits come from the 15th Century, when folks believed the forest to be filled with bad and good spirits. To protect themselves from the bad ones, they would knock on the trees to awaken the good spirits to protect them. We “knock on wood” to this very day.
    Artist Lois Reynolds Mead began making ceramics while working as a special education teacher. She became a serious craftswoman who built her own kiln in her backyard and exhibited and sold her wares at craft fairs. Later, she became an art teacher at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School. When she retired, she was drawn to painting with acrylics and making collages.
    Mead deals more with the “nature” of human beings rather than outside nature. Her paintings are bright, colorful assemblages of the components on a dining table in a primitive style.
    During the pandemic, Mead devoted herself to painting. The works exhibited in this show are part of the series called “On the Table,” a reference to the family Zoom dinners during the pandemic and how much she missed her in-person gatherings with family.
    Mead is secretary of the Lamorinda Arts Council. She is also a filmmaker and has submitted a few short films to the Lamorinda Arts Council film festivals. Her work can be seen on the side of the CVS building in downtown Orinda as well as on Instagram @loisreynoldsmead.

(Courtesy of Linda Sutton)
Linda Sutton’s new series at the Orinda Library in January is a return to oil paint after decades of working in watercolor. This 24” x 26” painting, Easy Reach, is of a giraffe she saw on safari in Kenya.

Art Gallery at Wilder:
    The “Celebrating 40 over 40” display continues through Jan. 7. Juleen Lapporte (www.studiojule.com), an award-winning portrait photographer based in Lafayette, is featured in this exhibit. Celebrating women over 40 and their stories, the totality of the exhibition urges all to transform our representation of older women and celebrate their “authenticity, audacity and beauty.”
    The Wilder Art and Garden Center is located at 20 Orinda Fields Lane. To schedule a viewing by appointment, contact Curator Ani Breslin at anistonbreslin@berkeley.edu. For more information, call the Lamorinda Arts Council at 925.359.9940.

High School Visual Arts Competition
    The 2022 winners are on view online through Feb. Visit bit.ly/3hlP8OV. Registration for the 2023 competition is open now until Friday, Feb. 17. The Lamorinda Arts Council hosts this yearly competition, open to high school students who live in or attend school in Lamorinda, including the Acalanes Union High School District. The competition features cash awards, merit citations and an in-person art exhibit in the Library Gallery, as well as an online public exhibit of entries on the Lamorinda Arts Council website.
    Please visit the site to enjoy last year’s winners. There are images of the winning work in these categories: 2 dimensions, 3 dimensions, tradition and digital photography and digital arts.
    For rules, eligibility and registration, visit the Lamorinda Arts Council page for artists at bit.ly/3HLrkhQ.

Melanie Light can be reached at info@melanielight.com.

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