Orinda Art Scene – Glover Group – October 2023

(John Henry, Photographer)
Glover Group member, Iris Sabre, enjoying a group plein air painting session amongst the cloudy scenery at Point Lobos State Park in 2019.

    Orinda’s very own Glover Group is returning to the Orinda Library Gallery to showcase their plein air works this month.
    Named for the late Pam Glover, a revered figure in the plein air art community and the wider Bay Area art scene, the group has its roots in Orinda. Glover held a month-long student show yearly at the Orinda Community Center.
    The Glover Group consists of 17 student artists from various cities including Therese Gladstone Gordon and Maria SantoStefano from Orinda.
    “We kind of think of ourselves as having originated at the Orinda Community Center and some of us continue to take classes there because it’s a great way to get out and paint plein air because you know, you have to go somewhere, right?” said SantoStefano.
    After Glover’s passing in 2010, the students carried on her legacy by convening weekly at various outdoor locations for painting sessions. They continue to meet and paint, socialize and partake in a bit of competitive sportsmanship to utilize the tips and tricks of fellow painters.
    “I joined because Pam Glover was such a notable California plein air painter and colorist. I loved her work, and I wanted to learn from her and be challenged and inspired by the community she created,” said Polly Ziolkowski.
    “I’ve learned from all the teachers. Everyone, from Pam to her daughter Anne Marie, even though some didn’t paint like me,” said SantoStefano.
    In addition to knowledge gained from group painting, the Glover Group incorporates the styles and lessons learned from Glover’s classes. Her daughter continued teaching classes based on her mother’s techniques.
    SantoStefano recalls flipping through boxes of Glover’s old paintings with Anne Marie and being brought to tears by their beauty.
    “I’ve never ever had that reaction before to painting, so that really took me to another level, because when I went to take those classes at the community center, I didn’t expect much, you know. I just had no idea what the quality of instruction was. Turned out, it was spectacular,” said SantoStefano.
    Part of Glover’s legacy is her connection to the Society of Six, a group of plein air artists from Oakland which was founded in the early 20th century. Their bright colors and dedication to modernism established them as pioneers in the Northern California art scene.
    Glover painted with Louis Siegriest, a member of this iconic group and with his son Lundy after his father’s passing in 1989. Glover shared the knowledge gained from Siegrest to her students, continuing the preservation of these revered techniques.
    Stop by the gallery Saturday, Oct. 7 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. for light refreshments, live music and a chance to meet and mingle with the artists.

Natasha Kaye can be reached at natashakaye@berkeley.edu.

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