Last blog left us in Los Olivos (the olives), California, a small town with a lot of charm that appears to run on tourism, especially wine tasting. Nearby are numerous vineyards and wineries where you can explore, tour, and taste as much as you like. I mentioned in a previous blog that the movie Sideways was filmed in and around the Santa Ynez Valley, and in Los Olivos, one of the scenes was filmed at the Los Olivos Tasting Room and Wine Shop.
But I digress. While strolling around the town, and there is a flag pole at the center of town but no square, you will find several art galleries. One is the Gallery Los Olivos, which is Today’s Image.
Upon entering the gallery, which is deceivingly larger than it appears, I noticed one of the ‘resident’ artists drawing away on a portrait done in graphite. She was extremely friendly and told us all about the gallery, some of the artists, about art in the Valley, and also her specialty—portraits in graphite, which she markets as ‘heirloom portraits.’ The piece she was working on was so beautiful and lifelike that you would have thought the subjects were sitting before her live rather than drawn from a reference photo.
According to their brochure, the gallery was formed in 1992 and now represents about 50 artists in the area including Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties. As an incorporated group they operate as an artist-owned gallery. Each month one of the artists is featured, and every month the gallery hosts a show of the Artists Guild of the Santa Ynez Valley. There is also an annual members’ show. Getting to join the group is not easy as they aim for highest quality, and so the jury process is quite rigorous. If you are accepted, you are put on a wait list and must then wait until there is a space available, which appears to be seldom. All kinds of art and artists are represented and beautifully displayed. There are oils, pastels, some acrylic, as well as sculpture and jewelry. If you ever visit Los Olivos, don’t miss it.
Before leaving the Santa Ynez Vallery, I’d like to mention a few other galleries. In Solvang, we vistited the Eberhoj Museum of History and Art, which is full of interesting facts, photos, and art from Solvang’s founding. We also visited the Pavlov Art Gallery on Alisal Rd. We met the owner who told us about the gallery and its art—contemporary expressionist paintings and scultpture. The paintings were beautiful and unexpected in the surrounding setting of the quaint Danish town. One gallery we missed in Buellton was Zaca Creek Art Gallery, which was closed the evening we were there. Maybe next time.
In the Studio
I mentioned I was glad to get back in the studio. I have started on an acylic that I’m painting from a reference photo taken on the trip. This is a view of Santa Barbara from the Stearns Wharf. I haven’t worked on an acrylic painting in several weeks, maybe a month, but it only took a little while to get going on it. I do seem to be using a more colors than usual—don’t know why. I’m trying to capture that hazy light that seems to envelop the California coast starting in the afternoon, and I’m not sure I’ve got it yet. If you’ve ever visited Southern California, you know what I’m talking about. I’ll let you know how it’s going.