A recent trip to the Central California coast was centered in the Santa Ynez Valley. The main interests in the area are vineyards and wine-making along with a lot of tourism as you might expect. Today’s Image is a view of the beautiful valley.
A variety of art galleries mingle with the many wine-tasting venues and provide a glimpse of the local art and artists. Los Olivos is but one of the towns in the valley that cater to the wine tourists, along with Buellton, Solvang, and Santa Ynez itself. It’s a picturesque place with a small grid of streets lined with restaurants, shops, art galleries and, of course, many, many wine-tasting bars and cafes.
As somewhat of a surprise in such a small town, there are at least four art galleries that I spotted (there may be more). They are, in no particular order:
- Wilding Art Museum specializes in artwork with wildlife and preserving wildlife especially in California the local area.
- Sansone Studio is a gallery featuring unique copper and enameled pieces that are beautiful and striking.
- Judith Hale Gallery is a more traditional art gallery “specializing in traditional and western fine art.” There is also a metal sculpture garden in the backyard with whimsical designs that is well worth a stroll.
- Gallery Los Olivos is an artist-owned gallery that appeared to have the most variety of art from which to view and/or choose. One of the resident artists was on hand to tell about the gallery and provide insight into its works. More on Gallery Los Olivos next blog.
(Back) In the Studio
After almost a couple of weeks away from paper or canvas, I am very glad to be back in the studio again. Like starting an engine that’s been idle, it took me a little while to get back in the swing of things. I couldn’t decide what to do first, but decided on soft pastels of some iconic California landmarks.
I have found a surface for applying soft pastels that I like. I came across it quite by accident when looking for a way to be thrifty by gesso-ing over an existing acrylic painting. When you apply a coat of gesso on canvas and let it dry, you are left with a pretty rough surface texture, at least the way I apply gesso, which is brushed on sloppily without too much care.
Instead of using the canvas for another acrylic, I decided to draw with pastels. As you probably know, pastels are good for drawing/painting subjects without a lot of details. That is exactly what you get with this surface, a loose painting with somewhat of an Impressionistic look and feel.
And to top it off, rather than using a spray fixative to set the pastel, I decided (out of nowhere) to use an acrylic varnish to seal it. I didn’t know what would turn out, but I am please with the results. The varnish mixes with the pastel giving a painterly effect to the subject and an out-of-focus effect that I like. So I’m trying this out on several of the pastel paintings. Since I can’t trademark the technique, I’m happy to share it.