Saturday, February 17, 2018

Artist Leslie O. Vasquez, Not your typical artist's backstory

Bio for Leslie O. Vasquez

O-105 Connecting earth and sky during furtile moon by Leslie Vasquez oil 24x30 $750

Not your typical artist's backstory ….

Leslie spent her childhood outside Reno, Nevada, playing in boats, hiking, riding horses and camping with her family in the Sierra Mountains but art was not her thing. She comes from a long line of professional artists and musicians so she was surrounded by incredible art and people but she never had that gift. It was painfully obvious she was ‘not the talented one’ in her family.

So instead she embraced the outdoors and found she was great with animals. Her first jobs were as a ranch hand on a cuttin’ horse

O-102 Watching You by Leslie Vasquez oil 24x30 $1000

ranch and an Arabian horse ranch working with foals, horses, dogs and cattle. She earned her college degree in English Lit and became a writer among other jobs before having children.

So it came as a total surprise to her when at age 43, she turned to art. So sure she wasn’t good at it and never would be, she wouldn’t even have considered it except she wanted her young children to have more art experience than school was providing. So she turned on PBS with the idea that while watching Bob Ross paint mountains and “happy trees,” she would learn enough to translate the concepts to her youngsters in a way they could enjoy.

"I'm from the PBS-school of fine art," she laughs without hesitation. But the moment she picked up a brush she felt overwhelmed with joy, hope and a powerful healing energy. She suddenly saw nature, animals … everything in a new way -- with the artist’s eye. Science made sense. The world opened up before her.

Within the first year she was talked into teaching art by the local recreation agency who had previously hired her to provide outdoor adventures to the public. The arts council soon heard of her and also hired her to teach art in the schools. Within the second year, she started winning awards, was urged to hang her artwork in shows (both juried and non) and her paintings started selling. Local theatres began having her paint their sets and backdrops. For a while she was in such demand as an artist that she was losing time with her family and lacked time to get outdoors. It became obvious Leslie had to start saying, “No” and learn to balance the demands on her time. There is still the occasional show, awards, and backdrop to paint, and she still goes into the schools as a visiting artist but she also carves out time to explore and paint en plein air.

O-104 Iris Party by Leslie Vasquez oil 24x38 $1400

She still teaches art in the schools for the Arts Council and PTA groups and is hired to give talks about art.

“Doing art is like trekking through the wilderness,” she says. “The struggle is rewarded with discovery not only of a pretty vista but of awe-inspiring, profound feelings … and the struggle is necessary. It’s what changes you. You can’t improve without it.”

Leslie is a member of the Amador Artists Association, the Amador County Arts Council and Arts in Education Committee. In 21014, Leslie was awarded Amador County “Art Patron of the Year” by the Amador Arts Council.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet Artist Kathy Oja, Spring Obsession Artist

O-017  Beauty so Sudden  by Kathy Oja mm 20x16  $350

Kathy Oja - CV

BA Degree in Philosophy – Sonoma State University, California

Various artist workshops and classes – local and international


Ongoing   Gallery 621, Benicia, CA - Artist Member

Ongoing   Camel Barn Painters group show (artist member) -- Java Pointe Café, Benicia, CA

Solo Shows:

September 2014    Jordan Real Estate, Benicia, CA – two person show

November 2013   Benicia City Hall - solo show

October 2012   Shiroco Home Décor, Benicia, CA - solo show

September 2012   Gallery 2110/Loft Gallery – Sacramento, CA - solo show

O-019 Dreaming of Better Days  by Kathy Oja mm 16x20  $350

Juried Shows:

December 2015 Arts Benicia, Gems III – juried show

October 2015 – August 2016 – Vallejo Art Windows- Vallejo, CA – juried show

October 2016 – August 2017 – Vallejo Art Windows- Vallejo, CA – juried show

March 2015   Ironstone Winery Spring Obsession, Murphys, CA - juried show

March 2014   Ironstone Winery Spring Obsession, Murphys, CA - juried show

Group Shows:

September 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017   Arts Benicia Art Auction & Gala – invitational

October 2013   Umpqua Bank, Benicia, CA - Camel Barn Painters group

May 2013   BAIC Multimedia, Benicia, CA - Camel Barn Painters group

January 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 – Arts Benicia, Art of a Community – group

May 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 - Arts Benicia Open Studios

Monday, February 12, 2018

Meet Artist Ann Nancy Macomber

Ann Nancy Macomber

Biography 2018

O-030 The Yosemite Library by Ann Nancy Macomber acrylic 20x30 $800

Working in both fabric and paint, I 'm often both in the same piece, Ann Nancy enriches her images whether abstract or representational with color, texture and linear designs. Her versatility abounds in depictions of animals, landscapes and historic buildings. She works in water- based mediums or a mixture of these to enrich each piece. 
O-031 Layers of Time by Ann Nancy Macomber acrylic 16x20 $400

Town Hall Arts in Copperopolis and Aloft Gallery in Sonora represent her paintings. Her pieces are also displayed during Arts of Bear Valley's two shows during the summer Music Festival there and during the AOBV show at Big Trees State Park.
Special recognition includes Best of Show, Best of Division, and many first awards. The Triton Museum has represented and honored her work and KVlE has awarded her donations.

"Creating art in an improvisational manner is a joyful act for me."

Meet Artist George Haskell, Ironstone Spring Artist

George Haskell

Artist and Musician

O-066 Hanakapiai Beach Kauai by George Haskel  oil 8x10 $225

George Haskell  has always been interested art and music.   As a musician he played saxophone starting in high school and continuing through college and beyond. As a singer/songwriter he often performs at local venues.  He plays finger style guitar and banjo.  

O-068 On the Beach at Kauai by George Haskel  oil 11x14 $325
George’s passion for painting started in college when he took an independent study in painting. After retiring from a forty year career in special education George returned to art. His first artistic love has been landscape painting and one of his favorite subjects is Yosemite Valley. Season by season, scene by scene, and moment by moment  it is never the same valley twice.  Other subjects he loves to paint  include seashores, sunsets and animals.  What ever the subject is George focuses on capturing the light color and mood of the subject at hand.

O-069 The Sentinnel at Big Trees by George Haskel  oil 8x10 $225

Two artists have influenced George’s approach to painting. The first is longtime friend and teacher Judy Cain.  He has also studied with impressionist artist Susan Sarback.  

O-065 El Capitan in the Fog by George Haskel  oil 9x12 $275
George lives just outside of Murphys on the top of Treasure Mountain with his wife Patricia, two cats, two horses, and two corgis.