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. 

Meet Artist Deborah Marlene, Spring Obsession Artist

Deborah Marlene Watercolor Artist/Teacher      

P.O. Box 207, Mokelumne Hill, CA 95245

Email:             Cell: 209 753-8507

Deborah was born” An Artist” and raised in the countryside, of Modesto, CA. She began her art training in acrylics in 1969. She later worked in oils in the 1970’s. In 1997, after moving to Calaveras County, she began studying Watercolor and this has been her favorite medium ever since. Deborah loves to paint in vibrant color and takes her inspiration from nature, with florals and landscapes, being her preferred subjects.

O-113 A Wlk in the Meadow by Deborah Marlene acryic 24x20 $250

Deborah is a member of the Calaveras County Arts Council and the Arts of Bear Valley; showing in many of their venues. She has won several awards in the Calaveras County Fair, professional Arts division. She has been juried into shows at Gallo and Ironstone. Deborah also showed at Art & Soul Gallery, in Arnold in the early 2000s and was a top selling guest artist at the Iron Door Gallery, in Murphys, in 2003. More recently she was a member of Art on Main in Murphys, in 2013.
O-114 Southern France Memoriesby Deborah Marlene wc 29x25 $500
Deborah ran her own Gallery, “Deborah Marlene’s” in Mokelumne Hill, CA from September 28, 2013 to December 31, 2014. “ It was my privilege to showcase 16 other Artists and Artisans during this time. I truly appreciate the behind the scenes work that is required of gallery owners”.

Deborah offers private and group art lessons in Watercolors, Acrylics, Oils, and most recently Alcohol Inks on Tiles. She works in accordance with Acme Art of Moke Hill, but also hosts events in private homes or other venues.
Marilyn Wear NWS, WW, CWA, TWSA, ASMA

O-062 The River Flows by Marilyn Wear  wc 14x20 $1500

        Marilyn was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, where she graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. She specialized in Illustration, where she further developed her skill of drawing and painting realistically. She worked as an advertising artist/illustrator until 2003, then left her last job in commercial art to pursue her dream of becoming a full time fine artist. Previously she had worked with oils and acrylics, but soon discovered that transparent watercolor was the best medium for her realistic, yet not photographically real style. Her paintings have been well received and continue to win recognition and awards in juried shows throughout the country. In 2005 she was selected as a signature member of the prestegious National Watercolor Society. She has since been selected for signature membership in Watercolor West, California Watercolor Association ,Transparent Watercolor Association of America, and most recently, the American Society of Marine Artists. In 2016 she had the honor of becoming a juried member of the Society of Animal Artists.  She especially enjoys painting birds, which lead to one of her paintings being juried into the internationally recognized "Bird's in Art" annual exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wassau, Wisconsin. Marilyn's paintings are in numerous private and public collections throughout the United States and England. Her work has been featured in several publications, including International Artist's Magazine's book, "How Did You Paint That? 100 ways to Paint Still Life & Florals" and PleinAir magazine.

O-063 Kona_waveriders by Marilyn Wear  wc 13x19 $1200
      Although she also paints with oil and acrylics, her favorite medium is transparent watercolor, where she uses a technique of layering many glazes of watercolor to create richness and depth, while retaining a glowing vibrancy. She finds some of her best subject matter close to home in her garden and in the Sierra Nevada mountains, particularly the dramatic landscapes of Yosemite National Park. She has a special interest in the flora and fauna of one of her favorite places in the world, Hawaii. Her style is realistic with an emphasis on capturing the light, color and mood of her chosen subject.

O-064 Perched in the Palms  by Marilyn Wear  wc 12x17 $1200
She is currently represented by  Cedar Street Gallery in Honolulu, Hawaii

       Marilyn can be contacted at 209-277-1922, or by e-mail at To view more of Marilyn's paintings and latest news, please visit her website: http://

Meet Artist Roy T. Ishii, Ironstone's Spring Obsession Art Show

Roy T. Ishii, MD
O-042  Old Railroad Bridge  by Roy Ishii  wc 14x20 $450
       Honolulu, Hawaii was the birth place for Roy in March of 1942. The United States had just entered WWII a few months earlier with the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it was an anxious time for all the Japanese-Americans in the islands. His father, Cyrus, an employee of the US Navy at Pearl Harbor had suffered a severe head injury while working on the clean up crews after the attack and was hospitalized for weeks. His neurosurgeon did not think he would survive but he did. Mother Bessie was left pretty much on her own to cope with her husband's injury and raise two children.

O-043 legion park by Roy Ishii  wc 14x20 $450
     As a young boy, Roy enjoyed studying the sciences but also loved to draw. As time passed, the sciences took precedence and Roy became a pre-med student at Purdue University. he then went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco and graduated in 1968. Following internship at Los Angeles County hospital and pediatric residency at Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, California, Roy served 2 years in the US Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi which was one of 7 regional Air Force medical centers. There, he met and married his wife Gayle.

O-044  Tree of Life by Roy Ishii  wc 14x19 $450

     Upon discharge from the military , Roy and Gayle moved to Lodi, California where he practiced general pediatrics for 37 years, and together they raised 2 daughters, Nicole and Andrea.
     Roy retired from medical practice in 2010 and finally had time enough to take up watercolor painting. He is indebted to his art instructors, Deanna Hunt, associate professor at UOP, Jeanne Jannsen and Andrea Morris for teaching him the basic technical skills of watercolor painting and the encouragement they provided along the way. He is pleased to be able to display some of his work at the Ironstone Spring Art Show.

Meet Artist Susie Hoffman, Spring Obsession accepted artist

Susie Hoffman

Fine Art 2018
Copperopolis, CA       

Susie took up art after she retired from teaching sixth grade English/history 15 years ago.  She started in watercolor, but has branched into drawing, oils, pastels, collage, and acrylics.   She and her husband, Larry, created the art center Town Hall Arts in Copperopolis where she has enjoyed classes by many foothill artists over the last eight years.  From pastel classes to mosaics, she is always eager to learn something new.  She also teaches beginning art in all media and sells her artwork and photographs at Town Hall Arts. 
She began showing her work seven years ago. Honors include multiple first place awards from Delicato Vineyard Show, Mother Lode Art Show, Valley Art Show, Calaveras Fair, Motherlode Fair, and Oak Valley Show.  She was awarded Best of Show for Photography at Oak Valley Art Show twice, and received the People’s Choice Award there also.   Her watercolor painting, “Highland Cow” received a sponsor award at the Lathrop Mayor’s Show in 2017. She has received 12 Best of Divisions at local fairs.

Susie’s oil painting, “Simple Things”, was on the cover of the September KVIE “OnSix” program guide to promote the 2015 auction on public television. Her watercolor portrait of Glenn Wasson as Black Bart appears in his recently published book, Too Much to Swallow.  Her photograph, “On Your Mark”, Division Winner from the Calaveras County Fair, was published in Mark Twain's 88 Days in the Mother Lode & Stories of the Gold Rush.    “Fifty Pounds of Love”, a portrait of her Chocolate Lab pup, was featured in the window at Mistlin Gallery in Modesto as part of the Central California Art Showcase 2015.  Two of her watercolors were published in Sierra Wonders, a book of visual and literary works honoring the Sierra Nevada.  Two additional watercolors were published in Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate, a Taste of Literary Elegance.  Her graphite portrait, “I Hope You Dance”, appeared on the 2012 program cover of the Ironstone Spring Obsession Show.  Her art has been bell ringers at the KVIE auction for five years You may see Susie’s artwork displayed at Galerie Copper, Roaster’s Coffee House, and Saddle Creek Resort in Copperopolis; Manzanita Arts Emporium in Angels Camp; Calaveras Arts Council in San Andreas; various venues in Sonora; and on her Etsy Shop at