Art from the seat of a bike

Painter and retired Cuesta College art teacher Chet Amyx exhibits watercolors of county roads

Special to The TribuneApril 22, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    What: Chet Amyx, “Riding SLO County Roads”

    Gallery hours: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Show runs through May 31

    Where: Alegria Wine and Ware, 942 Chorro St., San Luis Obispo

    Contact: 596-0200

“My work is all very exploratory,” Chet Amyx says.

For some artists that could mean exploring innermost thoughts. Others might explore the human form. For Morro Bay’s Amyx, it means jumping on a bike and exploring country roads.

At least that’s what it means for this stage of the 76-year-old watercolorist’s artistic exploration.

Amyx has always been a bit of a bicyclist. During his years teaching art at Cuesta College he’d occasionally ride his road bike to work, take the bus back home and reverse the process the next day.

These days, he and his wife, Guyla, a ceramic artist and retired Cuesta art instructor, are more likely to hop on mountain bikes and head out on a short ride to Cayucos or Los Osos. Such rides turned into inspiration for Amyx’s latest series of watercolors, “Riding SLO County Roads,” showing at Alegria Wine and Ware in San Luis Obispo through the end of May.

The core of the exhibit is eight paintings of scenes from a 3.5-mile stretch of Little Morro Creek Road, not far from the Amyxs’ home off Highway 41. Most look down the road, which differs from Amyx’s installation at Linnaea’s Café in 2009 called “Bicycling Turri Road.” Those watercolors focused on what Amyx saw looking left and looking right as he traveled. Revisit the Turri Road series at www.amyxart.com/chet/turri.html.

Amyx was hired in 1965 to start Cuesta College’s art department, teaching everything but etching and ceramics over the next nearly 30 years. He recalls the first five years most vividly, in cluding leading car trips to see exhibits in San Francisco. For the first couple of years he was the only art teacher.

“It was really down home,” he said, recalling classes held in old Army barracks. A favorite memory is the time he let 25 students paint abstract designs on an outside wall. One administrator hated it. Another loved it. The impromptu mural stayed.

The Amyx home has grown up and out since Chet bought it about 40 years ago and now has space for an indoor studio for him to paint and store a few paintings representative of his career. A backyard studio features a large example of one of Chet’s three-dimensional sculptured canvases from the 1980s. It’s also the spot where Guyla works with clay. They plan to participate in Arts Obispo’s annual Open Studios Tour in October to showcase their busy studios and art-filled home.

See more of the couple’s work on an ongoing basis at the Art Center Morro Bay and Art Central in San Luis Obispo. Alegria is also selling some of Guyla’s functional ceramics — square plates in four sizes.

Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at Monica_Jane2000@yahoo.com.

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