Plein air artists have a long tradition of meeting up to paint together on the side of the road overlooking the ocean or out on a ranch before their favorite barn falls down. Apparently area photographers get similar ideas.
For example, fine art photographers Kabe Russell, Michael V. Messina, Dennis Jackson and Alison Watt Jackson traveled to a variety of San Luis Obispo County pools seeking inspiration for their H20 (Just Add Water) exhibit, on display at Olive Tree Fine Arts in Atascadero through July 17. They also brought along their muses, female models willing to take on the form of mermaids, sirens and ethereal beauties.
For this show, Russell tends toward the surreal. Messina goes for a painterly style. Jackson says he aims for dreamscapes of liquid beauty. And Jackson debuts her black and white series of a woman’s symbolic journey as viewed through a piece of fabric.
Denise Schryver, a talented landscape painter who was invited to show her pastels and fiber art at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in March, opened the gallery about three years ago. The space also serves as her studio and a place to hang out with her handsome Belgian dogs.
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Other artists who show their work are asked to gallery sit five hours a month, which means whenever you drop by, you’ll likely be able to talk with one of the represented artists and learn more about their work. One popular regular is charcoal portrait artist Steve Fuller, who minds the shop from 2 p.m. to closing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. His portrait of Atascadero photographer Joe Schwartz, who recently died at age 99, won’t likely be on the walls much longer. Schryver also features several of Schwartz’s black-and-white works at the gallery.
I was especially drawn to Marie Ramie’s abstract landscape oils of Paso Robles and postal art by Morro Bay’s Philip Carey. The gallery offers quite the variety with a couple of bronze sculptures by Mason Wages, watercolor nudes from Diane Demeter and jewelry by Beverly Brown.
Like the El Camino Art Association’s Art Space in Arroyo Grande, Olive Tree Fine Arts Gallery is a co-op endeavor worth the drive from San Luis Obispo. A quick call before you head out is a good idea just to make sure someone is home.
The show at the Art Space through June 29 includes work that will be featured in the El Camino Art Association’s 2014 calendar, which will raise funds for South County high school art scholarships. Find the gallery at 1200 E. Grand, Arroyo Grande; 550-9991.
If you go
What: H20 (Just Add Water)
Gallery hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; show runs through July 17
Where: Olive Tree Fine Arts Gallery, 5850 Traffic Way, Atascadero