The large glossy black birds are often a popular theme for artists, maybe because they hold a pose longer than tiny elusive birds or their well-documented intelligence attracts artists. “They are smart,” said Cambria artist Jeanette Wolff, and “faithful to their families.”
For the Allied Arts Association's current juried exhibit “Fall Color – Crows, Scared or Not,” however, only a few crows make an appearance, and half of the artists were not faithful to the theme in general.
“There actually weren't that many crows,” said the gallery's co-director Holly McCain.
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The works of those artists who didn’t stick to the themes of autumn colors or the bird line the corridor of the former grammar school that is now Cambria Center for the Art's home.The entries that do show the hues of fall grace the wide front hall of the venue. “We gave priority hanging to those,” said Mc Cain. Cambria watercolor artist Judy Lyon, a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, had the sole responsibility of selecting the winners.
Chris Van Winkle of Morro Bay made the honor list for work that best represents the overall theme with his “Crow Pow Wow Dancers.” The scene he depicts in watercolor, however, doesn't show dancing birds, but instead the Native American tribe. According to Mc Cain, Van Winkle did have an actual crow in another of his entries.
Sally Tippman took the blue ribbon for her painting “Wrapped in Silken Robes.” She said she was smitten by the beautiful yellow of the model's robe, how some of it was translucent, and she was taken by the model's dark auburn hair. The colors fit the autumn theme. The Atascadero artist said she's enjoying the mixed media she's been using lately. “I've been doing a lot of hybrids,” she said, a combination of watercolors, graphite or charcoal, then a water-soluble oil paint. “Mixing water and oil,” Tippman said with a laugh.
Open to all medium, the exhibit gave Cambria potters Fox and Lois Garney an opportunity to show their work and snag second place with their “Two Octo = Sponge Sculpture.”
Another medium, stone, gave sculptor John Shreve the chance to take third place with his “Golden Stone.”
Wolff fully embraced the theme, and took fourth place for her oil painting “I Know Crows, Crows Know Me.”
“I have a big interest in crows,” she said, and has painted a mural that contains the birds in front of her Cambria home. “I've got crows in a lot of paintings,” said Wolff, who has even published a book, “Crows That I have Known,” filled with her sketches during a 20-year period of watching generations of them from her deck on Happy Hill.