Love in the abstract

‘Sweetheart’ is among PicosClark’s many offerings in multimedia at Kiamie Wine Cellars.
‘Sweetheart’ is among PicosClark’s many offerings in multimedia at Kiamie Wine Cellars.

After early acclaim for her talents, Linda PicosClark took a 20-year hiatus from exhibiting her work. Now, she’s back in full swing, as evidenced by her show at Kiamie Wine Cellars.

Her work appears to be subjective, but not to the artist.

“This is probably about the closest I’ve come to for any type of objective work,” PicosClark said. Her 23 abstract paintings were timed for Valentine’s Day. “They all allude to hearts, but more than anything, it’s all about love, different types of love.”

PicosClark, whose mixed media includes oils, charcoal pencil, graphite powder, marble dust, gold leaf and encaustic, finds the wax painting the

most challenging. “It’s a talent to

be able to control that medium,” she said.

In the past few years she’s taken classes on the subject in Santa Fe and at the Encaustic National Conference in Massachusetts.

“Then, of course, seeing a lot of Jasper Johns down in Los Angeles really influenced me, too,” she said. Johns initiated a resurgence in that medium in the mid-1950s.

Getting published in a book on women artists in California is among PicosClark’s early accolades, although that turned out to be bittersweet for her.

She had titled her nonrepresentational charcoal lithographs based on random selections from the Bible, which caused the author, a professor, to misinterpret the meaning of the work. “She made a lot of assumptions,” said PicosClark,” adding, with a laugh, “She figured I was plagued with guilt because I’m Catholic.”

While still a student, PicosClark was also in a show of Latin American artists, as she was born in Venezuela to a Mexican mother and Cuban-American father.

Except for the first three years in Mexico City, Picos-Clark spent most of her childhood in the United States. She returned to Mexico to study at Esmeralda: Institute of Plastic Arts, and later earned her art degree at Cal State Long Beach. She’s also independently studied oil painting, mural painting and printmaking.

During various exhibits in Southern California, she won the Young Talent Award at the Los Angeles County Museum.

When the artist became a single mom, she continued to paint, but ceased showing her work. She ran her own graphic business in the Bay Area until 2000.

At that time, she planned to buy a house in New Mexico and devote herself to her art, but her daughter, Julia, wanted to stay near family in California.

Paso Robles seemed like a good compromise, PicosClark said, for its proximity to Los Angeles and San Francisco, whose art scenes are more open to her abstract style.

She started up another graphic design business, and two years ago began to show her art again.

PicosClark said that her daughter, now grown and living nearby, has a good eye for art and remains her best critic. The artist trusts Julia’s judgment.

“She doesn’t paint but has a good feeling about whether the painting is working or not.”