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Going with the flow: Salinas River is focus of Paso’s Studios on the Park exhibit

Newcomer David Williams is showing ‘Salinas Sycamores’ for the ‘Follow the River’ invitational exhibit.
Newcomer David Williams is showing ‘Salinas Sycamores’ for the ‘Follow the River’ invitational exhibit.

The 80 artists invited to exhibit at the “Follow the River, Paint the Dream Show” at Studios on the Park were asked to imagine the future of the Salinas River, which meanders through Paso Robles.

When Morro Bay artist Marylou Falstreau explored the waterway she gave a lot of thought to how she could create an appropriate work of art. “Finally, I just let it go, returned to myself and my own imagination and own imagery,” said Falstreau, who moved from Grass Valley in 2003 and has been an artist for 20 years.

She is delighted that her whimsical submission, “Born from the River,” hangs next to Sarah Winkler’s encaustic and photograph work, “River Dream,” awarded second place.

Heidi Franscioni took third place for “Living in the Flow,” also done in encaustic and photography.

The majority of art in the show, however, features more traditional oil paintings or watercolors. David Settino Scott took Best of Show with his moody oil simply titled “The River.” First place went to WB Eckert, for “River Watch,” one of the few acrylics, hanging in the front window.

Most of the artists who have a studio at the venue have work in the exhibit, including Anne Laddon, whose dream and hard work created the studio where dozens of artists now work, show and sell their work.

Many artists in the exhibit also set up booths at Art in the Park, across the street from the Studios.

David Williams offered his American Impressionist oils. A “new kid in town,” Williams, in his mid-30s, has only been in this area for a year and divides his time between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles.

From Virginia, where he has exhibited extensively, Williams has been painting since age 10, and for the past 13 years has earned his keep as a professional artist. He was juried into Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society and Laguna Plein Air Association.

Williams and Falstreau are among the least recognizable names compared to the many well-known area artists, who include Judy Lyon, Ken Christensen, Jeanette Wolff, and Rosie Rosenthal.

Other seldom seen names and their oil paintings are Gary Blackwell’s “Beautiful Evening Near the Salinas River,” Sibyl Johnson’s “Cerulean Reflections,” Julia Munger Seelas’ “Salinas Sandbars,” Pamela Pantahonig’s “Historic Salinas River Bridge” and Harold Spencer’s “Dream River.”

Tom Peck was among the few who submitted work in graphite, with his large “Salinas River.” Peggy Vrana painted and glazed five tiles for “River Run.” A few photographs made the show, such as “Salina River Corridor Balloon Festival” by Donald Eaton.

Jim Tyler rendered “Santa Margarita Reflections” in pastel, Richard Mortensen’s fused glass with hand-painted touches is titled “Passing through Paso.” Wood was the medium of Barry Lungren, with his ‘Oak Natural-Edge Bowl.”

For her mixed-media renderings, Falstreau uses acrylics, beads and whatever she can get her hands on to express her positive outlook. “You can create all kinds of illusions with mixed media.”

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