Cambria hosts January Blues art exhibit

Loretta Novak painted 'San Simeon Cove and Bridge,' an oil painting, during her blue period. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CAMBRIA ALLIED ARTS GALLERY
Loretta Novak painted 'San Simeon Cove and Bridge,' an oil painting, during her blue period. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CAMBRIA ALLIED ARTS GALLERY

January Blues at the Cambria Allied Arts Association’s showroom could reflect the letdown following the holidays, the cold weather, or simply pay homage to such artists as Picasso, Degas and O’Keeffe, who went through their “blue” period.

No matter how you interpret it, however, the exhibit offers a glimpse of blue through the eyes of artists.

Two of the artists, Loretta Novak and Nicole Anderson, experienced their own blue periods, so selecting work for the exhibit was no problem.

“I had a lot of pieces with blue in them,” said Anderson, her nude “Mental Chaos” and her night scenes, such as “Entity of Light.”

Gallery director Lucie Ryan describes Entity as a contrast of moods in a bluesy storm scene, penetrated by light from a building that offers a warm and safe feeling.

Anderson said her night scenes were inspired during evening walks when her imagination cut loose and she observed the mystery and magic of the darkness.

Born and raised in Cambria, Anderson has just been out of high school for a couple of years and is now seriously concentrating on her art.

“I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil,” she said.

She’s been developing her skills by taking art classes such as painting, sketching and life drawing at Cuesta College. She just finished her first sculpture, and has recently been using more textural material in her acrylics for a semi-3-D effect.

Serious about sticking to her art, she works on some aspect of it at least three hours a day. Anderson has also been developing a collection, analyzing her work, deciding what the compositions have in common, or what prompted them.

Novak, a single grandmother, earned a degree in history, then attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles for a year and-a-half.

While raising her children she painted them and interior scenes in her home, “because that’s where I was,” she said. “I never sat outside” to paint.

That changed when she moved to Cambria in the early 2000s and began venturing out with the Wednesday Irregulars, a plein air group. Like many others in the group, Novak can’t say enough good things about them, or their leader, Art Van Rhyn, and the support and encouragement during the critiques.

“It’s a very nonjudgmental group,” she said.

Initially, she was terrified to be painting with so many well established and locally famous artists. But since then she has taken a first place at a juried Allied show.

During her time at Chouinard she used watercolors, then acrylics when painting in her home. Now she uses oils. After the outdoor sessions she finishes up her paintings in her cold garage studio. It’s chilly enough to make her nose and fingers blue.