Cambrian: Arts & Events

Artists in Cambria exhibit pair up for a colorful contrast

Carolyn Pye will join Holly McCain in the “Color Connection” exhibit during July at the Old Cambria Grammar School.
Carolyn Pye will join Holly McCain in the “Color Connection” exhibit during July at the Old Cambria Grammar School.

Dynamic color is a common theme that links the painting styles of Holly McCain and Carolyn Pye. And their work comes together in a new show — aptly titled “Color Connection” — that runs throughout July at the Cambria Center for the Arts (CCA).

The opening reception takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 30, and includes a wine bar, live music and refreshments. Along with the main exhibit, there will also be a display of work by other local artists.

Although the two featured artists share many similarities, their backgrounds do contrast in various ways.

McCain received a bachelor’s degree in art/interior design from San Jose State. She then operated a design and plant shop for a few years in the Bay Area before becoming a high school history teacher in the Central Valley. While working and raising a family, she put her art on hold. But five years ago, her art career ramped up after she and her husband, Howard, moved to Cambria.

“Discovering my paint brushes again, along with an incredible group of artist friends, has been soul-nourishing,” said McCain, the CCA’s former gallery director, who paints primarily with oils. “These friends introduced me to the plein-air group, the Wednesday Irregulars, which I credit for much of the growth I've been able to achieve in my work, along with classes from other wonderful artists.

“The experience of painting outside surrounded by such beauty is unmatchable. I would call my style ‘evolving,’ as I like to experiment with styles, techniques and color combinations.”

As for Pye, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly and worked for 20 years at Hearst Castle. Then, she said, “I changed directions and both attended and worked” in the Art Department at Cuesta College. She later received an associate’s degree in both 2-D and 3-D art.

“My course in painting has gone in two different directions, both of which allow me to enjoy my love of pushing and pulling juicy colors around a surface,” Pye said. “One of my directions is the world of ideas. These paintings are usually done in my studio, and fulfill my need to express personal ideas and concerns. The other direction is to celebrate the magnificent place in which we live. These paintings are plein-air, done on location with our famed Cambria Wednesday Irregulars.

“My choice of paint is acrylic, which has a wide range of exciting nontoxic colors and mediums. This allows me to explore interesting color combinations and lets me change directions easily, giving the work a more relaxed style.”

Color Connection

Through July 30 at the Old Cambria Grammar School, 1350 Main St. Gallery hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

Details: 927-8190 or