The March Featured Artist, Marsha Connell, presents works that articulate an artistic evolution initiated in collage and leading to the "Murder of Crows" still-life oil paintings. Connell had long been a painter and sculptor when her daughter, Reba, invited her to make a collage for shared communication while she was having her junior year abroad in Israel, a year that coincided with the first Gulf War. The collages became an unexpected healing process, fueled deeper by a dream of war preparations that suggested she bear witness. The collage "letters without words" to her daughter grew into a series of 150 "Dream Vessels" that speak with a visual vocabulary, like "Vanitas" paintings, symbolically merging awareness of death and the passage of time with the beauty of life.
When words finally came, they emerged from the "dreaming in the day" dance practice of Authentic Movement. The resulting poems were often written in the presence of the collages and arose from a similar place of finding connections among discovered fragments. They accompany the Dream Vessels, but do not describe or explain them.
The arranging and rearranging of found images in collage making laid the groundwork for assembling and staging objects in the "Crow" series. "Spirit birds" and wings play a supporting role in the collages; birds star in the still-life series. "Through this work, I found a way to bring hope together with darkness. Assembling these found images was like taking the broken pieces of the world and putting them back together."
Both the collages and the crow paintings entice the viewer to look closer and follow a path of discovery. The paintings are also homages to other painters, such as "Thinking of Emily Carr." And there is humor, Connell confided, "The longer these crows were in my studio, the more trouble they got into!" evidenced by their activities and positions in the paintings.
Upstairs Art Gallery, Healdsburg Celebrated 21 years in June 2018
In June 2018, Upstairs Art Gallery celebrated their 21st Anniversary with the theme "Abundance". This major milestone gives the gallery the honor of being the longest-running art gallery in Healdsburg history, a town that is currently the vibrant home to over 20 art galleries. This small gallery was ahead of its time when founded in 1997, as it was the first artist-owned gallery to open in Sonoma County, a business model that has since been followed successfully by many more!
June is the time of year to show off Sonoma County's bounty of crops, backyard gardens and agricultural heritage. "Abundance" was the theme featured in the gallery front window. Art works by Carolyn Wilson, Lenona Winter, Cynthia Jackson-Hein, Willow LaLand, Dan Scannell, Ron Sumner and Jill Keller Peters showcase the varied farmland offerings that are rooted in Sonoma County. Food and wine served focused on local and seasonal produce.
A special celebration occurred at the gallery on Saturday, June 23 2018. A large gathering of artists past and present celebrated and there was a historical showcase of artwork by many alumni artists who have been part of the gallery's 21 year past.
"We have enjoyed playing detective. We tracked down as many former artists as we could, who have been involved over the gallery's past 21 years, and invited them to participate in the anniversary festivities," said Phyllis Rapp, a Healdsburg local, "It's going to be a great reunion." Phyllis is in a unique position as she was one of the founding artists in 1997, and has recently returned to the gallery, so in a sense has come full circle. The gallery began life as a non-profit organization and has since evolved into an independent enterprise, owned and operated by a partnership of 16 local artists.
Guest artists in June include: T Barny, James Reynolds, Ned Luzmoor, Lindy Date, Gary Sauder, Katrina Small, Diana Majumdar, Karina Nishi Marcus, Taylor Jane Page, Judy Markoff, Tamara Sanchez, Dave Walker, Dee Andreini, Jan Thomas, Joyce Hasselbeck, Don Drummond, and Tony Mininno.
The Upstairs Art Gallery in Healdsburg was originally conceived in 1997 by the members of the Santa Rosa Art Guild (SRAG). The members of SRAG wanted a venue to display and sell their artwork. At that time Levin & Company Book store in Healdsburg decided to sublet the mezzanine level of their retail space on Center Street. They were hoping to find a business that would not only blend but compliment the book store, two businesses sharing the same space, and an art gallery was the perfect pairing. The combined establishments of Levin & Company and the Upstairs Art Gallery became a reality the April of 1997, and the gallery's opening reception took place on June 28, 1997.
There were 17 founding artists: Joy Amen, Susan Lee, Yero Rudzinskas, Joan January, Phyllis Rapp, Ned Luzmoor, Judy Markoff, Nancy Burres, T. Barny, Karina Nishi Marcus, Lindy Date, Louise Johnson, Joyce Hasselbeck, Rod Lee, Lida Nicholson-Gauvin, Ana Zavala,and Lorrian Levias. Some of these 17 original artists are still residing in the area today
A newspaper clipping from Cloverdale 1997 reports: A new gallery has opened in Healdsburg. Seven members of the Santa Rosa Art Guild have formed a new collective of fine art and craft gallery called the S. R. A. G. Upstairs Art Gallery. These artists decided that they would open their own place and sell their own art.
"The first steps were "exhausting, but very exciting going to all the meetings and helping plan and complete all the necessary steps to open a business. We rented the mezzanine above the Levin & Co. bookstore right on the plaza. Then we had to clean, paint the walls, put up track lighting, find desks, display tables, etc. " said Nancy Burres of Cloverdale, (July, 1997, "Sonoma County Aglow").
It wasn't easy working with other creative, strong minded artists. After a month of meetings and workdays the gallery opened April 10, 1997.
Nishi Marcus describes her memory of the early days, "I remember taking a long time with lots of discussion about what name -- Upstairs Art Gallery won as it was descriptive. I was against it, for I thought if we were to ever move to another location that the name would not be adaptable. Who was to know that the Upstairs Art Gallery would still be functioning after all these years at the same spot up the stairs.....truly an accomplishment."
Two members of the UAG lost their homes and numerous pieces of art in the fires from October 2017. One member was poised to share his art and open studio with the public for Art Trails. The fellow gallery members of UAG were very supportive of their artists who suffered these unfortunate losses, following up with food, good company and a collection for new art supplies.
"I moved to Healdsburg in 2006", says Willow LaLand, "and have been in the greater area since 1989. I visited all the galleries in town frequently. What impressed me the most, is that with the high turnover in retail business on the square, the community of artists that make up the Upstairs Art Gallery stayed opened during the economy's highs and lows. I am honored to be a part of one of the long standing successes of Healdsburg."
Current Members of Upstairs Art Gallery:
Carolyn Wilson, manager, Donna Schaffer, Laura Roney, Lenona Winter, Bill Gittins, Cynthia Jackson-Hein, Dan Scannell, Jo Tobin-Charleston, Ronald Sumner, John Warner, Susan Greer, Willow LaLand, Marsha Connell, Phyllis Rapp, Cynthia Sumner, Jill Keller Peters
Farm to Pantry
June 2018: The gallery partnered with the Healdsburg non-profit, Farm to Pantry, whose mission is to nourish those who are hungry or have a limited access to nutritious produce. Volunteer gleaners harvest, collect and deliver excess produce that would otherwise go to waste. 10% of gallery sales from the month of June were contributed to the Farm to Pantry program, with the desire of nourishing the community from artists and community in the spirit of sharing.
In collaboration with the Healdsburg non-profit organization Farm to Pantry, who close the hunger gap in our local community by gleaning excess fruit and produce that would otherwise go to waste. https://www.farmtopantry.org/
"Drawn to Water"
Celebrating Our New Painters
"Drawn to Water" is the theme now being featured in the front window of the gallery. Our three new local artists - Karen Miller, Beverly Bird and Andrea Cleall - are all showing their own water themes to the end of January.
There's a welcoming reception at Upstairs Art Gallery, Healdsburg:
Saturday, January 12th 2019 from 2pm- 5pm.
All three artists will be on hand to introduce themselves and talk about their work.
Karen Miller studied art at UC Santa Cruz specializing in lithography and intaglio. She moved on to become a structural engineer for 20 years. After battling a long illness, she returned to her art and now shares the magic she creates. Using soft pastels, Karen beautifully portrays many aspects of our local landscape. Her vignettes of ponds, lakes, woods and the surrounding trees are both ethereal and subtle with delightful bursts of color that draw you into her paintings, inviting you to linger.
Beverly Bird lives near the Russian River, not far from the ocean. Her feel for the land and her connection to it, define her paintings. It feels as if you're wandering beside her, balancing on a windy cliff and watching the spray of waves as they hit the shore. She conveys a sense of our place in nature, whether traipsing through swampy creek beds in search of adventure, or staring across a vast vineyard towards the mountains beyond. You can also see portraits of figures and faces on display that have captured her imagination as well. Beverly has a BA in art from CSU Long Beach and has continued studying over the years with many master artists.
Andrea Cleall is drawn to imagery that expresses light in a beautiful way. Her lakes, rivers, and creeks are rendered with a deep, intimate appreciation of Sonoma County. She also depicts people, flora and wildlife in a way that invites you to see her subjects in a personal manner. Her still lifes of fruit ripe with color and flowers in bloom, seem to glow with qualities found in paintings by the old masters. Andrea has studied art since early school days and attended classes at the California Institute of Art.
Ron Sumner is the featured artist for the Small Works Showcase in November. The 23 poetic watercolors he has on display are seemingly created with minimal and languid expressive movements of line and design. His collection comprises old barns, birds, landscapes and water-related subject matter. Ron grew up in Northern California and began his art training while in high school. He earned a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Following that, Ron worked as a technical illustrator for various engineering firms. Today he paints full time, focusing on seascapes, landscapes, horses and West Coast Birds. Coming from a family of artists, Ron's three brothers are professional artists as well. Among his many accolades includes a portrait of John F. Kennedy that he painted which is now part of the permanent collection of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, and over the last couple years The Artist's Magazine has chosen his work to be included in their art book publications.
Fine Art Oil Painter, Donna Schaffer, says she feels privileged to live in the Dry Creek Valley, just to the northwest of the town of Healdsburg. In recent years she's planted heritage zinnias, salvia, cosmos, black-eyed susans and milkweed in order to attract the widest range of butterflies. Quietly sitting next to the flowers, with her camera ready, she's had quite a bit of success, and uses these reference photos to compose and create her paintings.
In addition to butterflies, Schaffer says her "neighborhood" landscapes have glorious seasons and personalities. She captures these scenes on canvas so she can share the best seasons and the best times of day with her collectors. Some of her paintings are accomplished on-site or "plein aire", other paintings are based on her sketches, color notes and her personal reference photos. Schaffer's original oil painting interpretations range from using thick paint (impasto) on some creations to smooth, detailed observations on others.
Donna has lived amongst the vineyards in Dry Creek Valley since 1990, a place where she can paint her passion for northern California's flora and fauna, especially her very popular and widely collected vineyards. Not limited to the land, she has painted a vast collection of marine life paintings. Her curious mind pushes her to learn scientific knowledge about each subject that she paints. Donna says, "Sometimes I think I should've become a botanist or biologist instead of a fine arts painter".
Artist reception: Saturday, November 3, 3 - 6pm
Featured Artist Show runs to November 25
Donna will also be in the gallery
November 3 & 4, 11-6
November 10-11, 11-6
Come upstairs and watch Phyllis Rapp put a postitive spin on 'negative' painting.
During October, Phyllis is exhibiting multi media artwork of her winsome animals and fanciful figures in the Small Works Showcase. Her representational works of animals and figures are created in watercolor and acrylic paints, handmade paper collage, paper and ephemera.
Featured artist in September is Bill Gittins, a consummate and prolific oil painter of Sonoma County landmarks, vineyards and places of quiet beauty. Bill’s paintings are widely exhibited in private and permanent collections, including Sutter Hospital. He is a participating artist in the 2018 Art Trails open studios event.
Karen Norton, a potter for over 40 years uses a variety of clays, glazes and firing methods to create her hand built platters. She says her designs are land, sea and sky scapes that take the viewer to unimagined places where tranquility and vitality merge into cohesive wholeness.
Naomi Lasley - Naomi taught ceramics for 25 years in Santa Rosa City Schools. Since her retirement she works in her Sebastopol art studio and she formed Clayamity, a group of former art students and professional artists. Her works are pit-fired pots and raku ceramics, and she uses horse hair, seaweed, sawdust among other ingredients to create the colors and designs.
Willow LaLand-Yeilding is exhibiting Works on Paper, and selected etchings by Italian Mistro Andro Cecovini and the late Stephen Whittle English-born Sebastopol Artist in the gallery’s Small Works Showcase.
A third generation artist, Willow began exhibiting her paintings when she was 12 years old at the New York Art Expo and in Nevada City, California. She is a wine-country artist who loves to paint reflections from glassware in the bold, wine themed paintings that she is known for.
Artist Reception: Sunday, September 9th, 2 - 5pm
Santa Rosa Press Democrat article honors two long lived Healdsburg businesses operating under one roof - Upstairs Art Gallery and Levin & Co. Books
The best businesses are started as as means to fill a need.
Does this mean if two are started under the same roof they fill twice the need?.....
The article on Healdsburg is by Ann Carranza of the Press Democrat published Sunday August 26, 2018 in the Towns section. . Photo credit: BethSchlanker
Sonoma County landscapes in oil by Laura G. Roney
Laura's Roney's latest oil paintings reflect views throughout Sonoma County, either vineyards or Sonoma County parks. The land in Sonoma County has such varied landscapes, and provides a near endless opportunity for breath taking scenes. Some paintings focus on vines, others focus on vistas. Still other paintings focus on both.
Laura says,"This part of the country is so beautiful. It is a pleasure to capture it in paintings. My paintings focus on the breathtaking beauty that makes up the wine country. I am endlessly enamored with the gorgeous vines and stunning vistas. Many of my paintings include the stunning rolling hills and mountain ranges along with the fantastic grapes and vineyards".
Roney has focused on her art since 1993. She received basic training at institutions of higher learning, but says she truly learned by studying with practicing artists. She is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Fine Art at Academy of Art in San Francisco.
Saturday, August 4, 2 - 5pm
Modernist and Impressionist oil painter, Jill Keller Peters, is featuring a collection of small scale minimalist abstractions and impressionist landscapes in the gallery’s Small Works Showcase. These paintings celebrate Keller Peter’s expressive color sense both in design and nature.
Meet Jill at her artist reception at Upstairs Art Gallery, 306 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA.
Saturday July 14 2018, 2-5
Currently displaying work by a selection of artist partners spanning the gallery's 21 year history.
Diana Majumdar; David Walker, Katrina Small, Taylor Paige; Judy Markoff; Don Drummond; Gary Sauder, Nishi Marcus; Lindy Date;Dee Andreini; Tony Mininno; Tamra Sanchez; Jan Thomas and T Barny sculpture.
A heartfelt thanks to all our artists and art collectors who have made it all possible.
Current Upstairs Art Gallery artist partners - June 2018
Back row: Ron Sumner, Carolyn Wilson, Bill Gittins, Donna Schaffer
Second row: Lenona Winter, Jo Tobin-Charleston, Laura Roney, Susan Greer, Willow Laland
Front row : Jill Keller Peters, Phyllis Rapp, Cynthia Jackson-Hein, Marsha Connell
not pictured : Dan Scannell, Cynthia Sumner, John Warner.
Upstairs Art Gallery is celebrating 21 years in business -June 2018. This major milestone bestows upon the gallery the honor of being the longest running art gallery in Healdsburg history, a town that is currently the vibrant home to over 20 art galleries. This small gallery was also ahead of its time in 1997, as was the first artist-owned gallery to open in Sonoma County, a business model that has since been followed successfully by many more!
June is the time to show off Sonoma County's bounty of crops, backyard gardens and agricultural heritage. "Abundance" is the theme that is featured in the gallery front window. Art works by Carolyn Wilson, Lenona Winter, Cynthia Jackson-Hein, Willow Laland, Dan Scannell , Ron Sumner and Jill Keller Peters showcase the varied farmland offerings that are rooted in Sonoma County.
Upstairs there will be a historical showcase of artwork by many alumni artists who have been part of the gallery's 21 year past, alongside the work of the 16 current artist partners.
4/13/2018 0 Comments
Some things remain the same.....
Travel writer, Amy Gunderson, from the New York Times visited us and wrote about Upstairs Art Gallery in her article "36 Hours /Healdsburg, Calif." , published Friday August 26, 2005.
Amy says "Levin and Company (306 Center Street) is a small bookstore with an artist-owned gallery upstairs - called Upstairs Art Gallery - where the person working the desk is one of the creative minds behind the art adorning the walls. Even in the heart of wine county, it isn't just about the grapes."
Of the restaurants, hotels and shops mentioned in the article, many have gone by the wayside, but Upstairs Art Gallery and Levin's bookstore are still thriving, and in the good company of Downtown Bakery and Creamery, Oakville Grocery and Bear Republic Brewing Company ....all still highly recommended on any visit to Healdsburg.
Credit: New York Times, August 26, 2005. Article written by Amy Gunderson. Photos by Peter DaSilva.