Featured Artist September 2019
Beverly Bird presents Oceans 21, a collection of paintings exploring multiple aspects of our ocean-related experience.
Works include seascapes, sculpted shorelines, and boats, even a glacier. Highlighting both our own breathtaking Sonoma Coast and the magnificent Oregon coast, many of the paintings were painted in plein air. Using acrylics, these paintings often feature textural passages emphasizing details and planes. From forceful wave action to a peaceful shoreline sunset, Bird’s paintings capture the range of the ocean’s moods. Viewing this collection, one can almost smell the salty air. “The ocean has always been a creative inspiration for me. I love how its constancy is colored by ever-changing shifts in mood. I work to capture this feeling in my ocean scenes, “noted the artist.
A Sonoma County artist, Bird was raised in Southern California and has always lived near the ocean. As a child, ocean scenes became a favorite subject for the young art student. A graduate in Art from CSU Long Beach, Bird subsequently studied landscape painting with master artists. An annual participant in the Art at the Source Open Studio program, her work has been selected for a number of exhibits in the region.
RECEPTION: Sunday, September 15, 2019, 3 pm - 6 pm
EXHIBIT DATES: September 1st - September 29th, 2019
The Small Works Showcase on the Upstairs Art Gallery stairway September 2019 features “A Summer Diary” by Linda Barretta.
Celebrating the colors of summer, Barretta presents paintings of flower gardens and farms, filled with sun drenched light and color. Painted in plein air using oil and acrylic, flowers inspire these works. A seasoned painter, known for her striking use of color, Barretta’s current body of work is mainly in oils, while her first medium was acrylic. She tapped into both mediums to create this delightful small works collection.
RECEPTION: Sunday, September 15, 2019, 3 pm - 6 pm
EXHIBIT DATES: September 1st - September 29th 2019
The Small Works Showcase on the stairway features “Coastal Plein Air” by Donna Schaffer. These landscapes & seascapes explore the environment where the oceans meet the land. Schaffer strives to take you there with her color palette and brushstrokes in oil. “Painting en plein air allows me to capture in-depth the views I love," noted Schaffer.
RECEPTION : Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm
EXHIBIT DATES: July 29 – August 31, 2019
The August 2019 featured artist, Phyllis Rapp is presenting whimsical acrylic paintings of animals, people, landscapes and flowers in dream like settings, “Day Dreams”. Rapp says her paintings start with a base of colors, stamps, stencils in abstract application. As she studies the results, she discovers various scenes and more realistic representations of familiar objects emerge. She adds detail to the "found" images and then paints out the distractions - or the negative space. Phyllis' love of design, color, and texture are evident in her colorful and imaginative resulting paintings.
Phyllis Rapp, is a founder of the 22-year-old Upstairs Art Gallery. She has a BFA from San Francisco Academy of Art and has been active in many art organizations, galleries and has taught watercolor classes.
Reception: Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Small Works Showcase July 2019 features "Plein Air Petites" by Susan Greer.
These petite Sonoma County landscapes capture the rhythmic quality of the natural world with expressive brushstrokes in oil, and simplified elegant forms.
"Painting en plein air allows me to explore the land I love, while doing what I love to do" noted Greer.
Meet the artist reception: Saturday July 6 2019 5:30-8:30pm
The July featured artist, Willow LaLand-Yeilding, is presenting her latest piece, "Chilled Summer Whites," showing the cold condensation on a 4-foot square glass of white wine in the warm summer heat. Her 4-foot square duo, "Alexander Valley" and "Dry Creek Valley," shares the grape harvest in action and the liquid gold pouring from the wooden slats of the wine press. LaLand loves to work big,... and tiny. Her collection of miniature 2" x 2" landscapes and still lifes beautifully complements her larger works. "Individually painted grapes, crystal clear reflections in glass, deep velvety shadows, intricate wood grain. . . I love to capture sensations - the taste of the wine, the stories being told, the breeze through the vineyard," enthused LaLand.
Wine is a natural subject for LaLand as she and her husband have been making wine for over a decade. A daughter of artists, her life as an artist began very young - her first exhibit was at eleven. Now an internationally collected artist, her work has appeared in exhibits throughout the region.
Artist Reception :Saturday July 6 2019, 5:30-8:30pm
The Small Works Showcase on the stairway features “Sonoma Gems: a Small Works Installation” by Beverly Bird. Scenes from throughout Sonoma County featuring vineyards, ocean vistas, local sites, forests, iconic landscape views are depicted in colorful acrylic paints and textures.
“Everyday the beauty of Sonoma brings such a thrill, I can’t help but pull out my paints,” says the artist.
Exhibit Runs: May 26 – June 30, 2019
Artist Reception: Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 4 – 8 pm
Stop by to engage in gallery conversation with artists, Cynthia Sumner and Beverly Bird and enjoy a special beverage sampling by YMateina, the finest Yerba Mate from Paraguay.
Exhibit Runs: May 26 – June 30, 2019
Artist Reception: Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 4 – 8 pm
Stop by to engage in gallery conversation with artists, Cynthia Sumner and Beverly Bird and enjoy a special beverage sampling by YMateina, from Sebastopol, serving the finest Yerba Mate from Paraguay.
The June Featured Artist, Cynthia Sumner, an emerging local artist brings together her love of ceramics and painting in a new collection of work: “Seeking Common Language.” The exhibit features two mediums: a series of stacked sculptural forms in clay (“totems”) and oil paintings in cold wax medium.
Her paintings reference internal and external landscapes. “I am inspired by nature and mid-century modern ceramics,” said Sumner. In her painting process, textures play a big role as they go through layering, scraping, applying more paint. Cold wax medium blends beeswax, resin, pigments and solvents, which then evaporate to create a firm surface. Wax artworks date back to the ancient Egyptians. Once cured, these paintings can be handled like any other fine artwork.
“Whereas painting is a more recent endeavor, working in clay is like home to me. I’ve been shaping things out of earth since I could make mud pies,” noted Sumner. “Knives, squeegees, scrapers and my own fingers give me visceral feedback like working in clay,” she added. The stacked sculptural forms express her vision in three-dimensions: abstract shapes play off each other in these unique works.
A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute in the late 80’s, Sumner was an art educator in New Orleans and San Francisco; she previously exhibited as a conceptual/installation artist.
The Small Works Showcase on the stairway features “Stoplight: a Small Works Installation” by Laura Roney. Fruits - apples, tomatoes, pears - star in her 12” x 12” still-lifes in oil. Painterly renderings are intensified by complimentary color or stained wood backgrounds. So eye-catching, these paintings are delicious enough to eat.
Exhibit Runs: April 29th - May 26th, 2019
Artist Reception: Saturday, May 18th, 2019: 2-6pm
Stop by to engage in gallery conversation with artists, Ron Sumner and Laura Roney.
Refreshments will be served.
The May Featured Artist, Ron Sumner, presents “Brush with Nature,” an exhibit of watercolors featuring wildlife. In a realistic manner, these paintings show the artist’s deep love for birds and animals. Whether painting the feathers of a California quail or the horns of a Hartebeest in the fields of Kenya, his renderings bring these creatures to life. “To do these subjects justice,” says Sumner, “I must not only capture the right colors and textures, but be anatomically correct.” Detailed studies of each subject and its relationship to its environment are important steps in the painting process.
Sumner generally uses Arches 140 lb. rough watercolor paper, which allows for wonderful transparent washes and has a forgiving surface. He does not use preliminary sketches but has in mind certain images of size, colors and technique, which can change as the painting progresses. For example, some paintings use a very detailed technique, such as controlled overlapping washes, while others are more painterly. “God, I just love painting,” Sumner enthused. Also included are California landscapes and a large oil painting of Yosemite.
Ron Sumner received his BFA at the California College of Arts and Crafts, after which he was a technical illustrator for some years. Today he is a full time painter. His work has received several prestigious awards, including Best of Show at the Society for Western Artists. His portrait of John F. Kennedy is in the permanent collection of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.
April display of small works by Cynthia Jackson-Hein.
Known as the painter of "life and land", Jackson-Hein's oil paintings give the viewer a real feeling of the place, often a barn or beautiful country setting. Ordinary scenes truly come to life in her paintings.
Exhibit Dates April 1-28 2019
Reception Saturday April 13 5-8
Is an African safari on your bucket list? Artist Carolyn Wilson recently crossed it off hers, and it was truly an experience of a lifetime. In Wilson's new series of mixed media collage paintings, she shares her feelings of privilege and awe at being able to observe these magnificent animals up close and personal. Her paintings highlight her animal encounters, especially with her favorites, the elephants.
Wilson's collages feature imaginative use of color and a tactile, textured surface that invites the viewer's touch. Her paintings are also infused with personal history: the beginning layers of collage are embedded with ephemera - maps, words in foreign languages, tickets collected on her travels - adding to the story of the piece. Each painting starts very spontaneously with elements of randomness and eventually gets reigned in and refined as it evolves. "Each painting takes on a life of its own, and the end result is a surprise even to me. Creating is nothing short of a magical and totally absorbing process," says Wilson.
Carolyn Wilson was born and raised in England, and emigrated to the USA in her mid-twenties. An artist for over 20 years, she lives in Sebastopol and since 2014 has opened her studio each year during the Sonoma County Art Trails Open Studio tour. Her paintings have been published in 2 books: The Encyclopedia of Watercolour Techniques by Hazel Harrison (2018) and The New Encyclopedia of Watercolor Techniques by Hazel Harrison(2010)
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.