Danville Express

Cover Story - May 18, 2007

Art is happening

Open studios give everyone a glimpse at the creative process

by Natalie O'Neill

If art is good as gold, then the Danville Area Open Studios Tour is a treasure hunt. With 16 locations mapped out, art lovers can explore the homes and studios of local artists to see paintings, sculptures, blown glass and photographs - in the very space they were created.

"There's something different about seeing art next to the artist. The public ends up connecting with the piece because they had that experience - they're able to get that deeper meaning," says Tracy Bauer, spokeswoman for the event.

Forty-two artists' works will be shown at locations in Danville, Alamo and San Ramon from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3, with artists painting and sculpting on-site. A preview at the Danville Library on Front Street will take place 1-7 p.m., Friday-Sunday, June 1-3. Tour-goers can begin their visits at the library to get an overview of artistic styles and what will be showing where.

Participants can then easily navigate to the locations where their preferred art is shown. Pieces will also be featured at the Town Hall and the Veteran's Memorial Building in downtown Danville.

"It's a great time to explore your surroundings. It's like an open house," Bauer said. "Sometimes you go even if you're not necessarily intending to buy... a lot of artists are staging it as a garden party."

Painting sales will help raise funds for art supplies at Danville schools and support local talent in the often daunting task of making a living as an artist, Bauer said. To find out more information about the art or the locations, contact artists at phone numbers listed below.

In a time when schools are cutting art funds nationally - and local artists everywhere are struggling to afford gallery spaces - this "treasure hunt" helps keep Danville culturally rich.

1. 3012 Sandstone Road, Alamo

Beth Batchelor

Recognized for her vibrant and sensitive oil paintings, Batchelor specializes in portraits of people and pets that illuminate the subject's personality. As the co-founder of the Alamo-Danville Artists Society, she says, "The pursuit of perfection is a dedicated lifelong study." Reach her at 837-5654.

Janice Byer

As the first-place winner of the 2006 San Ramon Arts Walk & Festival, she paints in oil and pastel - but specializes in watercolor. When she paints, she strives for a clean, passionate, detailed style. Reach her at (510) 734-1424.

Elizabeth Lehrer

This artist creates jewelry, paints with water colors, and currently trains with Beth Bachelor. Reach her at 708-5592.

Marilyn Mattson

After spending time advocating for the arts, holistic health and human services, Mattson is progressively spending more time developing her own artwork. She paints figures with several mediums and contributes time to Bay Area nonprofit groups. Reach her at 352-6547.

2. 400 Hartz Ave, Danville - Veteran's Memorial Hall

Inge Behrens

In 1984, Behrens started the business Calligraphy Creations in order to design logos for award certificates and catalogs. But now, calligraphy is just the tip of the iceberg. She currently paints florals on large canvases and has training in wood cutting etching, stained glass, pastels and paper making. Reach her at 262-3457.

Diane Ringwood

"I have been painting with the delicious colors of pastels in the outdoors," Ringwood says. "I love it." With a degree in interior design and ceramics, this artist has been able to apply her skill locally, gaining her recognition and awards from organizations like the Contra Costa Arts Commission and Newark Arts Council. Reach her at 314-3034.

Fran Chuba

This Boston native and graduate of Columbia College now works as a dental hygienist, that is, when she's not using watercolors to create "smile design portraits" and portraits of hands. Chuba prefers the challenges and vibrancy of watercolors. Reach her at 360-3169.

Lorrie Cockrum

By zooming in on a specific part of a flower blossom, she creates dramatically vivid images. Reach her at 360-3169.

Ann Saavedra will also be showing her art at this location.

3. 361 Castle Crest Road, Alamo

Joe Bologna

Creating metal sculpture balances this artist's otherwise "right angled career" as an architect in Walnut Creek. Applying his knowledge of structural design, he's able to channel his whimsical humor through his art. Bologna has welded an old car frame, boxcar springs, and pipe column pieces into a large garden arbor. Reach him at 934-4290.

Peter Coffee

Upon retiring from corporate life, Coffee finally got the chance to delve into his passion for glass work five years ago. "Working with glass is really addicting," he says. "You can't start and stop a piece - you must either finish it or throw it away. It's really about painting with glass to create something others will enjoy." Reach him at (510) 703-8587.

David Mudgett

Now a full time artist, he designs one-of-a-kind sculptures with steel and natural elements. Mudgett specializes in outdoor abstracts, garden tables and detailed indoor pieces and has won first place at 3-dimensional fine art competitions. Reach him at 944-5227.

Anne Trouve

This artist strives to communicate the "surprises and intrinsic beauty of all that surrounds us" in her photography. She recently began using a digital camera and is now looking forward to experimenting with techniques to make her photos look more surreal. Reach her at(510) 339-6459.

4. 691 Adobe Drive, Danville

Helena Cali

With an art degree from San Francisco State University, Cali resumed her career in oil painting after taking time off to raise a family. She uses oils to capture her favorite subjects: travel scenes, floral still lifes and landscapes. Reach her at 837-1003.

Pauline Cortez

Serving on the Alamo-Danville Artists Society board, Cortez puts countless hours into volunteering for causes to benefit the local arts scene. She uses oils and enjoys learning new techniques from mentors in the Danville area. Reach her at 944-6371.

Susan Dennis

Dennis feels lucky that her home overlooks Mount Diablo, providing her the view she needs to record how the changing seasons affect the mountain. She prefers watercolors and is currently experimenting with collage. Reach her at 837-6577.

5. 636 Brookside, Danville

Don Eagling

This award-winning impressionist painter came West after college to "enjoy the sea and the mountains" - his favorite subjects. He has used oils and acrylics to capture the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades and prefers to paint outside. Reach him at 837-2228.

Catharine Fasciato

Expressing an emotion or a mood to "deeply convey" what she sees is Fascatio's goal. She has shown her oils at the Valley Art Gallery in Walnut Creek, the Danville Fine Arts Gallery and the Epperson Gallery in Crockett. Reach her at 687-4846.

Bill Gwynne

As a self-taught studio oil painter, Gwynne recreates scenes by using photographs from his trips to France, Great Brittan, Japan and China. He enjoys when "people feel transported to the international locals." Reach him at 245-7543.

Lin Padden

Her career as a psychologist and the time she spent raising a family made it difficult for Padden to explore her artistic side. But when she returned back to art classes in 1972, she developed a love for landscape oil painting and is now a grandmother of 14. She has a painting that commemorates Sept. 11 hanging in the Pentagon. Reach her at 837-7664.

6. 234 Montair Drive, Danville

Tricia Grame

This artist works in both 2- and 3-dimensional forms to express her 25 years of education in women's studies and art. She works in many mediums and has served as a curator at exhibits in the Bay Area and Italy. Reach her at 820-1183.

7. 3169 Miranda Ave, Alamo

Gwen Harris

Her passion for European street life and the costal scenes of Nantucket have inspired her pallet knife and brush work-based paintings. These highly textured pieces have won awards at county fairs and group shows. Reach her at 829-4876.

Wanda Kemper

"Being a portrait artist affords me the opportunity to combine my love for people with my desire to paint," Kemper says. This still life painter immerses herself in workshops in order to continue to grow as an artist. Reach her at 691-5030.

Stephen Sanfilippo

Juried by the Napa Valley Museum as one of the best California "plein air" painters, Sanfilippo's recent release of paintings include vineyards, pathways, rocky seascapes and hills. He was also identified in Southwest Art Magazine as an artist to watch in the "Art in Unexpected Places" section. When he moved from San Francisco to Alamo in 2005, he bonded quickly with the arts community and surrounding landscapes. Reach him at 820-2050.

Sandra Speights

This lifestyles painter enjoys an emphasis on travel, wine, and cooking and aims to make everyday things become profound. "I think that classical subject matter continues to be very popular because it brings balance and harmony to our busy, modern lives," she says. Reach her at 858-4506.

Charles White

With more than 50 years of painting experience, White has been a teacher to many artists involved in the tour. He has mastered the "radiant interplay of light and shadow in nature" and travels the world to find the most spectacular landscapes. His paintings of Mount Diablo are sought after by many collectors and his works are published by Hadley House and shown in galleries in Carmel and Calistoga. Reach him at 886-8659.

8. 2371 Hagen Oaks Drive, Alamo

Morgan Howell

After studying at UC Berkeley under well-known painters like E. John Robinson, Howell began to find inspiration from his travels in Mexico and Greece. "Painting has become an important part of my life," he says, "I enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and appreciate all the color, light, shapes and shadows in our environment." Reach him at 820-1420.

9. 236 Waterman Circle, Danville

Martha Kean

Functional clay art is the focus of this artist's work and she loves the idea of people using her pottery in their everyday lives. Her work is represented by the Valley Art Gallery in Walnut Creek. Reach her at 820-3012.

Evelyn Marvin

Danville residents might recognize Marvin's combination of oil, acrylic and pastel landscapes from displays in the Danville Fine Arts Gallery. She became hooked on art when she moved to California and a friend suggested they take painting classes at Diablo Valley College. Reach her at 820-6142.

10. 206 St. Christopher, Danville

Richard Mortensen

Gorgeous color-fused glass sculptures are what sets this artist apart. Reach him at 820-8210.

11. 132 Leona Court

Norman Nicholson

The Smithsonian. The White House. The State Capitol Building. These are just a few of the places Nicholson has shown his paintings. With a long, successful career in illustration and painting for corporate marketing, the Alamo artist recently won "Best of Show" for the Slopes of Diablo exhibit at Valley Art Gallery in Walnut Creek. Reach him at 837-3372.

Helen Westcott

Serene, moody landscapes depicting her native New England, along with Northern California, are Westcott's forte. She takes workshops by accomplished artists and attends life drawing lessons. Reach her at hgwseven@yahoo.com.

12. 154 Montair Drive, Danville

Nola Pardi Proll

After taking "life-changing" classes in Italy, Proll switched from wood to marble about eight years ago. She loves to discover the veins and colors hidden in marble at the polishing stage and she uses objects in nature as inspiration. Reach her at 837-4785.

13. 409 Triomphe Court, Danville

Robin Purcell

Some say this artist's passion for Mount Diablo borders on obsessive. But her constant exploration of the subject has helped put Danville's "favorite hill" on the map. Reach her at 648-0971.

14. 67 Hazelnut Court, San Ramon

Diane Rodriguez

Painting trains with watercolors is Rodriguez's specialty, partly because her husband owns a train hobby store. "The world presents many special moments for an artist to paint. Some last for only a moment, but linger in the soul and mind," she says. Reach her at 462-1919.

Norma Webb

As a California native and a "farmer's daughter," she enjoys rural subjects and romantically realistic landscapes abroad and at home. "Traveling with oil paints is a challenge of its own, but is extremely inspiring," she says. Reach her at 828-9170.

15. 57 Leeds Court, Danville

Sammy Shaheen

Known for her bold, colorful and expressive mixed media art, Shaheen uses humans and nature as her subjects. She has been a professional artist for more than 20 years and has a collection of paintings featuring people in action - usually dancing - along with scenes from nature.

16. 210 Front St. - Town Meeting Hall

Sally Anne Belshe

This artist owned and operated "Stained Glass by Sally" for eight years and designed and built original glass panels and 3-dimensional freestanding glass. She is presently taking formal art classes and creating hand-crafted silver jewelry, watercolor pieces and pastels. Reach her at 376-7677.

Mary Lloyd

Using oils allows Lloyd to leave brushstrokes that contribute texture - adding dimension to a scene. "I have always felt lucky that I have a desire to draw and paint," she says, "because I feel artists see and appreciate some things more than the average person." Reach her at 828-1307.

Jane Taggart

This oil and acrylic painter basks in the camaraderie and exchange of ideas that comes from the network of artists in the Alamo-Danville Artists Society. Reach her at 930-0898.

Janice Threm

The Yosemite area offers her breathtaking subjects. Reach her at 689-0924.

Wendy Yuan

Before moving to California, she was an engineering student in Massachusetts, where her role as art editor at a campus publication kept her inspired. Blending impressionism and realism has now gained her recognition in local art groups. Reach her at 256-8845.


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