Welcome to the Pleasanton Art League
PAL President’s Message
With all the craziness in the world right now, I am finding it difficult to paint. Distractions about the current state of Covid-19 and how it will affect family, friends, myself, and world events all seem to elbow out any creative inklings that might start to form. So lately, I’ve been turning to an old friend; gardening. I say, “old friend” because it is the form of creativity that I turned to when my kids were little and I found it difficult to set up and paint.
Colors, textures, scale, and contrast are all things that I consider when planning my yard. It is an art form in itself as well as a still-life generator. It is less demanding than painting and (almost) always rewarding. Besides, it’s great exercise and it keeps me away from the crowds. It also gives me other things to think about! The days are beginning to stretch out and the weather has been warm, and I’ve noticed that things are starting to grow. We’ve constructed a new raised bed in our back yard and started some seedlings. I’ve divided some perennials and bulbs, and am digging in new soil in preparation for cheerful annuals. Also on my list are fixing broken sprinkler heads, applying fertilizer, sprinkling Sluggo-plus (for slugs and snails) around plants, and zapping emerging weeds with vinegar.
How do You Stay Creative in Stressful Times?
Linda Beach: When I received the question about staying on the creative path in stressful times, I had spent some of the morning attending to art business then updated my website. Since I found out that the LAA art show had also been cancelled, I organized my painting records which I keep of each painting. In the top corner I paste an image of each piece and the date finished.
Teaching interrupts my work and I find it easier to return to a painting in progress than to begin a new one. Soon I was listening to my Pandora stations and immersed in the painting. But, not all days will be like this. I find that if I don’t feel like painting right away, sometimes just going in the studio and tidying up by organizing and cleaning my pastel sticks will often lead to getting back the creative spirit. I paint landscapes and have a stack of images ready and waiting to be my next painting.
For those who are looking for inspiration during our time at home, there is a wealth of inspiration in the kitchen (whisks, corkscrews, tea kettle etc.) I have a friend who used different corners of her home as a still life and created beautiful pastels of her pillows, dining room chairs etc. Now that those of us above a certain age have to self-isolate, I may be looking around the house for my muse as well. Happy Painting.
Karen Fleschler: Phil and I are hunkering in and not going out to eat. But we have enjoyed having a couple of friends over for dinner for warmth and conversation. We try to stay optimistic and positive and finding joy in just being alive, knowing our family and friends are safe and well and staying connected. Of course then there’s always alcohol.
Marge Haggin: Georgia, Joyce and Christine and I meet for art play days—but we won’t be doing that for awhile. But I challenged them each to produce a piece of art with a flower on a pink background. Then next week we will send a photo of our piece of art piece to each other.
I am still working on the art to enter in the Spring Show, but since the date is now moved to November, I hope to still be able to add a new piece to it. Collage is a great way to get involved in a piece of art that is relaxing. Find colors, shapes, themes in junk mail, magazines, old love letters–use your imagination. (You don’t have glue? There is always flour and water.) One of the best ideas is to call another artist and just chat. Maybe someone you haven’t had time to visit in awhile. Art has opened so many doors for all of us–now is a good time to explore and find ways to expand for ourselves and I hope to pass on to others.
Kathy Hill: Call me crazy, but almost finding myself sequestered to home and the studio a blessing. I am using the time to catch my breath and concentrate on my work without some of the events with looming deadlines. I am still creating new work for licensing because there are trade shows coming up in May if all is well by then. Aside from art, I am enjoying cooking and working in the garden. My pup and I walk two to three miles a day and I am also practicing qigong and mindfulness. And last but not least, being grateful for all I have, my family and friends, and all of the people working on the front lines to keep us safe and healthy. Wishing you all health and a burning desire to create wonderful art!
Linda Hopwood: Over the years I have worked in many mediums. Most of you are familiar with my work which has been realistic images in colored pencil. Recently I decided to go back to one of my favorite styles and that is doing abstracts in acrylic. Attached you will see one of my latest paintings. They are acrylic on canvas. “Red Rose in a White Pail” is 36 x 24”. Since it’s been over 10 years since I’ve done an acrylic painting, it’s been challenging for me to create a something that reflects the image I see in my mind.
Georgia Jacobs: 12 Museums From Around the World That You Can Visit Virtually | Travel + Leisure
Christine McCall: As for staying on the creative path, my path is stunted the last few months from the SAS and work at Walter’s company. I am hoping that this breather will let me do some of the ideas I’ve had in my head for awhile. Being stuck at home like this could be the perfect time to do a project. Right now I’m just catching up on email and bills and paperwork!
Mark Mertens: Attached is a picture of me being busy. It was taken by a photographer and was in the newspaper. As you know we now live in Arroyo Grande on the central coast and also have a condo in Danville. The dry January and February have given me the opportunity to get out and do plein air paintings in oil along the coast. I’ve also been busy working in the studio. My philosophy has always been, “life is short, so why waste any of it not painting.” I work regardless of how I feel about it at the time and magically get lost in the process after about 15 to 30 minutes. It is like exercise. Many of us do not feel like getting regular exercise, but when we do, the good feeling about exercise falls into place.
Beth Okurowski: Many famous artists throughout history werealso gardeners. Monet comes to my mind first, but there are many others. I recently came across this interesting article: From Frida Kahlo to Claude Monet, 8 Artists Who Designed Enchanting Gardens. Take a look!
Stephen Rodriguez: “The Chief says we’re on schedule. ‘The Chief’ is the name of a train.” When not playing with numbers, lets just call Stephen the Train Man. Dusting all these toys should keep him busy until the next show.
Helene Marie Roylance: A few weeks ago I was struggling to get back in my ceramics studio after a busy holiday season. I had finally shed my winter burnout and felt the pressure to start filling the kiln. Post holiday, I always plan on making January “Watercolor January,” since I love painting, but I always feel like I run out of time. Now that my ceramics show dance card is unexpectedly free…I’m going to take advantage and use my studio time for those things I never have enough time to do!
I’m sure I’m not the only one with a stack of art books we always meant to crack open. “One of these days I’ll set aside a day to just follow along some tutorials!” “I’ll get myself to do some color studies!” We all have a project we put off because we didn’t have time…right? For me, I have a wonderful stack of watercolor books that I have been wanting to savor. You know, that mythical time where you put away the other noise and just dig in, painting to explore and experiment, not with such purpose? Now is the perfect time!
Just because we need to restrict our travel doesn’t mean we can’t have inspiration from around the world! I thought I would share a resource that I love for those artists looking for inspiration. I discovered an incredible website, PaintMyPhoto (https://pmp-art.com/). According to their website, “Paint My Photo (PMP) is a social networking site dedicated to sharing photos for artistic inspiration without fear of infringing copyright.” Once you register an account, and agree to the terms (not to make unauthorized prints of others’ photos), you gain access to a gigantic online resource of photographs you can legally use as reference photos without fear of copyright infringement. This is an amazing group of people that share their photos – from Copenhagen to Japan, New Mexico to Brazil. These wonderful photographers from all over the world submit their photos so that registered users of the website can use them as reference for their own original artwork. You are free to make copies of the resulting works you create and sell them. They have helpful guides to help you learn how to search using key words, and how to add photos. I have found the users on the site to be extremely warm, gracious and supportive. What more could you ask for!
Barbara Stanton: I consider most of the news as nonsense. You have to ask yourself “Is there anything I can do about it?” Most likely not. Get back to work! Besides, painting is my escape from the “real” world.
Dianne Varden: I get creative by looking through my collection of art books and personal photos. It stimulates my imagination. I also like to look at various photos of paintings on line. I Figure out what attracts me to that particular painting and try to do something similar but using my own subject. Once started, the painting somehow develops and I might end up with something different but satisfying. I also like to watch various artists on YouTube who do interesting work. i.e. I tried acrylic pour painting for the first time and had fun. I probably won’t continue for long, but learned some helpful painting tips. Most important though is getting into your studio even if you just tidy up and clean brushes etc. Being amongst your “tools” tends to put you in a painting mood!
Craig Varden: For artists and photographers …Travel vicariously…to Italy, Wuhan anywhere in the world. Go to Google photos or a major photostock agency (mine is superstock.com) and enjoy the travel photos, plan future trips and get art ideas.
Christine Watters: 1. Look for art project ideas on Pinterest. 2. Join the 25 Million Stitches project, it’s not too late – They will take entries until April 30. Easy to do when sitting binge watching Netflix or listening to audiobooks. The requirements are very flexible, you can even use your own scrap fabric. At minimum, peruse their website. The panel images are wonderful and community blog is a feel-good read. www.25millionstitches.com.
Jan Watling: Jan submitted several pictures of her process for cutting paper strips for her curling art. She doesn’t have a website but you can go to her Facebook page, or email her at watling@ comcast.net to see the other photos.
Norma Webb: The Portfolio is creative in its own way, but not as fulfilling as a painting when it is going well. Then there is gardening which I enjoy a lot, even though bending is getting harder all the time! Beautiful music is always inspiring. And I have a stack of beautifully written books from over the years that I loved and saved to read again “later.” Well guess what?– “Later” is here!
City of Pleasanton Needs Artist Help
Looking for Artist Volunteers for Arbor Day Activities: The Alviso Adobe Community Park in Pleasanton would like help with a family-friendly art project for Saturday, April 25, 11:00 to 12:30. There will be hands-on pruning demonstrations and a tree identification walk. Artists are needed to design and help with a simple art activity about trees or other landscape features. Martha is open to ideas about the project.
Contact Martha Cerda firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming General Meetings
April 13, 2020, 7:30 pm LAA Program TBA
May 11, 2020, 7:30 pm PAL Program, Gina Gabriel, Sculptor
June 8, 2020, 7:30 pm LAA Program TBA
October 12, 2020, 7:30 pm PAL Program, Theresa Muley, Infrared Photography
General Meeting Locations
Regardless of location, all General Meetings of PAL & LAA are intended for members of both groups! Please take the short drive between Livermore and Pleasanton. The more the merrier!
Bothwell Arts Center
2466 8th Street
Cultural Arts Building
4455 Black Avenue, Pleasanton
Our Meetings are Always Open & Free to the Public. Bring a Friend.