Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cambria to San Francisco

Michael Flohr Artwork
Artifacts Fine Art Gallery

A. Paul & I had a nice respite and visit with my family in Cambria, while still finding time to scout out artwork once the rain passed.  If you are not familiar with Cambria it is a small seaside village situated along the central coast of California between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given its close proximity to the two major cities, Cambria has long been a hotspot for LA actors and artists, escaping the city tempo.  Cambria's laid back approach to pretty much everything and everyone, along with its picturesque setting, creates the perfect backdrop to creative individuality, which to date continues to lure artists to its shores.

In a recent conversation with Lynn Rathbun, Gallery Director/Artist at Cambria's Allied Arts Association, Lynn stated that even though there was a marked downturn in the gallery business, artists continue to move to Cambria. Many artists, however, are seeking more non traditional means of representation and venues for selling, such as the internet.  Still, the existing galleries in Cambria are surviving, stressing that setting the price point at affordable ranges are essential for an artist in the current economic climate.

After our discussion with Lynn, A. Paul & I viewed the works along the hallways at the Arts Association, noticing the strong presence of watercolors.  Lynn confirmed that it is one of the more prevalent medias of artwork in Cambria.   Similar to our findings in other locales we have visited, much of the artwork is based upon the landscape surrounding the Central Coast.
Lynn Rathburn (L) & Kerry (R)
at Allied Arts Guild

Alongside works by its members, the Allied Arts Assoc (AAA) hosts and features the works of one member each month. At the time of our visit, the  AAA was featuring the mixed media works of J'net Wolff, who has been creating her artwork for over 40 years.  In Addition to the exhibit area, the AAA also operates art workshops, lectures, demonstrations, open studios, and performing arts. http://www.artistsofcambria.com/

A short walk down the west side of town one will find several galleries.  One gallery, Artifacts, represents a wide range of prints & giclees in addition to their large scale colored bronze pieces.    One artist's work that caught A. Paul's eye was the work of Michael Flohr, shown at the top of the blog.  http://www.artifactsgallery.com/

In the Melanee Sylvester Gallery, A. Paul & I met up with Lowell Sylvester who operates the gallery  representing his wife, Melanee, and daughter Tracey's, artwork.  Both artists have a unique style, Melanee's being more impressionistic and Tracey's more graphic. Melanee's sense of light is exceptional, capturing the essence and mood of the west coast landscape while her daughter Tracey's works have a strong Hopperesque quality.

"Day's End at BayBack" Melanee Sylvester
Lowell Sylvester & Kerry at
Melanee Sylvester Gallery
On the eastside of Cambria, Vault Gallery owner Laylon has been representing a diverse and talented group of artists for over 30 years. Many of the works depict strong influences of Calder, Klee, and Hopper yet with distinguishable nuances of the artists interpretations.  Several of Laylon's artists are well established, notable artists particularly her plein air artists John Cosby and Elizabeth Tolley. http://vaultgallery.com/ 

"Uptown" John Cosby

Though the village is small, Cambria has a lot to offer its visitors, art collectors, and artists.  There are several art workshops conducted in town as well as a plein air painting group which meets every Wednesday at various locations in town.  With over 200 resident artists, Cambria is  definitely worth visiting if you are in the area. 

If you need a visual break from artwork, you can always drive over to Moonstone Beach and walk the nature path that rambles along the beachfront or take in the views from any one of its many park benches that dot the coastal walkway.  

Following our brief stay in Cambria, it was time to pack up and get back on the road.  This morning we headed off to San Francisco, driving along the coastal route Highway 1.  It was a gorgeous day, which we were thankful for as we weaved around distractingly beautiful panoramic views along the cliffs of the west coast.  There was evidence that several areas of the road had washed away in all the recent winter rains and were under construction.  We finally landed in San Francisco just as the sun was setting but the sky was a bit too cloudy for a great sunset.  Instead, the lights of the city sprung to life greeting us with a different light show.

 Tomorrow, we head to the Museum of Modern Art as well as meet up with a couple of local artists.  I leave you with the extraordinaryimages of our 4 hour drive along Highway 1.

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