Vintner’s Collective Napa Lighted Art Festival Specials


The Lighted Flight. 1 White, 1 Rose,  1Red: $20
Join us to understand why our reviews and members are so passionate about the Vintner’s Collective.

Customized Craft Wine Experience:  $40
Experience the most diverse tasting in Napa, from one the best wine selections of the valley’s cult wines in the world. We customize a flight of 6 wines for your palate. You get your favorites as our professional hosts guide the way.

About Us

Vintner’s Collective is the first cooperative of renowned Napa Valley winemakers. We offer unique tastes for every palate and collector, and our Vintners craft some of the most sought-after wines in Napa Valley. Located in in the oldest commercial building in downtown Napa, this former frontier saloon and brothel continues to add to its historic lore.

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Jonny Castro Art Portraits of Valor

On July 15th, Weymouth (Massachusetts) Police Officer Michael Chesna, who was just finishing up his midnight to 8am tour of duty, confronted a suspect wanted for leaving the scene of an accident. The male violently assaulted Michael with a large rock, knocking him to the ground. The suspect disarmed Officer Chesna of his service weapon and murdered him. Painting by Jonny Castro Art

On July 15th, Weymouth (Massachusetts) Police Officer Michael Chesna, who was just finishing up his midnight to 8am tour of duty, confronted a suspect wanted for leaving the scene of an accident. The male violently assaulted Michael with a large rock, knocking him to the ground. The suspect disarmed Officer Chesna of his service weapon and murdered him. Painting by Jonny Castro Art Jonny Castro Art

On July 15th, Weymouth (Massachusetts) Police Officer Michael Chesna, who was just finishing up his midnight to 8am tour of duty, confronted a suspect wanted for leaving the scene of an accident. The male violently assaulted Michael with a large rock, knocking him to the ground. The suspect disarmed Officer Chesna of his service weapon and murdered him. Painting by Jonny Castro Art Jonny Castro Art

Ottawa artist unveils first solo exhibit: multi-media paintings that took four years to make

Hard To Find

Paintings by Anthony Tremmaglia

Galerie Annexe at the Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge

Until Feb. 17

At first glance, the seven new large-scale works by Ottawa artist Anthony Tremmaglia on exhibit at the Ottawa Art Gallery look like sculptures captured on paper. Or maybe digitally manipulated images cut and pasted into an abstract collage.

Upon closer inspection, however, you see the lines of charcoal shading, the strokes of a brush and the unmistakable texture of paint, both watercolour and acrylic.

In fact, they’re mixed-media paintings, meticulously created to play with light and depict movement, each one evoking a tangled dance between the human form and rock formations.

Hard To Find is the title of this compelling new series, the first solo exhibit by the 42-year-old artist, and a big departure from his usual practice of commercial illustration.

Tremmaglia, who’s also an instructor at Algonquin College, spent close to four years working on these pieces, refining his creative process through trial and error. He worked on large rolls of paper sourced from the United States, which left little room for mistakes — trying to erase a charcoal line, for example, leaves a big smear.

“I’m not churning it out,” he notes. “This stuff is not forgiving. It’s on paper, and the minute any value moves, you have to throw it out. You can’t do anything wrong.”

The project started in the years leading up to his 40th birthday.

“A few years ago, I started asking bigger questions, and this is the response,” Tremmaglia said in an interview in the OAG’s ground-floor Galerie Annexe, where the paintings are hung. “These pieces take a long time to make and it’s very difficult to know the steps. They’re not easy. But when you find that place, which I did, I felt right about it and kept going.”

Arriving at the gallery for the interview marked his first time seeing these particular works outside his own studio, and the impact was close to overwhelming.

“Wow. It’s so surreal to see it like this,” he said as he surveyed the room. “You sit on something for months, weeks, and all of a sudden it’s meant for an audience, which I understand and I like that exchange, but I have to detach. My girlfriend says I just have to leave them and let them go where they should go.”

Part of the initial inspiration originated with the artist’s fascination with rock, particularly the layers of rock that become visible when a highway is cut through, say, the Canadian Shield. When he sees some interesting colours or textures in the striation, he’ll stop the car, take some photos and do a quick sketch.

“You can be driving along and see these incredible rock cuts,” he says. “I could be there for days. It’s such a mundane thought, but I find so much incredible amazement to it. So that’s where it started. I don’t know where it’s going to end.”

Stephanie Germano is the curator of Galerie Annexe, the OAG’s commercial gallery and a space dedicated to emerging local and regional artists. She’s known Tremmaglia for years, and is familiar with his illustrations, which have been commissioned by publications such as WIRED, Village Voice and Reader’s Digest.

She said she was “floored” when she realized Tremmaglia’s new works were paintings rendered by hand. “I knew he was a painter but I’d never seen him in that practice,” she said. “I was very impressed.

“There’s something very human about them, although they’re landscape driven. They’re romantic and passionate, and I think the colours are really important, too. And it’s a nice relationship between texture and colour. It creates a beautiful depth, and almost feels like it’s moving. They’re powerful when you walk into the room.”

What’s more, Germano is always thrilled to see an artist evolve.  

“You can tell there’s a progression,” she said. “They complement the work he was doing before. They’re not so far off that they don’t feel like his work but they’re still so different that I think this show is important. It will launch a completely different sector of his fine-art practice.”


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See oil-painting demonstration at Loma Linda Cultural Arts Association meeting

image“Encircled” is one of Martha Cowan’s paintings. (Courtesy Photo)

Artist Martha Cowan will give a painting demonstration when the Loma Linda Cultural Arts Association meets 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Loma Linda Senior Center.

Cowan, a member of the California Art Club and Oil Painters of America, has demonstrated painting and judged art shows around Southern California. She also teaches art.

Her paintings are in many private collections and her work has been published in various art magazines. Her awards include a gold medal from the 2018 San Dimas Festival of Arts.

The Loma Linda Senior Center is is at the southeast corner of the Loma Linda Civic Center complex, 25541 Barton Road, Loma Linda.

The program is free for Loma Linda Cultural Arts Association members and Loma Linda University students. A $5 donation is requested from nonmembers.

Diana Ross is the latest recipient of fan art from Tampa artist Cam Parker

“It was the best moment of my life,” said Parker.

Dianaross Top CamaparkerDiana Ross at Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, Florida on January 9, 2019.c/o Cam Parker

Cam Parker did it again. After gifting art to Lady Gaga and Janelle Monae, the Tampa artist kicked off 2019 by watching Diana Ross not just receive a custom denim jacket, but also wear it onstage during a Wednesday night performance of “I Will Survive” at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center.

Parker, 35, debated buying a front row ticket to the show, but decided to just do it big and make the custom jacket to see if Ross would rock it in concert. He put it onstage during the second to last song and then Ross immediately looked down as addressed Parker from the crowd.

“She said, ‘Did you make that? I love it, but I can’t bend down in this dress, honey — help me,’” Parker told CL in a Thursday morning text message. So he did, helping the soul icon into her upteenth wardrope change of the night.

“I picked it up and lifted it to her, then she put it on and it fit perfectly,” Parker added.

“She took it and waved it to the audience. When she got to the lyric, ‘So now you’re back, from outer space,’she turned her back to the audience and did a little Supremes arm flourish,” he said. “It was the best moment of my life.”

Even better than watching Lady Gaga give him props in front of about 17,000 at Amalie Arena?

“I gotta say Gaga was epic, but Diana made Gaga, Janet and Beyonce possible,” he said. “So I wouldn’t say better, but it was incredible to meet and give a gift to the originator and the one who made girl power and adoration of female icons a thing.”

Have a look at another pic below. Ross plays Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall on January 11. Details on that show are available via

Dianaross Lead CamaparkerDiana Ross at Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, Florida on January 9, 2019.c/o Cam Parker

The art of finding meaning

The art of finding meaning

Artist Rikki Van Den Berg beside her own artwork in Cavan Library.JPG

Damian McCarney

Have you ever felt bereft of the skills to unlock the meaning of an artwork?Blank expressions are a common response to many exhibitions of contemporary art. The viewing public can feel so negatively conditioned that they give only a cursory glance at, what they presume are, baffling abstract works as they flail around for a portrait, landscape or any identifiable feature to cling to as a lifebuoy.Artist Rikki Van Den Berg advises the children and young people attending workshops she runs in conjunction with an exhibition in Johnston Central Library to simply spend time with the works.Amongst the 29 pieces in the display of artworks by respected artists who have been on residencies at Tyrone Guthrie Centre are some fabulous pieces genuinely worth getting to know.

Primary and secondary school pupils explored the artworks firsthand with Rikki giving some guidance.“I found that they will look at art fleetingly, it’s like they don’t allow themselves time to connect with it. And it’s easier to look at a painting that represents something you know.“I showed them how to connect with a piece of art, and it’s very simple: just be with it for two or three minutes and let it speak to you – so we did that with a few pieces and they really were very surprised.”

TimeA 2001 study of people visiting an exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, highlighted how little time the public spend viewing art, even art by such luminaries as Paul Cézanne and Rembrandt van Rijn. According to, the study found that the mean time spent looking at a painting was 27.2 seconds, while the median time was 17 seconds. The longest time was 3 minutes, 48 seconds – as one person, presumably admired, or at least pondered, the Dutch master’s ‘Aristotle with a Bust of Homer’.Rikki recalls that ‘The Ripples of Annaghmakerrig’, a photo intaglio print by Matthew Gammon was a real crowd pleaser once the students had the benefit of time to take it in. It is a rhythmic stitchwork of navy crosses creating a shimmering surface upon a soothing background of aqua blue.“They were taken aback by it because it started moving, and started creating a life of its own – there are a few pieces in this exhibition that do that. They really got the concept tha t a piece of artwork can suggest something which might be there and our wonderful, creative mind will see that.”

Rikki explained the techniques used before discussing abstract and conceptual art through an exploration of the pieces. Sound daunting? Far from it, it’s fun.“I have to say the response was fantastic. The children absolutely loved recognising things in abstract art, and putting their own interpretation on it.”The proof that they expanded their ability to appreciate art could be seen in the drawings they made in response to the exhibition.

“It was amazing what they produced,” says Rikki, “they started using symbolism in them. They have a great imagination and this exhibition fed that imagination. Hopefully they left having learned something about art.”The exhibition was compiled by the centre’s director, Robert McDonald, and was first displayed at Cootehill library for the town’s arts festival, by librarian Sinead McArdle, before moving onto Bailieborough Library.Rikki, who was an artist in residence at Annaghmakerrig last year, has one piece on display – Low Clouds Forgotten Farm.“It was part of a series called ‘The Land’, where I studied the forgotten landscape – the old buildings, the old shed, the old barn, where people once were and have left,” she says of her own work.The Celt notes that dereliction and abandonment seems to be a recurring theme in art lately.“It’s a wonderful theme, maybe we can all relate to it in one way or another.”

EmptinessAsked to pick two of her favourites she protests, “I don’t know, I can’t answer that – they’re all absolutely beautiful.” Eventually she relents and settles on Margo McNulty’s melancholic piece titled Curragh 3. It is a black and white landscape, where hills, trees and hedges are clearly identifiable, but the foreground is lost to a sea of shadows.“I just love this piece. I don’t know if that’s a person walking,” she says of an indistinct figure. “There’s a certain kind of emptiness in it that I really relate to.”The second piece Rikki selects is a mixed media piece called Rain by Japanese artist Makiko Nakamuna.“She came here and fell in love with the Irish rain. She thought it was so soft and clean and the darkness that it would bring yet there was still light – you know the clouds are very famous in Ireland.“I like that – something that we’re so used to and give out about so much, she saw the beauty in it.”

RelateFunnily enough the artwork is listed as ‘untitled’ in the one page catalogue, but Rikki was aware of its correct title.“It’s interesting isn’t it, how, if you know a little bit more about the background of the artist or the story or the concept behind the artwork, it’s easier to relate to it. If I hadn’t known that, I may not have chosen that.”While the viewer needs to offer time to viewing, Rikki believes that it’s only fair for the artist to give some help to reward that investment of time. She admits to occasionally “over-titling” her works in a bid to help the viewer.“I think there’s a lot of work put out there by artists that are ‘untitled’ and I really do think that the public struggle relating to the artwork. A title can put a suggestion into somebody’s mind about what it might be about – again: is it there, is it not there? It can really help the public to understand and connect with the artwork. So I think titles can be very very important.”The Tyrone Guthrie exhibition runs in Johnston Central Library, Cavan town until the end of January. Spend some time with it.

Watercolor has masterpiece makings

Open in downtown Little Rock’s Arkansas Arts Center since late November, Watercolor in the Park already has its weekday lunch and Sunday brunch down to a fine art.

We’d expect no less from the Keet family’s JTJ (Jim, Tommy and Jake) Restaurants, LLC, which operates several Taziki’s restaurants, as well as west Little Rock’s high-end Petit & Keet and Midtown’s casual Paninis and Company. They show no signs of spreading themselves too thin.

That said, perhaps the staffing was a bit thin on our first visit for Sunday brunch. There were several empty tables, but we were informed we’d have to wait for one, and the hostess couldn’t estimate how long it would be, as there were three groups ahead of us. She would call us when our table was ready.

Of course, the best thing about a restaurant in an art museum is that it’s in an art museum. While one idles, there’s plenty to see in the galleries and in the museum store — to which the glassy restaurant space that previously housed Canvas and before that Best Impressions is adjacent. We waited probably 20 minutes and didn’t mind a bit.

Gallery: Watercolor in the Park

The only thing we did mind once we were seated in the sophisticated space of windows, artwork, subdued grays and blues, blonde woods and white tablecloths were the occasional cold blasts from the door leading to the restaurant’s patio and parking half-circle. For my next visit, I was sure to request a seat in the other, cozier dining room with no exterior door.

Otherwise, we enjoyed everything from the friendly service to the fine food. We only wish it opened an hour earlier on Sundays so those of us who attend early church services could consider it part of our rotation.

Rather than selecting from the three lunchy appetizers, we, who were more in a breakfast mood, opted to share additional breakfast dishes as “sides.”

For example, I ordered the Parfait ($5), along with the Sriracha Honey Chicken & Waffles ($13). I didn’t realize what a perfect pairing that would be.

Though I expected the sticky sauced fried chicken tenders — perched atop a sturdy waffle and dusted with powdered sugar — to be sweet and spicy, it was definitely more spicy. Almost too spicy, at least for the first meal of the day, and I typically can handle some heat. The tart yogurt, layered with berries, granola, mint and Arkansas honey, helped quell the fire.

My date ordered carbs with a side of carbs — the Biscuits and Gravy ($10) and the French Toast ($11). Both were bready platters of deliciousness heaped with more deliciousness; the biscuits with a hearty and zippy prosciutto and sausage gravy, the fluffy, custardy French toast with a sweet strawberry compote, and, for more sweetness, whipped cream on the side.

Other brunch options ($10-$20) include a couple “Handhelds” including a burger and chicken biscuit; the PK Breakfast (with eggs, meat, potatoes and biscuits and gravy); a Wagyu Corned Beef Skillet; Eggs Benedict; Filet and Eggs; and an omelet. Sides ($4) are fruit, meat, potatoes and a side salad.

I visited the restaurant again on a Friday with a friend. Having heard lunches can be busy, I made a reservation, though one wouldn’t have been necessary on this drizzly, dreary afternoon.

I never indicated that I was an Arts Center member, nor did my friend. (For shame, we’re not). But we were graciously, though mistakenly, given a 10 percent members discount, which I didn’t notice until studying the receipt afterward. Maybe it was my Georges Seurat A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte umbrella?

We were tempted by all three of the appetizers or “Shares,” as they’re called: the Hot Pimento Cheese Skillet ($8), the Prosciutto Deviled Eggs ($6) and the Hummus Trio ($8). But cheese always wins. Especially hot cheese.

The skillet featured a marvelous melty and lush pimento cheese heated until golden and accented with parsley. It was served with broken pieces of plain lavosh crackers (“matzo,” as we native Easterners called them) that we could resist sprinkling with a bit of salt.

My friend described her conservative portion of Sauteed Gulf Shrimp with Angel Hair ($13), which featured shellfish and pasta in a sauce of cream, white wine, garlic and onion and a finish of parsley, as very rich and good. Though a piece of bread for enjoying the excess sauce might have been a nice touch.

By comparison, my Charred Salmon ($15) featured a lot more food. Not only was the tender filet of salmon topped with a generous blended and lively lemon caper sauce, it came with “rice pilaf” — which to me appeared to be plain white rice — and a side salad of house mixed greens with tomatoes and shaved parmesan.

Other lunch choices include soup ($5-market), several salads ($9-$10; add protein for $5-$6), several sandwiches ($9-$12, includes chips; add $1 for fries or $2 for small mixed greens) and a chicken entree ($12).

We didn’t order dessert — baklava ($5) or chocolate spoon cake ($7). After the salmon and the shared pimento cheese, I already felt like the subject of a Rubens painting.

Watercolor in the Park

Address: Inside the Arkansas Arts Center, MacArthur Park, East Ninth and Commerce streets, Little Rock

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday lunch; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday brunch

Cuisine: Upscale lunch, brunch

Alcohol: Wine, beer at lunch; cocktails at brunch

Credit cards: AE, D, MC, V

Reservations: Yes (a really good idea for Sunday brunch)

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

(501) 396-0390

Weekend on 01/10/2019

Print Headline: RESTAURANT REVIEW + PHOTOS: Watercolor in Little Rock’s Arts Center has masterpiece makings

Local artist displays 50 oil paintings in West Chester

WEST CHESTER — As part of a long tradition of supporting local artists, Chester County Art Association is now displaying 50 oil paintings by borough artist Philip Hill.

Hill paints mostly local subjects. He hopes to “communicate an emotion that touches you.”

Like many artists, Hill paints several distinct subjects. He has featured butterflies, desserts, nocturnes, Chester County landscapes in all seasons, architecture, still life, plein air and what he refers to as “Alien Invasion.”

“I get hooked on something—on an idea,” he said.

His six Alien Invasion paintings depict water and cell phone towers.

He talked about setting up the exhibit and not hanging all his alien encounter works.

“I can’t have too many of them in the show because people will wonder,” he said with a smile.

Often captivated by a view, Hill regularly snaps photos of a passing subject and then creates art in his studio.

“I see something that startles me, and say, ‘Holy Cow, that could make a great painting,’” he said. “The worse the photograph, the more I like it.”

Hill sold his first work over 60 years ago for a quarter. It was a small drawing of a duck pond and a neighbor thought it was charming.

The 71-year-old played it safe while working in law and business in New York City. He never lost his love of art and studied at the Art Students League and National Academy in New York.

He retired to Chester County five years ago, at the urging of fellow student at Hamilton College and local artist John Suplee, and took up art fulltime.

At first he and his wife, Fran, looked at moving to Bucks County, but he said West Chester made his wife happy, with its street lights, fine dining and culture.

Many of the paintings displayed at the art association by Hill depict desserts.

Patrons sometimes complain to the father of two and grandfather of four and his depiction of delicious food.

One painting is titled, “My Diet Starts Tomorrow.”

“Rather than eat a dessert you can look at the dessert—no calories,” the artist quipped.

When taking a photo of a Victorian home in the borough, Hill was mistakenly confused for a real estate agent. When the homeowners heard that he might paint their house, their attitude changed and he was invited in.

Main Line train stations are a favorite subject. Hill especially enjoyed receiving the senior rate and painting Strafford, Radnor, Paoli and Wayne stations.

His grandkids, aged 4 and 6, liked riding through Pete’s Car Wash on West Chester Pike, which led to a water drenched fuzzy painting as viewed through the windshield.

Hill has visited a spot in the summer, added snow and he and his brother sledding. He makes night day, will add footprints and will add a dog walker coming down park steps.

So when is a painting complete?

“When do you stop painting?” he said. “When you’ve done enough to express your feeling.”

The 50 painting solo Hill exhibit is now open at the Chester County Art Association, 100 N. Bradford Ave., West Chester. Hill will speak Thursday Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. and the show runs through Jan. 31. The exhibit is free. Call 610-524-1925 for more information.

In Seattle, Creating Community by Collecting Art and Artists

SEATTLE — Shaun Kardinal, 36, doesn’t know where he’d fit another piece of art in his one-bedroom apartment, which is bursting already with more than 100 works.

“Art tends to find the nooks and crannies for things to happen,” he said. Mr. Kardinal’s collection was born of the artistic community he has tapped into since his early days working at a frame shop.

The items he pointed out in a visit to his Seattle home chronicle his 18 years there: There’s a colored-pencil drawing of him and his cat by Troy Gua; a painting by a neighbor of her bathroom, which is identical to his; and several pieces acquired through trades with artists he has befriended over time. Now he is the lead web developer at Civilization, a design studio, and has made a name for himself as a conceptual artist, especially with his embroidered postcards.

These a re edited excerpts from our conversation.

Which was the first piece that made you feel like a collector?

The very first piece I got that I felt was real art was this screen print by Yuki Nakamura. She had had some beautiful large installs at the gallery next to the frame shop, then had a show with cheap prints. I ran and got one for $20.

How have you found quality work on a limited budget?

This portrait, “Attempted Murder,” by Chris Crites, was the first piece I ever got from a gallery with a payment plan. It was only $400 or $500, but I paid it off over three or four months. A bunch of these other works were trades. I was working in that frame shop for about five years, and during that time, I made about 50 websites for artists, galleries and arts organizations. There are probably 20 or 25 pieces in the apartment that are traded, e ither for a website or for a piece of my own work.

How else has building up an artistic community helped you collect?

Well, this one, for example, “Woman, Woman, Woman,” by Kimberly Trowbridge, I got at her studio sale. She’s a dear friend, and she said to name a price and gave it to me for much less than she could have gotten. I think there’s an element of being involved in the community that pays dividends in that way. People like to give a deal, especially when it’s a friend. This one, called “Want ≠ Need” by Graham Downing, was showing at a friend’s gallery. I ended up getting that when he put it on Facebook saying nobody had picked it up. I commented with a red dot emoji.

So social media has played a big role?

Following artists on Instagram is a great way to keep up. I just got a piece from an auction in Portland. I really wanted a piece by this artist, Joe Rudko. He said on Instagram it was going to be in this auction at Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center, so I wrote and asked if I could do a remote bid. They said, “Let us know your max bid and someone will raise a paddle for you.” Sure enough, I ended up getting it.

What about for people who are not yet part of an arts community? Where do they start?

I feel like there’s a little barrier in there, but there’s always a way to get in. Get a publication like an arts weekly that tells you where to go. Look for neighborhood art walks. Introduce yourself to the artists, ask them questions. Those artists will want to talk about the work. Those galleries will have a payment plan. The opportunities to wind your way down a path toward an affordable piece are absolutely there.

Do you know whether any of the pieces you’ve bought hav e increased in value?

I don’t think of them as investments. I only get things that I love. I do know that that piece, “Royalties Wanted,” by Anthony White, would probably go for three or four times what I got it for. This kid is skyrocketing. But when I saw it, I just knew I had to have it, and I had to get a payment plan to get it. But what I’d really like to do is make all this a permanent collection. I would love to have all this stuff as a snapshot of a generation that I’ve been here to witness.

Meet the Excelsior artist who is painting Gov. Dayton’s portrait

EXCELSIOR — An artist who lives in Excelsior will paint Gov. Mark Dayton’s official portrait.

The portrait will hang in the state capitol with all the other former governors’ portraits, and for Paul Oxborough, it is exciting and a little nerve wracking to be picked to paint Dayton’s likeness.

“It’s equal parts excitement and nerves, I suppose,” Oxborough told the Lakeshore Weekly News. “There’s going to be so many eyes on this portrait. A lot of people commenting on it … There will be a lot of attention on it. [I’m] a little nervous about that.”

The award-winning artist is no stranger to large crowds as his paintings have hung in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the British and Scottish national portrait galleries. But “those were for pieces that were my own paintings, not commissions. So this will be the biggest commission as far as eyes on it,” he said.

Oxborough has been commissioned to paint various portraits, including families and CEOs, but this will be his first political figure. He got the $25,000 commission after a little push from his wife who wanted him to paint an elected official.

It helped that Oxborough “peripherally” knows Dayton’s sons, “so I kind of threw my hat in the ring and just went from there.” Oxborough said he thinks Dayton interviewed several people and went with him, noting it seemed important to the former governor to have an artist from Minnesota paint the portrait.

“I’m a DFL to the bone and proud of that, and proud of our Minnesota culture and society. Gov. Dayton and I had a really good fit about that right away,” Oxborough said. “I don’t think that would have been something he was necessarily looking for — a Democrat to paint his portrait — but it just so happened to be that. That’s fun for me. I have a little Minnesota pride about that. I get to be a Minnesota footnote in the history books: painted by Paul Oxborough. So that’s kind of fun.”

This commission will be different from other commissions Oxborough has done because Dayton will get to choose most things about the portrait, plus there are other stakeholders involved that all get to have their say, Oxborough said. He doesn’t think Dayton will want to include much symbolism in his portrait like previous governors have, noting Dayton is a “pretty no nonsense kind of guy.”

They’re “still working” on what will be included in the portrait, Oxborough said, but noted it will be “modern, yet somewhat traditional in the sense that there won’t be any bizarre sort of, you know, odd things going on in the background. I think he wants that part pretty straight forward. Pretty literal, I guess, is the best way to describe it.”

Oxborough still plans to incorporate his style into the portrait he does of Dayton. He said he’s been described as an “American figure painter” that’s “sort of impressionism, but it’s also realism” with a touch of some photo realism. He enjoys painting subjects in dimly lit interiors and “anything really with a strong sense of light. That’s my goal always, to feel the sense of light in a painting,” he said, noting that could be a beach scene or a dimly lit bar scene.

Oxborough first made the connection that being an artist would be a “great thing to do” back in elementary school when they did an art project and “everybody thought mine was the best,” he said. But it wasn’t until he was a ninth-grader at St. Louis Park High School that he really believed he could be an artist, saying his “very influential” art teacher “let me believe this could be a way to make a living.”

He went on to study at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an offshoot of the Atelier Lesueur out of Excelsior. The Atelier Lesueur apprenticeship program provided him a foundation in portrait painting, he said.

He went on to make most of his living by being an exhibition artist, getting his inspiration from the traveling he’s done with his wife and four children. His first show was at a gallery in Edina after he spent a year living in France. But he hasn’t had a show locally for about 22 years. Instead, he shows out of New York through Cavalier Galleries.

Oxborough has lived in Excelsior for the past 10 years, and in the past two years has been focusing on commissions instead of his own exhibitions. Oxborough said his most exciting commission was when he and his wife traveled to Mallorca, the largest Balearic islands, which are part of Spain, and stayed with the people he was painting. He also got to travel to Bogota, Colombia, to paint a family of 14.

Outside of painting, Oxborough enjoys traveling, food, spending time with his family and architecture. He’s been redoing a warehouse in downtown Minneapolis for the past three years and will eventually move there because he and his wife are empty nesters living on five acres.

But it won’t be easy to say goodbye to the Lake Minnetonka area.

“One of the best things about living here is I can pretty much walk to everything I need,” Oxborough said. “It will be hard to leave this area. I really like it. We’ve talked about moving down there and renting out this house just in case we change our minds.”

For more information on Oxborough, visit his website at and see more of his work on Instagram, his handle is @pauloxborough.

Fine Art: Gershon Benjamin: The Art of Simplicity

Jim’s of Lambertville is a gallery widely known for its vast collection of works by the Pennsylvania Impressionists. The current exhibit there, however, features 60 paintings by Modernist, Gershon Benjamin.

Benjamin shared a studio with Milton Avery and was part of a circle of noted artists such as Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, John Sloan, Arshile Gorky and the Soyer brothers. His work is less well known, however, because he did not seek publicity nor commercial recognition as did the others. Upon his death in 1985 he left behind a large collection of works and the Gershon Benjamin Foundation was established for the purpose of placing them. The Spanierman Gallery in New York became their exclusive representative. According to Michael McClintock of Jim’s of Lambertville, Jim Alterman purchased the 60 paintings from Spanierman Gallery that now are on exhibit in his gallery in Lambertville.

Benjamin’s body of work includes oils, watercolors, gouache, pastels on paper and board, graphite drawings, and woodblock prints. The paintings cover a range from dark to colorful with some being finely detailed and others, such as “The Train Depot,” where figures are loosely suggested with color strokes.

Benjamin’s works are flat. There is little modeling and much black outlining which seems to hold the objects down on the picture plane. I found nothing lyrical or “pretty” in his works, but I found them enchanting. As if there is a story behind the image that is just waiting to be told. This especially in “At MoMa, The Turner Exhibit” a watercolor on black paper in which he shows us a figure in black standing straight, in an arms-at-its sides posture, before a wide dark frame surrounding a blue, raw sienna and yellow tempest with a tiny boat in the distance seen through a break in the turmoil. And entering Benjamin’s painting from one side is an orange-dressed, black-outlined, non-descript figure. You have to wonder what Benjamin was saying with this painting. Why was a painting of Turner, who was a Romantic, portrayed in this manner? And what would Benjamin’s painting be without the bright orange figure entering?

There are many figurative works in the collection. In some, the people are faceless, some have just some of their facial features and others are fully detailed. The portraits on display have all been brought to completion, including his “Self Portrait” done in pastels in 1971. Portraits, “Jewel” and “Tommy,” though relatively flat in portrayal and outlined in black, present the figures in casual clothes and relaxed postures. It is interesting to note that while their faces are detailed, Benjamin never dealt with their hands.

The exhibition includes a portrait done in oils on canvas of his friend Milton Avery and an oil on board portrait of Avery’s wife, Sally Avery.   And there is “Portrait of Gershon Benjamin” done by Milton Avery in oils in 1945. Benjamin and Avery worked side by side and often painted one another when models were not available.

A full-color catalog accompanying the exhibition explains the fact that, though prolific, Benjamin, unlike the others in his circle, worked “from dusk to dawn in the art department of the New York Sun newspaper for many years.” It explains that painting was a labor of love for him and he was not interested in competing with his friends. “As he saw it, his career was at the newspaper, his passion was creating art.”

And create he did. You can see his passion in the figurative drawings and pastels on display. You can see him exploring and yearning to understand the human form. And you can see how working dusk to dawn at the newspaper played into the way he portrayed his environment. In “Sleeping City,” a gouache on black paper, he presents dark structures against a night sky. And in “New York,” an oil on gouache, both done in 1940, he shows us the same structures in the light of day.

The catalog points out that by the mid-1930s Benjamin was described as an Expressionist and was included in an exhibit titled Paintings by Selected Young Americans. Two works in this Lambertville exhibit that were done in that period are “Lee J.Cobb #3” an oil on canvas capturing a violinist playing his instrument. And “The Gossips,” a watercolor portraying three almost faceless women sitting close together looking at a book one is holding, while another is holding a cigarette casually between her fingers.

Later, Benjamin and his wife, Zelda, began spending time in Free Acres, in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. A community that attracted artists of every stripe. On display is his pastel on board, “Ocean Grove Beach” that loosely suggests figures on the sand and a few beach umbrellas. Although this appears to be just a quick sketch, it successfully captures a day at the Jersey shore. There are other landscapes depicting a “Vermont Landscape,” “Central Park,” and even a large oil portrayal of the Grand Canyon.

This is a collection that offers everything from “Jo-Jo,” a sleeping tuxedo cat to “Moonlight on the Brooklyn Bridge” and although Benjamin was inclined to create his work for his own desire and need to do so and chose to not market it, there is now this intriguing body of work to be enjoyed right here in Lambertville.

Also on continuing display at Jim’s of Lambertville are new additions to Jim Alterman’s vast collection of The Pennsylvania Impressionists.


WHAT: Gershon Benjamin: The Art of Simplicity

WHERE: Jim’s of Lambertville, 6 Bridge Street, Lambertville

WHEN: Through March. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday-Friday;                       10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday & Sunday

CONTACT: 609-397-7700.

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‘Artstract Art’ opening features oil and wax pieces

COQUILLE — Kindred spirits and creators of Abstract Art, Elaine Dunham and Dana Gronemyer, will exhibit at God’s House of Vision Gallery and Studio in Coquille. You will find their abstract art there created primarily from a cold wax and oil through February. Their opening reception will be held 6-8 p.m. at God’s House of Vision located at 10 E. First St., in Coquille.

When Elaine Dunham’s youngest son left for college in 2012, she became determined to reclaim her hibernating passion for drawing and painting. She spent time in every studio class she could at Coos Art Museum.


Elaine Dunham oil and wax abstract art.

Contributed photo

Though none of Elaine’s degrees is in art, she has taken countless classes in drawing, painting, and printmaking throughout her life, so she never claims to be self-taught. Dunham says a 2015 class at Coos Art Museum entitled “Experimental Drawing,” taught by artist Pat Snyder, changed her life. Freed by that class to move and express rather than merely create figural pictures, she eagerly paints almost every day, every painting an abstract experiment. She had been painting primarily in acrylic but most recently immersed herself in explorations with oil and cold wax. All of her paintings in this show were made using mixtures of oil and cold wax medium.

Elaine’s paintings have been juried into three shows at Verum Ultimum Gallery in Portland: Abstract Sanctuary 4, the fourth annual Living Mark, and Abstract Catalyst 5. One of her paintings also was juried into Expressions West 2017 at Coos Art Museum. She’s had September through October shows at Black Market Gourmet in Coos Bay in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In November and December of 2017, several of Elaine’s paintings, along with paintings by Geralyn Inokuchi and Sharon Jensen, were in an abstract exhibit at the Hawthorne Gallery in Port Orford. Six of her paintings are currently hanging in a popular and healthy lunch spot, Noster Kitchen, in Coos Bay. In May 2019, Elaine’s work will be at the Red Door Gallery in Roseburg, in an abstract show also featuring works by Geralyn Inokuchi, Sharon Jensen, and Susan Lehman.


Dana Gronemyer oil and wax abstract art.

Contributed photo

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Dana Gronemyer has had a lifelong love for art and making art — classes, courses, and workshops, from life drawing, pottery, paper and printmaking to collage, calligraphy, watercolor and acrylic. Gronemyer says I admire realism, but my heart is with impression, expression and abstraction. I have studied with Carol Vernon, Liv Drahos, Pay Snyder and Zoe Cohen and most recently, Serena Barton. 

Many of the pieces in this show are worked in the cold wax and oil technique explored in a summer workshop with Serena Barton. Oil colors are mixed into a colorless wax medium of beeswax, solvents and resin. Layers of color are applied with a squeegee and then manipulated by scratching, marking or removing with solvent, slowly building depth and texture. The possibilities are seemingly endless. The final result is coated with thin layers of wax medium and polished when dry, allowing the layers of color to appear to float. 

This is my play — layers of light, color, line and texture are my expressions of play, evoking fleeting emotions that change as another layer is added. My art is influenced by observation of the layers of fog, mist and light that I view on my morning and evening drive between Coquille and Coos Bay. I am pleased if you enjoy what I have created. 

Gronemyer has been a part of the team at Art Connection for 20-plus years and has been influenced by viewing wonderful art and meeting artists there. She has learned framing skills and collected many, many art supplies along the way. Still there is more, more techniques, more materials and much more framing to do. 

Cataclysmic Suffering Sprawls Through the Prototype Festival

She intertwines her family’s pioneer past and the parentage secrets it kept with an account of her struggles with infertility. This is forbidding stuff, but Ms. Coloff’s touch is light, her presence warm. She’s not sentimental — and idiosyncratic touches, like a giant red bonnet, an enormous hand-stitched denim cape and tough-to-pin-down lyrics, keep things helpfully weird — but she isn’t unemotional. She is, simply, honest.

These aren’t the only productions in this year’s Prototype, presented by Beth Morrison Projects and the arts center HERE. “Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance,” composed by Graham Reynolds and with a libretto by the collective Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, is a cozy, bilingual, semistaged oratorio for two singers (including the soaringly sweet tenor Paul Sanchez) and a rollicking roadhouse band.

Reflections on the famous revolutionary’s l ife and death — and, pointedly, on the gringos who watched the war in which he took part from the safe distance of the title — are interspersed with quietly riveting footage of interviews with a Mexican teenager who claims to have heard voices urging him to immerse himself in Villa’s story.

Written and directed by Michael Joseph McQuilken, “The Infinite Hotel,” a shotgun marriage of “A Star Is Born” and a ghost story, is an ambitiously busy show that fills the Irondale Center in Brooklyn with cameras and screens. (You may think of Ivo van Hove’s signature style of self-reflexive multimedia explosion.) Some of the audience watches from above, with the sound mix coming through headphones. Some participate as extras — directed in real time — in the filming of the production, which results in a unique feature-length creation from each performance.

Often sounding uncannily like Lady Gaga, Le ah Siegel sings with earthy rock authority as a subway singer-songwriter turned arena sensation. But all the technical bells and whistles, while smoothly produced, ultimately feel less like integral elements than a distraction from stock characters and a thin, overlong plot.

“The Infinite Hotel” ends with the mawkish spectacle of a dead father holding his daughter. “4.48 Psychosis” closes with apocalypse — and inevitably, for all of us who see it now, with thoughts of Kane’s actual suicide. “ThisTree” concludes with moving modesty: the simple recognition that this is how things are.

And does Bibi escape at the end of “Prism”? In a culture so single-mindedly focused on personal empowerment and victory over victimization, how could she not? But this rings false. Opera doesn’t need its heroines merely to suffer. But it needs their victories to feel genuine rather than tacked on.

Yoga guru’s portraits of self, Himalayan saints on view

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) Renowned yoga guru Bharat Thakur, who spent many years in the mountains studying yoga and “tantra”, was a close observer of saintly life up there. His observations and the creative urge to paint merge in his exhibits here.

Thakur, who pioneered a new style of yoga called Artistic Yoga in 1999, is currently exhibiting three bodies of his works — his self portraits, portraits of babas and sculptures.

“Prayag: The Inner Journey” is open at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) here.

Thakur says being a painter was a hat he always wore, even when he was a boy in the hills.

“I was drawn to it pretty much like how every painter gets drawn to painting. Except, I did not got to a traditional art school. In the mountains, I sketched sometimes on the snow,” Thakur, who is married to Bollywood actor Bhumika Chawla, told IANS.

As noted by art patron Kiran Nadar, who inaugurated his solo show, the portraits (of the ascetics) from the Himalayas speak for themselves.

“The features that Bharat has made and the depth of pain that he has captured, shows how well he must have known that life. It must have made a true difference in his life, which turned him from being a yoga guru to an artist,” she said.

Thakur himself said that he waited for the artist in him to do justice to his “pet” theme.

“I am an insider whe n I paint the ‘babas’ as I have spent many years in the mountains studying Yoga, Tantra, Ashita. Each of the babas has a different practice, and I am in a good position to paint them,” he explained, referring to his inspiration from his spiritual lineage of “aghora” and tantra.

In his revelatory self portrait series ‘Aham’, where he paints himself as a subject, viewers can see the artist turns an intense and piercing gaze inward.

“With the paintings, he is delving deep into the mind and soul of man to cull into the dark recesses to reveal what is yet unknown,” a note on the exhibition said.

Through the use of unique form, colours and textures, his series on spiritual gurus has him handle those subjects like a true insider. A vibrant, visual expression of the spir itual messages he seeks to convey through his yoga, Thakur’s works can be viewed here till January 10.





  • Tue, Jan 22, 2019 2:00 PM-5:00 PM
  • Tue, Jan 29, 2019 2:00 PM-5:00 PM
  • where:


    Golden Eagle144 N Main StEast Hampton


    WATERCOLOR FOR BEGINNERS with Kirsten Benfield TUESDAYs JANUARY 8th, 15TH, 22ND & 29TH 2 – 5pm $75 per session / $250 for a series of 4 classes This course explores the properties of traditional watercolor painting. Various techniques will be taught through daily demonstrations on the use of washes, glazing, dry brush, wet-on-wet and dynamic color mixing to maximize the intrinsic qualities of the medium and in turn give students more control over their individualized practice. Students will work with color charts and explore the work of some of the Masters. *This class has a four student minimum to run. If the minimum is not met within 24 hours of the class, the class will be canceled online and students notified by email.

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