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Elizabeth Monks Hack: Looking for 'Blue Skies' this month
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A Walk Through the Cypress

Elizabeth Monks Hack: Looking for 'Blue Skies' this month

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I’m looking for blue skies, nothing but blue skies this month! We’ve had gloomy gray, smoky gray, smoky brown and particle pink too often this summer. I’m very happy to report there are currently blue skies in the Cypress Gallery, along with sunlit trees and flowers and fields of gold.

Featured artist Liz Poulin Alvarez generously bestows them upon us in her show “California Landmarks,” a collection of places she has visited and interpreted through the art of painting. Using plein-air techniques and a variety of media, Alvarez has created an expressive world of light, color, memory and emotion. Her broad, expertly placed brush strokes magically coalesce before our eyes, into oceans, trees, hills and architecture.

Alvarez has years of fine art education and practice that inform her skill as a painter. A graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, she earned an MFA from the Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in New Zealand. The paintings display impressionist accuracy and freshness of vision, but her style never displaces her involvement with time and place.

In the brilliant “Eastern Sierra Juniper” we feel as if we stand before a twisted tree bathed in sunlight, experiencing it the way the artist has felt it. Alvarez composes her subjects with an immediacy that involves the viewer. A sense of joy pervades many of the works. The tiny beach umbrella in the foreground of “Montana de Oro: Picnic in June” invites us for a walk along the shore, and I definitely wanted to join the table in “Solvang: Picnic in the Park.” Alvarez is currently teaching art at Lompoc High School; how fortunate for her students!

In the main gallery, feast your eyes on the azure heavens in Neil Andersson’s large oil “Fields and Blue Sky.” Your mood will be set on good for the day. Betsee Talavera has contributed charming, intimate gouache paintings of our local landscapes, of which “Jalama Needle” is my favorite. The lovely photograph by Lynda Schiff, “Top of the Morning” is a worm’s eye perspective of redwood trees soaring into blue, sun-pierced sky.

Julie Nash often creates haunting works, and her “The Rogue” is no exception, depicting a large-eyed gentleman in a yellow straw hat, set against a cobalt blue background. And if you are so ready for the month of fall, two watercolors have been created for you. Rosalea Greenwood’s “Fall Colors” and Diane Atturio’s “English Ivy” depict sensitively painted leaves placed on a dark background.

Fine art craft is also in abundance in the gallery this month. Glass painter Kristine Keely displays several exceptional art pieces, including the magnificent glass wall sculpture “Red Poppy.” Work by gourd artist Tammy Evans is a visual oracle of fine carving, embellishments and Native American themes.

So whether or not you are in love, blue skies are here to stay in the Cypress Gallery, at least for the month of September. Along with masterful art we offer artistic gifts and cards to brighten your day. The gallery has been made as safe as possible for visitors, with all recommended requirements and restrictions in place. Call for special appointments.

The Cypress Gallery is operated by members of the Lompoc Valley Art Association, a 501c(3) non-profit organization committed to expanding and supporting access and exposure to the arts in the Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valley. Find us online at <facebook/CypressGallery> and our eZine at <;


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