Monday, August 23, 2010

Now Showing: Yumi's "Symphony of Light"

"Symphony of Light", by artist YUMI

Hello All,

Yumi returns to Gallery 21, in Spanish Village Art Center located in beautiful Balboa Park, for her annual exhibit. The show runs from August 18 - August 30, 2010, at 1770 Village Place and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

Already familiar with Yumi's beautiful paintings, which consummately reflect an inner part of her being and an eternal spiritual awareness, my attention is drawn immediately by the title of her new exhibit, "Symphony of Light". Taking into account her Japanese heritage and the title of this new show, I assumed there might be some connection between Yumi's new exhibit and a recent showing of the "landscape" kimono of Itchiku Kubota (also entitled "Symphony of Light") at the Timken Gallery and San Diego Museum of Art. Clearly, one should never "assume" anything about "Yumi" for her vision is, uniquely, her own.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Yumi studied under Ukai Uchiyama, Japan's master watercolorist. While she was a student at KEIO University, Yumi illustrated children's magazines and books. After graduating with a BFA, she studied at the Academy of Arts College in San Francisco, California. Her creative and artistic credits in the U.S. span a period of years from 1985, (when she moved from Holland to San Diego, California), to 2010 and her current exhibit.

Included among these credits are a video, "The Colors of Yumi"; paintings on the cover of SEIKEI KAISHI magazine, (1994-1996); 2005, a Tokyo exhibition, "Light, Tokyo-Holland-San Diego"; awarded the Key to the city of La Mesa for her outstanding teaching contributions; 2006, wrote for ARIKA magazine in Japan; completed Public Art for the City of La Mesa and SDSU Business District; 2009, featured in "Light House magazine, Japan"; 2010, "Symphony of Light" exhibition at Gallery 21.

There, now. That is the expected, the obvious image one might have of Yumi. That is the "Yumi" on paper. What I want to share with you all is the true "essence" of Yumi. That special "something" about her. There is an integral "spiritual" quality that surrounds Yumi. One cannot be long in her presence without sensing it. Her aura exudes it, her smile confirms it and her paintings evoke it. I give to you the word that I think best describes it... "Light".

And so I come to the true nature and impetus behind Yumi's creation. Perhaps, the key to the titling of her latest exhibition is "Light"... Light, actual or subliminal. Light of day or night, light seen or imagined. Light that evokes emotion or the silence of reflection... reflection of the color spectrum or the soul. Light that nurtures and sustains. An awakening to and movement "Toward the Light". This is a recurring theme in all of Yumi's work. Her past three exhibitions have all dealt with this subject matter. "Light", "Night and Day" and "Toward the Light". All of which have brought her to the current exhibit, "Symphony of Light". Of her exhibition, Yumi says, "If you find the LIGHT from my painting to uplift your spirit, I would be happy and content".

I step into Gallery 21 and the sound of a ukulele softly strumming "Somewhere over the Rainbow", by Israel Kamakawiwo greets me. As I move among the paintings, I am made aware of the importance of light in all of Yumi's compositions. Central to the exhibit is her "Symphony of Light", a golden painting depicting a string trio of violin, cello and guitar accompanied by a pianist, and watched over by an angel of Light floating high above them all.

Moving through the exhibit, I am keenly aware of the many ways light plays a part in Yumi's vision. Light as seen in "Morning Light on the Prado", or in "Backstage 2", a lovely painting that captures an actress, beautifully coiffed with her hair piled high on her head, looking out of a window at the street scene below. Similarly intriguing is "Music Break" depicting a guitarist perched on a stool, where rays of warm golden light pour through a window, and an over sized cat lounges in the glow on a window seat. Circling back to the front of the gallery, I encounter a painting entitled, "White Swans". Looking at this mystic swirl of white and yellow light that surrounds three white swans, juxtaposed by aqua and blue-green shadows, I am captured by the movement and luminosity created by Yumi's brushstrokes and minimal use of color.

Yumi says, "The art exhibition, "Symphony of Light" is dedicated to my parents and Zazuko for their Love and Wisdom". Not a surprising sentiment coming from such a rare soul. At one point during my visit, I overheard Yumi explain to another visitor that, "My paintings are like my children...when a customer comes and asks to see my old paintings, I get very emotional". All in all, I would say a visit to "Symphony of Light" is an emotional one. It is a "tale told by a beautiful spirit, full of light and movement".

Standing in front of the painting, "Symphony of Light", one can view a quotation mounted on the wall. It goes, "Like the sound of river, Symphony fills the air with the sound of legato and staccato, blessed by the light of heaven".

I will leave you with those thoughts. (FADE TO: The dark of day as the brilliance of moonlight rises). Ask Yumi. She has a secret of Light to share with you.

"White Swans", by artist YUMI

Yumi Climenson lives in La Mesa, California and is an accomplished oil painter. She may be contacted at or through her website:

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted 2010, all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Travel "To the End of the Earth" with Steve Gould, photographer

"Five Penquins" by STEVE GOULD, photographer

Hello All,

Step into Gallery 21 in Spanish Village Art Center this week, and be "transported to another world". A world of "blue ice and mystically rugged frozen terrain" not seen or experienced by many. A world surrounded by magnificent snow-capped mountains, fathomless "azul" ocean depths defined by towering islands of ice and home to some of nature's most mystifying and captivating stoic creatures.

Enter the world captured by photographer, Steve Gould on his trek... "To the End of the Earth".

A sense of quiet beauty surrounds you as you step into the gallery of this fierce and frozen world. The soft melodious notes of "Pastorale" by Tingstad and Rumbel, a perfect mixture of woodwinds and guitar, mesmerize as you wander through the exhibit. There is an immediate hush that falls over spectators, interspersed by spontaneous intakes of breath, as they become engrossed in the beauty of this Antarctic landscape and its inhabitants. Hold your breath and squint your eyes, and you're almost there. Ahh, do you feel the temperature change?

As one meanders through the gallery, moving almost as in a dream, it becomes apparent that Steve Gould has done a spectacular job of transporting us to this region which includes the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica. Temperatures in these treacherous regions range from the low 40 degrees (in the Falkland Islands) to the high 30's or just below freezing on South Georgia Island. In Antarctica temperatures can drop from freezing to 30 degrees lower in a matter of minutes, and [weather] is often characterized by high winds and fierce snow storms. Fortunately, this did not occur during the expedition.

From December 30, 2009 through January 24, 2010, Steve and his wife, Mary traveled with 94 other "adventurers" and the staff of the Cheeseman's Ecology Safaris, in order to witness and photograph the migratory breeding cycles of some of the world's most amazing and beloved wildlife. Freezing temperatures and harsh circumstances notwithstanding, the expedition visited five of the Falkland Islands for 3 days. With expectations high, the "adventurers" then cruised on to South Georgia Island, staying for 6 exhilarating days with a final (and much anticipated) destination of West Antarctica where they stayed for 7 days.

Of his show, Steve says, "In this exhibition, I share with you some of the amazing sights. I hope they convey many of the emotions I felt during these amazing 26 days".

Steve has more than accomplished what he hoped to do with this fantastic collection of photographs. On South Georgia Island, there is a magnificent array of King penguins standing and mingling with fur seals on beaches and nesting plains. Fur seals lounge, recline and nap in various positions for the spectators' delight. Comical and intriguing Adelie, Gentoo and Chinstrap penuins gather in Antarctica. Humpback whales raise their flukes to the sun in Antarctic Cierva Cove, Antarctica. The "blue icebergs" of Devil's Island hypnotize and hold viewers in thrall with their color and abstract form. The fierce and relentless terrain evokes awe and commands respect.

Of all the wondrous images in the exhibit, the ones of the King penguin are my all time favorites. Steve has more than successfully captured the true magnificence of these stoic and beautiful creatures. Among my favorites are the photographs showing King penguins standing, feeding, nesting and marching across the penguin "highways" that they travel. What is it about the majestic penguin that fascinates and so captivates our imagination and admiration?

There is a quotation on the left wall of the gallery, as you move to the upper level, that describes this fascination perfectly. The quotation goes, "All the world loves a penguin: I think it is because in many respects they are like ourselves... Had we but half their physical courage, none could stand against full of curiosity that they have no room for fear". (Quotation by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, "The Worst Journey in the World") (The Scott Expedition)

"Kings on the March" by STEVE GOULD, photographer

One can truly appreciate Steve's naturalistic approach to photographing his subjects in their environmental surroundings. There seems to be a purity to his capture of the elements and wildlife in actuality, without any projection of ego or contrivance to the image. The viewer sees King penguins, Adelies and others doing what penguins, naturally, do. The titling of his photographs also reflects this clarity as in "Five Kings" and "Kings on the March". [No artifice. Just...Penguins.]

In contrast, "Whiskers", a photograph of a fur seal, is amusing because it looks as if the seal actually knew his picture was being taken, and so posed for the photo. Is there such a thing as "seal serendipity"? Another magnificent shot, "Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island", depicts a mind boggling 130,000 King penguins and baby chicks, interspersed with a few fur seals, stretching for miles over a panorama which ends in the snowy mountain backdrop of South Georgia Island. Can you imagine trying to find your own baby chick in that number of penguins? What natural instinct, and then some!

The contrast and juxtapositions of the wildlife to its habitat are particularly awe-inspiring in Steve's photographs. In his, "Tortured Rock", which depicts a shear massive "crag" of weatherhewn rock plummeting to a beach at Fortuna Bay, South Georgia Island, King penguins and fur seals wait, perhaps, for the weather to change. The massiveness of the cliff makes a dramatic contrast to the King penguin whose size is not meager. The impressive "Kings" are dwarfed by the wall of rock rising into the air.

Other impressive works, include "Iceberg Window" in the Devil Island, and "Devil Island Iceberg", Devil Island, Antarctica. These two lovely photographs led me to ask Steve, "Why are icebergs blue"? A trip to the exhibition is certainly worth attaining that information from Steve. (Though, he may wish I hadn't prompted you to ask.)

With so many intriguing images to view at "To the End of the Earth", you may find yourself forgetting that question and coming up with a plethora of your own. This show surely boasts "azul waters, blue icebergs and 130,000 reasons" (penguins, that is) to visit Steve Gould at Gallery 21 located in Spanish Village Art Center and beautiful Balboa Park. The show runs from August 4 - August 16, 2010, and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.

"Devil Island Iceberg" by STEVE GOULD, photographer

Steve Gould is a diversified and accomplished photographer and may also be contacted at his website: Steve Gould Photography []. This impressive exhibition had write ups this month in the La Jolla Light, San Diego Magazine and Performances Magazine.

Thank you, Steve, for taking us "To The End of the Earth" where an astounding cycle of nature continues every year! How fortunate for us to have seen this miracle, "looking through an Iceberg Window and the eyes of Steve Gould"!

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted 2010, all rights reserved

"Painters' Perspective" - Challenge at Gallery 21


Hello All!

Long time, no write. I've had a very busy few weeks since my last blog, and what a great time to bring everyone up to date on the latest news at Gallery 21 in Spanish Village Art Center. Good news is never too late, and great art is never forgotten or passe. Which brings me to the recent exhibit of the "Painters' Perspective" in Gallery 21. This exhibition "challenge" ran from July 21, 2010 through August 2, 2010.

A select group of 50 painters who paint under the tutelage of Linda A. Doll [], aws, nws, internationally renowned painter, digital artist, instructor and juror, recently participated in an "art challenge" where 3 challenges were presented to them for creating works of art based upon the particular criteria set forth by Ms. Doll. These painting "solutions" were submitted in various media by the artists and critiqued by Ms. Doll for the exhibition. The resulting works of art were intriguing and as individual as each of the artists participating in the challenge.

Having Linda Doll as a mentor is a tremendous "boon", to say the least, as is evident in the works displayed in the exhibit. Ms. Doll's credentials read like a well tuned Stradivarius and are as follows,(quote): "A teacher of workshops and seminars throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Bali". (!!!) (Wait, there's more.) She is a past-President and Life Member of the National Watercolor Society, a past Board Member and Juror of the American Watercolor Society, and a past Board Member of Watercolor West. (It continues...) She is a Life Honorary Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and an elected Life Member of the San Diego Watercolor included in...Who's Who in American Art and Who's Who of American Women.(unquote) Whew!!! Challenge or Gift to the Universe? I'll let you decide! She's certainly got the "right stuff" that one needs to be a mentor. Ms. Doll, take a bow!

With all of this motivation, the artists meet at Linda's home on a monthly basis for mentoring, challenges and critiquing of their work. Ms. Doll frequently showcases her students' work in exhibitions such as the "Painters' Perspective" to show creative solutions to the challenges she gives them. These challenges are designed to get students to push the limits of their individual and separate talents, in order to create or "recreate" art that is either already in some stage of existence or waiting to be discovered and given fruition.

I was intrigued by this concept when I visited the exhibition, and was given some interesting insights to the process by which the artists worked. Martha Grimm, who is a watercolorist in the show, has been wonderfully generous with sharing information about the challenge, and caught my attention with her "solution" to one of the challenges on color usage.

As one walked through the show, each of the challenges was presented along with the artists' solutions to the assignments. Each challenge was displayed on a separate wall of the gallery with a description (of the parameters) of the assignment as set forth by Ms. Doll. The first of these (as you entered the gallery) was to Recycle an "Old Painting". Ms. Doll states, "Artists were randomly given an old painting from another artist who wasn't happy with the painting they had done and wanted to abandon it. The challenge was to create a new painting from the old one using elements of the original painting but completing it using a new creative solution. I believe many artists give up too early on a painting and need to come back to an unsuccessful painting with a fresh idea and story".

The next challenge was two-fold in as much as the artists were given the choice of "Painting in Specified Colors". There were two color choices: Pure Orange and Muted Greens. The artists were given sample photos showing these color choices utilized in interiors. They could use any combination of the colors shown in the photos to then create a painting reflecting these palettes. Pure Orange colors were to be luminous, bright, glowing and bold carefully or randomly placed with whites. However, the overall composition should maintain a balance between the alternating white areas of the painting and the use of color. Muted Greens, ofttimes considered to be "neutral" in the color spectrum, are calming and restful with a soothing effect when observed in muted form. As a painter, myself, these two challenges intrigued me the most. I chose two paintings that captured my attention [within this challenge] to share with you: Sharon Feingold's, "Muted Greens" and Martha Grim"s, "Heads or Tails", one from each of the two color challenges.

The third challenge in the exhibition was to "Paint a Still Life" from a collection of objects brought in by the artists. The objects were placed randomly on a table and the artists chose which of these objects they wanted to include in their painting composition. The artists were given no "limitations", and could paint in any style and medium that they wanted. A collection of "pig figurines" were among the intriguing items brought in for painting, as well a selection of vintage radios and a collection of fabrics. There was a delightful mixture of objects in the still life paintings created for this particular challenge. Among the pig collection, was an unforgettable red, black and white pig that surfaced in quite a few of the stilllifes, fairly dominating the scene with its undeniable presence and strong color contrasts. Who was that "masked piggy"? Hmmm. I guess "pigs may come, and pigs may go", but that little piggy will stay in every one's memory and those stilllifes forever.

Summarily, it seems that Ms. Doll and the Painter's Perspective group is a very interesting and educational concept. If I didn't have such a full schedule, I would certainly entertain the idea of joining them for those once a month critiques. Ms. Doll is an inspiring teacher, and her pupils show an aptitude for painting that is notable. I think that they have all successfully risen to the "challenge" of this exhibition, heightened their awareness, honed their skills and turned out some great artwork to boot.

Thanks and a "Great Big Shout Out" to all of you who participated in this exhibition. I, and the greater public, look forward to seeing you all again at Gallery 21.

MARTHA GRIM'S, "Heads or Tails"

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted 2010, all rights reserved
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