A reception for the artists in the Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library Art Show, where munching on small bites and mingling with the artists made for a nice evening and introduction to their work on March 8. The atmosphere sparked with colorful exuberance as the artists spoke about and sold their work to a steady flow of admirers. The show runs through Saturday, March 18.
Marilynn Chadwick Wilson
Marilynn Chadwick Wilson shows a collection of watercolors as you enter on the right. Some are of still life and some are landscape, and all are beautifully portrayed. She talks of the history she has been able to record on canvas when she moved to Sonoma County more than 40 years ago.
“I began doing watercolors,” she says, “when I moved to Sonoma County because it’s so overwhelmingly paintable. It’s changed a lot since 1975, so most of my pictures don’t exist anymore.”
Wilson says she has been painting all her life and is proud to have been able to paint much of the area around Sonoma Mountain that is now preserved only in her paintings.
Victoria Kochergin’s wall is next, displaying her intricate botanical illustrations that look so real you can almost smell the flowers she depicts. Kochergin’s work is so precise that she says, “Many times I will use a magnifying glass to get the most accurate details possible.”
For her, the connection with nature offers something meaningful and in a sense, spiritual.
“It is this experience I strive to incorporate in each of my drawings,” she says, “so that the viewer may have a similar visceral experience of reveling in the beauty of the botanical world.”
She grew up around flowers and plants working in her family’s floral shop and says, “I’m always inspired. I mostly work on live pieces so I can really capture their essence.” Kochergin’s work can be seen at the Bob Johnson Gallery in Healdsburg, and for more information on upcoming shows you can visit her website at VictoriaKochergin.com.
Stephanie Rose Long
Stephanie Rose Long shows a range of material as she includes a new venture into portraiture in her collection. She shares the challenge she faces with drawing new subjects.
“It’s very difficult,” Long says, “I feel like I’m up against a lot of hard competition and people that know what they’re doing really well. In a way, that’s the best part, because I can learn from that and get inspiration from it.”
She also has a few of her horse paintings on display, and admits, “Horses come really natural for me (because) I’m surrounded by them.”
Still, her technique and attention to detail are present in all her work. “Using color and adding the final details are my favorite part of my paintings,” Long says. She works mainly with pastels for her paintings, which can be found online at StephanieRoseLong.com.
Colin Talcroft’s collection of collages is also new for him. Although, he doesn’t remember how he got started with this medium, his shift from photography began two or three years ago.
“I literally just started one day,” Talcroft says, “but once I started doing it I fell in love with it.” His work is unique also as he creates his own papers and raw materials. He describes his process as “manipulating accidents” and says, “what interests me is what seems to be an infinite problem of composition. Some things, you stick them together and they just don’t work. What I find interesting is that there’s so many different ways to arrive at an assemblage of shapes and tones and feelings...of bits and pieces that work. It’s kind of a conversation as you work, because once you get a little bit that works together, it starts a sort of dictating to you what it needs to go with it.”
His abstracts do sometimes take on an image, but he believes in working without a fixed idea of what something should become. “I don't think art communicates meaning from the artist,” says Talcroft, “Art is a meaning generator. I hope my images elicit some kind of meaning for the viewer, whatever that meaning may be.” Talcroft is the creator of Serendipitous Art, a fun blog that collects images of accidental art, and his collage work and more can be seen at CTalcroft.wixsite.com/collage-site.
Lowell Chaput is a long-time Rohnert Park resident who hopes to bring attention to the ancient art of blacksmithing. He specializes in forged, architectural and sculptural metal projects, (even improvising and making his own tools to work with) and has been a working member for the California Blacksmith Association since its inception in 1975. From candle-holders to intricately designed iron gates, his passion is what he says drives his creations and you can see them, along with a short bio video, on his website at ChaputMetalsmith.com.
Elizabeth Peyton’s gentle humility comes through as she describes her work with watercolor, pen and ink, oils and collages. She beams when she speaks of her now famous daughter whom she says, “shows portraits all over the world.” But, Peyton’s fine art speaks volumes on its own. Georgia O’Keefe was a strong influence for her, and she describes her work as ranging between loose and precise, yet lyrical. “I hope to convey my appreciation for the objects or scenes I depict,” says Peyton, “The world has much beauty to offer.” She has a studio in Graton, (by appointment only), and you can admire some of her work online at HouseDrawingsToOrder.com.
Wendy Brayton takes the art of Plein Air Painting to another level...even setting up on train tracks to capture an image. Her outdoor sceneries are alive and vibrant. “I want my art to be joyful,” says Brayton, “(and) I am constantly inspired by our beautiful county with fields of mustard and rolling hills. There are so many beautiful amazing things to paint that I usually have a future list of one's I want to do. There is just not enough time in the day!” Brayton teaches adult classes in her studio, and you can find more information on her website at www.BraytonArt.com.
Vicki Folkerts-Coots also creates colorful, sweeping landscapes that relate a vastness of space. She traveled to Scotland to participate in an artists’ residency, where she says she was inspired by the stories and scenery. Some of my work (is of) a sand bar that I walked by every day,” and she shares, “I take a photograph first because there’s gale force winds, it’s raining, it’s snowing and freezing, but I just had the best time.”
Merle McGregor is fairly new to his craft and describes the precise way he carefully heats copper to sculpt 3D sun faces, turtles and trees with amazing texture and a rainbow of colors using a torch.
“The oxidation brings out the colors,” McGregor says, “my average tree takes about 3-4 hours. Some have taken two days to finish.” He became fascinated with the technique when he saw a coworker making copper sculptures in 1976. You can find his work on his Etsy page: Copper Dropletts, and on his Facebook page CopperTreeSculptures.
Susie Scholefield rounds out the show with her collection of oil paintings. She speaks modestly of her work saying, “It’s developing, but I’m leaning toward impressionist. I am very new at this since I retired, and I have no formal training,” Scholefield says, “I have been working in art for five years, and I drew for two years before I tried to paint anything.” She expressed deep gratitude for being a part of the art show and beamed as she shared, “I sold a painting.”
April Renee Lynch of the Library Art Committee is pleased with the results of the show so far. She says they will continue to offer these events every year with an upcoming exhibit of photographers scheduled for August. “I think (the show tonight) is gorgeous,” says Lynch, “I’ve really had a good time mingling and meeting all the artists.” Pablo Picasso once said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
Time can certainly run away from us, but taking time to enjoy the art and beauty of life that surrounds us can reinvigorate us and maybe slow the clock a little. Make sure to check out the exhibit which runs until March 18.