Watercolor paintings by Nancy Calhoun are featured in the show "Winter Sun," which opens Tuesday at Viewpoints Gallery. A reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Calhoun took inspiration for her works from a snowy day in Santa Fe, N.M.In the late afternoon she was inspired when the snow stopped and the sun came out. "The ink dark sky created a backdrop for the glowing colors of buildings, street lights and cars -- and the most ordinary objects turned magical," she says.
She describes her painting "Winter Sun" as "a collage of a photo image of a tree and a drawing of a building." Her drawing was formed as a composite of many images of Southwest pueblos.
Calhoun's watercolor technique of "pouring light" was introduced to her by Jean Grastdorf. After creating a collage, Calhoun traces it onto watercolor paper, masking off portions she wants to remain white. Beginning with very dilute watercolor paint, first she pours yellow, then red and finally blue, allowing them to mix on the paper. After letting her work dry overnight, she evaluates it, masking portions she wants to save.
She'll go through the masking, pouring and evaluation steps at least two more times, each time increasing the amount of pigment in the pour. Details are then added with a brush. "I love color," Calhoun notes, "and especially the exciting colors that are created by the mixing of primaries on the paper."
The exhibit also includes Calhoun's paintings of realistic and Spirit Bears. She and her husband have a second home in the Sierras, on Ebbetts Pass, although Calhoun notes that most of the images in her paintings "are of more confined bears."
Her technique used in painting bears involves Yupo paper, which is slick surfaced. "It is like painting on plastic," she says. She applies paint with a loaded brush. "Several colors mix and slide around on the surface creating wonderful passages."
Calhoun began her studies at UCLA, then transferred to San Francisco State, where she earned a bachelor's degree in education. After graduation she studied oil painting with Chris Borggren. Calhoun moved again to Southern California, then back to the Bay Area, where she began taking classes at De Anza Community College.
After "life as an oil painter" she turned to watercolor "for the luminosity and freshness" of the medium. She continues to learn at workshops and in seminars. "I look forward to growing as an artist for the rest of my life," she says.
Her work will be on view through Jan. 5. Viewpoints Gallery is at 315 State St., Los Altos. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Call 650-941-5789 or visit www.viewpointsgallery.com.
Miniatures by many
Gallery 9 presents "Miniatures and More!" for the holiday season. A reception for the show will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Festive works by 30 Bay Area artists are on view. Their media spans the mix from painting and mixed media work to wood sculpture, ceramics, photography, metal work and jewelry.
The gallery is at 143 Main St., Los Altos. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Call 650-941-7969 or visit www.gallery9losaltos.com.
Pacific Art League
The Pacific Art League is celebrating its upcoming renovation and expansion from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday with a free "Paint Out." Kids, teens and adults are invited to let their creativity reign as they use the league's interior walls as a canvas.
Instructors and volunteers will be on hand to offer ideas or help. Reservations are recommended but not required. Call 650-321-3891 or drop by during the event to join the work in progress. Paints and supplies will be provided. The Pacific Art League is at 668 Ramona St., Palo Alto. Visit www.pacificartleague.org.
You're invited to a holiday reception celebrating art by Marla Lehr and Alisan Andrews at Mayers Jewelry. It will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at 2323 Broadway in downtown Redwood City. Call Fred Mayers at 650-346-4030.
Information on visual and literary arts can be sent to Bonny Zanardi at Bzanardi@aol.com.