Color, depth, light – glass has unique properties that draw me to working with it. However, it is the relationship of ourselves with our environment and each other that informs my artistic path. So although my work may contain flowers, trees, and landscapes it is also inspired by pure emotional reflection. Glass may be two dimensional, smooth sculpted, multi-layered, but it can also be harsh, textured, even deliberately broken.
The glass is cut and worked in sheet and powdered form, and then goes through several firings in a glass kiln. The glass may also be hand blown in a hotshop, or worked in a torch. Sometimes I collaborate with other artists on sculptures that incorporate blacksmithing and metalwork. Glass is mostly impervious to the elements (especially here in California) and so my art may be as easily displayed outdoors in your garden art gallery, as indoors.
If you are interested in learning any of the techniques that I use with glass, classes are taught at The Glass Studio.
“Faces” show is currently running and closes August 17, 2014. A gallery artist, Rebecca Andrews, invited Chuck Blackwell to be the featured artist. We are pleased to add his pop cultural imagery to our already varied genre. His works reflect contemporary, representational/ illustrative training, yet he plays with imperfection through spontaneous mark making. He also explores topics of popular icons, with quirky facial distortions and effective color blending and transitions. His paintings are worth the stop.
Then we have a collection by members of the gallery. There can be no other word to use for this show than diversity. We were asked to submit work on the topic of “Faces,” in all forms of interpretation. Our artists used media from paint to photography, sculpture to cloth, representational to conceptual. Caryl Lightfoot captures human intimacy in Ethiopia, while Toby Salkin humors us with a painting of Randy from the Village People.
John Brunnick takes us to the macabre with his highly skilled painting “Dark Cape,” while Lisa Goldfarb combines kitsch and skill with her painting “Grumpy Cat.” These are only a few of the artists. We have representations of a dog, farm animals, imaginary faces, children, and cats. There are also spiritual, imaginative, and ethereal images.
In addition to 2D imagery shoppers can browse through wonderful ceramic artists, and well crafted jewelry. The are greeting cards and prints for purchase. If you can’t make this show then please return in August for “Visions Three” exhibit, opening August 23, 2014, 4-7 pm. This show will feature an in death exploration of the work by Linda Bolhuis, Carole Spence, and Sharon Tanner. Our gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, and Sundays 11am to 5pm.
Looking for a quick escape from Los Angeles? Come visit Topanga Canyon located in the Santa Monica Mountains and get away from it all. Head down the PCH and turn right onto Topanga Canyon Blvd. It will take you 15 minutes if there’s not much traffic. You can also take Topanga Canyon Boulevard South from the highway 101.
The first thing you can do in Topanga Canyon is improve your driving skills by navigating the twists and turns of Topanga Canyon Blvd. Jim Morrison once said, “Keep your eyes on the road and your hand upon the wheel.” The road has many bicyclists and the occasional coyote so share the road. Put in some tunes, and enjoy the ride through the spectacular Santa Monica mountains. If you’re really really, really lucky you might even see a mountain lion…but probably not.
The stress of city life and traffic is melting away as you zig zag up the canyon pass. You roll down your windows and inhale the fresh air. On either side of you is a green blur of oak and sycamore trees. You’ve emerged from the fog. Its June gloom no longer. The air has warmed up, the sunlight hits your face and a deep blue sky emerges. You are on your way…
The second thing you can do in Topanga Canyon is visit the Topanga Canyon Gallery. In about 4 miles from PCH you’ll come into “town”. Make a right at second stop light and turn into the Pine Tree Circle mall. The gallery is located in the strip. Come on in. Don’t be shy. There are many beautiful and affordable paintings, sculptures, ceramic mugs, plates and jewelry to look at and purchase for your home. Its a feast for your eyes!
Topanga scenes, animals and spiritual motifs are often depicted by the local artists in their imagery. For these artists experience is reflected in their art. But not all art in the gallery is representational. There are quite a few abstract and conceptual artists here. Their art begs you to take a closer look and ponder universal ideals, the meaning of art, and current trends in society. Delight in the mastery of their craft, the beauty, and the passion each artist has for his and her medium. It is a gift for all who enter.
Chat up the friendly person sitting behind the desk. He or she is one of the member artists of the gallery and can answer all or some of your art related questions, tell you some Topanga lore or maybe give you a great recommendation of what to do in Topanga!
I paint what I find exciting, be it a mountain, a tree, a group of houses, a flower or whatever. I love color and shape. Everything I paint comes from viewing it and an emotional response to whatever I am looking at.
Most of my paintings are watercolor, but I also mix the use of acrylics, collage, and pastels. Many of my paintings are a combination of all these media, whatever gets my vision across to the viewer. Blending colors and enjoying expressing my emotions on paper dominate my subjects. Anything I can see may inspire me and then I interpret them on paper.
I love to draw and have many, many sketch books filled with the things I have seen from the passenger seat of the car. I usually use my sketches as the basis of a painting. I enjoy blending colors and believe that nothing is a solid tube color and mix my colors on the paper to get the wanted results. Most of my paintings have several versions of the same scene done until I decide on the composition. To me composition and values are the what makes a painting worth looking at.
My current work is a direct result of being in Italy when 911 occurred. I was there four days of a month-long stay when the disaster hit. Not being able to go home and upon the advice of the Italian government that Americans should keep a “low profile,” I took my pen and sketchbook everywhere I went instead of a camera and tried to blend into the shadows of places I visited and absorb everything I could with my sketches.
Because of the intensity of the situation, my vision became highly alert and I would catch fragments of everything in sight around me. It felt as if these fragments were flying at me from all directions. These fragmented visions are what I am trying to represent with the watercolor sections of the work.
I begin with a collage of torn shapes and then paint the shapes with watercolor. When I am satisfied with that part of the work, I sketch from life over the watercolor.
I have always been attracted to line in artwork. The sensitivity or boldness of a line draws me in and I want to look beyond the line. I want to see into the surface of the art and into the space between the lines. This is what I am thinking when I make a line on a surface.
I’ve been hand-building ceramics for 30+ years. A local mom and potter, Patti Marcus, handed me my first piece of clay back in 1981. We had met in a newly formed baby group. I took to the medium immediately.
My instincts are kind of contra-symmetry, but pro balance. Builders can go off kilter, but still find balance. The building and shaping aspects of working with clay slab vs throwing at a wheel continues to hook me. (Though, lately, I’ve been “throwing” wedges of clay against hard surfaces and getting some interesting results!) I also like to “draw” in the clay before it dries and working with slab provides that canvas. So far, I’ve only worked with high-fire clays and glazes.
Living in the Santa Monica Mountains all these years, surrounded by Mother Nature, I’ve learned how unpredictable nature is: but, like the clay that comes from it, there’s the possibility of something “ah-ha”, maybe even sublime, emerging from that very same unpredictability.
An early childhood memory of mine starts with looking out from the back seat of my parent’s car traveling from some big California valley to the ocean through California’s coastal mountains. The landscape, rolling hills of grass and oaks, with moss hanging from their limbs, submerging into distant box canyons, captivated me. Almost everything I do in clay, functional or not, is evocative of those early, often mysterious, impressions of California wildlands.
I like to make things that people like to look at and maybe get lost in because they evoke a sense of ancient and perhaps archetypal “place” that lives deep within us all. I also like to have fun and am always experimenting with different ideas, so my personal vision is still evolving.
Toby creates bold, flamboyant landscapes and poignant, reflective portraits, as well as contemporary collage and assemblage works. She began painting as soon as she was old enough to hold a brush and doesn’t remember a time when she was not creating art.
After moving from New York to California, Toby studied with artist Alex Villmusen, she credits him with encouraging her to select bold colors without thinking of the rules. Never being a rule follower in any part of her life, this was the perfect fit, allowing her imagination free reign.
Toby attended Hunter College and Fashion Institute of Technology, both in New York City.
A few of the galleries Toby’s work has been displayed are: Half Gallery New York City, The Left Coast Gallery, Terrell Moore Gallery, Burbank Creative Arts Center, The Slutsky Gallery, The Coffee fix, and Venice Art Gallery
The casual abstract patterns and compositions served up by nature, moment by moment, have always attracted my attention. With this awareness, and a lifelong recreational involvement with the Southern California coast, the area where water and land meet has become a rich source of inspiration for my paintings. These paintings are an effort on my part to evoke emotions and moments easily recognized by anyone with a fondness for the shoreline.