Most Viewed Stories
Avenue for the Arts is a night to remember
As the sun set on Saturday night, attendees of the Avenue of the Arts Gala strolled along a breezeway lined with local artists' creations, with martinis and hors d'oevres in hand.
The Gala was held at Sheila and Allen Etchepare's Colusa home and served as a membership event for the Colusa County Arts Council. Hundreds of people, including new members of the Arts Council, meandered through displays featuring fine photography, paintings and ceramics.
Arts Council Director Leah Harter said the event was the first Gala of its kind and board members provided innovation, and the work. "I'm happy," said Michele Etchepare, Arts Council board member.
"Everyone in Colusa County was so supportive. Everything was covered by sponsors," Etchepare said.
She said the event came together as a combination of visions for a membership drive and a show for her sister, Noel Etchepare-Stubblefield, who was the featured artist of the event.
The well-lit exhibits were enjoyed into the night by art-enthusiasts and novice observers alike.
Doug Correa said this Gala was the first Arts Council event he has attended.
"You don't realize how much talent there is in the county," Correa said.
He doesn't consider himself an art critic or major art consumer, but, he said, "I enjoy other people's talent and I know a lot of people that are here. It's interesting."
Some artists gained more than exposure and successfully sold a few pieces, including Williams Photograher Richard Lau.
"It's amazing just how many people showed up. They (the arts council) really did a great job," Lau said.
Noel Etchepare-Stubblefield, who grew up in Maxwell but now lives in Marin County, said she started painting with watercolors about 15 years ago, then moved to oil and photography.
"I keep going back to still life. I love spheres and color," Stubblefield said.
That love was apparent in her displayed paintings of blueberries.
The collection offers clusters of round, plump berries filling the canvas, saturated in a purplish-blue hue.
"It's emotional. I get into a mood. I guess I can paint for eight hours, then I won't paint for a month," Stubblefield said of her process.
"It's like cooking dinner. Once you decide what you want to make, it just comes."
One piece that garnered a lot of attention was a photograph of a gray-haired woman wearing a yellow sweater and colorful beaded necklaces. The subject casually slumped against a building, smoking a cigar.
The 2011 photography, titled, "Cuban Mama!," was captured in Savana, Cuba.
Stubblefield said her photography has really developed along with her travels around the world.
The first display seen by guests entering the Gala was a collection of newspaper clippings and photographs of World War II assembled by Ron McVey. The photographs were taken by his father, Clifford McVey, who was drafted to the war at 18 while a student at Colusa High School.
According to a statement accompanying the photos, "Clifford McVey is the belly gunner in these B-17 bombers."
"By the age of 19, he was dropping bombs over Germany. He participated in 32 bomb drops and two food drops," the statement read.
It said that today, McVey is 88 and living happily in Colusa.
Peter Adams offered a demonstration of his work throughout the evening of the event, actively sculpting a bowl out of clay.
At the side of his stand, on display and surrounded by his other works, was a simple and captivating bust.
"I almost consider it a self portrait," he said. "I put a lot of myself in it."
Adams teaches ceramics classes for the Arts Council in Colusa, but he lives between Marysville and Grass Valley.
He said he became interested in clay in high school. When working in a pottery studio, he had a realization.
"My work became more structural than functional. So I thought, I better go to school," Adams said.
He attended Otis College of Art and Design and studied drawing, painting, sculpture and conceptual art.
Lately, he has been contracting public art pieces, which are on display at the City Hall in Sacramento, a park in Albany, in an Arts Council building in Folsom, among others.
A bold painting of a bright blue river framed by a foreground of hydrangeas inspired Gala attendees to comment that the painting appeared to be lit from behind. While no trickery of lighting was involved, painter Larissa Osimok did employ her skill with use of color in her piece "Hydrangea on the Azores Islands."
Osimok said that the painting took four years to complete, and for a few years hung unfinished above her bed.
"I started it back before we got married," Osimok said, while standing next to her husband, Matthew.
Then, she said, she got pregnant and sick and couldn't paint.
"We moved to Colusa and had our oldest daughter, and I didn't have time to paint," she said.
The painted river hung above the couple's bed, with bare white canvass exposed where the hydrangeas were to be painted.
"I just wanted to finish so I could have flowers," Osimok said.
Now, the completed painting is like a representation of their marriage and family, she said.
The couple only lived in Colusa for a few years and although Osimok has moved from Colusa to Plumas Lake, she continues to offer watercolor classes at the Arts Council and said she hopes to begin a pastels class.
Local photographer Richard Lau is known for snapping photos all over Colusa County, capturing diverse photos from portraits to dynamic landscapes and interesting conceptual images harnessing the beauty of shapes and attention to lighting.
Lau said he chose to display a little of everything at the Avenue of the Arts Gala, including travel pictures from around the world.
His favorite piece on display was a crowd pleaser that Lau captured in Bratislava, Slovakia.
"Lady in Hallway" shows a sharply dressed woman walking on a patterned walkway, framed by dramatic shadows highlighting the architecture of an arched ceiling.
"It took me two days to get the lighting," Lau said.
"The woman wasn't supposed to be in it. I heard the click-clack of her shoes on the cobblestone. I just kept shooting," he said.
A print of the work, which was a combination of labored preparation and an unexpected subject, sold at the Gala.