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"Cypress Gallery Art Walk"    

March 2019

by Elizabeth Monks Hack

Imagination is a beautiful thing. It is free and boundless; the source of all creativity. Valerie de Mille, featured artist at the Cypress Gallery this month, has it. A lot of it. In "Then and Now: A Retrospective of V.C. de Mille's Artworks," she has hung a show that will take you through the unfettered mind of an artist.

The stylish de Mille hails from New York City, where she was raised in an artistic family and exposed to the numerous cultural offerings of the city from an early age. Although trained in the sciences, art has been a mainstay throughout her life. Her art is an examination of what is possible. It is eclectic in subject matter, and fearless in style and media. Still life, geometric and amorphous abstraction, figuration, and fantasy are placed on supports of glue, gesso, cheesecloth, and clay.

Ms. de Mille has designated the show as a retrospective; the avenues of her imagination seem to lead to places she might have been. Several of the works are "collaborations" with other artists, a fascinating idea wherein two imaginations work together to create a hybrid work of art. As you enter the gallery, say hello to the cheerful composition "African Woman," a dancing sprite outlined in gesso. Your mind will be set to embark on a voyage of creativity. Across the way, you'll encounter the enigmatic, oculus-like "Point of View," the oldest work in the show. Be inspired!

The artists in the main gallery have provided a sumptuous display of mother nature's waters and skies. Seas crash against rocks in gorgeous paintings by Betsee Talavera and Lee Hill, whereas Tom Heslop and Neil Andersson portray light reflecting on watery expanses of calm. Linda Gooch, Vicki Andersen and Trish Campbell present aerial displays of grandeur and technical excellence. In "Wind Art," a photograph by Linda Schiff, the wind itself creates a drawing on an expanse of sand.

Floral treasures are to be had as well! "Hawaiian Floral" is a brilliant painting on silk of antherium and bird of pardise by Emily Abello, who also has hand-painted silk scarves on display. A note of beauty can be found in the enticing "Bursts of Sunflowers" by Dee Sudbury. In "Whirlygig," a dye infused metal print, Bill Morson has captured the symmetry and mandala perfection of a flower. Chris Jeszeck's "Garden Delight" demonstrates a magnificent use of the pour technique, uncannily creating naturalistic pansies. Also, Jeszeck's colored pencil piece "Blue Iris" has won the People's Choice Award for February. Congratulations, Chris!

Other gallery treats include Jan Manfrina's trompe l'oeil "Barn Kitty" peeking out through a hole in the fence, Diane Reuter's whimsical collage "Orange Parfait," and Judith Grames Lyra's watercolor "Surf Beach," with its myriad of seashells and stones delightfully rendered in watercolor. Technical ability also astonds us in Mary Whitmore's enchanting "Irish Lace," in white metal paint on black. Feed your imagination!

We can't emphasize enough how fortunate we are to be able to buy charming, original cards and gifts by local artists at competitive prices. Please consider the Cypress Gallery as your go-to gift store, as well as your "Imagination Station," your monthly art venue!Cypress Gallery is operated by the members of the Lompoc Valley Art Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, committed to expanding and supporting access and exposure to the arts in the Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valley.

The gallery is located at 119 East Cypress Avenue, Lompoc. Winter Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12 noon to 4:00 PM. Phone (805)737-1129. Visit ou Facebbook page and LVAA website for more information.<lompocvalleyartassociation.com>

Are you an artist, photographer or artisan crafter or simply want to support the local art community? Consider joining the Lompoc Valley Art Association. You can pick up a membership application here and drop it off at the gallery.

"Hawaiian Floral" by Emily Abello "Point of View" by Valerie de Mille