What a year 2009 has been! We, at Chemers Gallery, have been busy as ever, striving to bring you, our wonderful and loyal clients, nothing but excellence throughout the last 12 months despite the continued economic challenges.
Right: We Eat Food That's Fresh, illustrated by Cathy June (Arneson)
We kicked off January to the news that one of our 2008 children's book illustrators, Beth Krommes, won the Caldecott Award, while another participant from the same year, Melissa Sweet, won a Caldecott Honor! To add to our literary events, Karen's brother-in-law, Danny Evans, wrote his first book, Rage Against the Meshugenah. His book was released through Penguin, and we hosted a special book signing event for him in August. In September was an extra-special book signing for our own Cathy June (Arneson), who illustrated her first children's book! Since being released in July, We Eat Food That's Fresh has won two Moonbeam awards (Pre-School Picture Book Silver Award & Best Illustrator Silver Award). Way to go, Cathy! The year rounded off with our 18th Annual Children's Book Illustrators Show & Signing in December, benefiting The Wooden Floor. This show boasted our biggest crowd ever.
Chemers Gallery hosted and participated in a number of events during the first half of 2009. In January, the Bureau of Jewish Education used Chemers Gallery as a venue for their annual Dinner With a Scholar fundraising event program, featuring guest speaker Erwin Chemerinsky. In February we hosted a Jewelry Trunk Show with artists Michelene Berkey, Bill Gallagher, Birgitt Hellemann and Amy Kekst. These four distinctly accomplished artists shared their collections of jewelry with us and even let us model their pieces for them! March saw the Enderle Center's annual Bridal Show come around, and once again we were delighted to have Turville Photography share the gallery space with us for the event. For the second time, Chemers Gallery teamed up with the Tustin Art League and TACFA to host "City of Trees," an exhibition open to local artists, both amateur and professional. In May, the West Wing of the Enderle Center hosted a very special event that we called the Sip'N'Stroll. Clients were treated to hors d'oeuvres, desserts, champagne, live music and even a progressive poker game as they wound their way through the stores. Chemers Gallery held a wine and chocolate tasting during the event.
2009 saw several new additions to the gallery artists. We were excited to welcome master printmaker Dirk Hagner and his beautiful textual landscapes and nudes. Campbell Laird's stunning abstract digital art captured Karen's imagination and can capture yours as well! Carson Gladson's transluscent contemporary watercolors can now be found within our inventory, and we became re-aquainted with John Maxon's bold landscapes after many years apart. We were introduced to Mary Hammond's intricately designed scarves and shawls by our good friend Michael Mora. Her work is so delicate and light hearted in its patterns and colors. We have been joined by several new jewelery artists, including Sue Wintner, Dinna Yesachar and Joanna Craft.
We're also thrilled to carry fused glass soap dishes, sushi sets and "light catchers" from Leona Hawks and elegant glass vases and bowls by David Lindsay of Lindsay Art Glass. Beverly Jacobs now shows her uniquely textured ceramic bowls and vessels at Chemers Gallery. You may remember Jane Nishii's sophisticated ceramics from the SAC Ceramics show in 2008, well, we are excited to finally have more!
As always, we've gotten new artwork throughout the year from members of our gallery artist family. We've had the pleasure of receiving beautiful seascapes and florals from local pastel artist Mary Aslin, and colorful watercolors from Sandy Clark and Joseph Stoddard. Jim Wodark is on form with his lovely California plein air landscapes. Bonnie Holmes has been able to devote more time to her painting throughout the year and is starting to apply her soft color pallet to larger-scale sea and riverscapes. John Sawyer, yet another local, has been painting up a storm in the Tustin Hills area, and Bay Area artist James Groleau has used his travels to India to create a stunning suite of mezzotint portraits. We're happy to have classically painted nudes from Steve Shapona, another talented Bay Area artist. Jennie Tomao has been very good to us, showering us with gorgeous Tuscan landscapes and ethereal forest scenes. We have new smaller-scale "retro" paintings from Gerald Schwartz, as well as his larger, more well-known sky pieces. Brother and sister Troy and Kelly Viss are considering a "siblings" show with us for 2010, and if their current work is anything to go by, we already know they hang beautifully together.
Our talented three-dimensional artisans have been busy this year as well. Canadian glass artist Robert Held introduced a new line of "heartlets" to his glass heart paperweight series, and they are getting snatched up like candy! He's also introduced us to his Mosaic collection, reminiscent of Gustav Klimt. Ceramicist Lilia Venier made her annual trip to Chemers Gallery after the summer art festivals in Laguna Beach, bringing her signature whimsey and humor with a whole new series of hand carved and thrown teapots, bowls and boxes. To add to our ceramics collection, Maria Counts visited us with her playful teapots and brand new kimonos, each intricately stamped and glazed to create stunning patterns that mimics fabric. Ayala Bar has continued to wow us with her delicate and sometimes outrageous jewelry designs in beads, crystals and fabrics. Ayala's limited edition finery is always a tremendous hit. We were especially excited to see that her fabric cuff bracelets had returned to her repertoire early in 2009!
2009 was also the year that Chemers Gallery decided to embrace the new social media by joining social networking groups LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. We are still neophytes, but you can still link to us, tweet with us and become our fan. Our email list is in it's second year and with over 1000 contacts, we are going strong!
The last 12 months have witnessed several accomplishments and milestones among Chemers Gallery's dedicated staff. Karen was selected as the corporate art consultant for two medical office buildings for Kaiser Permanente, a project that involved the coordination of original and limited edition art and custom framing to complement existing art pieces and color schemes. She participates in an Israeli folk dancing group at least twice a week, and she's recently begun learning how to knit with friend and artist Bonnie Holmes. Cathy's had a big year too! In addition to her first children's book being released, she has remained an active pastel artist, winning 1st place for Figurative work in the United Society of Pastel Artists' annual membership exhibition. Her already large family has grown again with the addition of her tenth grandchild! Jennifer has stayed busy creating jewelry, photographing, and enjoying her first year of married life. She won 1st place for miscellaneous color photographs at the Orange County Fair in July. Our head framer, Robert, continues to amaze us with his talent, precision and creative problem solving needed in the frame department. Over the summer his family increased with the addition of his first child. (He's starting to look a little less sleep-deprived now.) Our framing department gained a second set of capable hands with the addition of Angelica, who is attending college locally and is an art major. Tyler, our resident jack-of-all-trades, joined our team again after lifeguarding throughout the summer. He earned his Firefighter One Certification this year.