Friday, December 30, 2011

Yet Another Fantastic Year!

Are you sure it's the end of 2011 already? What a whirlwind of a year! In the continued difficult economic climate, we are ever more appreciative of the blessings in our lives, especially YOU! You know the value in shopping "small," and we are honored that you help to support your local community. It's a no-brainer that more of your money stays within the local economy when you shop small independent businesses like Chemers Gallery, and we'd just like to say that you're doing a great job! Keep it up!

Even though times are tough, we haven't let it get us down. In fact, we've been busier than ever planning tons of events for your pleasure and, oh yes, showing off the ART!

Big Red, acrylic on board by Ian Paul

Chemers Gallery welcomed several new artists throughout the year. Painting buddies Dori Dewberry, Julie Hill and Dana Cooper joined our ranks this summer and have been delighting us with their sparkling personalities, beautiful pastels, watercolors and oil scenes. Recent Long Beach State University graduate Ian Paul joined us after showing his contemporary acrylic works at our annual Tustin Art League exhibition. (By the way, Ian not only one an Honorable Mention & the People's Choice Award at the show, but he also won Best of Show at the Bower's Museum & exhibited his work at the Tangata Restaurant!) Anthony Salvo delighted our visual pallets with his yummy dessert paintings. Toward the end of the year we met Linda Reed and her beautiful fused glass mosaic panels. We were also introduced to Susan Horton's beautifully woven textiles this year. She even brought her loom to share how she creates her scarves and shawls.

Tug-of-War, mixed media on board by Laurie Meseroll

We also welcomed new work from favorite artists. Mixed media artist Laurie Meseroll sent us several whimsical pieces made with paint, fabric, paper, glitter and even essential oils! We carried her art years ago and Karen was finally able to convince her to send more. Also keeping us stocked with whimsical treasures was Kristina Swarner. Her small prints are simply enchanting.

Afternoon Delight, oil on board by Jim Wodark

We say it again and again, but Jim Wodark just keeps getting better and better! As a plein air painter who continuously strives to challenge himself and push his art further, Jim keeps bringing us beautiful landscapes and marina scenes while entering (and winning!) competitions all over the place. In September, Jim was featured in a 5 page article in Plein Air Magazine. We're talking about an upcoming show that will feature a large body of work from this tremendous talent - details TBA!

California Street, oil on canvas by Carol Jessen

Carol Jessen sent us urban scenes that were snapped up immediately. At least we had the chance to take pictures of them this time!

Aquamarine Light, pastel by Mary Aslin

We welcomed new pastels from Mary Aslin, new watercolors from Pete Roberts and new oil paintings of local landscapes from John Sawyer. John Baughman visited us all the way from Michigan to show us what new abstract avenues he and his wife, Jan, are exploring in their works on paper. Bonnie Holmes visited us whenever she was in town to show us her latest small oils or the newest creation she was knitting. We are thrilled to have new ceramics from Maria Counts and Itsuko Zenitani, as well as glass light catchers, soap dishes and trays from Leona Hawks. We've also received funky, one of a kind ceramic vessels from Lisa Mertins, who you may remember as the illustrator of Jim Doti's children's book, A Christmas Adventure in Little Italy.

Serenity, oil on canvas by Jennie Tomao

Sadly, we also lost a favorite creative talent this year. Jennie Tomao passed away in May but her memory lives on in the lives she touched through her gracious spirit and beautifully rendered landscapes and still life.

As if all that art wasn't enough, Chemers kept busy with events, shows, demonstrations and lectures!

February was a busy month for us. We kicked off the year with our Eye Candy Jewelry Trunk Show, featuring talented jewelers Michelene Berkey from Colorado, local gal Joanna Craft, Amy Kekst from Ohio, semi-local Barbara Lanci, mother-daughter team Dina & Liz Yesachar and fused glass artist Linda Warwick-Smith. Textile artist Mary Hammond spent the day with us too and showcased her uniquely artistic scarves. A short few days later we hosted "Escape from Sobibor" with Philip Bialowitz, a survivor of the Nazi death camp Sobibor. His lecture on escaping the death camp by joining a prisoner-led revolt was deeply moving and impactful. We rounded out the month with a show of student work from the Laguna College of Art and Design.

Kevin Davidson and Marsha Lindsey, TAL

In April and May we hosted our 4th annual open exhibition with the Tustin Art League, but this year there was a twist. We also hosted a show simultaneously with the United Society of Pastel Artists. Not only did the exhibitions showcase our talented local artists, they also introduced us to new styles and techniques and gave us a deeper appreciation for the pastel medium.

Julie Hill demonstrates her watercolor technique

Throughout the summer, the Enderle Center hosted a monthly summer concert series. Chemers Gallery invited our artists to join in the festivities by bringing their studios to us! While the live music was happening on our doorstep, visitors to the center were treated to an opportunity to watch some of their favorite artists paint, draw and weave. Patrons were able to chat with our artists and ask them questions about their process and technique. We plan on making artist demonstrations a regular thing here at Chemers - stay tuned for details!

Karen continued her lectures for OLLI on the world of children's book illustration. This time she put participants to work creating their own children's book with a team. Look for her upcoming lecture on printmaking techniques for OLLI in 2012.

Elisa Kleven, Karen, Ellen, Robin Preiss Glasser, Lou Fancher, Rita, Steve Johnson, Mary GrandPre, Raul Colon, Liz, Jennifer

Of course, who could forget the Big One, the mother of all events, our 20th Annual Children's Book Illustrations Art Show & Book Signing? Featuring the talents of Robin Preiss Glasser, Raul Colon, Elisa Kleven, Mary GrandPre and Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher, this year was definitely the busiest it's ever been! Our returning all-star artists delighted us with whimsical, adorable, sophisticated, stunning and downright BEAUTIFUL book illustration. We had such a hard time choosing what to frame and hang on the walls - it was all so magical! For the first time, Chemers Gallery partnered with Chapman University's College of Educational Studies K-12 Literacy Programs.

One of the biggest changes at Chemers Gallery during 2011 was that long-time staff member, Cathy, moved to Washington state. She and her husband were fulfilling a life-long dream to live in the Pacific Northwest. We hear she's happy and showing her pastels in a local venue, and we wish her nothing but the best!

We are so very thankful for the role we can play in our community and so incredibly grateful to the art lovers that have continued to show their support at Chemers Gallery. We'll see you in 2012!

Karen, Jennifer, Robert, Corey, Mary & Rita

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