The Nature of Mixed Media

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Artists Marti Somers and Cami Levin use a variety of materials to create colorful, earth-inspired masterpieces that enthrall viewers.

Section by Ashley Ryan

Marti Half Moon Bay
“Half Moon Bay” by Marti Somers

MARTI SOMERS (Sue Greenwood Fine Art)

Home base: A native of Northern California, currently residing near Palo Alto

Background: Earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in textiles from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1975; became a full-time artist in 2001

Media of choice: Mixed media, including acrylic paint, ink, encaustic (hot wax painting), vintage paper and other collage elements, as well as wood panels

Previously shown in: Sacramento, Palo Alto, San Francisco and St. Helena, all in California; Denver; Santa Fe, N.M.; Dallas; Chicago; and Hopewell, N.J.

Work: Marti’s mixed-media pieces are a blend of nature and modern life, highlighting the beauty in her surroundings with images of butterflies, flowers and a wide array of birds. The inclusion of pearls, sunshine and raindrops add a realism that is represented in a relatable, whimsical way. Larger animals like elephants, bears and dogs also find their way into her art. “It’s always about the earth and nature … about what is around me every day,” she says. Her paintings feature layers of patterned paper, covered in a variety of types of paint to create textured surfaces unique even in the world of mixed media. Marti’s attention to detail is accentuated by this layering technique, in which she paints, applies vintage papers, scrapes and sands the piece and then repaints. Her artistic process shapes and emphasizes the unique surface qualities found in her artwork. Color plays a pivotal role as well. Marti’s paintings are filled with warm hues—endless shades of reds, oranges and browns that instill a warm feeling. These colors are accompanied by subdued greens, from sea foam to olive, and the occasional splash of bright teal. White flowers are often placed on top of darker hues, causing them to seemingly pop out of the canvas. The variety of color panels throughout draws the viewer’s eyes to the detailed images and keeps them enthralled. Marti’s work begs the question of whether or not the Earth will survive the stress put on nature by humans. Her pieces inspire the human spirit, revealing a connection between us and the beauty of our environment. To catch a glimpse of these paintings, visit Sue Greenwood Fine Art starting Sept. 4. (949-494-0669; suegreenwoodfineart.com)

 

Cami Trees of Love2
A piece in the “Trees of Love” series by Cami Levin

CAMI LEVIN (Pacific Gallery)

Home base: Currently residing in Dana Point

Background: Began creating at a very young age and has studied art, but most of her techniques are self-taught; also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach

Media of choice: Clay, various kinds of paint, resin, found objects and wood panels

Previously shown in: Park City, Utah, and Laguna Beach

Work: In addition to original oil paintings, Cami creates inspiring mixed-media pieces that spread one very positive message: love. Her “Hearts Speak” series combines colorful clay hearts decorated with ornamental treasures like vintage skeleton keys and shiny, colorful beads. The vibrant reds, greens, blues and purples stand out against backgrounds of contrasting, but similarly vibrant colors. As a universal symbol for love, the heart is a clear message to art viewers. Cami’s most recent series, the “Trees of Love,” spreads similar messages of love, representing the connection between heaven and earth as well as the spiritual journey of love and life. The “Trees of Love” are individually decorated pieces, each adorned with unique elements—objects like gemstones, crystals, beads, flowers, nuts and bolts. These decorations are assembled on top of textured, hand-painted wood panels. Each tree is uniquely designed, with slightly different branches, varied trunks and unique adornments. Cami’s vast color palette allows for trees in various shades of the same hue or multicolored pieces with complementary tones. The trees are coated in an epoxy resin that ensures their longevity, embedding the decorations in the piece itself. The resin also provides a glossy coating that makes the artwork stand out even more. Cami’s mixed-media “Trees of Love” are on display at the Pacific Gallery. (949-494-8732; pacificgallery.net)

 

 

Dissipating Light-Charles Pabst
“Dissipating Light” by Charles Pabst

A Family Affair

The “Pabst Family Father, Daughter, Son Show” will feature a trio of talented artists that have been creating art together for quite a while. Father Charles Pabst—who this year celebrates 50 years as an artist—taught his children, Cara and Michael, to paint very early in life. Since then, both children have evolved into talented artists with their own distinct styles. However, Charles, Cara and Michael have a few things in common—especially their mastery of using texture, light and color. While Charles and Michael focus on natural light and sweeping landscapes, Cara is an impressionist dealing in bold, bright colors and the overwhelming feeling of joy. On Sept. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m., stop by The Signature Gallery to see originals from all three as they share an exhibit. It will be a family affair to remember as they greet visitors and Charles signs copies of his latest book, “New Horizons.” (949-376-4244; thesignaturegallery.com)

 

One Hour/One Painting

A different kind of art experience comes to the Laguna Art Museum on Aug. 28. Writer Peter Clothier’s traveling event, known as “One Hour/One Painting,” was developed to encourage art enthusiasts to spend more time gazing at the pieces in museums. Peter’s events provide a brief introduction to a work of art followed by an hour of silence—an hour filled with contemplation, meditation and relaxation. Once the hour has passed, participants discuss the artwork, but the emphasis is on the visual experience. “One Hour/One Painting” begins at 7 p.m. and reservations are required. (949-494-8971; lagunaartmuseum.org)

 

 

 

GALLERY EVENTS

 

Portrait of a Painter

In honor of the late watercolorist Rex Brandt, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in September, Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) is presenting a special exhibit of work by the renowned artist through the month’s end. “Rex Brandt: Awash in Color” complements Laguna Art Museum’s retrospective exhibit, “Rex Brandt: In Praise of Sunshine.” Rex lived in Corona del Mar until his death in 2000 and taught at LCAD in its early years. The college showcase will, for the first time, exhibit the artist’s sketchbooks, correspondence, photos and business records donated to LCAD in 2011 by Rex’s daughters, in addition to his portable easel and an unfinished painting on loan from local collectors. (949-376-6000; lcad.edu)

 

Exclusive Collections

Spanish impressionist painter Royo will be attending the two-day solo exhibition that will showcase oil paintings depicting his homeland, featuring the intense colors and interesting light found in the Mediterranean. Two Champagne receptions will be held Sept. 19 and 20 from 6-9 p.m. (855-372-8213; ecgallery.com)

 

JoAnne Artman Gallery

Robert Mars’ first solo show “Mars Attacks!” will explore iconic symbols from American mass media, including well-known celebrities, logos and the American flag. His pieces contrast our society’s fascination with consumerism and the prevalence of advertising. With a vintage pop art twist, Robert’s eye-catching art will have the viewer questioning much of what is seen in the media. A reception is planned from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 4, with the exhibition continuing through Oct. 31. (949-510-5481; joanneartmangallery.com)

 

Lu Martin Galleries

Greg Martin’s paintings, filled with geometric shapes and warm hues, will be on display at Lu Martin Galleries through the month of August. His most recent contemporary pieces explore many of the dualities of life, comparing the physical and spiritual worlds as well as varying amounts of consciousness. (949-494-8074; lumartingalleries.com)

 

Pacific Edge Gallery

California landscape artist Bryan Mark Taylor will debut his solo showcase Sept. 27. His exhibit features 35 new paintings, many of which highlight places along the Southern California coastline, especially Laguna Beach. The exhibition will continue through the month of October. (949-494-0491; pacificedgegallery.com)

 

Pacific Gallery

Throughout the month of September, artwork by Sara Hannon will be on display, showcasing whimsical, colorful portraits of women. Their extravagant hairstyles are twisted up with eccentricities like pineapples or birdcages. (949-494-8732; pacificgallery.net)

 

Sue Greenwood

Fine Art Artist Kathy Jones strives to get viewers to develop ideas about her paintings through their own history and life experiences. Her figurative artwork features underappreciated moments—people waiting, pausing or moving around. Contrasting colors bring a certain mystery to her work, which will be displayed from Sept. 4 to Oct. 15. (949-494-0669; suegreenwoodfineart.com)

 

The Signature Gallery

Starting Oct. 2, visit The Signature Gallery to view romantic oil paintings by realist artist Bob Pejman. With layers of colorful, textured paint and perfectly imitated natural light, his paintings’ timeless scenes will have you wishing you were traveling the world. An artist reception will be from 6-9 p.m. (949-376-4244; thesignaturegallery.com)

 

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