Time is Running Out on “Naturescape”

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By M. “Charlie” Ferrazzi

Front row, L to R: Timothy Allen Smith, Cheyenne Earp, Brandon Gonzales. Back row, L to R: Bryan Heggy, Betty Shelton, Jonathan Burke.

This month marks the last month of “Naturescape,” the current exhibit at the Community Art Project (CAP) Gallery of original works by artists affiliated with Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD), current MFA students, alumni and faculty members. The theme is based on nature, with the artists presenting their interpretation/viewpoint in a variety of genres and mediums.

During the recent Artists’ Conversation event, LCAD faculty members Timothy Allen Smith, Brandon Gonzales, and Betty Shelton; LCAD President Jonathan Burke; Director of the LCAD Gallery and curator of the exhibit Bryan Heggy; and Cheyenne Earp, an MFA student, gave insight to their works of and approach to art. 

Q: What influenced or inspired you to go into art?

Cheyenne Earp said she’s always been creative. She drew constantly and was pushed to continue on to junior college. Not finding the spark to keep her interest, she dropped out. She found that spark when she discovered LCAD; it ignited the flame to became serious about pursuing art. Laguna Plein Air Painters Association has also played a part in interesting her in the world of plein air painting. 

Brandon Gonzales was also a constant drawer. He competed in art competitions and when he started attending community college, found even more resources for furthering his art education in the direction of illustration. The fact that he could earn a living by creating art led him to work as a matt artist for a few years. He then attended LCAD to hone his skills and develop a more definite path. He is now a faculty member of LCAD and is deeply involved in LPAPA.


Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?

Timothy Allen Smith stops when he finds he is bored or there is nothing more to add or to say.

 For Jonathan Burke, it is when he finds he is repeating himself. There is nothing new to add or to change. “If a little is good, a lot is better. When I can feel there is so much there, even if it isn’t, then I am satisfied.”

After many years of painting, Betty Shelton doesn’t give up, but she does know when to stop.

Brandon Gonzales considers the purpose of the painting. After time elapses and “nothing in the painting bothers me and it can’t get any better,” he feels the work is complete. 

Bryan Heggy lets work set for six months and then revisits it. If he still sees it as done and no improvements are needed, then he is satisfied it is done. 

Jonathan Burke was asked, “What elements or features stand out to you in this exhibit?”

Burke said it is the “alla prima” work of pieces done in just one take. “Direct painting,” working while in front of the subject without any further work in the studio; and “indirect painting,” confetti, creating something that doesn’t really exist yet, adds to the finished work. Also, layers built along the way, creating colors, light and shapes.


Q: “Why do you create art?”

Inspiration. Wanting to capture it.” Heggy

Passion.” Shelton

To show beauty.” Burke

Meditation.” Smith

Passion.” Earp

To show beauty, uplift.” Gonzales

Awards presented at the close of the Artists Conversation went to Brandon Gonzales and Sureya Davis, who tied for the Peoples’ Choice. Cheyenne Earp and William Neukomm won the LCAD awards.

Jan. 31 is the final day of the Naturescape exhibit.

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