In August the Dolphin Gallery will welcome artists Carol Chell and Brenda Phillips for a month-long exhibit. An opening reception is planned at the gallery for Saturday, August 3, 5 pm to 7 pm.
An established watercolor artist Chell admits being drawn to watercolor from the start. “I love its fluidity and transparency. To me an artist requires technical skills, but more important is the ability to translate what they see into a statement of the heart.” Chell’s inspiration comes through plein air or, more often from photographs. She may change parts of a photograph compositionally, and with lighting. She’ll work quickly and begin with large brushes in an effort to capture what that scene seems say to her, not just what she sees. Details have become less important to her over time.
Chell is always being influenced, and may find herself embracing subtle transitions. “I may try much more abstract work for a while, or experiment with crayons mixed into the watercolor paintings, and occasionally incorporate collage into my paintings. I learn so much each time I venture out of my comfort zone. I see myself as always growing as an artist.
Chell earned a BA degree with honors at San Jose State in Art and Interior Design, and feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to study watercolor as a student of Eric Oback, one of the California pioneers of the fresh, contemporary approach to landscape painting. Since retiring and moving to the coast she’s had the time, space and inspiration to seriously work, and play, with painting.
Brenda Phillips brings her love of ceramics to Dolphin Gallery for this exhibit. In her case, it is clearly a family affair. “When my son, Jay, received the Gualala Arts Scholarship for ceramics, his beautiful bowls stimulated my interest in clay. When I retired from teaching, I purchased a wheel and my love for pottery began.” Phillips took a beginning class with Paul Stine, spent many good years with Kaye Like at Brandybuck, and had classes at Mendocino Art Center.
Phillips describes her passion as “making functional pieces.” She makes cups to be held for the morning tea or coffee, special bowls for soup or cereal, plates of many colors, and vases for flowers. She admits with some amazement that so many shapes and forms come from a simple lump of clay. And she adds, “glazing has always been a challenge for me. I mix my own glazes with recipes from the pros. Spraying layers of different glazes creates subtle changes in the colors.
Her travels have influenced her work: “Like making bowls after being with those beautiful fish that I see while snorkeling.” That influence is quickly seen as she often adds seashells or animal designs to my pieces.
The works of Carol Chell and Brenda Phillips will be on display through August 25, 2019.