Tag Archives: central coasts

Trudi Gilliam: Metal Sculpture

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Trudi Gilliam is an artist who specializes in sculptures and mixed media art. A graduate of James Madison University with a bachelors degree in Fine Art and a concentration in Sculpture, Trudi draws inspiration, for her one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted pieces, from the wild landscapes in which she travels and lives. As an avid fan of the ocean, and to get an even closer perspective of the sea and marine life, Gilliam received her scuba certification while living on St. Croix, where she has spent more than 25 years. Today Trudi shares time between St. Croix, the Central Coast of California, and her home in Montana.

Gilliam makes frequent use of mediums such as copper and sea glass, as well as other metals like brass and silver, using them to create her works of art. Birds, flowers, and nature scenes are often the subject of Gilliam’s creations. One of our favorites is of a local treasure, the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, which has recently reopened after extensive restoration.

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse is located at Point Piedras Blancas, meaning “white rocks”. The name is inspired by the large white rocks located slightly off the point, which mariners would use as navigational landmarks. In 1875, a lighthouse was built to further take advantage of the white rocks, which glowed bright when hit with the light from the lighthouse. After 10 months of construction, the 100 foot tall lighthouse was complete.

Throughout the rest of the 1800’s and early 1900’s the lighthouse was in full use, although a handful of earthquakes began to shake the foundation of the lighthouse, and a large earthquake in 1949 forced the removal of the top 3 stories. After the top 3 stories were removed, the lighthouse stood at 70 feet tall.

Restoration is currently taking place, with goals to reconstruct the top 3 stories and return the lighthouse to its original height of 100 feet. Some of the completed restoration projects on the sight include the fog horn building, the water tower, and much painting of the original lighthouse.

In addition, the landscaping has been redone to restore it back to how it was at the time of the lighthouse’s construction. The reintroduction of native plants has also lead to the increase in native animals, such as sea otters, elephant seals, gray whales, and many species of birds.

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Pearls: Symbols of Wisdom

The pearl, highly valued as an object of beauty for many centuries, has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable. The symbol of wisdom acquired through experience.

noun: pearl

  1.  
    a hard, lustrous spherical mass, typically white or bluish-gray, formed within the shell of a pearl oyster or other bivalve mollusk and highly prized as a gem.
  2.  
    a precious thing; the finest example of something.
    “the nation’s media were assembled to hear his pearls of wisdom

black-pearl copy

Unlike gemstones which are mined from the earth and then must be cut and polished to bring out their beauty, pearls are grown by live oysters, below the surface of the sea, and born complete.

A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object becomes lodged in an oyster’s soft inner body where it cannot be expelled. The oyster responds by secreting a smooth, hard, crystalline substance (nacre) around the irritant in order to protect itself. Encasing the irritant with this silky, crystalline coating until a luminously elegant and lustrous gem, called a pearl, is formed.

How something so miraculous emerges, out of an oyster’s way of protecting itself, is one of nature’s loveliest surprises and explains how the pearl has come to symbolize wisdom acquired through experience.

While the most valuable pearls are perfectly round and smooth, many other interesting shapes also form and are known as Baroque pearls.

Baroque pearls, especially during the Renaissance times, have been valued for their sculptural inspiration. One example of this is the Canning Jewel, from the 16th century, which uses a large Baroque pearl as the body of a mermaid-esque figure.

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“The Canning Jewel is a sculptural pendant of the late Renaissance period, ascribed by some jewelry historians to Benvenuto Cellini, a celebrated sculptor, goldsmith, author and soldier of the Italian Renaissance. Around this period from the 15th to 17th centuries, baroque pearls in large quantities had reached the European markets, from the traditional pearl producing countries like the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Gulf of Mannar, and also from the newly discovered pearl banks of the New World, in Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, but there was no demand for such pearls because of their irregular shapes, which would not fit into any type of existing jewelry at that time. Pearl dealers had large numbers of such irregular-shaped pearls in their stocks, not knowing what to do with their accumulated stocks. It was then that the enterprising jewelry craftsmen of the Renaissance period, came up with the idea, of incorporating these baroque pearls, together with other colored gemstones,  in various fancy shaped pendants; shapes that bore fruit in the fertile imagination of the craftsmen taking into consideration the unique shape of each baroque pearl. The result was a host of different pendants with a multitude of shapes such as animal and bird figures, bunches of flowers and fruits, monsters, dragons, mermaids and other mythical figures; the shape of the pendants being determined by the shape of the baroque pearls that were incorporated in them.” -http://www.internetstones.com/the-canning-jewel-india-viscount-earl.html

Today, Baroque pearls are a more affordable option than traditional, spherical pearls. And preferred by some for the way their irregular shapes inspire our imagination. But whatever your preference, from the spherical to the baroque, we’re sure you’ll enjoy our varied collection at Seven Sisters Gallery.

Out On A Limb: The Photography of Ronnie Goyette

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Ronnie Goyette once again focuses her extraordinary eye on the many birds that call the Morro Bay Estuary and local environs their home.  From a large blue heron delicately landing on a tree branch, to the flickering reflections of an egret about to grab his dinner, Ms. Goyette’s patience, keen eye and mastery of her camera are evident in photographs that capture the stunning beauty of the exquisite, decisive moment.

Stepping Out, photo by Ronnie Goyette, 2013. 19 x 25

This is Ms. Goyette’s second one-woman show at the Seven Sisters Gallery and once again it will coincide with the Morro Bay Bird Festival, thereby giving bird-watching visitors a chance to see the talented work of this extraordinary new nature photographer.

“For me, the joy of photography lies in slowing down and seeing the small things.  In relaxing to watch a bird for more than a moment, personalities are revealed:  Snowy Egrets dance for joy, Grebes run across the very surface of the water, Elephant Seals battle to defend a harem.  With the light changing every minute, the photographer times the shot to reveal the beauty of a fleeting moment.  It’s a supremely rewarding experience, one that I am pleased to share with you.”

Ms. Goyette’s work has appeared in the SWAP (Elfin Forest), PG&E and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuary calendars and has been used by the Sierra Club in various venues.  In addition, her photograph of cows, “Sunrise on the Ranch,” placed 1st at the California Mid-State Fair, and “Mr. Adorable,” an Island Fox portrait, is a Flickr Explore selection.

-written by Ann Calhoun

Niki Lunn and The Colors of Morro Bay

Seven Sisters Gallery is excited to welcome our newest artist, contemporary painter Niki Lunn. I asked Niki to talk a little bit about her thoughts on creativity, and her life as an artist.

Personally, I think that creativity resides in all of us. Perhaps some more than others, but unfortunately with the current education system that has evolved over hundreds of years in Europe and now the United States it is apparent to me that most artists had to fight against the system to remain creative as it is often the tide to ʻeducateʼ it right out of us.

Sunset Morro Bay Acrylic on canvas 48"x36"

Sunset Morro Bay
Acrylic on canvas, 48″x36″

Sadly, many talented children have not been rewarded for their free thinking artistic leanings, but rather persuaded over the years to postpone the urge to just go and paint, or write, or dance in order to follow a ʻmore reasonableʼ money making career.

My education was started in Yorkshire, England where I was born and moved into the U.S. system later on in High School and University. It was typical in the way that most of my classes and teachers praised efforts in the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic equally in both countries. The pressure was always to ʻfit inʼ, make the grade and focus on a related career. My H.S. counselor told me after standardized tests that I was most likely to become a successful legal secretary. That was a shock for me and certainly not something I had any interest in, so I majored in a B.of Fine Art and Art History in college and of course minored in something ʻuseableʼ for later on-  marketing. After graduating I taught art for some years in the Michigan public system and later on in the Florida schools, always to find that at the end of every year I was in the principalʼs office hearing the words that funding had been cut and art and music were the first to go. But what I learned during this period of my life was important and I found myself going back to school to earn a M.S. in Psychology and Counseling. I wanted to help kids at a crucial stage in their educational development to really realize their dreams at an earlier stage than I did.

Fleet Returning 48"x24" Acrylic on canvas

Fleet Returning
Acrylic on canvas, 48″x24″

After another eight years in counseling I changed course again and did finally go into marketing and public relations. I was nearing the goal of incorporating artistic talents into an everyday job. Happily this led to creating my own company doing marketing for ʻadventure travelʼ companies. Suddenly everything changed and I was the one in control. I never worked in an office again and started traveling around the world doing what I loved- creative writing about adventurous, fun things to do in nature.

After meeting my husband, a private yacht captain, we traveled together throughout Europe and to many fascinating places that I would never have probably ventured to as a legal secretary! Throughout the last 24 years I have never lost my interest in art, if anything it was reaffirmed in every new location that I visited, seeing the art museums and their bounty of beautiful art collections as a perfect mirror to the culture that they represented.

Light has played an integral role in many of my pieces. It is true that the impressionists became my favorite genre of painting while I lived in France, it is easy to see why they painted the way that they did with that soft mellow light playing amid their landscapes. It influenced my work as well.  When in harsher light such as the Greek islands my colours became stronger and painting style more bold.

When I am not painting, I tend to be walking in nature since it is there that I find inspiration. Somehow it speaks to me in a universal language unhindered by borders or words and offers an unlimited range of colours and meanings to the eye of the beholder. As far as my own colour palette I like to use a rich combination of bright hues, trying to catch on canvas a glimpse of what nature offers us as a visual feast of happiness everyday.

niki_favorite

Sunset
Acrylic on canvas, 48″x24″

My favorite painting is always the next one that I am going to paint. I typically work at home, taking the ideas from memory and photos I may have taken to remind me of shapes and movements in nature that I liked. Although I did take a B.F.A in university, I can honestly say that it has been through trial and error and perseverance that has found me at where I am now. I am still learning and think that I always will be.

I know that if you let the spirit move you then your inner talent will emerge, whether be it in dance, creative writing or producing a painting.

Niki will be showing her work at Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay, beginning with her opening reception at Art Walk Friday, June 14 from 5:00-8:00. Stop by to meet the artist, see her work and enjoy music and refreshments.

From a Tiny Seed…

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Seven Sisters Gallery is proud to carry the work of one of the Central Coasts finest creators of wearable art. Award winning Artisan, Susan Terese, creates off loom seed-bead weaving’s of necklaces and earrings. Susan has a passion for beading, which shows through her work and her generosity toward everyone associated with the art, including fellow beaders, lampwork artists, and all who love and wear her pieces.

Not only is bead weaving her passion, but she is also passionate about the beads themselves. All beads. From the tiny seed beads that form the framework of her pieces, to the incredible focal beads which define each creation.

I asked Susan to say a bit about that love and a bit about her process. In her own words…

“There’s glass, crystal, stone, bone, shell, horn, and many more different kinds of beads. Pretty much if it has a hole it can be used as a bead. While almost all beads are wonderful I do have a favorite. It’s none other than the lowly seed bead. These tiny guys are amazing and so fun to weave with. Seed beads are glass, and range in size, and have many different finishes: transparent, opaque, matte, luster, AB, and silver, copper, color and bronze lined.Can you imagine how they are produced? It boggles my mind. Mostly they come from Czechoslovakia (where they have been making them for 500 years or so) or since World War II, Japan. They are perfect for off loom weaving, which is what I do.

I am also very fond of American artisan lampwork beads. These are incredible one-of-kind glass beads made on a mandrel with a torch. That which starts as a thin glass rod is melted and formed into a beautiful bead. The imagination and skill of these artists is awesome. I enjoy supporting their efforts and buying their beads to use as focal pieces in my necklaces.

So this is my process. I start with a focal bead and let it speak to me. I start going through my stash to see what accent beads and seed beads I have that will compliment the focal. I think about the style of the focal…elegant, whimsical, earthy, geometric, vintage, retro, etc. Then I decide which weaving techniques to use. Then I usually go to the bead shop and spend money! And that’s the start.

Thblue1en it takes time to pick up those tiny seed beads with a needle and weave. Yup, it takes a long time. But that time is peaceful and meditative. It’s very fun to see the finished result. Most often it isn’t what I expected as the work evolves and takes on a life of its own. In a nutshell, seed beads make my world go round!”

Susan will be our guest artist February 13, 2015 during the Morro Bay Art Walk, at Seven Sisters Gallery on the Embarcadero. Come see her collection, talk with her about her work, and learn the many ways to wear her beaded Lariats. We’ll also have refreshments. Seven Sisters Gallery, 601 Embarcadero #8, in Morro Bay.

We look forward to seeing you. And we’d love to hear from you at our new Facebook page. Leave us a message, or just check in now and then to find out what’s new in about our store.