Let's Review: Plein-air show at La Jolla Library Art Gallery gallery is good fun

"Jim's Place" by Scott Prior. Will Bowen
"Jim's Place" by Scott Prior. Will Bowen

By Will Bowen

The La Jolla Library Art Gallery has finally come of age! On Sunday, Sept. 23, its Art Committee reached way down into its pockets and pulled out something extra special for what had to be its best-ever reception.

The party celebrated, “Fresh Paint: Impressions of California Plein-Air Artists,” the new exhibit that will run through Nov. 16.

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"Jim's Place" by Scott Prior. Will Bowen

Besides having the work of some of the most talented local artists on display, the library art gallery provided wonderful breezy, mellow, and nostalgia music by the Ukulele Brothers — a ukulele band with vocals, guitar, bass and Hawaiian steel guitar that played all-time favorites, like “Tiny Bubbles” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” while patrons chatted about the art.

The reception food was a delight, as well, with black-shirted waiters carrying trays of designer pizza for sampling, along with mini cupcakes, English scones, crackers, fruit and zesty sharp cheeses.

The art gallery was packed, wall-to-wall at times, and for most of the afternoon you had to squeeze through pods of rooted-in-place talkative people to get up close to the art or you had to wait in line to view your favorite piece.

The fact that were lots of artists on hand to talk to about their work made for some great conversation, which was had by all.

Patty Smith, who has owned the Art Expressions Gallery in Clairemont for the past 30 years, was one of the luminaries who commented, “The show is excellent! There is a great turnout and the artwork is going for a fair price. I bought one piece for myself!”

Cindy Klong, who recently curated a show at the La Jolla Art Association Gallery, said, “This is a really top show with exceptional artists. My favorites painters here are Tony Williams, Jeff Yeomans and Robin Hall, and I especially like Hall’s large painting called ‘Montage Beach.’”

Arlene Powers, chair of the Library Art Committee, was very excited about sales of the art, which she said will benefit library programs. “We sold our first piece in the first five minutes!” Powers exclaimed.

Patricia Jasper Clark, who is also on the Art Committee, echoed her sentiments: “We have sold several pieces, so you might even see the library open more hours a week after this. We are very grateful to all our patrons.”

Though the library never gives out awards for its shows, there were several outstanding pieces that deserve recognition.

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Margerie Taylor

had a very nice painting of the Mission de Alcala in Mission Gorge, looking up from a lower parking lot that made it look like the times when San Diego was not so over developed.

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"Milky Way Road, Escondido" by Catherine Grawin. Will Bown

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Catherine Grawin

, who teaches at the Athenaeum and UC Extension, had a wonderful painting of an old country road in Escondido, called “Old Milky Way Road,” which took you back to the days when gasoline was cheap and people took leisurely Sunday drives out into the country.

George Steiger, Grawin’s boyfriend, spent much of his time fawning over the painting and explaining it to patrons, saying, “That’s the road we like to take up to Julian. There are a lot of old farmhouses along it!”

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