The Alcala Gallery in La Jolla is featuring “From the Beach to Borrego,” an exhibition that showcases watercolors by Jane Bishop that depict locations around La Jolla and San Diego County.
Bishop has been painting for over 30 years. She studied art extensively as a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley and at the Academie Julian in Paris. She has lived in La Jolla for 35 years and has painted several landscapes of San Diego, but she also has painted landscapes of places all over the world.
Bishop is well-traveled and has painted the Swiss Alps, parts of India and China, among other countries, but she continues to be impressed with San Diego’s natural beauty.
“La Jolla is really special. It will always be special,” Bishop said. “Especially Torrey Pines Park, I have been painting there in recent years. It is beautiful - the sandstone and the shape of the Torrey Pines trees has a glow that not a lot of people see, and not that many people paint there.”
Bishop is a personal friend of Alcala Gallery owner Alfred Bauer, but the gallery is hosting Bishop’s exhibition because of the quality of her work and because tourists are attracted to Bishop’s art, Bauer said.
“I’ve known her for a number of years and we finally decided get her work in here,” Bauer said. “Her work is very sensitive and delicate and I wanted this exhibition with an artist who paints local landscapes. ... We get so many calls from tourists who want to take something from La Jolla home with them.”
Bishop uses a wide range of colors in her paintings and all of her work is completed in the outdoors, on location. She has been painting outdoors for several years and in the process she has had a lot of contact with the public.
“That’s the best thing,” Bishop said. “It is really fun, no matter where you are, India, Switzerland and China, people come up and talk to you. That is as much fun as the actual painting. People have come by to talk about the subject matter.”
Although Bishop’s work focuses on San Diego, she also has pieces in the exhibition that depict parts of the Borrego Desert.
Bishop said she paints a lot of coastal scenes, but, at times, she finds the desert equally beautiful.
“I think the color out there is extraordinary,” she said. “I love tropical color, but I find the color in the desert very exciting.”
Bishop’s portraits of San Diego depict different parts of the city, including downtown, but a lot of the work in the exhibition focuses on La Jolla. Bishop has painted watercolors of WindanSea Beach, Torrey Pines State Reserve, and Black’s Beach, but a highlight of the show is a painting of the rocky cliffs north of the La Jolla Cove, Bauer said.
She has been painting with watercolors for many years. It is her favorite medium because watercolors can’t easily be controlled or manipulated, she said.
“I like watercolors more than any other medium because you can’t do it over and over,” she said. “With watercolor, you either do it or you don’t. A lot of it is sort of accidental and you play around with the accidents.”
Earlier on in her career, Bishop worked with fabric art. She created fabric pieces using an African tie-dye method and she found textile art to be similar to watercolor paintings because the process was spontaneous.
Bishop began studying art when she was an undergraduate student at Stanford University. She was studying European History, but she completed a series of art classes under the instruction of Daniel Mendolowitz, who has since been her greatest artistic influence.
In addition to working as an artist, Bishop has been doing humanitarian work in San Diego. Since 1989, she has worked with the San Diego Homeless Advocacy Program of the Legal Aid Society.
Although this is the first art show in recent years that is exclusively displaying Bishop’s work, her art has been a part of the La Jolla Art Association and she has had paintings displayed at the San Diego Art Institute.
Bauer said he was excited to feature a local artist because the Alcala Gallery is dedicated to showcasing art from California.
“We are not a commercial gallery,” Bauer said. “We sell California artists, art books, but mainly we try to sell art by Californian artists.”
Bauer said he is impressed with the beauty in Bishop’s art, but he is also impressed with the artist’s attitude regarding her work.
“I’ve learned quit a lot about her recently,” Bauer said. “I didn’t really realize that she was such an accomplished scholar. She is very modest lady.”
“From the Beach to Borrego” will be on display at the Alcala Gallery throughout the month of March.
Alcala Gallery is at 950 Silverado St. Call (858) 454-6610.