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Wonderful Watercolors: La Jolla Library’s latest art exhibit honors hometown talent

A familiar hillside by Georgeanna Lipe
A familiar hillside by Georgeanna Lipe
Susan DeMaggio

Looking back and forward is the theme of a new art exhibit that opened Jan. 6, 2016 at the La Jolla Riford Library. The exhibit is the library’s first all watercolor show and is a joint effort of the Friends of the Library’s Arts & Events Committee and the San Diego Watercolor Society.

Titled “Past and Prologue: A Retrospective of the Works of Suzanne Geller and Georgeanna Lipe with Current Works by the San Diego Watercolor Society,” the show will have its artists’ reception to celebrate the works, 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 in the Library Community Room. All are welcome to attend the free community event.

The late artist Georgeanna Lipe
The late artist Georgeanna Lipe
Courtesy

“As our first show of the new year, we wanted both to look back to artists past and to look forward to works being executed today,” explained co-chair Patricia Jasper. “Our goal is to showcase a variety of artistic mediums reflecting both traditional and contemporary art. In this show we have posthumously featured the works of two longtime La Jolla artists and community leaders. Much of their work reflects the natural beauty of the San Diego area and their work also serves as a historical record of our environment during the second half of the 20th century.”

A work by Suzanne Geller
A work by Suzanne Geller
Susan DeMaggio

The two featured artists were friends and well known in La Jolla. Lipe moved to La Jolla in 1936 with her husband, a doctor. Well educated for her time, she worked as a medical illustrator before becoming a successful watercolor artist. She was one of the founding members of the San Diego Watercolor Society. She died in 2012 at the age of 102. “She was much loved in La Jolla and maintained an art gallery on Girard for many years,” said exhibit co-chair Arlene Powers.

Geller was a 44-year resident of La Jolla who died in 2014. She was an active member of the Watercolor Society and juried into more than 50 watercolor shows. Like Lipe, she was also married to a doctor. An animal lover, she co-founded Friends of County Animal Shelters (FOCUS). Her two children, Jackie Geller Newman and Jon Geller, continue to donate part of the proceeds from the sale of her paintings to FOCUS.

The San Diego Watercolor Society was established in 1965 by 20 local artists and now has about 650 members, according to Ralph Kingery, first vice president for programs. The group includes members from all over California, 24 other states and Canada, China and Norway. It maintains a gallery in Liberty Station.

In addition to 20 paintings by Lipe and Geller, the show will include the works of current Watercolor Society artists Kingery, Joseph Chen, John “J.W.” Buscher, Beverly Tuzin and Sherry Roper.

A work by R. Kingery
A work by R. Kingery
Susan DeMaggio

The current exhibit at the La Jolla Library is part of an ongoing plan started five years ago to develop and bring attention on the library’s rich cultural offerings, according to Jasper. An artist herself, she has been featured there in a one-woman show.

“We plan to offer four shows a year and bring more people into the library,” she said. “Our goal is to focus on other things besides books and highlight the library as an artistic, cultural and literary destination.” Many people who visit the library for the first time are surprised at what it has to offer, she continues. “It’s an asset to our community and to a large extent undiscovered.”

••• IF YOU GO: “Past and Prologue: A Retrospective of the Works of Suzanne Geller and Georgeanna Lipe with Current works by the San Diego Watercolor Society” is on view at La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave., Jan. 6-Feb. 7, 2016. Libray hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. (858) 552-1657.

A watercolor in the show
A watercolor in the show
Susan DeMaggio