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Elizabeth Monks Hack: Artists create a 'Place of Refuge'
Walk through the Cypress

Elizabeth Monks Hack: Artists create a 'Place of Refuge'

From the What you need to know for Friday, October 9 series
  • Updated

Summer began and ended with a sigh this year, all of its hoped-for joys put on hold for most of us. The air is unhealthy again and the virus is still a threat. Uncertainty looms large. Where can one go to find respite from anxiety, a little joy, some peace? Fortunately for us our local artists have continued to work throughout the season, producing if not a vaccine, a least an antidote to the current malaise. So much of the art displayed in the Cypress Gallery this month offers us a sense of calm and a fair share of joie de vivre.

Featured artist Claudette Carlton delivers a show of gentle watercolors of subjects intended to delight. Carlton had enjoyed drawing for pleasure throughout her teaching career, and only discovered the joy of painting upon her retirement. Her works display a sensitivity to facial expressions found not only in her portraits of people but also of animals.

“Pound Puppy” and “Buffalo Love” bring us up close and personal to the animal kingdom. Carlton also has the ability to orchestrate a variety of textures when the subject calls for it. In “Facing the Storm,” she meets the challenge of a a great wave rising from a tumultuous sea, observed by a pelican protected by its rugged feathers. Carlton tells us she thought at the outset of her painting career that “maybe this ‘ol granny could follow in the footsteps of Grandma Moses!” She has placed a rocking chair draped with a shawl in the corner of the gallery; a lovely touch to a lovely show.

The submissions of our gallery photographers this month present us with the beautiful, vibrant world we long to be a part of again. Lynda Schiff displays two uplifting images of air in “Soar” and “Glow.” Tom Chrones has caught a heron for us with his camera in “Blu,” a soft image of a hunting animal, with its fierce eye and open beak. Bill Morson’s photographs are beyond vivid, their colors and textures shaping for us the world as it is, but that we rarely take time to truly see. His “Central Coast Oak” is a timely, haunting image of a lone tree in silhouette against a fiery red-orange sky.

Diane Atturio shows a group of watercolors mounted on small panels, each of a different native plant. She has skillfully captured the essence of these beautiful treasures — poppies, Dudlea, and live oak — using a softness of texture and light. Across the room, Vicki Andersen takes the opposite approach, which to me is the wonder of human artistry; the ability to tailor our creativity as an individual response to our mutual environment. Andersen’s acrylic paintings of landscapes and floral abundance are created with vigorous brush strokes and dynamic color. Enjoy her “Jalama Sunset.”

Visit the Cypress Gallery this month. Explore the world as a stable and wondrous place. We also offer a wide variety of artistic gifts and cards. Jewelry of all types, and delightfully painted wood creations by Toni Zybell are guaranteed to bring joy. The gallery has been made as safe as possible for visitors, with all recommended requirements and restrictions in place. Our gallery hours have been reduced to Saturdays and Sundays during the month of October. Call for special appointments.

The Cypress Gallery is operated by members of the Lompoc Valley Art Association, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization committed to expanding and supporting access and exposure to the arts in the Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valley. Find us online at facebook/CypressGallery and our eZine at


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