It must be October.

Pumpkins and pumpkin spice treats are everywhere and the Internet and local stores are chock-full of costumes, costume ideas and, of course, candy. Have you seen those big furry heads that everyone in town has tried on? Eek! One of these at my door will no doubt make me question the sanity of trick-or-treat.

The gallery is decked out for fall and our featured artist for this month has decked the walls with color, color and more color. Mikki Alhart's show, "What's in an Aura?," showcases Alhart's spiritual talent and she promises "free fun and entertainment" for those curious visitors who want her to talk to them about their personal auras. Join us at the artist's reception on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. to view her amazing collection of paintings. Enjoy some refreshment and let Alhart determine the color of your aura. The show runs through Oct. 29.

The People's Choice award for September was awarded to Tom Chrones for his stunning photograph "Canterbury Steps." Congratulations, Tom.

In the main gallery, there are a couple of beautiful and interesting pieces of ceramic clay. Ann Brink's large "Clover Bowl" is a contemporary design featuring natural color with soft green clover leaves. Gil Andersen's four-tile piece "Santa Barbara Mission" shows off Anderson's design abilities and mastery of the clay tile. Both of these pieces, along with other ceramics in the gallery, will make lovely gifts for your loved ones or for yourself.

Several paintings caught my interest, including two coastal scenes by talented artist Betsee Talavera -- "Tidal Shift" and "Tidal Surge." Two abstract paintings by Mikkel Naccarato feature sweeping colors blended to suggest a landscape or seascape to me but are exceptional just for the application of color. Claudette Carlton's watercolor "Black Poppies" is simple and elegant.

While you may think we are pushing Christmas a little early in the year, we are displaying holiday ornaments now through December, because our handcrafted decorations are so very popular. Cypress Gallery has many gift items made by member artists and artisan crafts persons. You'll find a multitude of handcrafted items priced affordably: small original paintings and prints featuring La Purisima Mission, Lompoc scenes, animals and florals, as well as jewelry, glass pieces, pottery, gourds, textile items and handcrafted Lompoc souvenirs. In addition, there is an extensive selection of greeting cards for all occasions.

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Join us at Lompoc Valley Art Association's monthly general meeting (open to the public), held most months on the first Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Stone Pine Hall, 210 South H St. in Lompoc. After refreshments and a short business meeting, there is an art presentation and/or demonstration by a local artist.

Cypress Gallery, which is operated by the members of the LVAA, is located at 119 E. Cypress Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 737-1129 or visit