December is a time for reflection. It is the season to give, believe, sparkle, be joyful, party, be merry and bright, be with your loved ones, indulge in holiday treats, miss those who are far away, create memories for years to come, hug your loved ones a little tighter, reflect on the year that is behind and look toward a new year of opportunities and adventures.

One of the things liked best by people who visit the gallery is the monthly "People's Choice Award." A family came in last month who saw that their choice for best in October had won and they were thrilled. They made an extra effort to view the newest displays and vote for their new favorites. I hope you do the same when you visit. November's winner is "Bear Wall" a colored pencil drawing by Mary Whittemore. Congratulations, Mary. Nice job.

The artists of Cypress Gallery have decked the halls this month with amazing artworks. We're seeing an upsurge of abstract paintings and the entire front room is filled the works of several abstract artists, including Neil Andersson, Kathy Badrak, Trish Campbell, Mikel Naccarato and Tonya Romano Schultz. I especially like Neil Andersson's "Montagne St. Genevieve," oil, and Mikel Naccarato's "Tide Pools," acrylic.

One of my favorite pieces this month is a large watercolor by Sylvia Kokatnur titled "Carousel." Rich, dark tones and interesting detail make the painting special. There is a nice small watercolor by Claudette Carlton called "The Rock," and colorful collection by Vicki Andersen showcasing the Central Coast. One of her paintings, "Silver Twilight, Lompoc," is done in a striking palette of intense blues, grays and white.

In addition to being a gallery full of fine art, Cypress Gallery is an amazing gift shop. 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.

Are you an artist, photographer, artisan craftsperson or just interested in supporting the arts? Consider membership in the Lompoc Valley Art Association. Annual membership is just $25 ($30 for a couple) and applications are available at the gallery or at lompocart.com. We hope you join us.

Cypress Gallery,  operated by the members of the LVAA, is located at 119 E. Cypress Ave. in Lompoc. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. For information, call 737-1129 or visit lompocart.com.

SPECIAL NOTE: Cypress Gallery will be closed for remodeling beginning Dec. 27 through (tentatively) Jan. 29. If the project is completed sooner, we will reopen earlier.