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Hold the date!

Every two or three years, the Lompoc Valley Art Association sponsors its Open Studio Tour. This year, it will be held Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eight studios will be open to the public for touring and sales.

Featured studios include those of Vicki and Gil Andersen, Diane Atturio, Tom and Joellen Chrones, Linda Gooch, Joan Jones, Lynn Maxwell and Louie Regalado. Guest artists at these studios include Sharron Babcock, Gabriel Bustamante, Gerry Davis, Debby Fuller, Rosalea Greenwood, Nancy Hall, Angie Hamlin, Jane Kametani, Penny K. Lee, Carol Moore, Mikel Naccarato and Ann Thompson. You will have the opportunity to see 19 artists' works, including paintings, photography, woodwork, silverwork, ceramic tiles, beadwork and fused glass.

Tickets are $10 per person and will be available by Aug. 10 at the Cypress Gallery, 119 E. Cypress Ave. Enjoy the art, partake of refreshments and collect stamps from all eight studios to turn in for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from Cypress Gallery.

Another exciting event for August is the gallery's featured artist show, "Pathways and Promenades," showcasing the exceptional paintings of Neil Andersson.

"For me, the landscape is a source of incredible beauty -- a place of rest, escape and harmony," said Andersson, whose style features realistic detail softened by skillfully executed atmosphere and surroundings.

While I was amazed with every painting, my favorite is a small oil painting, titled "Meandering Path, Beattie Park," a locale familiar to most who live in Lompoc. Please join the artist at the reception on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. and enjoy the paintings and refreshments.

The People's Choice award for July was "Ocean Blue," a small, but powerful acrylic painting by Trish Campbell. Congratulations on a dramatic little piece, Trish.

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There are some really new and interesting works in the main gallery this month. Mikki Alhart's large acrylic painting "Down Deep" features a somewhat whimsical peek at the underwater world. Jane Kametani's photo "Heading Out to Sea" and Jim McIntire's "Evening Watch: Bass Harbor Headlight" round out the nautical feel.

I really like Ed Heinitz's watercolor "Going Fishing" and Carol Oliveira's "A Memory," both of which evoke fond memories of spending time with family.

Cypress Gallery has many gift items made by member artists and artisan craftspersons. 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.

Cypress Gallery is operated by the members of the Lompoc Valley Art Association and is located at 119 E. Cypress Ave. in Lompoc. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Friday and Sunday. The gallery is open until 7 p.m. Fridays during Old Town Market. For information, call 737-1129 or visit