Debbie Croft: Gallery Row in Oakhurst offers a feast for the eyes

August 31, 2013 

DEBBIE CROFT

Gallery Row in Oakhurst is the location of five art galleries residing under one L-shaped roof. It is also the headquarters for Sierra Art Trails, which will be held in October.

Close to 100 local artists display their work in one or more of these galleries. Visitors are treated to exhibits featuring some of the finest artwork in California's southern Sierra region.

Jack Lantz was available this past week at the Timberline Gallery. His expressively detailed portraits and figurative works are done in oil, watercolor, charcoal, pencil and intaglio (a type of engraving).

For this artist, in a career spanning more than 25 years, the most important aspect of his labor is the satisfaction of finishing a piece.

"It takes a lot of time, work, thinking, rethinking, more work and time to get to the place where I feel it is completed," Lantz said. "But it is a great feeling to contemplate the finished piece and know that it is saying what I want it to."

Member artists take turns minding the shop, so to speak. Not only can visitors view artwork up close and at their leisure, they also can enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and become acquainted with some of the artists.

This not-for-profit cooperative gallery was opened more than 28 years ago. It is owned and operated by the Guild of Mountain Artists. Timberline promotes community interest in the arts by working with local schools to encourage young artists.

Member artists have won awards in juried shows. Their artwork is on exhibit around the world in various collections and corporations.

Several of Timberline's other artists and artwork include:

Contemporary blown glass art by Cory Ballis

Lola Nelson's wood carvings and landscape paintings

The handmade porcelain jewelry, sculptures and clay "organic vessels" of David Caris

Award-winning watercolors by Sandy Kowallis, with her impressionistic depictions of color and light

Digital paintings and digital infrared photography by Zygmund Zee

Brian D. Kincade's art glass mosaics, which capture the depth and shadowing of fine paintings

Quilted sculptures with hand stitching and beaded appliqué, jewelry and mixed media handcrafts by Vivian Helena Aumond-Capone

Ink-infused metal and paintings by Richard Cavoretto

Mixed media and gourd art by Valerie Runningwolf

Mary Motola's vivid colored pencil drawings, in which intricate lines and shapes reveal hidden objects

And impressive jewelry designed and fashioned by Ray McGee and Merylyn Whited, using semiprecious stones, glass beads, shells, skilled metalwork and custom enameling.

Connecting visitors and art lovers with the spirit of Yosemite is one of the goals of Gallery Yosemite. The idea was conceived by Mark Heliger, whose photography captures the colors, textures and captivating moments of the Sierra Nevada seasons.

Gallery Yosemite is adjacent to Timberline Gallery and has been open since January 2013.

Other artists whose work is featured are:

Diane Stewart's painted wildlife stills

The fine art acrylic landscapes of Jerome Grimmer, and watercolors and paintings of Suzanne Banks

Craig Schubb's pastoral landscapes

Paintings of waterfalls, rivers, lakes and snow-covered mountains by Moira Donohoe

Vicky Thomas' vivid landscape watercolors

Hand-painted gourd sculptures by Gretchen Lee

And the striking photographs by Wally Pacholka and Andrew Erickson.

The Stavast Studio Gallery features the work of gifted artist Stephen Stavast. His original oil painting, "Golden Cove," is seen on the set of the television drama, "Sons of Anarchy."

Stavast's artwork is known for rich detail. As you look at paintings from across the room some appear to be large photographs. Those of rocks and water and wooded reflections draw in the onlooker, as if he or she were actually standing beside a mountain stream.

Stavast has been painting professionally for 47 years. He is a member of the International Guild of Realism, with exhibits in two Jones & Terwilliger Galleries, in Carmel and Palm Desert.

His book, "Streams of Memories," features original artwork and poems. It received two prestigious awards for printing excellence. For details, visit www.stavaststudiogallery.com.

Artist biographies and photos of artwork may be seen at gallery websites. Gallery Row is at 40982 Highway 41 North. For more information, check www.yosemitegatewaygalleryrow.com.

Two more galleries will be featured in next week's column.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at composed@tds.net.

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service