Over the weekend I did something never done before by moi- travelled around in the Sierra foothills viewing a version of open studios referred to as Sierra Art Trails. Very easy to find locations even when remote due to great signage and a good map. One could not help but notice how so many of the artworks relate to nature whether photographs or landscape paintings and pastels. It was a pleasure to meet the artists, pay a call at their locations and encounter this as a visitor and guest.

One of the last stops on Saturday was Franka Gabler Home Studio where three artists were exhibiting. I had begun picking up cards towards the end of Saturday and these threes artists’ images live in my mind – I am personally such a nature aficionado. Quiet still photographs, mainly landscapes and portraits by Ron Hendershott, an artist who is located in Oakhurst, CA website http://hendershottphoto.com/about.html are there. Also opportunity to meet Franka Gabler http://www.frankagabler.com/Portfolios/Sierra_Foothills/index.html. Her photographs quite magical – drawn to the black and whites yet the drawing card of the foothills along with Yosemite creates a mesmerizing pull. There is a large photograph of Horsetail Falls in full flame which she caught in February – very rare as I know first hand. I have never seen it aglow yet. Lino-cuts (?) woodblock prints by Linda Zupcic portray a strong graphic sensibility – small images from nature. Really loved a small ultramarine/violet bird against an off-green background holding a snake; it works on many levels. http://blueoakart.vpweb.com/default.html

Prior to that last stop toured the spot holding three artists works in a more remote location in Ponderosa Basin, Mariposa – who take inspiration from the Sierras and Oregon – along with other spots. Moira Donohoe’s landscapes are striking – calling to my mind why I love being in nature. The lighting and atmosphere, the explorations of the unknown – her website is http://moiradonohoe.com/collections/25190/?displayhorz=3 From her card I gather she is a Yosemite NP native – so the qualities of nature must be in her blood. Helen Valborg’s paintings are here also in this remote area of Mariposa. Reminding me of Arthur Dow’s (a composition and philosphical genius who was one of Georgia O’Keefe’s teachers) I make mindful comparisons with her painting of the Santa Barbara Coastline. The third artist exhibiting is Roland Gaylor, an artist whose work features Oregon, the high desert, Bend and the Columbia River. A small winter scene captures me and I am informed that is it near Bend in the winter. Lovely. I am sorry I am unable to locate websites for these two lastly mentioned artists. (Perhaps books!)

I note these artists are each following their passion and love of nature. Many things are not as they appear at first glance. I am appreciative of these artists allowing me in to view their works in such a gorgeous setting as the Sierra Foothills.