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  • Writer's pictureAtherton Arts Foundation

Local Artists' Response to Shelter in Place

It is fair to say we are living in unusual and unprecedented times! As we enter into the winter season and time of fatigue, I hope visiting with several Atherton artists will give you a glimmer of inspiration! Art brings a sense of purpose, creativity, solace and connection to not only the artists but to their community of viewers. These artists' passion for their 'craft' inspired and encouraged me to look differently at this period of my life, my art and my teaching. I hope it does yours too! I recently chatted (virtually) with several Atherton artists and asked how they are finding a balance between sheltering in place and staying connected to their art. I'm happy to share with you, ART is alive and well in Atherton!

BARBARA TUFFLI: Barbara is an award winning horticulturist, fine art photographer and floral designer. She studied landscape architecture at University of California Berkley and has studied photography nationally. Not only is she nationally known for her knowledge and excellence in camellia horticulture (she has upward to 500 camellias), she has created a limited edition of fine art camellia portraits. She finds herself busier than ever during this time of sheltering in place. Barbara told me, there is a "Silver lining to being at home": Spending more time in her garden, and enhancing her photo editing skills. A national project with the Garden Club of America, and water color artist Angela Ovary (Garden Club of Denver) photo editing the prints of paintings of 100's of native plants and pollinators, readying the drawings for a commemorative scarf is at the top of her art to do list! Between her garden, photography (of her flowering plants), enhancing her digital and 'tech' skills, she is definitely an inspiration TO DO and to keep learning! To view her work, visit her website:

COSETTE DUDLEY: Cosette began printmaking in the late 1960s, during the Vietnam War. Since then, her work has concentrated on themes of social justice, civil liberties, war and peace and the environment. In recent years images of family history have also emerged. She is a third generation Californian, born in Sacramento and residing in Atherton for the past fifty-nine years. Cosette graduated from Stanford University in 1964. Before that, she studied with Wayne Thiebaud 1954 – 1955. She continued her art studies with lithography at San Francisco State University, 1982 and photogravure at Crown Point Press, San Francisco 1993 – 1995. She is currently affiliated with California Society of Printmakers, Los Angeles Printmaking Society, and Women's Caucus for Art. She has shown in numerous exhibits and had been scheduled to exhibit when the pandemic hit. Despite finding it difficult to concentrate on daily art time, she still considers "Art as an ongoing process!" To view her work:

ELAINE MCCREIGHT: As a painter and a poet, Elaine is interested in the overlaps of dream, reality and imagination. After painting abstracting landscapes for almost a year now, her recent concerns about our fractured country have pulled her back to the figure. She's especially interested in ways people misperceive each other. Continuing to work in oils, cold wax and acrylics, she wants to pose questions, not pretend to offer answers. During the first few months of sheltering, she worked for hours each day in the garden, and devoted lots of 6'- apart, outside time sitting and talking with family and friends. Elaine has now happily returned to a daily practice in her studio. Many of you may recognize her name since she taught in the Menlo Park Schools for seventeen years! Thank you Elaine for continuing to 'give back' to our community through your passion of art!

JOANNA BACIOCCO: Joanna has lived in Atherton for 45 years, having moved here from the city in 1975. She started painting about 20 years ago and found painting outdoors in plein air her dream come true. Her medium of choice is oil paint. She has been inspired through her travels throughout the world but to be a Bay Area artist has been her dream, and painting the golden coast will never lose its appeal. She paints several days a week; 2 days with groups, the POPS GROUP and another organized by artist, Eric Greenhut. Joanna has not been influenced by the covid shelter in place as her creative time is shared between her computer and her studio. Her hope is her paintings will soothe souls and satisfy minds. Each day is a new source of learning.

MARY (WOOLLOMES) LIPIAN: Mary grew up in Atherton and is now a San Francisco based artist. Mary holds two graduate degrees in Psychology, and actively uses this background as an influence for her art. She primarily paints with oil and her paintings are intended to capture the pulse of cities. The sparse clues of a building and empty facades, often with neon signage glow in a dimmed half-light while any sign of life inside is obscured by reflections of color dancing across the windows. In other paintings, the colors can be seen soaring through the sky. The beat is omnipresent. She has exhibited in the United States, France, Italy, and United Kingdom. The Covid shelter in place and partial shut down has added an entirely new medium and dimension to Mary's artist expression! She jumped at the opportunity to paint the outdoor dining structure accommodating the San Francisco Italian restaurant, Tommaso's, on Kearny in the North Beach area. Not only has the challenge

been working with exterior house paints, it's depicting the flavor and ambiance of the restaurant's interior to the exterior of a partial wooden structure! Mary has not put her art on hold during the pandemic, but has embraced new artist challenges!

GORDON DEEG: Approximately one third of Gordon's Atherton lot is lined with tables of 300-400 Bonsai trees. I have never been so taken back as when I first visited Gordon's back yard to ask him if he would consider 'hosting' an art class for Botanical Artists! I knew Bonsai was a Japanese art form of growing trees and keeping them 'small' but I was awe struck at seeing azalea, apple, gardenia, maple, redwood, and many more varieties in beautiful form everywhere I looked! Gordon first became interested in Bonsai in the 1960's when he lived in the Sacramento area. He and his wife visited the State Fair and wandered into a Bonsai exhibit, and a new passion and art form began! Upon moving to the Bay area (San Jose, San Mateo and now Atherton) Gordon continued and enlarged his passion for Bonsai, growing his own and caring for other people's Bonsai plants. A member of a local bonsai club connected him with a Master Bonsai artist in Japan. He has since lived and studied with Bonsai masters in Japan over a half of dozen times! The care of Bonsai continues; pandemic or not! If you would like to take an outing, bring your mask and visit the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt!

KRISTA (UNGERMAN) SKEHAN: Krista grew up in Atherton, attending Laurel and Sacred

Heart Schools. She had the opportunity to have the Art in Action program while attending Laurel School and later severed on its Board. As an adult, she lived in Menlo Park for 15 years and is currently residing in Hawaii. In her art work, Krista uses acrylic paint, loves to paint fast and use gobs of paint! Being a busy mother and working professional (along with her husband in their personal branding business), she appreciates how quickly acrylic dries She spends most of her time thinking and processing the art work before putting a brush to canvas. "My process is extremely layered and thoughtful; think like a turtle and paint like a rabbit!" Krista paints just about everyday. Last October she succeeded in a daily painting challenge, finishing 31 paintings in 31 days! Using some of these 'October' painting, Krista has started a new 'Island Style' series, which will be available for viewing starting December 5 on her website. In between painting whatever her heart desires, she loves to work with clients and paint what they desire! Covid's sheltering in place has influenced her life's choices…family time and residence…and therefore her art. It has made her re-evaluate her priorities. "Life is too short to not do what you love!" Thank you Krista, for sharing you 'love' of art with us!

EDITH BERGSTROM: Edith has carried her life, which began in the Imperial Valley of California, not only to her home in Atherton but into her life's passion: Palms. Edith began concentrating on palms in the early 1970's. She has lived her entire adult life in Atherton, transposing two lots into a garden of over 100 species of palms and 400 individual palms! Each one of her paintings she considers as a 'portrait of a palm,' relaying the uniqueness and beauty of each specimen. She began painting using watercolors, then oil on canvas. Some of her palm portraits are a large as a wall, and I remember visiting her studio and seeing the ladders she climbed on to complete her paintings! Now, she says they are 'Regular size' paintings. Pandemic or not, she enjoys painting, and finds it much more relaxing as she is not pushing herself to sell her work. However, her work is still available at 'A Gallery Fine Art' in Palm Desert. Be sure to say 'Hi' to Edith if you see her in the neighborhood walking her labradoodle, Haley!

Regardless if you are a professional artists, art hobbyist, or an I'd-like-to-try-that artist, stay connected to your passion, desires or curiosity! In Part II, for the next Athertonian I'll introduce you to some of the art instructors, past and present in our community. Stay healthy, happy and enjoy the art that surrounds us! I'm looking forward to the day we can meet once again at an AAF art show or class!

- Dorothy Hunter

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