OAKHURST — Stop by Timberline Gallery during the month of June to see a unique collection of local artists’ work, gathered together as ‘Conversations with Nature.’ Artists include Sandra Lee Scott, Karen Tillson, Deborah Pepin, James Osteen, Vivian Helena and Merylyn Whited.
Sandra Lee Scott
Pastels, mixed media, alcohol ink
After a 40-year career in the mental health field, Sandra Lee Scott is now fully immersed in the arts. As a longtime board member of Yosemite Western Artists (YWA), she participates in YWA’s photography group, digital art group and plein air outings.
The artist has received recognition and awards in shows sponsored by the Alliance of California Artists (ACA), YWA, the Madera County Arts Council, Sierra Artists Gallery in Mariposa and the Clovis Art Guild. One of her mixed media pieces was most recently accepted into the 2019 Yosemite Renaissance Exhibit.
Scott’s home overlooks the Fresno River in the Sierra foothills and she considers Yosemite National Park her “backyard,” saying this inspiring environment provides limitless subjects to explore creatively.
“Landscapes will always appeal to me but I also like to be challenged with subject matter that is somewhat unexpected, such as tractors and galaxies!”
With her mixed media pieces, Scott relishes creating works with a meaningful message — such as “The Forgotten Old West — and pieces that are strictly abstract.
Tillson says her interest in photography began in childhood with her first camera. Since then, classes, workshops, and studies in Santa Fe, N.M., with nationally known professional photographers, have added to her skills.
“I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel all over the world and photograph breathtaking scenery, the people and the wildlife on all seven continents and places in between.”
Tillson’s work is in private collections and is exhibited at Timberline and Circle Gallery in Madera.
Unless she’s doing commission work, Pepin only creates for herself.
“I create from that fire within my soul, of things and places that I absolutely love. Art is my true spiritual journey.
“I begin my creative process by picking up a pastel and feeling the texture in my hand as I put it to the sanded paper, or picking up a paintbrush with oil paints and walnut oil on it, as I lay down my first layer on my canvas.
“If I am painting plein air I close my eyes and take in the sounds and smells of nature. That first stroke ignites a spark that get that passion going to create something beautiful. Each piece I create evokes an emotional response, a sense of space and time that tells a story.”
Osteen is an upcycle/assemblage metal sculptor.
“I utilize items that have outlived their usefulness [like] scrap toasters, syrup pitchers, cocktail shakers, and various other bits and bobs that I have found at thrift stores, yard sales, antique stores or from my own personal collection.
“I combine these various pieces with nuts and bolts or rivets — enhance and improve the piece with paint and patina, epoxy clay and lighting elements.
“I love building robots and other unique and whimsical creatures, many of which reflect a love of vintage Sci-Fi, Atompunk and Steampunk aesthetics.”
Painting, photography, fiber arts, jewelry
“We moved to the mountains in 1999,” says Vivian Helena, adding that she loves the mountain area and blue skies. “Very inspiring to create art in such a magnificent location.”
Working with fiber, yarns, quilting, collage, painting and stenciling. the artist’s fiber pieces can be landscapes, traditional or contemporary.
“Sometimes they make a statement. Bright colors, hand dyed fabrics and adding a surprise element are my favorite.”
The award-winning artist has been featured in art fiber books and displays a large collection of jewelry at the gallery, along with additional small pieces in the gift area.
Conversations with Nature will be on display until the first week in August.
Founded in 1985, Timberline is the oldest established fine arts gallery in Eastern Madera County. Before Timberline, area artists displayed their work in local offices, banks, restaurants and Yosemite Western Artists shows.
Seeing the need for a permanent gallery, thirty members founded and incorporated The Guild of Mountain Artists which owns and operates Timberline Gallery as a non-profit co-op. The member artists began displaying and selling their artwork out of Timberline’s present location at 40982 Highway 41 North in what is now known as Gallery Row.