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Artists of North San Luis Obispo County

Updated on February 18, 2015

A Corner of Laure Carlisle's Studio

This is one corner of Laure Carlisle's studio at Studios on the Park in November, 2013
This is one corner of Laure Carlisle's studio at Studios on the Park in November, 2013 | Source

A lot of Talented Artists Live in Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero, and San Miguel

When I moved to Templeton, I was aware of the vineyards and wine tasting rooms all around me. I suppose that's the first thing most people who have been in North San Luis Obispo County think of. Lovely vineyards set the background for each season of the year on any country highway or back road. You will see grapes growing from San Miguel in the North to Templeton in the South. You will see them if you approach Paso Robles from Fresno to the East or if you come West Cambria to Templeton and Paso Robles. If someone had asked me what came to mind at the thought of Paso Robles, I never would have thought of art.

But vineyards are beautiful. The scenery around them is beautiful The wineries and tasting rooms provides all sorts of architectural styles from homes to castles and everything in between. The North County is also less than an hour from several beaches, from Avila, Pismo, and Morro Bay in the South to Cambria and San Simeon in the North. Hearst Castle and Big Sur aren't very far either. As you can see, there is lot here that begs to be photographed and painted. Inspiration is everywhere. I suspect that's why we have so many talented artists and photographers that live in North San Luis Obispo County, from San Miguel to Atascadero. In this lens I'd like to introduce you to some of the many I have met and talked to who have agreed to interviews on video or by phone. I'd also like to show you some of their work. I will also feature some of the artists who live on the north and south coasts who exhibit their work at Studios on the Park and at the Art Festival.

What you see in this picture was done by John Mack of Atascadero.

Where would I see the work of the North County artists? - Just about everywhere people gather.

Car front at entrance to Studios on the Park in Paso Robles
Car front at entrance to Studios on the Park in Paso Robles | Source

Local Art Work in Paso Robles

When I had lunch at the Paso Robles Inn not long ago, I noticed the work of John Partridge hanging in the lobby. This may have been one of the paintings I saw there If you check out John's web site, you will see many North County scenes among his paintings. He was one of the plein-air quick draw participants at the recent Paso Robles Festival of the Arts, He also has paintings hanging in many local businesses and paints and exhibits at local festivals. On my my most recent visit to Studios on the Park on January 31, 2013, he had become one of their resident artists.

Many of the other local artist have their work hanging in local businesses, as well. The walls of wine tasting rooms and restaurants serve as galleries for local artists that don't have their work in other galleries, or as ways for artists

who do to get more exposure.

We also have several events which draw artists. We will, of course, find them at Templeton's Day in the Shade, which occurs the Saturday before Mother's Day each year. That's where I first discovered them. That led me to also attend the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts , where I first learned about The Studios on the Park, a wonderful place where many local artists have studios open to the public from Thursday - Sunday in Paso Robles across from the City Park. You can go there, meet the artists, watch them work, and see whatever exhibits happen to be going on at the time. The artists there also offer art classes to the public.

Besides local festivals dedicated to art, you will find artists displaying their work at the Paso Robles Lavender Festival and the Olive Festival. It seems there is some event almost every month that gives the public a chance to see the work of our local artists.

My Interview with Barbara Rosenthal on August 7, 2010 - Barbara and her husband are printmakers at Studios on the Park.

The printmakers all share a special printshop studio, where they can print and exhibit their work. I interviewed Barbara beside a painting she was exhibiting for a show benefiting CASA, which serves abused women and children. All the paintings were to be auctioned off to benefit this organization. In this video she tells us about her painting and a bit about herself.

Local Photographer Heidi Edelman

Heidi lives on a ranch in San Miguel. Heidi had a photograph of a rooster hanging at the Ranch Dressing Exhibit sponsored by the Paso Robles Art Association ..com I liked it so much that I contacted Heidi and asked if I could interview her on video and she agreed. We met the evening she was playing hostess at the exhibit, and I brought my Flip. Here is the result.

Octogenarian John Mack - A resident of Atascadero

John Mack with Award-Winning Picture "Hi! Templeton"
John Mack with Award-Winning Picture "Hi! Templeton" | Source

John Mack is pictured here with his third-place ribbon winning painting, "Hi! Templeton, " a semi-opaque watercolor. This picture caught my eye at the Ranch Dressing Exhibit sponsored by the Paso Robles Art Association, on July 8, 2010. I couldn't help but take notice, since I have taken may photographs of the same subject. It is the first thing anyone who walks down Main Street in Templeton sees. The picture John painted was of the building before it was rebuilt after a fire.

Unfortunately, John Mack died in July, 2011, only a few months after this was written. You can learn more about him in his obituary. He lived to be 86 and was active until almost the end of his life, as you can see in his photo above, which was taken only a year before he died.

John used to teach painting, drawing, sculpture, and art history in both California and Oregon. . He was interested in art by the time he entered high school, but during World War II he was drafted into the Air Force, which interrupted his studies. Afterward he began his art education in the San Francisco Bay Area, where after graduating with a B.A from California College of Arts and Crafts, he went on to San Francisco State University to earn a double M.A. in Fine Arts --Printmaking and Painting. He then pursued PhD graduate studies at Stanford.

He was greatly influenced by teachers George Post and Alexander Nepote -- especially in the area of geometric abstracts, a style which is evident in John's more recent work. His goal is now more to capture the essence of the design and feeling of a subject than to create a realistic picture of a scene. You will see some examples of this in the photo gallery of John's work below.

John enjoyed plein air painting, where artists complete a picture in an hour or two. I witnessed a quick draw competition at the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts and was amazed at what the plein air artists there were able to create in such a short time. I have to admire anyone who can do this. John's favorite medium was watercolor, and he was a member of the American Watercolor Society, a quite prestigious organization. His wife, Virginia, is also a watercolor artist and she teaches art at Alan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. John gave me permission to post the picture in this module and the three in the gallery below. These works are all copyrighted and John Mack's estate retains all rights to them.

A Sample of John Mack's Work

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This first picture is "Hi! Templeton," which won the white ribbon at the "Ranch Dressing" western theme exhibit sponsored by the Paso Robles Art Association at their gallery at Studios on the Park. It is copyrighted.John did not give me a title for this painting, but you can see the influence of the abstract style in it. It is also a copyrighted work.The title of this one is "Morro Bay Abstract." It is also copyrighted.
This first picture is "Hi! Templeton," which won the white ribbon at the "Ranch Dressing" western theme exhibit sponsored by the Paso Robles Art Association at their gallery at Studios on the Park. It is copyrighted.
This first picture is "Hi! Templeton," which won the white ribbon at the "Ranch Dressing" western theme exhibit sponsored by the Paso Robles Art Association at their gallery at Studios on the Park. It is copyrighted.
John did not give me a title for this painting, but you can see the influence of the abstract style in it. It is also a copyrighted work.
John did not give me a title for this painting, but you can see the influence of the abstract style in it. It is also a copyrighted work.
The title of this one is "Morro Bay Abstract." It is also copyrighted.
The title of this one is "Morro Bay Abstract." It is also copyrighted.

What kind of painting do you enjoy?

Many people have a preference for realistic painting where the subject looks much as it does in real life. Others prefer more abstract paintings. Some like both styles. What do you prefer?

Which painting style do you prefer?

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Julie Dunn

I met Julie at Day in the Shade in Templeton. She is an Atascadero resident who specializes in tempera bakik paintings and Giclee prints. I interviewed her on video that day and you can see it here. Just as those of us on Squidoo do some of our best work when we write from the heart, Julie does hers when she paints from the heart with the hope of inspiring others. .She paints flowers and the varied Central Coast landscapes and seascapes. This is her web address, and you can see more of her work there.

Laure Carlisle

Laure is one of the founding artists of Studios on the Park, and we discovered what a small world it was when her husband, whom I'd never met, treated my husband in the emergency room when he had a recent mild heart attack. It was then I learned her husband was a cardiologist. Ironically, my husband was his last patient before his retirement at the end of the day. I I have written more about Laure in other places, so I will only add this brief video I took in her new studio, to introduce her here. The video shows the paintings in her exhibit, "Birds of a Feather. " I especially liked the owl, which is the first painting you see in the video. When I was at Studios on the Park in February, 2015, I discovered Laure had moved her studio from Studios on the Park to Atascadero where she would have more room. She still has contact information on her website.

Peg Grady and Sarah Winkler

These two artists were studio mates as of August 7, 2010, at Studios on the Park. I am amazed at all the talent to be found in that one room. Peg Grady specializes in abstract contemporary art in acrylic, mixed media, assemblage and collage. This means she draws, paints, does collages, and assembles marvelous objects with mixed media. You can see some examples in the video below and on her web site.Be sure to follow the links at the top for her biography and to see how she describes her work. Neither of these artists are currently residents of Studios on the Park, but they still have studios in the area.

Sarah Winkler was born in England and lived on many different continents before emigrating to the United States in 1989. You can see her recent work on her web site. Her art shows the influence of Turner and the British Romantics; Odilon Redon and the French Symbolists; and Frida Kahlo and the surrealists.

This video is a very quick trip through their studio, since all the work is copyrighted. See the artists' web sites for a closer look if what you see here intrigues you.

Neither artist currently has a studio at Studios on the Park, but you can still get an idea of their styles from their shared studio when they were there.

Deborah Kunic, Buckaroo Artist

Debbie is a long-time friend who has a ranch in San Miguel. She also has her studio there and creates in many mediums. In this video she talks about her work and her daughter Serena's. You will see both Debbie's and Serena's work here. Serena makes custom jewelry and her company is Golden Pony Designs. You'll find Debbie's web site here.

Dave Coronel Photography
Dave Coronel Photography

This article can only begin to introduce the talented artists in the North County.

There are dozens more. From time to time I will add them as I get to know them and have a chance to interview them. The work in the picture here is that of Dave Coronel, one of the photographers I met at Day in the Shade an annual art show in Templeton, California, which occurs on the Saturday before Mother's Day each year in the Templeton City Park.

Thank you for stopping by. - Please let me know you were here by leaving a comment.

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    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Always glad to see those promoting artists. A nicely done resource for artists in your area.

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