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March 3, 2010 > The "Roving Artists"-more than art

The "Roving Artists"-more than art

By Alyson Whitaker

Artists have a reputation for being moody and temperamental, preferring solitude over socializing. But for the women who make up the "Roving Artists", none of these adjectives apply.

The group began back in 2000, when several students participated in a Watercolor class at the Olive Hyde Art Center. When the course ended, they weren't ready to give up the hobby and decided to form a traveling art group.

They named themselves the "Roving Artists." Early on, the group would travel around to different scenic locations in the Bay Area and paint on site. After a few years of "roving" and painting outdoors, they began to feel as though they'd like to challenge themselves in a new way. The group began meeting monthly at members' homes.

Each month, they decide as a group on a visual challenge. The assignments are varied-they've painted family portraits from old photo books, window themes, storms, clouds, still-life's, and water scenes. They've done paintings in the style of famous painters, including Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas. They've painted using only colors derived from natural sources. Member Judy Anglin laughs when she recalls her "science experiment" with the colors she created using various berries and vegetables. Some of the mixtures were left untouched a bit too long and ended up "growing!"

Having a deadline for the assignment helps the women make their art a priority in their everyday lives. Taking time to really study and stare at an object or scene, and then convey a unique interpretation onto paper brings a great deal of satisfaction. Brenda DeLuca, the newest member of the group, finds the hobby very therapeutic, and is amazed at how quickly the time passes with a paintbrush in her hand. Looking at the world through an artist's eyes brings a heightened awareness of colors, shadows, and shapes. Just as a chef might concoct a new recipe out of oft-used ingredients, an artist can portray a unique beauty in everyday scenery.

The women work on their own interpretation of the challenge at home, and then bring their completed or in-progress work to share with the group. As each woman presents her work, members offer compliments, comments, and encouragement. Suggestions are often made to enhance the painting, and there is a feeling of unity and support as they work to improve their skills together. They typically end their sessions with lunch, wine, and plenty of conversation and laughter-this is more than just a group of artists. Their hobby is intertwined with a deep friendship as they share life experiences together.

While every artist got off to a different start, their lives are intertwined through their participation of the Roving Artists. Katherine Latson studied art in college and continued on in the graphic design field. Maria Grazia Romeo is a native Italian with a lifelong love of art. Robin Worthington's first published drawing appeared in My Weekly Reader when she was in the second grade. Marlene Leal has always loved art but had no formal art training. Brenda DeLuca was helping her mom Marlene Leal host a Roving Artists get-together last fall and saw how much fun all the members had. She wanted to be part of the group! Judy Anglin has dabbled in art throughout most of her life, but just in the past few years made a conscious effort to learn more about watercolor technique. Joan Logan, Julie Williams, and Susan Olsen round out the group, each bringing a unique background and perspective. All agree that a painting isn't really complete until somebody else sees it. If it's kept hidden away in a dark attic, it just isn't finished.

In 2001, as paintings were accumulating at each of their homes, they decided it was time to hold an exhibit for friends and family. They approached Gail Stewart, owner of Mission Coffee in Fremont, about hosting the event. She agreed, and the group prepared for their very first showcase of paintings. Response to the first exhibit was overwhelming, and they've been coming back ever since. The Roving Artists were the first to exhibit their artwork at Mission Coffee. Now it's a regular occurrence with nearly monthly exhibits from other local artists.

The 6th Showcase of the Roving Artists will open on Sunday, March 7. Hors d'oeuvres will be served and the artists will be mingling in the crowd.

For the main feature wall, each artist created a painting based on this year's theme-"The Four Seasons". Other paintings by each of the women will be on display for purchase, as well as note card reproductions of many of the pieces.

Roving Artists' "Four Seasons" Exhibit
March 7-31
Artist Reception
Sunday, March 7
3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Mission Coffee Roasting
151 Washington Blvd, Fremont
(510) 623-6920

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