Artist of the Month - January 2023

Each Artist Group selects a member to feature each month
SCULPTORS - Mary Dee Thompson

"I have been interested in art for most of my life. I have been creating it since the 1970’s. Originally a part time activity, the study and creation of art is now my primary endeavor.

"My bronze sculptural work reflects my fascination with the human form — male and female — and I delight in exploring sculptural possibilities which transcend a literal presentation.

"My early work was heavily influenced by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, though on a much more intimate scale. More recent work is influenced by Giacometti, but it expresses my own personal vision — one that is whimsical, imaginative, and feminine. My acrylic paintings reflect an ongoing exploration of color, line, and form. I am often inspired by the natural world which I filter through an abstractionist lens.

"In Santa Barbara, I am a founding member of the La Cumbre Center for Creative Arts and 10 West Gallery, and a member of several other Santa Barbara area art groups. I am a member of Central Coast Sculptors. In 2021, my work, Torso, was in the SLAM show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and was one of four sculptures awarded a prize."

Thompson's paintings can be viewed at 10 West Gallery in Santa Barbara in January-February. Select paintings and sculptures are always on display at La Cumbre Center for Creative Arts, Illuminations Gallery in La Cumbre Plaza in Santa Barbara.

IMAGE: Spanish Dancer, bronze, 8 x 7 x 7”

PAINTERS - Flo Bartell

With strong family influence of needle artists, musicians, and artisans, Flo spent her childhood studying music, dance and art. Though her passion for art continued, she pursued a career in education and mental health. After many years working in those disciplines, she opened a needlework business, taught needle arts, and designed children’s clothing, quilts, embroidery, and needlepoint. She also began to study art again.

Moving to Los Osos, California in 2003, she continued her art study. Now Flo divides her time between family, music, and creating and teaching encaustic painting and sculpture. 

Flo’s art has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibits, in magazines and on magazine covers, and several of her paintings have been adapted for needlepoint. She is represented by Art Central Gallery in San Luis Obispo and Costa Gallery in Los Osos.

IMAGE: Time Worn, encaustic and mixed media, 36” w x 50” h


“Having worked with fabric and surface design all my life and begun my career as a clothing designer, it was a natural progression to explore different cultural expressions through textile design processes.

"This led me to an intense immersion into the practice of Japanese Shibori, which I discovered over 30 years ago.
Shibori is the artful manipulation of cloth and repeated layering and removal of dyes. Each piece is unique unto itself. After centuries of practice, Japanese artisans developed a number of Shibori processes with each having the ability to be altered or adjusted to create individual and one of a kind designs. Combined with my college training in art and design, I have been fortunate to have studied with some of the eminent artists in this field, including Jan Janas, Anna Lisa Hedstrom, Doshi, and Elin Noble."

IMAGE: Created using Arashi and Itajime techniques

PHOTOGRAPHY - Alice Cahill

"In my photography I strive to see with the “eyes of my heart” – to find that essential element which speaks to your sense of wonder. Since retiring to the Central Coast in 2008, I have focused mostly on bird photography. Birds are little dinosaurs that I find to be endlessly interesting and engaging.

"I have been honored to receive numerous photographic awards including being a Category Winner in the prestigious Nature's Best International Photography Contest; Grand Prize winner of the Audubon Magazine photo contest; and multiple publications in NANPA Expressions including a Best of Show in the “Other Animals” category."

IMAGE: Owl Family Dinner, photograph

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