Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Painting Students Get Some Ink!

I had to opportunity to speak with Carl Love at the TVAL Open House and I enjoyed the conversation very much. The gallery is featured in his column in the Press-Enterprise.  We greatly appreciate the coverage.  Thank you, Carl. Let's get out and paint Temecula! 

"Local Artists Paint Bright Future"
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Special to the Press-Enterprise

'Are you related to Ralph Love?"

It's a question I hadn't heard in at least five years, but I heard it twice in one night on Saturday. It must have meant I was around artists, a rare treat in these parts.

Love -- him, not me -- was Temecula's most famous artist. There is the Ralph Love Plein Air Festival held in Old Town Temecula, but artists here are focusing on the Temecula Valley Art League's open house for its gallery at 41789 Nicole Lane.

Eighteen league members have about 100 paintings on display on the walls of the front room. It's one of a few local galleries, a sad commentary for an area that's become so urban.

Temecula fancies itself as a destination with its Wine Country, Old Town and balloon festival. Yet our shortage of galleries is not what you'd expect from a place that's trying to be sophisticated.

Doing its part to change that is the Art League, founded as a nonprofit in 1977 by Mary Davis, who was there Saturday.

This is the first time the group has had a permanent home, about 1,600 square feet to hold its monthly meetings, display art, conduct classes, host shows, and serve as a gathering place for artists.

One art teacher, Mary Mulvihill, said four of her students -- Adria Di Maria, Jennifer Morlan, June Kakowski and Tim Russell -- have work displayed here.

"There is something exciting about being in a gallery," she says.

Works in the front room included lots of flowers, animals, a few western scenes and some snow and beach paintings. Yet it was hard to find anything local from our Wine Country, Old Town, balloon festival, agriculture heritage and trademark subdivisions.

"We are lagging" in paintings of local scenes, Mulvihill says. So much so that Japanese tourists who visited recently had to be referred to Temecula City Hall, where works featuring local scenes can be found.

"If anybody is going to do it (create art of local things), we're going to do it," Mulvihill says.

Nobody knows better than Davis, an artist who won the community citizen of the year award in 1972. She also took lessons from Love, who she says worked in a room that was all black. An ordained minister, she said at times he also gave sermons while painting. You know artists; they can have their quirks.

"He was very religious, very quiet," she says. "What he said was the word."

Love, who owned a studio called the Art Shack, sold paintings for a fundraiser to get the art league up and running. She bought some paintings and is willing to display them at the new gallery.

"They are kind of priceless," she says.

No doubt he would have enjoyed the new space, which has almost tripled the Art League's membership since it opened. Membership is $30 a year and President Carol Landry, at 951-303-8100, has more information.

Landry has big plans for the Art League's new space, staffed by volunteers. Art walks and juried shows are held every month. A western wildlife art show is planned in May.

Bea Taylor is one local artist thrilled to have a spot to display her work.

"After 32 years we finally have a permanent place to show our art," she says. "It's wonderful that I can share my work."

Besides her art in the front room, Taylor also has her paintings displayed in the back rooms, including two in the restroom.

"I don't mind," she says happily.

When it comes to a permanent place to show their work after all these years of wandering, local artists aren't about to be picky.

Reach Carl Love at

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