Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking forward

to winter hibernation... stocking up on supplies, ideas, warm friends and hot cups of tea in the studio.

Happy New Year 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


missing my girl .... one year later.
We love you Miss Athena.
Queen for eternity.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wishing for a break in the rain...

I have no complaints. I love staying in, reading, painting, crafting, or writing holiday cards. Pooches? not so happy... waiting for a car ride, or creek, or park, ANYTHING. Happy Solstice.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sundance ....

We love you.
Look who found a new home....

Afternoon Refuge 18x36" ©

Someone else is waiting for good wall space
and happy, smiley owners.

Wilcox 24x48" ©

See more @ SUNDANCE
...and look for more in January!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Thursday, December 2

Two excellent group shows opening
tomorrow during First Thursday.

Lacuna, Marcia Burtt's gallery, will host a show of her
gallery artists along with some invited guest painters.

Erling Sjovold, Still River, oil on panel, 12×9 in

Meet the artists at a reception on Thursday evening, December 2, from 5:00 to 7:00.

The exhibition will continue through Sunday, January 9.

Marcia Burtt Gallery is located at 517 Laguna Street between Cota and Haley in Santa Barbara. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, open 11:00-5:00 weekends, and 1:00-5:00 weekdays.

Ann Sanders, Fields, Spring, 8 x 10 inches, pastel

Then, of course, is the 2nd annual 100 Grand show at Sullivan Goss.

DATES: December 2, 2010 - February 27, 2011

OPENING: 1st Thursday, December 2 | From 5 - 8PM

ARTISTS FEATURED: Tony Askew, Rebekah Bogard, Ken Bortolazzo, Perry Castellano, Melissa Chandon, Connie Connally, Alia El-Bermani, Martha Erlebacher, Richard Erdusun, Nancy Faulkner, Jon Francis, Rafael Gaete, Nancy Gifford, Dane Goodman, Robin Gowen, Colin Gray, Tracey Sylvester Harris, Dan Levin, Larry Mills, Jennifer Moses, Brad Nack, Ken Nack, John Nava, Zoe Nathan, Zack Paul, Rafael Perea, Angela Perko, Chris Peters, Hank Pitcher, Ian Putnam, Robert Redfield, Brad Reyes, Blakeney Sanford, Susan Savage, Elena Siff, Barry Spacks, Nicole Strasburg, Jane Taylor, James David Thomas, Susan Tibbles, Dug Uyesaka, Sarah Vedder, Monica Weisblott


Hope to see you all around the galleries tomorrow night.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Carmel for the holidays

New addition to inventory at Winfield Gallery in Carmel.
Located in the heart of Carmel, Chris Winfield's gallery
is just a half block off of Ocean Ave on Dolores.
Chock full of wonderful works of art...
it's well worth a stop if you are cruising 17 mile drive.

Gaviota Pier 24x48"

Winter Pools 36x48"

Morning Estuary 48x24"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kooky Beautiful

Another spark-a-licious day out at the beach.
Pooches loved the break in the rain.

Molly loves chasing the birds and drinking the salt water while Skye waits for a ball to be tossed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Home from San Diego

These little beauties made the journey home yesterday with the gallery owner Susan Street in Solano Beach... just in time for the Sullivan Goss holiday show 100 GRAND which opens with First Thursday events December 2nd from 5-8pm. Susan Bush at Sullivan Goss was the happy recipient of these wee ones yesterday. They are at the gallery for previewing!

Winter Shore 01 12x12"

Winter Shore 02 12x12"

Evening Sky 12x12"

Spring Island 2 12x12"

Spring Island 3 12x12"

Spring Island 4 12x12"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Sundance....

Thank you.

Mountain Meadow 12x12"

We regret that this item is not available at this time.
Below are some alternative products you may wish to consider.

Creek Birch 24x18"
See more @ SUNDANCE

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Introducing Fabian Ojeda

I have to redeem myself after making the mistake of not knowing what the new fabulous store on State Street was when introducing the work of the fabulous Billy Woolway last week.

Plum Goods is the name of the store at 909 State Street in Santa Barbara. Can I just say HOORAY for the little mom and pop shop in the midst of the big mega stores taking over our little main street in Santa Barbara.

Upon entering the store and looking for my dear, sweet pal Billy I ran into Fabian who informs me that he is one of the visual merchandisers for this gem of a store. The description in the business write ups I've read goes like this "Hand crafted, upcycled, fair trade, unexpected eco-chic goods. Locally owned and operated."

Upcycled... fair trade... unexpected... eco-chic.... all music to my ears... then the big kicker... locally owned and operated. Hallelujah.

Fabian is a wonder and wonderful, as well as an amazing jewelry designer. Check out his website at Fabian y Felipe.

Now get out there and shop local peoples!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First Thursday events

Places to go and things to see.

Opening this Thursday at Sullivan Goss
The Winter Salon

Kelp Tide 48x36"

January Sky 36x60"

After a perusing and glass of somethin'something...take a walk down the street, looking left, passing the new sculpture in the Anapamu outdoor mini-amphitheatre (it may be too small to call it that but it's a beautiful grassy sitting area with fabulous new 3-d elements!) and head over to Channing Peake where the Art in the Parks show still hangs for another 2 months.

Lost Doggie goes home at Midnight ©Billy Woolway

Then... mosey down State Street to the 900 block and directly across from Border's in a new shop a dear dear friend has some of his amazing paintings.
The wonderful and charming Billy Woolway and his endearing and rich paintings.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

LIMITED EDITION - November 2010

The Santa Barbara Printmakers in collaboration with
the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative are thrilled to present
a special offer of limited edition prints.

The Deal

One print from a different artist each month, for 12 months, starting October 2010.

The prints are $50 each in a limited edition of 25. They will be available on the 1st of each month with a bonus print on December 15.

Proceeds benefit the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative Direct-to-Artist Grants.

Prints can be picked up at Frame, 901 De la Vina Street (corner of Canon Perdido) during regular business hours or mailed for an additional shipping charge.

November's Print by Pamela Zwehl-Burke

Grace Under Fire
"A sleeping cat is a touchstone for reconsidering how to be peaceful in the present moment, no matter how chaotic it may appear."

Image size 7" x 10"
Paper size 22" x 15" (halfsheet)
Paper is somerset 100% rag
Charbonnel soft black ink
Solar intaglio
edition of 25

About Pamela Zwehl-Burke:

Forever interested in what the natural world means, Pamela Zwehl-Burke has spent many years looking, to encode and decode visual matters. She learned (at the Hochschule fuer bildende Kuenste, Kassel, Staatliches Seminar, Goettingen (both Germany), California State University, Northridge and the University of Southern California) and then taught (at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Santa Barbara City College) drawing, figure drawing, printmaking, design and artists' books. After years of helping others to unfold their skills and visions, she (retired since 2008)now takes time and opportunity to pursue her own.
Her work manifests in a variety of scale, format and material, but the intention and subject is for the most part commonplace visual experience re-seen and re-excerpted: animal, vegetable, mineral, and their "stories". Seeing is as much the subject as the seen.
She lives with partner Harold McHugh and many animals in Santa Ynez. Interactions with two daughters and their daughters, friends, as well as the beloved extended family, richen her life.


To purchase GO TO: SB Arts Collabortive

There are still prints available from October's edition by Nicole Strasburg (yours truly).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I recommend.....

The wonderfully talented Heidi Swanson.

101 cookbooks

I just received my copy of her first book Super Natural Cooking in the post today. I can't wait to dive into the recipes. She also has her second cookbook ready to publish next April, Super Natural Every Day. She is vegetarian, I am not, but could be swayed by these most delicious looking recipes. Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The dampness and fog of the summer have leaked in and made a fug of the fall. Looking at things through blurry, fuzzy, somnambulant haze leaves me wordless and somewhat anxious knowing the holidays are starting, kicking off this weekend with all hallows eve.

Instead of ignoring writing duties and wishing I were full of pithy, erudite things to say... I will start with offering up some local, and not so local, favorites who are not tongue tied at present or in a sleepy narcoleptic mood.

The lovely Lily & Louise
The fabulous Monica Wiesblott
The charming Camilla Engman
The ever inventive Amy Karol
Super crafty fun at Sublime Stitching

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Art in the Parks

ART REVIEW : Art Inspired by County Parks - In the current Channing Peake Gallery exhibition, 'Art in the Parks,' artists show how natural spaces manifest creatively

Santa Barbara News Press, Scene Magazine, Friday, October 15, 2010

Courtesy photos




October 15, 2010 6:48 AM


When: Through Feb. 18, 2011

Where: Channing Peake Gallery, County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Information: 568-3990,

Even in Santa Barbara's relativity relaxed urban setting, parks can seem like God-sent oases. We cherish the open fields, lawns, vegetation and undeveloped acreage that are open to the public and regard park land as a hedge against civic claustrophobia. We breathe easier just knowing the park system is in place.

Or perhaps this is a romanticized vision, encouraged by the considerable wealth of inviting, preserved and government-kept park spaces in the county. We're spoiled, in a sense, and loving it. The same can be said for the artists in the group exhibition "Art in the Parks" at Channing Peake Gallery. The show's assorted visions have channeled inspirations from county parks into inventions suitable for framing.

This gathering of works uses various media and is spread out over many county park sites. Curator Scott Canty, from the Los Angeles County Municipal Art Gallery, is an objective outsider, allowing him to view the entries without fear or favor. The end result is a show well-stocked with some fresh faces alongside other, more locally recognized artists.

Not incidentally, this exhibition also serves as a showcase for the properties being dealt with, showcasing the diversity of topography and terrain in the county park system, including beaches and in-land sites. The creek-sided Rocky Nook Park's quasi-forested and cloistered feel is nicely captured in Nancy Taliaferro's detailed but also dark and moody paintings.

By contrast, Nicole Strasburg brings her inspired minimalist attentions to light, forming a lean, luminous mystery to the Goleta estuary at twilight. Goleta Beach is viewed differently through the artistic prisms of Mary Frederick's faux folk art style and Allan P.C. Liu's fine and more traditional way with watercolor.

Noah Erenberg livens up the show with his lovely and lively primitive touch, moving down the coast a bit to Isla Vista Beach Park, which is more underappreciated and rarely painted by the area's plein air gang. Somehow, we've consigned that fine spread of beach to I.V. student follies, "Floatilla" and other activities off to the side of natural and artistic reverie.

A more popular site for artists is Arroyo Burro Beach (aka "Hendry's" for those in the local know), which is given an appealing twist in style and perspective in Carolyn Hubbs' "Arroyo Burro From Above," a spare, airy color patchwork in watercolor.

Photography takes varied turns in the show. Julie Harris shows intriguing images, including the study in blue and white, "Dune Ripples," from the famed Guadalupe Dunes. The dunes are a magical site, beloved by Cecil B. DeMille and Edward Weston, whose classic nude/dune shots are among fine art photography's greatest anagram-related works. Arroyo Burro Beach is envisioned in fog-enshrouded lyricism by Kate Connell, while Roe Anne White focuses on the visual poetry of reflective ocean surfaces.

In a distinctly different and more realistic direction, Hilda Kilpatrick's "Rincon Beach Seascape" is a large canvas, solid and evocative of the reddened, rocky and less-trodden area of the Rincon. And what's this? Across the lobby, we find Marcia Burtt's ruggedly beautiful paintings of the North County's Orcutt Ranch, a place I have yet to experience, but now feel compelled to seek out.

Such is the nature of inspired art about nature, implicitly promoting the places we ponder. Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, whose art helped secure Yosemite and the U.S. National Parks system, knew the truism well, and the effect now prevails on a local level, as well.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Things to do, places to be

Two new shows opening the first week of October.

Small Images 2010
25th Anniversary
on exhibit from October 1-29

Opening Reception: Friday, October 1, 5–7pm

Rooted 7.5x7.5" embroidery & encaustic
©2010 N Strasburg

The ingathering brought 320 entries from 159 artists.
A total of 87 artworks were selected for the
25th Small Images exhibition.

The juror was Thomas Lawson, artist, writer,
and Dean of the School of Art at the
California Institute for the Arts

Atkinson Gallery
Santa Barbara City College
Humanities Building
721 Cliff Drive


Twilight Estuary 14x30"
oil on birch panel ©2010 N Strasburg

Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and
County Park Foundation

present Art Inspired by the County Parks
A juried exhibition curated by Scott Canty

Channing Peake Gallery
1st Floor County Administration Building
105 East Anapamu St.

Reception in conjunction with First Thursday events
October 7th, 2010 from 5-8pm

Low Tide 7x5" Collagraph
©2010 N Strasburg

Winter Shoreline 36x48"
oil on birch panel ©2010 N Strasburg

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Press Release from Tracey Morris ...

So some of you know, but now all of you know, I've been cooking up a little project with Nicole Strasburg to raise some funds for the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative's Artist Grants. I'm really excited at how it's turning out, we have a wonderful solar plate etching from Nicole that will be available via the Arts Collaborative's site on October 1 - AND IT'S ONLY $50! So cool! (scroll down to see it)

There are a limited number of subscriptions to the project - you can get all 13 prints for only $550. If you're interested contact me here on FB or at

Campus Point Rock Pools by Nicole Strasburg
Solar plate etching printed with mixed black ink

Here's the whole deal:

Beginning October 1, 2010, California Arts Day

Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative and Santa Barbara Printmakers

Limited Edition

One year, one artist per month, one print in an edition of twenty-five

Participating Santa Barbara Printmakers
Nicole Strasburg, October 2010
Pamela Zwehl Burke, November 2010
Marie Schoeff, December 1 2010
Carolyn Hubbs, December 15 2010
Nina de Creeft Ward, January 2011
Teresa Zepeda, February 2011
Valori Fussell, March 2011
Dug Uyesaka, April 2011
Libby Smith, May 2011
Rafael Perea de la Cabada, June 2011
Michael Jameson, July 2011
Nina Warner, August 2011
Stephanie Dotson, September 2011

Subscriptions available now! Get all 13 prints for $550, or one each month for $50 – with a bonus print on December 15.

There are a limited number of subscriptions available. Please contact Tracey Morris for more info traceyamorris[at]

Sale of individual prints begins in October 2010.

Proceeds benefit the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative Direct-to Artist Grants.

The Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative is an inclusive group of artists and arts supporters committed to sustaining and growing all forms of the arts in Santa Barbara . SBAC welcomes all to participate in the focused support of individual artists and arts organizations that contribute to the unique cultural ecology of our community.

We are: Actors, Arts Professionals, Arts Supporters, Dancers, Directors, Designers, Musicians, Filmmakers, Poets, Visual Artists, Writers, and everyone who wishes to collaborate and sustain the arts in Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara Printmakers are a group of artists dedicated to promoting and producing art work that uses hand and press printing techniques for the purposes of artistic exploration and expression. Images by artists in this group have been made with printing processes that include: etching, monotype, woodblock, collagraph, linocut, clay, lithography and digital programming. Santa Barbara Printmakers provides exhibition opportunities several times a year, as well as information about printmaking activities in the Santa Barbara area via their website, blog and email list serve. Its membership encompasses both emerging and established artists.

California Arts Day was created by the California Arts Council and established by Proclamation of the Governor. It takes place the first Friday of October every year during National Arts & Humanities Month.

Arts Day began not only as a celebration of creativity; in its first year it was part of the healing process after the tragedies of September 11, 2001 and served as an opportunity for Californians to re-connect with their communities and affirm humanity's finer instincts.

The purpose of Arts Day is to demonstrate the role and value of arts and culture throughout California . The California Arts Council has encouraged the celebration of Arts Day by working to make this a commonly recognized annual celebration using two simple messages:

•The arts are important - economically, socially, and educationally.
•The arts are everywhere.

Arts Day has been celebrated in many ways during the last several years—from music festivals, free museum admissions and free nights at performing arts venues, to arts advocacy rallies, advertisements, contests and newspaper columns. It is an opportunity for Californians to appreciate and experience the power and influence of the arts in all aspects of our lives—building communities, bridging cultures and celebrating diversity.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

San Luis Obispo Review

One artist's hell... Painter Nicole Strasburg marries disaster and art


NEW TIMES San Luis Obispo, August 26, 2010

Nicole Strasburg’s paintings are on fire. That is, the Central Coast landscapes and long yellow grasses captured on her birch-wood canvases are consumed and concealed by flame. The impetus for the series was the trio of wildfires that raged between July 1, 2008 and May 20, 2009, threatening homes and filling blue Santa Barbara skies with noxious black smoke. Strasburg’s abstract renderings of the fires are on display at ARTS Space Obispo through Sept. 8.

The exhibit is the second curated by the Central California Museum of Art, an organization that spans 13 counties and presents “artists and exhibitions—both historical and contemporary—that speak to the varied experiences peculiar to the middle region of the Golden State,” according to the mission statement. The first was a show of Peter Zaleski’s mixed media paintings and prints at Cuesta College last March. The next scheduled exhibit features the work of photographer Sky Bergman, a Cal Poly Art and Design professor.

Strasburg’s work didn’t always depict fire. In fact, there was a time when landscapes were entirely absent, though anyone familiar with her work may find that difficult to believe. In high school, her obsession was realistic portraits, of herself and friends. This gave way to black-and-white charcoal drawings in college. She began to draw her figures into an interior space. Then the interior had a window looking out to a landscape. As she puts it, one day she opened the door and walked outside.

“At some point I just went outside and I never came back,” she explained. “For some reason, that big open space is what I want to live with. I’ve tried to go back to the figure but painting is such a solitary thing and by painting the figure you’ve got company.”

Appropriately enough, Strasburg’s landscape meditations are painted onto a birch panel, the remnant of a happy accident. After living in Paris for several months, Strasburg returned to the United States dirt poor. She couldn’t afford canvases so she salvaged birch scraps from a carpenter’s shop. When she ran out of wood scraps, Strasburg would sand down the paintings she didn’t like and paint over them. This is where she got into the habit of sanding her paintings between layers.

Fire entered the picture as a reaction to the brutal and traumatic Santa Barbara fire season. Strasburg calls the shift “a natural progression.” It started with the Gap fire that raged for nearly a month in the summer of 2008. Strasburg created a handful of small paintings of the fire, which were included in an exhibit at Santa Barbara City College. Two days before the show’s opening, the Tea fire began and the gallery was closed because of the smoke. Strasburg’s fire paintings—gushing black smoke and elegant plumes—mirrored what was happening outside.

So she continued, proving that plein air isn’t always pretty. Strasburg’s fiery landscapes are beautiful, and terrible. Gordon Fuglie, founder of the Central California Museum of Art, is proud of the statements these paintings make to the local art scene.

“”With all the predominance of plein air painting it’s what people think of all the time,” said Fuglie. “But this gets you to think differently about the region that you live in, and what is landscape painting? Does it have to be pretty?”

The painter collects her landscapes from trips she takes specifically to harvest imagery, as well as her wanderings. “Every time I look at the landscape I’m looking at paintings,” she explained. “It’s hard not to be working.”

The first order of business, after finding and photographing a landscape, is to eliminate the elements that Strasburg considers excessive. Her paintings are about her own experience of the space, rather than capturing an exact depiction of a particular scene. This process lends her images a universal quality that appeals to art buyers who hail from all corners of the country. Strasburg surmises that she learned to simplify from her father, who was a theatrical set designer.

Strasburg works from her studio, citing painting en plein air as too stimulating. Her current pastime, while painting, is listening to audio books, the classics she never had a chance to read in school. The voice silences her inner critic, allowing her to paint continuously without questioning her use of a particular color.

As exhibit facilitator, the Central California Museum of Art sought out Strasburg. Fuglie visits Santa Barbara on a monthly basis and the powers that be introduced him to her work.

She’s represented by one of Santa Barbara’s more prestigious galleries. Having a curator organize everything, from selecting the paintings to titling the exhibit, was an unexpected boon. The painter operated a downtown gallery to promote her work for more than a decade, and knows the organizational challenges that attend such an effort. The more art facilitators there are, the more time she has to dedicate to painting her local infernos. And the more time local venues, such as ARTS Space Obispo, have to commit to myriad other programs and events.

When times get tough—fire waging an unholy war against pure air and an economic recession that strips artists and organizations of resources—art endures. Through artists who see the beauty in flame. And lovers of art willing to step forward with a helping hand for artists and organizations alike.

Arts Editor Ashley Schwellenbach would be a pyro if fire didn’t scare her. Send unlit matches to

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Paradiso/Inferno:Drought and Fire in the Central Coast Landscapes of Nicole Strasburg

August 2 - September 8, 2010

Art After Dark Receptions:
August 6 & September 3 from 6-9pm

ARTS Obispo
and the Central California Museum of Art are pleased to present a solo exhibition of Santa Barbara painter and printmaker, Nicole Strasburg.

Gap Fire Day 1, by Nicole Strasburg

Gap Fire, Day One ©2009
Paradiso/Inferno expands Central California landscape painting by moving beyond idyllic depictions of nature to portray the environmental realities of drought and the wind-blown wildfires in Santa Barbara County. Avoiding temptations to sensationalize, Strasburg’s paintings are minimalist in their approach with a muted poetic color sensibility based upon abstracted forms drawn from the land, water and sky.

Santa Barbara and Montecito are among the most beautiful and affluent communities in the United States, situated against rugged coastal sagebrush mountains with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean. For residents and tourists alike, the region is a paradise.
Strasburg has lived in Santa Barbara since she was a youth and knows the region well, understanding that the area is frighteningly vulnerable to periodic fires, fanned out of control by raging winds, jumping from dry canyon to dry canyon. Such conditions created incredible infernos like the Tea, Gap, and Jesusita fires of 2008 and 2009.

According to Strasburg, “I strive to show an understanding of locale and environment from a number of standpoints. My process comes from internal promptings and emotional influences rather than intellectual ones. The paintings are records of personal connections and the allure of knowing a place intimately – in its beauty, fragility, danger and resilience . . . Color comes from the dialogue with the painting and a visceral reaction to the experience in the field.”

Curator Gordon Fuglie, a native Californian with a 30-year involvement with California art and culture, organized this exhibition for ARTS Obispo as part of a series of projects developed by the Central California Museum of Art and displayed in venues throughout the mid-state. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the museum and serves on the exhibition committee for ARTS
Space Obispo. (reproduced from ARTS space obispo website, news page)

Arts Space Obispo
SLO Creamery, #165, 570 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo
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