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The Plumas Arts Gallery is delighted to present the work of husband-and-wife artists Harry Reeves and Linda Blum in an opening reception Friday night, Feb. 4. Kicking off Plumas Arts’ 30th anniversary, the gallery at 372 Main St. will be filled with the couple’s keenly observed paintings of nature and wildlife.
As part of Quincy’s Art Walk the same night, starting at 5 p.m. the Plumas Arts Gallery will host a reception for the pair with drinks and delicious treats. Main Street Artists Gallery and Eagle’s Nest Frame Shop and Gallery will also host opening receptions from 5 to 8 p.m. Many downtown merchants will be open late for the festivities. For more information about the Plumas Arts Gallery show, call 283-3402 or visit plumasarts.org.
Since they are a husband-and-wife team who show their art jointly, it is helpful to know how to tell the work of one from that of the other. Linda does the trees and Harry does the birds: that’s how you tell them apart! There is more to it than that, but Linda does favor landscape and forest scenes while Harry enjoys wildlife subjects. Linda’s work employs only watercolors, whereas Harry also uses pastel, charcoal and pen and ink.
“My family lived in Oakland and we regularly vacationed at Oakland Camp or in Chester. My father fly-fished and he considered the Feather River waters to be the best area in the world for the pursuit of trout. I have hiked, fished and hunted over much of North America but came to prefer the northern Sierra and moved to Quincy in 1980. Since then I have spent as much of my time as I can fishing and creating art.
“I have been fascinated by birds in particular — nature and wildlife in general — for my entire life. My mother, being a very accomplished artist in her own right, encouraged me to draw and paint throughout my childhood and I had the benefit of having some excellent art instructors in elementary through high school. While I have not formally pursued art academically, I have continually studied and worked at it.
“Georgia O’Keeffe said, ‘No one can teach me how to paint.’ Art, I agree, is a talent you must refine in your own way to your own satisfaction. I gain something from every masterpiece I get a chance to see. I enjoy watching other artists at work. I have attended several workshops over the years and picked up a lot of helpful ideas along the way. Still I believe that fundamentally everyone is an artist and it really remains up to the individual to cultivate his or her unique talents in their own way.
“I want to know a wildlife subject firsthand so that I may convey my understanding of where it lives and how it behaves. When you look at an animal I have painted or sketched, I hope you can share my feeling that it is looking back at you, letting you in on something special about its life.”
Sierra Valley birds
A special series of 16 watercolor paintings shows several of the many species of birds commonly found in Sierra Valley during the spring and early summer breeding season. These original watercolor paintings are being used to make a set of interpretive signs on the viewing platform at the Feather River Land Trust’s Maddalena Ranch. Plumas Audubon Society’s Darrel Jury guided the development of the interpretive nature trail and set up the viewing platform there with a National Audubon Society/Toyota Forever Green grant.
It is Reeves’ hope that, in the tradition of John James Audubon, these paintings go beyond showing simply what different birds look like, to also inform the viewer about where they live and how they behave.
“I have been fascinated by birds and forests since childhood, and have pursued those interests over the last 30 years in a career as a land use planner, wildlife habitat specialist, natural resource management consultant and environmental activist. It was only 10 years ago, with Harry’s encouragement, that I began learning to paint with watercolors.
“My original reason for taking up watercolors was to make my own journal illustrations. I’ve practiced amateur photography since high school. But sometimes photographs are too literal, or too limited, to record a particular place at a particular moment. We tend to point, shoot and take whatever image the camera lens gives. Painting a scene can edit, concentrate and literally color how I remember a place far better than photographs in some situations. I like to at least start a painting onsite, but many times I also use my own digital photographs to compose and guide my paintings after I get home.
“I still make little paintings for my personal journals. I also enjoy making larger watercolors and offering them to others. I got carried away trying to paint the aspen trees outside my kitchen window this fall, and three of my new works show autumn’s progress as well as my admiration for aspen. Other paintings I’m showing are more whimsical; these came out of a series of exercises in different painting techniques shown on YouTube videos and online classes. Harry and Georgia O. are right: you can learn by watching other artists, but no one can teach you to paint. It’s something you learn yourself.”
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