Newark artists go outdoors
Fremont Argus, November 16, 2007
NEWARK — Sometimes Linda Patterson paints landscapes on
a French easel, as she did recently in the splendor of
Yosemite. Other times, she creates half-mile-long
concrete murals such as the one being installed along a
Santa Clara creek trail.
"I like to work big," she said. "To me, art is about
ideas and whatever it takes to grasp the idea."
Patterson's works will be on view this weekend at her
Mayhews Landing home studio for the ninth annual Newark
Artists Open Studios, featuring works by 13 artists at
She specializes in outdoor scenery and environmental
commentaries, such as one she did in Alaska at the time
of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. She hardly expected the
experimental work, using found objects, to take on a new
relevance so close to home with last week's disastrous
fuel spill in the Bay.
"I'm still going through the depression over it, I just
haven't responded to it yet. But I'm sure I will," she
said, noting of the Valdez work, "I took my Exxon credit
card and cut it in half. "That was embedded in (the
work) with a motor oil container with holes ... in it
bitten by an animal from the wetlands in back of my
Wisconsin native said she finds plenty of inspiration in the Tri-City area as
well as around the country, taking special solace in Coyote Hills Regional Park.
"The view that you get from just driving over there by
Paseo Padre, seeing the sunset while looking at the
hills, is aesthetically as important to the people
around here as going to a major park. It's like instant
tranquility," she said.
"The plan is to do 800 homes on Patterson
Ranch ... directly in front of Coyote Hills," she
continued. "I think that open space needs to be
preserved. Even though it's Fremont land, it's used and
seen and enjoyed by more people than just residents of
Fremont. We're right next to it, we can see it."
Nature photographer Barbara Miller is
another Patterson Ranch development foe, though she is
not an environmental activist per se. Her images of
snow-covered trees and Ardenwood scenes will be on
display at her home studio in The Lake, along with two
other artists' works.
"I've always been kind of an outdoors
person," she said, noting that she shot some images on
her husband's and her sailboat. "I love shooting around
the water and near Coyote Hills. I try to catch the
beauty of a place as it is right now."
The Ohio native and first-timer with the
open studios event is equally upset by the 58,000 gallon
oil spill that has marred the Bay.
"What a tragedy," she said. "Being a
sailor, I just can't tell you how it's affected
everybody in the boating community. All the people out
there trying to help, bringing their gloves, and being
told they have to sit through a training."
Painter and muralist Simone Archer
co-founded Newark Artists Open Studios with etching and
collage artist Adriane Dedic. Both are participants this
"We met walking our dogs and discovered
that we were both artists," Archer said.
"We just wanted to get together to show
our work. A lot of people don't realize the talent
that's in Newark. They go across the Bay."
Archer also did an elaborate outdoor
mural with a colleague near Strizzi's Restaurant in
Livermore, a commission for a sculptor friend who owned
a local clay shop and was diagnosed with cancer.
"It was time to get her vision going,"
Archer said. "I had six weeks to do a wine country
Archer said the building owner offered to
match expenses dollar for dollar, allowing the work to
get done in time for her friend to see it before she
died. Otherwise, Archer said, "We'd probably still be
That highlights the perennial problem of
being an artist in America: It ain't easy to make a
"It's just, money goes other places in
our culture and society," Patterson said. "It doesn't go
into nurturing the arts as much as other areas. I think
it's real unfortunate that we've had a whole generation
now of students, especially in the Tri-City area, that
have not had art experience in school (because of
post-Proposition 13 budget cuts).
"In Wisconsin ... there was an art
teacher in every school. Kids got to experience art
actually being taught by an art teacher who could teach
them how to think creatively.
"It's just a whole different thing here."