The River’s Journey

posted in: Exhibition, Upcoming Exhibit | 0

One Year, Six Artists, Ninety-Two Miles

February 17, 2018 – July 8, 2018

First Floor Gallery

Libby Smith, Scorched River Bed, Gouache

Six artists have joined together, aligned around the lesser-known medium of gouache (an opaque watercolor pronounced “gwash”), to tell the story and challenges of the Santa Ynez River and Watershed. Locally, we have all been touched in some manner by the long-term and continuing drought in the Santa Barbara region. While somewhat relieved by the winter rains of 2016/2017, the drought likely will be continuing and as of January 2018 Lake Cachuma, which provides water for Santa Barbara and other communities, is already under 39% capacity and dropping.

The talented artists who call themselves Rose-Compass (click their name for their website) are: Nicole Strasburg, Holli Harmon, Connie Connally, Pamela Zwehl-Burke, Libby Smith and Nina Warner. They each have their distinct creative points of view but the medium of gouache and the watershed unite them. They have been painting and exploring for several months already and routinely post blogs about their adventures and musings.

The artists were originally inspired by an exhibition at the Wildling in 2014 that celebrated wilderness areas via the artistic explorations of Pennsylvania artist Thomas Paquette. Thomas works both large and small scale and has developed interesting techniques in working with the medium of gouache (pronounced “gwash”), which is essentially an opaque watercolor.  The artists who eventually came together as the Rose-Compass were so excited and intrigued by his use of gouache that they started doing paint-outs and gatherings to experiment with it.  That then evolved into working with the Wildling on this significant exhibition.  Thomas will be a guest artist and has two paintings in the show that feature views of the Mississippi River–his upcoming show.

The artists are selling the artworks as a benefit for the Wildling which will receive 40% of the proceeds.  A catalog for the exhibition is available in our museum store for $24.95 (you can call in and order from the store at 805-688-1082).  Grateful thanks to the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation in supporting the catalog project as well as Frank Goss.  Additional thanks to the City of Solvang for their grant to support the exhibition as a whole.







Pamela Zwhel-Burke, White Rock, Gouache
Nina Warner, Spring, Santa Rosa Road, Gouache
Libby Smith, Nojoqui Falls, Gouache
Pamela Zwehl-Burke, Santa Ynez River’s Edge
Holli Harmon, Yellow Kayak
Connie Connally, A Distant Spring
Nicole Strasburg, River Path, Santa Ynez
Nina Warner, Alder Creek
Libby Smith, Scorched Riverbed