Tuesday, December 11, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on November 9th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 36

Gallery Los Olivos highlights pastel artists' friendship and love of nature


Terri Taber is most at home when she's lost deep in nature.

"I've always really loved the outdoors. To me the outdoors is always a source of giving me strength. It regenerates. Solace."

Taber, along with fellow painter Carol Talley, is featured in a new show highlighting the pair's love of the outdoors called Surrounded by Nature, which runs through Nov. 30 at Gallery Los Olivos. The exhibit features numerous pastel paintings, all with a subject or theme of the natural world.

Terri Taber’s work, seen at Gallery Los Olivos through Nov. 30, highlights her passion for outdoor settings and landscapes.

Taber's work is a product of a lifelong study and passion for art, one that she may not have made her early career in but one that consistently captured her imagination.

"It's something I've always liked to do," Taber said. "My dad was in advertising when I was a kid. He had an artist that worked for him, and I was just enthralled from the start."

Taber pursued art in college and obtained a degree in the discipline from the University of California Santa Barbara. But finding herself out of school and out of work, the budding artist realized she needed something practical to support herself.

"When I got out of college, I needed to get a job," she said. "So I went to Santa Barbara City and got an RN degree in nursing."

For the next 25 years, Taber toiled dutifully in her career. But once art seizes upon you it rarely lets go, often nestling dormant in the shadows of memory and instinct. For all that time, Taber never really abandoned painting or art. She took art classes where she could find them, and when she retired, she slowly began to build up her new career.

"I'm looking forward to being able to stretch my wings some more," she said. "I'm seeing where this journey goes. Painting is a journey ... it's a personal journey you can share with the world."

Carol Talley’s paintings are featured alongside the work of her friend and painting partner Terri Taber, in Surrounded by Nature, a new exhibit at Gallery Los Olivos.

Her exhibit with Talley is a product of decades of friendship centered on a passion for art and an interest in the outdoors. Talley and Taber met in the 1990s while they were both taking classes focused on pastels. The collaborative relationship has proved fruitful for both women.

"We both paint landscapes, but the way we express ourselves can be very different," Taber explained. "We often go out and paint together. We can paint the same scene but we have quite different perspectives. We critique each other, we give each other ideas, and we encourage each other to go out into a different territory or explore different ways of expressing ourselves.

Like Taber, Talley also painted and drew for most of her life. She said she started to pursue pastels more and more in her professional art about 25 years ago, inspired largely by the work of pastel painter Glenna Hartmann, who Talley studied with.

"It was not that common then," Talley said. "Not a lot of people were working in pastels 25 years ago. The medium has kind grown and found a bigger audience since then. I think the medium spoke to me because it has a depth and softness that is a little poetic."

Nature’s wonder
Surrounded by Nature, featuring the work of Carol Talley and Terri Taber, runs through Nov. 30 at Gallery Los Olivos, 2920 Grand Ave, Los Olivos. More info: 688-7517.

Talley said that while she and Taber do have some similarities in how they work, they often approach their subjects in a different way. The pair collaborates and critiques each other's work, to help pull them out of their comfort zone, Talley said.

"You'll find my work to be a little more diverse in style," she explained. "But when we talk to each other about our work, we understand that our approach is unique to ourselves. [Taber] is very realistic in her work; sometimes I push her a little, to make that color more intense, or something like that. ... It helps me understand, to get outside myself."

Taber said the pair opted to call the show Surrounded by Nature to highlight the beauty of the world around us. She said she strives to create work where a viewer can almost walk into the painting and not feel the presence of a lot of people or intruders. 

"My favorite thing is when I feel like I'm enveloped by nature," Taber said. "I love being outdoors. I remember I was sitting painting one day, thinking, 'I get to paint and be outdoors. This is really cool.' I really enjoyed that, and I kept doing it."

Arts and Lifestyle writer Rebecca Rose feels like she is always surrounded by a dog on one side and a man on the other. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com.

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