Thursday, April 26, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 8

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on October 4th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 30

Sights about town

Artist Sylvia Cummings Kokatnur doesn't have to go far to find colorful inspiration


Known as the Valley of Arts and Flowers, Lompoc offers an abundance of inspirational scenes, and Sylvia Cummings Kokatnur can count herself among the artists for whom the Lompoc Valley has become a muse. Her locally inspired work makes up “Around Town and Beyond,” the latest exhibit at the Lompoc Museum of Art.

Return to Freedom Horses:
Kokatnur finds inspiration in many of the everyday sites and scenes around Lompoc, including the nearby Return to Freedom horse sanctuary.

Kokatnur likes to work with transparent watercolor, but she most recently experimented with acrylics on canvas. The “Around Town and Beyond” exhibit will feature her work in both media.

She moved with her husband to Lompoc from Belle Mead, N.J., in 2001 and now shares her fresh perspective on local city life. Having studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., she became a colorist and designer at Waverly’s Manhattan studio after graduation. There, her designs were used for Waverly’s screen print drapery division.

A member of the Garden State Watercolor Society and the New Jersey Color Society, Kokatnur has seen many of her paintings land in corporate and private collections. She’s received awards for Best in Show and the Winsor Newton award for excellence in watercolor.

Lisa Renken, director of the Lompoc Museum, said Kokatnur has been on the schedule books for nearly three years, since the museum’s curators first saw pictures of her work.

“It seems like it’s either feast or famine,” Renken said. “We either don’t know who we are going to have next or we’re booked out for three years. That was the case here.”

Survey the landscape
“Around Town and Beyond” will be on display in the Lompoc Museum’s Centeno Gallery Oct. 7 through Jan. 6, 2013. An artist reception will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, at the gallery, 200 South H St., in Lompoc. For more information, call 736-3888.

The museum features a variety of artists and media, but generally likes to feature exhibits with a strong Lompoc tie, which Kokatnur offers. It also features some eye-catching pieces that vividly showcase the city.

“I have to admit I love watercolor, but she also just has so much detail in her work and just the variety is attractive,” Renken said. “Her piece featuring the dog show is my favorite because it’s such a big event here each summer, and it’s really vivid and anyone who has been there will see it.”

Curator Dee Frasher said Kokatnur employs incredible attention to detail in such works as The Town: Nestled Between the River and the Hills, which features the H Street bridge, but especially her piece that details South 7th Street. That painting features the hospital and even has elements of the hospital’s mural—so that you know it’s the hospital’s mural, Frasher said.

“Her use of color is wonderful,” the curator said. “Some are bright and lovely liker her flowers or the use of lavender on mountains. They are really marvelous paintings.”

Arts Editor Shelly Cone thinks flowers are wonderful. She can be contacted at

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