Friday, May 25, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on January 3rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 43 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 43

Inspiration all around

Marilyn Stankewich shows her oil landscapes in the show 'Take Nature Home' at Lompoc's Grossman Gallery


Nature has always been the largest inspiration for the art world, and each generation of artists discovers a close relationship with the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. So is the case with local artist Marilyn Stankewich, whose exhibit “Take Nature Home” is showing through the month at Lompoc’s Grossman Gallery.

Natural beauty:
Artist Marilyn Stankewich finds inspiration in local scenes, colors, and the way light falls on objects.

A Lompoc resident herself, Stankewich has lived in the valley over 20 years and has drawn much inspiration from the vistas afforded by the Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valleys, as well as others.

“I’ve always just loved being outdoors and I love to take home rocks or things that remind me of being out there,” she said, “and my paintings are what I love, that particular moment that takes me back there.”

Before she found residence on the Central Coast, Stankewich lived in Montana up against the Rocky Mountains where she and her husband still own a cabin. Several of her works in “Take Nature Home” are inspired by Rocky Mountain landscapes.

“Everything I paint has spoken to me somehow,” she said. “I just have to get outside and paint, and if I don’t have my easel and paints I will take my pictures and go back and paint it in the studio.”

Capturing the Rockies:
Stankewich’s show, “Take Nature Home,” will include several plein air selections she painted near the Rocky Mountains in Montana.

Once on the Central Coast, Stankewich took a painting class at Santa Barbara City College taught by Thomas van Stein. The class focused on the plein air style of painting, which Stankewich loves.

“Plein air is just French for plain air, so what it means is you are painting outdoors,” she said. “So you are just taking your easel outside and painting what you see right then, and it’s really exciting because all the colors are just at that moment.”

Plein air, Stankewich explained, became popular when paint started coming in tubes and didn’t have to be mixed with oils in the studio. It allowed artists to go mobile with their tools and capture sights as they saw them. But a plein air artist has to be quick, for in two hours the light of a location will change.

“It’s really fun to do that and be outdoors,” she said, “and with everyone else in that class and the instructor painting and at the same time talking about what he is doing, it’s really fun.”

Bring in the trees!
“Take Nature Home” by Lompoc Art Association member Marilyn Stankewich will feature plein air landscapes inspired by Santa Ynez and Lompoc showing through Jan. 31. An artist’s reception is Jan. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lompoc Public Library’s Grossman Gallery, 501 E. North Ave., Lompoc. More info: 736-2737.

Much of Stankewich’s show at the Grossman gallery is plein air, but not all. Her husband, who’s retired military, is also a pilot, and the couple would often go flying, she explained. On the flights over the Santa Ynez Valley, Stankewich would bring her camera, and the high-altitude photos would yield good subjects for her paintings back in the studio.

“The different changes of the sky and the ground,” she said, “is just so gorgeous from the sky. There will be a few of those included in the show.”

Stankewich has been an active member of the art community in Lompoc: She’s a member of the Lompoc Valley Art Association, she presented a solo exhibition at the Cypress Gallery in November, and she also helped on the last “Mural in a Day” project.

“They are a wonderful group,” she said, “because everyone’s so creative and encouraging. It doesn’t matter how old or young a person is, everyone is just for doing the best they can and helping others.”

Stankewich has shown at the Grossman Gallery in Lompoc’s Public Library before. She was invited to submit again when the gallery was looking for artists.

“The Grossman is a nice, big room,” she said, “so I will have 64 pieces showing. Many of them are smaller 8-by-10s.”

There will be an artist’s reception with a chance to meet and talk with Stankewich at the gallery on Jan. 12. And, as the title of the show reflects, Stankewich hopes that anyone who views her work will feel close to nature.

“Our world is so fast,” she said, “and to have a painting of something beautiful and that means something to you, it can help you get through the hard times of your life.”

Arts Editor Joe Payne writes outdoors. Contact him at

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