Brush up on pastels with Carol Talley at Lompoc’s Sunburst Sanctuary

Courtesy image by Carol Talley
INTERPRET THE INTUITIVE: Pastelist Carol Talley, who’s leading an upcoming workshop and demonstration at Sunburst Sanctuary in Lompoc on April 20, often paints semi-abstract scenes based on nature, such as this pastel piece titled Abundance.

Since the analytical brain doesn’t play a huge role when semi-abstract artist Carol Talley begins a painting, it’s fitting that one of her most memorable clients is someone well-known in the wizarding community as nearly headless.

“This guy walks by, and I was like, ‘Oh shit, that’s John Cleese,” the local pastelist said, recalling an outdoor Santa Barbara art fair she participated in years ago. “He walks into my booth and looks at things and says, ‘I’d like to buy this … let me give you my name,’ and I was like, ‘I know who you are, I don’t need your name.’

“He wasn’t afraid of people recognizing him, which is nice. … Of course, I complimented him on all his great work,” added Talley, who described the Monty Python legend’s reputation among artists in the area as really positive. “He was always very supportive of the arts in Santa Barbara.”

click to enlarge Brush up on pastels with Carol Talley at Lompoc’s Sunburst Sanctuary
Photo courtesy of Sunburst Sanctuary
GARDEN GALLERY: Sunburst Sanctuary, a scenic retreat center in Lompoc, has been hosting its ongoing art class series since early 2023. The multi-faceted venue also hosts yoga retreats and various other events throughout the year.

Talley said she especially enjoys getting the chance to meet those interested in her work face-to-face at outdoor art festivals and pop-ups because that’s not always a given when selling at a gallery, unless it’s a day she’s on-site. Outdoor settings in general are embedded in Talley’s art, as most of her representational pieces are based on scenic locales and plant life found along the Central Coast.

“During the pandemic, I explored abstraction, but I would say my real comfort space is kind of semi-abstract, or you can call it impressionistic, but impressionism really covers a lot. … I’m all over the map,” Talley said. “I do sometimes do things that are pretty close to realism, but I really enjoy a more expressive, freer style.”

The pastelist added that she’ll usually set some boundaries for herself, such as limiting the number of colors she can use, because to paint “without any sense of any kind of structure can be chaotic,” she said.

Attendees of an upcoming pastel workshop and demo will have the opportunity to observe Talley’s process firsthand. The garden-based class will take place at Sunburst Sanctuary, a multifaceted retreat center in Lompoc, on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Along with its yoga sessions, song circles, and other events, Sunburst Sanctuary hosts periodic art workshops on an ongoing basis.

“We have greatly enjoyed having Carol Talley as part of the art classes we offer here at Sunburst,” the venue’s Retreat Center Coordinator April Juels told the Sun. “She is a wonderful artist and teacher and a much-appreciated part of our series.”

click to enlarge Brush up on pastels with Carol Talley at Lompoc’s Sunburst Sanctuary
Courtesy image by Carol Talley
OAK IN OIL: Local artist Carol Talley described her art style as “all over the map,” as she enjoys painting impressionist pieces as well as realistic landscapes. Locally known as a prolific pastelist, she occasionally paints with oil. Valley Oak is one of her recent oil commissions.

Juels said Sunburst Sanctuary started hosting its art workshop program, which brings in various artists to serve as instructors, in early 2023. The series was initiated by longtime Sunburst Sanctuary member and artist Dawn King.

Aside from coordinating art events at the venue, Juels occasionally participates in them as well.

“I love attending the art classes as much as I can … since we offer a variety,” said Juels, who plans to attend Talley’s April 20 workshop. “It’s always interesting to see what our offerings are, as they are never the same.”

Some art classes at Sunburst Sanctuary are approximately two hours, while others start in the morning and end late in the afternoon, with a scheduled lunch break. This is the case for Talley’s garden class, and attendees are asked to pack a lunch to bring. For Talley, the go-to meal for scenarios like this varies.

“It’s usually whatever’s kicking around the kitchen,” Talley said. “Sometimes it can be canned fish, which is kind of stinky, but usually it’s tofu with some vegetables or something. That keeps me going.”

Send comments in parseltongue to Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood at [email protected].

Comments (0)
Add a Comment