The goal behind Gallery Los Olivos’ latest group show is to visually teleport guests to tall mountaintops without the uphill hike and to the deep sea without a paddle board.
Central Coast-based artists Terri Taber, Carol Talley, and Morgan Green have captured a variety of hillside and shoreside settings through pastel in the pieces currently on display at the gallery, as part of Surf to Summit, a trio exhibit that opened in early October and will run through the end of the month.
“Just as my paintings transport me to places I have visited and painted, I hope that my paintings will elicit good feelings and memories for those who see them,” said Taber, who aims to reproduce the peace she feels while outdoors in her artworks.
Taber has multiple mountain landscapes in the show, including On the Way to Bishop, a wide vista she completed last year. Autumn isn’t one of the trio exhibit’s explicit themes, so the mix of green and orange trees present in Taber’s painting feels timely by coincidence.
“Several of my pieces were inspired from a painting trip I took with several local artists to Bishop in October of last year,” said Taber, who will occasionally start working on a landscape on location and finish the final product indoors at a later time.
“Though all of my paintings in this exhibit were not painted completely or at all on-site, they all bring back memories of this trip and the incredible scenery, the camaraderie, and the feelings that I had at the time,” Taber said.
Among Taber’s waterfront scenes in the show is Tidal Life, which she painted on-site at Devereux Slough, a coastal sanctuary in Goleta. Taber said the slough is one of her all-time favorite places to paint on location.
“All three of us live in Santa Barbara or Goleta, and painting at the beach, in the foothills, and in the mountains is what we do,” said Green, who explained that the trio decided to focus on those settings for the group show because they’re “our home stomping grounds.”
“All three of us also love the High Sierras, and we’ve all traveled to Bishop to experience the remarkable fall color there,” added Green, who has been close friends with both Taber and Talley for many years, and was among the local artists who joined Taber during her aforementioned trip to Bishop last year.
Like Taber, Green finished her Bishop landscapes in an indoor studio setting after the trip had ended.
“That was pleasant because it mentally took me back to where I love to be,” Green said. “I just love painting mountains. That’s where I feel very much at home.”
In line with the show’s theme, Green also has pieces like Windward Coast and other beachside scenes in the Surf to Summit exhibit.
Some of Talley’s works in the show capture hillside and water settings with an emphasis on weather, including the cold but beautifully abstract Winter Storm and the sunny, serene Radiate.
One of Talley’s favorite areas to paint outdoors isn’t very far from the gallery.
“I love the golden hills in the Santa Ynez Valley. Plein air painting in this area is a joyful experience,” said Talley, who especially enjoys capturing the region’s “majestic old oak trees.”
“I feel privileged to live near many stunning scenes,” she added.
While each of the three artists primarily uses pastels to create their landscapes, “we have distinctly different styles, and each of us has our own color palette,” said Green, who enjoyed teaming up with two of her longtime friends on Surf and Summit partly because it felt like a genuine collaboration rather than a competition.
“I was delighted. What’s better than doing a project together with good friends?” Green said. “It’s hard to beat.”
Each of the three pastelists has their own wall at the gallery “to show our own work cohesively,” added Taber.
“The artwork of Carol and Morgan are both top notch, and I feel fortunate and happy to share the front walls at Gallery Los Olivos with them,” Taber said. “We have known each other for many years and as time passes, our artwork has individualized with each person’s own special focus and style.
“We have all grown as artists, and I am proud to show with both of them.”
Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood wants to write plein air more often. Send sunscreen to [email protected].