Colorful, whimsical new gallery opens in The Barnyard.
Thursday, November 19, 1998
Amidst hummingbirds dancing through The Barnyard''s gardens, Jill "Spill" sips her coffee and talks about wanting to come home to Carmel to sell her art.
She lived in Carmel in the ''80s, during high school, and was inspired both by natural things around her and her punk rock friends. Since leaving the Central Coast, Spill has owned a coffeehouse/art gallery in Florida and painted in Arizona.
"There wasn''t much of an art scene in Florida but we did really well in Arizona. People living in the desert must like lots of color. But I dreamed of coming back to Carmel, literally dreamed of walking down Ocean Avenue again. It''s great to be back and have a gallery here. The space is great, since I can just spread my big canvas on the floor; I could even sit on it to paint it. I love being here and I love what I do. I think some people living here don''t realize how blessed they are, everything around is just amazing if you look at it."
Nearly everything in the room is a painting or has been painted on, right down to the phone on the desk. Spill''s husband, Jerome, also paints part-time, when not cooking behind the line at Anton & Michel in Carmel. Several of his paintings hang near the door, as colorful as Spill''s yet smaller in design. The lines are somewhat finer also, while Spill''s canvases are more child-like, with broad strokes and colors in unusual places, such as half-green and half-blue faces, with yellow hair.
"I''m really into fingerpainting right now. I really like big things, I''d love to do murals. I haven''t really gone to school to learn. I did some graphic arts, some ad designs, but in those things, people sort of steer you away from where you should go or how you should feel."
Spill''s paintings are a cross between cartoon, a quasi-Expressionism and her own special style. They''re bright and slightly off-kilter, with eyes too big for faces, with swirling starry skies and hearts popping out of flowers. However, from hearing Spill talk, the image that appears from her brush is secondary to a feeling she is trying to convey.
"I want people to be happy and to see things in a way they wouldn''t normally."
Inside the gallery, Spill intently draws on a pink-painted table with a fat black marker, the faces and curlicues blending into abstract design. One facet of Spill''s art is furniture, hand-painted and designed in a plethora of shapes, from star tables to children''s chairs. Yet another highlight of the gallery is the customized work Spill creates. "Sometimes customers have come in and we just sit on the floor and talk about what they want painted. One wanted a clock to look like her dog so she brought the dog in and I sketched and made the clock."
Spill''s style is certainly unique, especially in Monterey County, which is awash in tranquil seascapes and nature protraits.
"I look at others'' art but art history doesn''t affect me much. I really love people who aren''t afraid of their canvases, who just throw paint up there and then work with it. Some people get really regimented about placing a line just so and I think art should be happier than that. I love Jean Michel Basquiat. He was just great and crazy the way he worked. I saw some of his work at a Dali museum in Florida and there were footprints on it! I loved it, I wanted to touch it. Of course, I also like Picasso and Van Gogh a lot, people with bold colors."
Spill''s love of art and words led to the creation of children''s books. The first is titled The Girl and the Good Tree. The most recent, Spill and her Rose-Colored Glasses, is being considered as an animated project.
"I''d love to have some kids'' art workshops. I love kids'' art. My daughter started painting on the wall and she got in trouble for it, but she said ''I was just so happy, I needed to draw on something.'' How can you argue with that? That''s the way I feel, I draw on things all the time, on myself, on the table. Maybe they see me doing it so they think it''s OK."
Much of the philosophy of the book, and Spill''s view of life in general, stems from how people need to go inside different worlds, learn to see things differently and realize that others are different and special individuals. "We become what we think about. I think about being a great artist who makes this a happier world!" writes Spill. "Don''t ever give up, even if it can be very hard waiting for something you want so much!" When you wish hard enough and believe, anything can happen in Spill''s world, including becoming part of a glowing, colorful, beautiful painting.
In the book, she "paints into" a blind man and learns what that world is like. "After being blind, I then saw the beauty in everything I saw. Nothing was ugly, not insects, people or trees and every color jumped out of them..." writes Spill. Inside the world of rose-colored glasses, Spill''s friend becomes part of the river, and learns how polluted and sad it is. "The only way to truly understand anything was to be that something. If we know what it feels like to be something else, we know what they feel and what they offer." cw
Spill Gallery is located on the second floor of The Barnyard, across from The Thunderbird Bookshop. (831) 626-4161.Art Opening
Chapman Gallery "Carmel Impressions." Exhibit of new figurative works and brilliant oils by the "swashbuckler with paint," Keith Lindberg. Seventh Avenue between San Carlos and Mission streets, Carmel. 626-1766. Reception: 11/21, 6pm. Through: 1/15.
Monterey Regional Waste District Office "Recycled Art Festival." Award-winning projects made from recycled materials, ranging from sculpture to art pieces by Michael Duffy, Steve Gaily, Dick Iverson, Ed Leeper, Paola Berthoin, and others. 14201 Del Monte Blvd., Marina. 384-5313. Reception: 11/20, 1pm. Through: 12/20.
Santa Catalina School Gallery Pacific Grove artist Bill Clausen shows his plein air watercolors, including recent works of spring wildflowers and hacienda buildings. 1500 Mark Thomas Dr., Monterey. 655-9350. Reception: 11/20, 5:30pm. Through: 1/3.
Shallcross Gallery "Works on Paper." A variety of works on paper by California artists Carolyn Berry, Mira Kamada, Antonella Brughera, Gloria Shaw and Marjorie Faris. Visitors enter to win a lithograph by Mira Kamada. 499 Calle Principal, Monterey. 655-0642. Through: 12/30.
Ansel Adams Gallery "Chip Hooper: Photographs." Black-and-white photographs that "capture and liberate the dynamic and subtle interplay of light and form in our natural world" by local photographer. The Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17 Mile Dr., Pebble Beach. 375-7215. Through: 12/15.
Carl Cherry Center "Shadows." Metaphysical and introspective paintings and drawings by Anita Benson exploring shadows and configurations in nature. 4th Avenue and Guadalupe Street, Carmel. Through: 12/11.
Carmel Art Association Works by Eleen Auvil, Micah Curtis, Alicia Meheen and Peggy Olsen. Dolores Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 12/2.
Carmel Coffee Roasting Co. "For the Love of Dogs." A humorous study of dogs in paintings by Joanne Licsko. 3720 The Barnyard, Carmel. 622-7070. Through: 11/30.
Carmel Valley Manor "Mixed Media." Works by residents of Carmel Valley Manor. 8545 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley. 626-4711. Through: 11/30.
Center for Photographic Art "Juried Exhibition." Works by 39 photographers as chosen by juror Mark Petr. San Carlos Street and 8th Avenue (in the Sunset Center), Carmel. 625-5181. Through: 12/4.
Gallery Artemisia Works by local artists, with special appearances by artists during weekend days. Call for schedule. Highway 1 (in the Village Shops near the River Inn), Big Sur. 667-2027. Through: 11/30.
Monterey College of Law Photographs by Jerry Bell, and an exhibit of photography and printmaking by Lesley Anne Spowart. 404 Franklin St., Monterey. 659-5310.
Monterey Museum of Art "Juried All-Media Show." Works in many media by 95 artists from around the Monterey Bay. "Art From the Collectors'' Guild," paintings from private collections. "The Broken Road," art and poetry by Big Sur children created during the ''97-''98 winter. 559 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 11/29.
Monterey Museum of Art--La Mirada "Face to Face: The Paintings of Mabel Alvarez." 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. 372-3689, 372-5477. Through: 3/7/99.
MPC Art Gallery "By Special Invitation." A variety of artwork, from photography to found-object sculptures, by Monterey County high school students. 980 Fremont St, Monterey. 646-3060. Through: 12/11.
Mudzimu Gallery Sculptures by Gedion Nyanhongo, from Zimbabwe. 6th Avenue, between Lincoln and Dolores streets, Carmel. 626-2946. Through: 12/20.
Nancy Dodds Gallery "Internet Art." The premiere of art of Stephen McMillan, Gail Packer and Anita Toney on the gallery''s new Web site, www.beanbag1.com/NDG.html. Carmel. 624-0346.
Pacific Grove Art Center "Out of Residence," sculptural works by students of MPC instructor Gary Quinonez; sculptures by Doyle Foreman; "Mount Toro Suite," paintings by Johnny Apodaca. 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 11/27.
Searle Art Supplies Paintings on wood, and monotypes by Robyn Smith. 639 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 373-0126. Through: 12/2.
Spill Gallery Colorful, fun paintings by new Carmel artists Spill, Jerome Fressinier, and others, including handpainted furniture and clocks. The Barnyard shopping complex, Carmel. 626-4161.
Sun Quest Native Arts "To Life!" Sculptures, paintings and wearable bead art "celebrating the strength, beauty and sensuality of women" by Aweepano Viva David. Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-0224. Through: 11/15.
Thunderbird Bookstore "Annual Calligraphy Show." Seascribes, the Monterey Bay Calligraphy Guild, exhibits works by members. Barnyard Shopping Center, Highway 1 and Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. 624-1803. Through: 11/15.
Unitarian Church Photography by Helene Constant, organizer of the recent Art and Soul Festival. Aguajito Road, Monterey. 624-7404. Through: 11/22.
Valley Art Gallery "Jack''s Tribute to Art." Stasia Bevier presents a collection of watercolors by her late husband Jack Bevier. 218 Main St., Salinas. 422-4162. Through: 11/29.
Venture Art Gallery "Stone and Wood." Sculptures by Charley Abildgaard. 260 Alvarado Mall (in the DoubleTree Hotel), Monterey. 372-6279. Through: 11/30.
Vest Pocket Art Gallery "Hand-Crafted Creations." Crafts by Bobbie Marion and Barbara Radley. Forest Hill Manor, 551 Gibson Ave., Pacific Grove. 657-5200. Through: 11/30.
Weston Gallery "Devotion." New works by local artist Jeffrey Becom. Dolores Street and 6th avenue, Carmel. 624-4453. Through: 12/23.
Woman''s Wellspring Watercolor monotypes exploring "the visually meditative themes of dancers and webs" by Anne Downs. 575 Calle Principal, Monterey. 649-2320. Through: 11/30.
Zantman A collection of oil landscapes and charming animals by Richard Murray. Mission Street and 6th avenue, Carmel. 624-8314.
Curse You Jack Dalton! Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Melodrama. The 42nd St. Players, the drama club of North Monterey County High, takes on one of the better 19th-century melodramas in this one-weekend-only production. The story is predictable: Bertha, the heart-''o-gold maid; Hector, her slimy suitor; Jack, the stalwart hero; and Anna, the Cruella DeVille stand-in. You can guess the rest. After the show, the kids present an Olio revue, with songs and dances from vaudeville and the Great White Way. North Monterey County High School Forum, 13990 Castroville Blvd., Castroville. 663-0335. $5/general; free/children; $5/seniors. Through: 11/21.
Blithe Spirit Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 7pm. Comedy. Noel Coward''s macabre comedy about a hapless British gentleman haunted by the spirit of his dead wife Elvira, who died in a mysterious car crash. Elvira is a mischievous spirit, who delights in taunting her husband''s new wife and their friends, knowing that only her husband can see her. The dialogue is fast-paced and literate, Coward at his delightfully witty best. The surprising denouement always brings a laugh. Carey Crockett, Susan Forrest and Jennifer Lister are featured as the not-always-romantic trio. Unicorn Theater, 320 Hoffman Ave., Monterey. 649-0259. $15/general; $8/children; $12/seniors. Through: 11/22.
Evening of Durang Comedies Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Comedy. Students in the MPC Drama Department present five short Christopher Durang comedies for one low price, in an evening that''ll keep you laughing (darkly). Durang has had plays both on- and off-Broadway, and is perhaps best known for Sister Mary Ignacius Explains It All To You, in which he blasts the Catholic church, and Beyond Therapy, his diatribe against pop psychology and the "me-first generation." Tonight''s offerings include Diversions, The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From, Dentity Crisis, Phyllis and Xenobia and the best-known of the bunch, The Actor''s Nightmare. No holds barred in this production. SRO Theater at Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 646-4213. $7/general; $7/children; $7/seniors. Through: 11/22.
Puff the Magic Dragon Saturday, 2pm and 4pm; Sunday, 3pm. Children. Molly Hughes of Seattle''s Mother Goose Theater penned this musical based on the story of the little boy who befriends a lonely dragon--the friendship lasts until the boy grows up and no longer needs his fantasy playmate. Directed by Jody Gilmore, actors Sonny Jenkins, Ben White and John Van Hise IV bring the story to life in a production geared to the interests and attention span of young children. Unicorn Theater, 320 Hoffman Ave., Monterey. 649-0259. $5/general; $5/children; $5/seniors. Through: 11/22.
Singin'' in the Rain Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Musical Comedy. Based on the popular 1952 Gene Kelly movie, this Broadway play pokes gentle fun at the foibles of Hollywood in its heyday. Greg Gjurich plays clean-cut screen idol Don Lockwood, who feigns undying love for his leading lady Lina Lamont (played by Greg''s real life wife, Mary Gjurich) so long as the cameras are rolling. Director Jon Selover has enlisted the help of Matrix Communications, a local multi-media consultancy, to produce four film sequences that are projected during the performance, creating the illusion of old Hollywood films on stage. Robert Basgall, a host of "The KCBA Kid''s Club," plays Lockwood''s clownish sidekick Cosmo Brown, and Jennifer Fagundes plays Kathy Selden, the Hollywood rose who wins Lockwood''s heart. The Western Stage Performing Arts Center, Hartnell College, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. 375-2111/755-6816. $20/general; $10/children; $18/seniors. Through: 11/22.
The Circle Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 5pm. Comedy. Nick Hovick directs the Staff Players in this 1920s-era Somerset Maugham drawing room comedy. It''s a romantic bit of fluff and charm, centering around an ironic reunion among lovers and spouses, where everyone gets his or her come-uppance. Indoor Forest Theater, Santa Rita Street and Mountain View Avenue, Carmel. 624-1531. $12/general; $9/children; $9/seniors. Through: 11/29.
The Idiot Witness Friday and Saturday, 8pm. Melodrama. The Idiot Witness, another in the First Theater''s wide repertory of 19th-century melodramas, centers around the mysterious identity of the Solitary of the Heath. Why does he keep a secret prisoner? Why does he want to get rid of his "adopted" son? Boo, hiss and cheer the maidens and villains in California''s oldest continually running theater. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. 375-4916. $10/general; $5/children; $8/seniors. Through: 11/28.
Woody Guthrie''s American Song Friday and Saturday. Musical. York School presents a tribute to folksinger Woody Guthrie, as 25 students follow the musician''s career from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to California and New York City. The production features many standard Guthrie favorites, and a (mainly) student band playing steel-string guitar, fiddle, harmonica and bass. This is the first York School show directed by the school''s new drama teacher, Joyce Sherry, known locally as a director and actress with The Western Stage in Salinas. Call for reservations, leave your name, phone number and number of people in your party; you will only receive a call back if seats are unavailable. York School Theater, 9501 York Road, Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, Monterey. 372-7338, ext. 138. Free. Through: 11/21.