By MARILYN MCMAHON
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
Four women painters are partners at Linden Studio, a working studio/gallery space in the heart of downtown Carpinteria at 963 Linden Ave. They are Lety Garcia, Leigh Sparks, Kim Snyder and Sharon Schock.
“We each have a particular style and approach painting in our own ways, but as we like to say, ‘We hang well together,’ “ said Mrs. Garcia. “I am proud of the fact that we have taken this small, unique space and turned it into a source of art making as well as art viewing. It’s not always that you can walk in and talk with the artist while they are working, and we encourage that. I also provide painting lessons to those who wish to work on their painting skills.”
When she is not at her home studio in Ventura, Mrs. Garcia spends two days a week — Monday and Tuesday — at the Linden space creating her large oil and acrylic paintings of still lifes, urban scenes and architectural and landscape details.
”The past three years, I have been painting succulents and drought-tolerant plant life because of my concern about the drought. In my own way, I want people to re-think what they have growing. I see green lawns with water running in the gutter,” said Mrs. Garcia. “In 2018, I had a show at Porch on Santa Claus Lane that was all drought-tolerant plants. It was very well received.”
The artist traces her penchant for painting large to her first art mentor, a neighbor living next door while Mrs. Garcia was growing up in Santa Barbara.
“I was 12 years old when I met Lillia, who painted over-size canvases on her porch because they were too big for her house. I convinced her to let me watch her while she painted. Then, she would set up still lifes for me to draw while she painted,” said Mrs. Garci, who also recalled spending long afternoons at the art shows at the beach on Sundays, where she looked at the paintings and talked with the artists.
After graduating from Santa Barbara High School, attending Santa Barbara City College and earning her bachelor’s degree in studio art at UCSB, she worked as a registrar in the Collections Management Department at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
From 2014 to 2018, Mrs. Garcia was the programs and public relations manager at the Art, Design and Architecture Museum at UCSB, where she was pivotal in creating events and programs that helped increase participation from under-represented and under-served students.
“In May 2015, we held our first Art Together Event, in which we partnered with the Early Academic Outreach Program on campus. For one day, over 200 under-represented students from seven partner high schools came to UCSB for the first event. This included a showing of their juried art work on display on the campus, a Q&A with UCSB students in the Art Department, a noted guest speaker, a tour of the Art Department and College of Creative Studies and a reception with Masters of Fine Arts students, who had their work on view,” said Mrs. Garcia.
“We did it three years in a row, and I am proud to have been instrumental in its coordination.”
She is also proud that she gave the annual Carpinteria Artists Tour its jump start in 2007 by being a key organizer of that effort together with the Carpinteria Arts Center’s support.
“Each year, approximately 30 artists have participated by opening their studios for the free event, which is held on Mother’s Day weekend. This will be our 14th year. It’s become well known and well attended,” said Mrs. Garcia.
She is also currently involved with the creation of a Carpinteria Teen Arts Mentorship Program with the support of the Carpinteria Arts Center, where she serves as a member of the board.
Along with all these activities, Mrs. Garcia, who is married to Sergio Garcia and has three grown children,has continued to paint and sell her work which ranges in price from “the hundreds to lower thousands.”
She will be a guest artist at an exhibition from April 1 through 27 at 10 West Gallery in Santa Barbara.
“While I have enjoyed and prospered from the early childhood discovery of my interest in painting in particular, it has been a long, winding road to get to the point in life where I can focus more time and attention to painting as a means of how I spend my time mainly,” said Mrs. Garcia.
”Although I still juggle a couple of other work-related responsibilities to make financial ends meet, I am happy to say that two days a week I can be found painting in a studio where I can then show my work! I’m so grateful for this long-time-in-coming dream.”