Two painters team up for ‘Romance of Landscape’ exhibit
New paintings from local artists’ Sheryl Knight and Linda Mutti are on exhibit in “Romance of the Landscape ” through Aug. 31 at Gallery Los Olivos, 2920 Grand Ave. in Los Olivos.
Ms. Knight and Ms. Mutti have been painting together for more than a decade. While remaining good friends, they both have explored their passion for capturing beauty on linen and paper using multiple forms of expression with mediums including plein air painting with pastels, oils and gouache.
Ms. Knight is an award-winning plein air artist and is a Signature Member of American Women Artists, National Oil and Acrylics Painters Society, Women Artists of the West and Outdoor Painters Society.
“I have always loved the little town of Harmony on Highway One that you drive through on the way to Cambria. A couple of weeks ago, we were driving to Cambria late in the afternoon, “ said Ms. Knight. “I noticed how tall the eucalyptus trees behind the little building had gotten since the last time I painted them. I felt inspired to paint them again in a fresh new way with a palette knife.”
Ms. Knight shares her oil on linen, “Harmony,” at the current show.
Ms. Mutti is an award-winning Distinguished Pastelist Member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, an Artist Member of the California Art Club.
Ms. Mutti finds inspiration from her surroundings.
“I was driving up the coast one morning, and this scene caught my eye. I’ve seen it many times before, but this time I just had to stop, the light was so beautiful,” said Ms. Mutti, who will exhibit the moment with “Dinosaur Caves,” a pastel on canvas.
Ms. Knight is best known for her vibrant oil paintings and impressionistic style. She has lived on the California Central Coast most of her life but grew up in Northern California where she learned to love nature and the outdoors.
Drawn to the beauty of the California landscape, she enjoys portraying the seasons and capturing the color, the light and the mood of the scene. She paints on location as well as in her studio.
Ms. Knight said she “loves being able to not just paint what she sees but to paint it the way she would like it to be, moving things around or combining several scenes into one to make the most interesting painting possible.
“Though I strive for excellence in all my work, I think I enjoy the process as much as the finished product. I love to experiment and try new ways of conveying what I see. I am constantly working to improve my art.
“My goal is to be able to say exactly what I want on the first attempt and to make my paintings sparkle with light and life. I most enjoy painting anything from nature, capturing the beauty of creation and the world around me,” said Ms. Knight.
“I love painting on location as I feel it brings out the true colors and atmosphere of nature. There is also a tranquility and a thrill that comes from painting from life, and I am always inspired by the wonder of creation.”
“I don’t think I will ever stop loving the process of putting oil paint on canvas and seeing something beautiful come out of it. I am so thankful to be able to pursue this passion I call art.”
Her paintings hang in private and corporate collections throughout California and across the country. She is a founding member of the Plein Air Artists of the Central Coast as well as a member of the Oil Painters of America, the California Art Club, American Women Artists, American Impressionist Society, Outdoor Painters Society and the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society.
Ms. Mutti, who works in oil, pastel and pencil, was born in Tucson but at age 5 moved to California. A passion for drawing and painting began in early childhood and continues to this day. Her love of horses and the California landscape is evident in the subject of many paintings and drawings.
Ms. Mutti is an award-winning Distinguished Pastelist member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America, an artist member of the California Art Club, master pastelist with the International Association of Pastel Societies, Signature Member with American Women Artists, an OAK Group member and Women Artists of the West member.
She is also a member of the Santa Barbara Art Association and SCAPE (Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment).
“Painting is my passion,” she said. “It gives structure to my life. I’ve met people from all over the world I never would’ve known. I’ve traveled to places I never would’ve gone.”
As a child, Ms. Mutti said she couldn’t resist drawing or painting. She’d answer the inevitable “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question with a definitive answer: “an artist.”
And she was on track to become one when she decided to be an art major in college in the 1960s. But a discouraging experience caused Ms. Mutti to put her dream on hold for 30 years.
Ms. Mutti changed majors and turned to creative outlets such as stained glass and ceramics while raising her children.
“But being a fine artist was always there, always an urge,” she said. “It was just a part of me.”
When her children were older, Ms. Mutti discovered a series of adult education classes taught by prominent teachers.
“It opened my eyes to the possibilities of what was going on in my town and nationally. And I started painting again,” she said.
The artist began by exploring oil painting but found the results “boring” because she didn’t yet understand color. When she bought some pastels to use for a sidewalk-painting festival in 2000, however, she says it was a life- changing experience.
“With pastels, you can pick up a crazy color and use it immediately,” she said. “My work took a 180-degree change in direction. It became brighter, more vibrant. The immediacy and spontaneity are what did it for me.”
When Ms. Mutti started painting after a three-decade sabbatical, animal portraits were her first choice of subject. Then she began to get interested in landscapes.
“I like scenes that have big shapes,” she says. “A view has to speak to me on an inner level. Mornings and afternoons are my favorite times to paint because the color is more saturated. When I find the scene that moves me, I can feel that excitement. I call it ‘the dream of my painting.’ All the excitement and the hope is still there, alive and well.”
As she works, Ms. Mutti checks the values by taking a black-and-white photo of her painting using her iPhone.
“I love color so much that sometimes I can’t see when I’m off in the value,” she says.
A color snapshot will help her notice areas that need more work.
“It’s funny how the mind works,” she says. “If I look at a painting in a photo or in a mirror, I’ll see things leaning in a direction that I need to correct.”
But no matter what she’s painting, Ms. Mutti happily and confidently calls herself an artist now.
“When I started taking the adult education classes, we’d go outside and paint, and I’d still say I ‘want’ to be an artist,” she said. “One day a few years later, I said, you know what, I am an artist. It was just a change in mindset. It’s like a dream really came true.”