The more than 200 participants in our 12th annual cover contest love Marin. They are happiest painting, illustrating or photographing the visually striking scenes found only in this special place — and we’re glad they do what they do. We’re proud to introduce the winner and four finalists (in no particular order).
By Elizabeth Geisler, 28″ x 22″, Acylic on Canvas
ELIZABETH GEISLER BEGAN painting at an early age, but it was all the skills she learned pursuing different careers — in entertainment, writing about film, movie story development and finally corporate communications — that shaped the artist she now is.
“I was pregnant at the time and didn’t want to look for a new job,” says the Strawberry resident of her turn toward becoming a professional artist. “I always thought I would do art at some point in my life but realized: maybe this is when it is supposed to happen.”
So Geisler, finding it hard to be creative at home with two young boys running around, packed up the brushes and rented a studio at the ICB Building in Sausalito in 2014. “At the studio I can just focus on art,” she says. “An added benefit is that the community of artists there is so supportive. Not only is the quality of work of the other artists inspiring, but we talk a lot about what it takes to survive as an artist.”
After about two years of getting back into art — especially painting, which she hadn’t done in a while — Geisler noticed that “pent-up ideas began flowing out.” She began doing shows, entering competitions and contacting galleries. She also started to see a theme emerging: water.
“I would stroll along the water with my kid to help him get to sleep,” she says. “I started taking photos. Water is so interesting; there are so many colors and patterns in it.”
Usually she likes to paint using her own photos as reference, but for “Transcendence” it was fellow artist Terri Froelich’s sunrise image of Richardson Bay that served as inspiration.
“It was a photo of water, which is my thing,” Geisler says. “But it was the quality of the light that really struck me.”
She says the title has many meanings, but hints at a spiritual experience or of someone going beyond the ordinary. At its core, she says, it “reflects the beauty we have here in Marin.”
The painting also reflects her worldview. “Painting is how I respond to the way things are in the world,” she says. “I like to call attention to all that is good — that there is still beauty in the world.”
Point Reyes Flow
By Kevin Lozaw, Photograph
THIS SAN ANSELMO resident has loved photography from the moment he saw an image emerge from a developer bath in his grandfather’s basement. He admits it might not be entirely accurate to refer to his final images as photos — he uses technology to transform photographic images in novel and surprising ways — but they all started out from a camera.
For this picture captured at the Point Reyes Lighthouse, “I sought an image that would project the emotion of the moment,” he says. “The challenge was to create a photograph that would compel a viewer to stay with my image a half beat longer. Just long enough to pique their imagination.”
By Deborah Hamon, 16” X 12”, Acrylic on Panel
THIS AUSTRALIA NATIVE and current Novato resident says it’s an exciting time in her studio right now: Deborah Hamon has been shifting from representational figurative art to a looser, more abstract approach inspired by nature. But interestingly, she took the opposite approach for this piece.
“I’m an avid trail runner and I’m always taking photos on the trails, so I printed out this image that I had shot in the Marin Headlands and made this quick little painting from it,” she says. “I had thought it was going to be an abstract painting when I began, but I liked the loose strokes that seem abstract when you get close, yet it’s definitely still representational.”
By Brendan Kelly, Photograph
BRENDAN KELLY LIVES in Larkspur with his family — whom he calls his muse — and the retired army veteran, former high school teacher, artist and author loves to walk around town to get a sense of what people are doing in their everyday lives. He says it’s often the places, people and items we overlook that turn out to be the most interesting.
“When I walked out on one of the piers I looked over and saw this amazing scene,” he recalls of capturing this image in Sausalito. “The colors exploded across the sky and the water. The title ‘Space Available’ came to me immediately as I thought how cool it would be to have a boat here and look out to see this view.”
Morning Reflection Phoenix Lake
By Deborah Newman, 16” X 20”, Oil on Linen
WHEN DEBORAH NEWMAN was 3, her family moved to Belvedere, where, as she grew, she developed a deep appreciation for the beauty of the landscape while riding her horse and hiking in the Marin Headlands and on Mount Tamalpais. That affinity for nature fueled a desire to paint en plein air. Newman studied art in college, moved to Nevada and became a professional painter in 1996.
“I grew up in Marin and love it dearly, so whenever I am there I return to my favorite hiking trails and look for a new image that I can capture on canvas,” she says. “My inspiration for ‘Morning Reflection’ was the light on the hills and its reflection on Phoenix Lake. I snapped a photo while hiking and returned the next morning to paint the scene.”