Feast your eyes on beautiful artwork

By: Christina Lee
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“Feast for the Eyes” at The Gallery at 48 Natoma

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday – Friday; 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays – Wednesdays

Entry/Cost: free to the public. Art is available for purchase

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The “Feast for the Eyes” art exhibit at The Gallery at 48 Natoma showcases the wonderful and fruity art of Linda Heath Clark, Craig Stephens and Thomas Pat Jacobsen until June 28.

“Feast for the Eyes” exhibits Clark’s scratchboard paintings and Stephens’ oil paintings of fruits and vegetables, just in time for the growth of spring and summer produce. Also on display is a selection of Jacobsen’s original vintage fruit crate label lithographs.

“It’s all about summer markets and farmers markets,” said Cynthia Abraham, the gallery director.

At the gallery, Clark’s detailed scratchboard artwork has been wowing the community.

“Scratchboard is typically done black and white. It’s painted layers of paint, then scratching away the surface to get to the color,” Abraham said. “I have not seen color scratchboard the way [Clark] does it. When you understand how hard it is - the technique she’s using - it’s not just painting. It’s incredibly unique, really detailed, just breathtaking.”

Clark, an El Dorado County-based scratchboard artist, was awarded Master Scratchboard Artist status by the International Society of Scratchboard Artists in 2016. Her illustrations have been featured in the Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum of California and the 2015 Crocker-Kingsley competition.

The gallery also features Stephens’ oil paintings of fruits and vegetables.

“I met [Stephens], and I knew I wanted to do this exhibit,” Abraham said. “He’s got 30 pieces of all the different fruits and vegetables that he’s painted in a really beautiful, impressionist, still-life kind of style.”

Stephens’ paintings of avocados have been particularly popular with the community.

“I love his colors. I love the texture, the little brush strokes that he’s used. I think his [artwork] is great,” Abraham said.

In 1993, Stephens received his bachelor’s degree in art studio at the University of California, Davis. He’s been taught by artists Wayne Thiebaud, David Hollowell, Roy De Forest and Gary Pruner. Now Stephens teaches classes at Chana High School in Auburn.

Oftentimes, Abraham features an additional historical component or private collection to complete the show. For this exhibit, Abraham chose Jacobsen’s original crate label lithographs.

“[Jacobsen] has one of the foremost collections of fruit crate labels,” she said.

Printed in California since the 1920s, labels for shipment were put on crates that packaged fruits and vegetables in a time of blooming California agriculture.

“The industry that promoted them would have those labels premade and fit to go on them,” Abraham said. “They had incredible individual companies, and the artwork that went on them were just masterpieces.”

The next exhibit at the Gallery, “Life Lessons,” will feature works by artists Chris Foster, Amanda Paoletti and Sandra Poteet from July 13 to Sep. 8.

“I’m always looking for something new and different,” Abraham said. “Come out and see our exhibits. They’re really unique. You’d have to go downtown or to San Francisco to see artwork at this level. I’m just really hoping people come out and enjoy our shows.”