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“The Watercolor Landscape” is October exhibit at Portola Art Gallery in Menlo Park

by Frances Freyberg on October 6, 2013

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In October, the Portola Art Gallery is presenting “The Watercolor Landscape,” watercolor paintings by Palo Alto artist Steve Curl. A reception for the artist will be held on October 12 from 1:00 to 4;00 PM.

Locally known as the editorial cartoonist for the Palo Alto Daily News, Steve Curl is also a well-established watercolor artist and teacher. His paintings are inspired by his travels throughout California, Colorado, Yosemite National Park, and his local hikes at the coast and in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

For the past five years, Steve’s paintings of Yosemite National Park have been accepted into the prestigious annual Yosemite Renaissance Exhibition, where they are on display all year in the Yosemite Visitor Center Museum & Art Gallery. Currently, “Yosemite Mists” (watercolor, 16×20”), is on display in this exhibition.

In addition to paintings of the local “Windy Hill” environs, the exhibit will include “Napa Harvest” (watercolor, 16×20”), a mid-sized, colorful piece that captures the warmth and glow of the Fall harvest season in the Napa Valley.

Curl states: “I love the simplicity and freshness of watercolor. It behaves in the same way that nature does, using the simplest of elements. It is easily portable and dries quickly, so it is the perfect medium to take on travels and extended hikes. Often times, the best paintings are produced quickly with a few simple, gestural brush strokes, rather than extended picking away in the studio. It is not particularly forgiving, however, so you have to think ahead, be decisive and try to nail it on the first passes of color.”

Having practiced the medium for more than 30 years, Steve also teaches Watercolor Painting at the Pacific Art League of Palo Alto, where he has had an enthusiastic following of students since 1991. When asked, “How long did it take you to do that painting?” he likes to tell his students, “Oh, about two hours and 20 years.”

Portola Art Gallery is located at the Allied Arts Guild on Arbor Road in Menlo Park.

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