A colorful collective

“Fluid Motion" is a giclee print made from an oil on canvas painting by Janet Ferraro, who is part of the California Colorists art group now showing at two locations in Santa Cruz.

SANTA CRUZ—Thirteen paintings by the California Colorists are currently on display on the first floor of the Santa Cruz County Building.

The 13-member group functions as a collective who work in classic mediums such as acrylic, oil, pastel, print and watercolor, and contemporary, including airbrush and digital. For the past 25 years the group meets monthly to share feedback and discussion.

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ABOVE: "Dusk" is an oil on canvas painting by Jacqueline Groswird.

“This is a very important aspect in the process of being a visual artist and showing our work,” one member said.

Janet Ferraro entered her busy and vibrant giclee print of her original painting titled “Fluid Motion.”

“I grew up around horses and I’ve always been drawn to their motion and beauty,” she said. “I am an interesting artist in that I work in several mediums. I do impressionist realism and abstract. ‘Fluid Motion’ was one of those paintings where I applied most of the paint with a pallet knife. A lot of my art is painted from my experiences with horses.”

Ferraro paints mostly horses, but also paints other animals. She said she got started painting around 1994 with watercolors.

“I was a clothing designer but, always in the back of my head, was the idea of painting — I always knew I would turn to painting.”

In 2006 she started working on oil paintings. She has also shown her works in several galleries around Santa Cruz County and in San Luis Obispo.

A few of her works ended up being showcased in two shows by the prestigious American Academy of Equine Arts in Kentucky.

“It’s a big compliment to be shown with them,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro said she has been with California Colorists for four years.

“It’s a great group of professional artists who share a lot of camaraderie,” she said. “We offer suggestions and help each other solve challenges, from framing to composition to colors. We’re very supportive. And we do shows together.”

Ferraro’s art was also chosen for the 2011 Wharf to Wharf race.

Sharon Medler is the coordinator for California Colorists. Her work has largely focused on colorful roosters in acrylic on canvas.

“I just wanted to paint a rooster and now I’ve ended up doing more than 30,” she said. “They’re such a beautiful bird. I like to do a lot of fine detail.”

Her works also include such themes as country French, calla lilies and more recently, pigs.

“I now have three pig paintings,” she said.

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ABOVE: Karen Krenvold’s plein air oil on canvas, “Distant Oaks.”

Medler said she coordinates artwork at five area restaurants on a rotating basis.

“I’ve been doing it for the past 35 years,” Medler said. “I know a lot of artists in Santa Cruz; I always try to support them and this is a good way to do that. Many artists are shy in marketing, so this is my way of helping them get their work out there.”

California Colorists member Jacqueline Groswird said she commonly works in oil on canvas.

I got serious about my painting in 2012 when my husband got super sick,” she said. “By 2013 I just got this spark to life. I just felt like I had to take a serious stand in painting.”

Groswird said she also works in acrylic and watercolor. Her current work being shown at the County Building, “Dusk,” was made from a photo from the Caribbean.       

“I typically work in 11 by 14 inches and larger,” she said. “Portraits are another favorite. I’ve painted a lot of my family members.

“As a child I saw my mom painting a lot and that made it easier for me to start up. I like the meditative quality of painting in that it helps me focus on one thing and pretty much relax into that one thing. I try to turn the whole world off.”

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The California Colorists’ exhibit will run at the Santa Cruz County Building, 701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz until May 31. The group is also showing their work at Riva Fish House on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf until June 30.

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