"Land of Aloha" by artist Wade Koniakowsky. Painted surfboard 7'x10', oil on linen. Photo by Tatyana Fogarty

Spotlight Columns

Tropical breezes bring Hawaiian views to Folsom

By From page B2 | July 09, 2014

The Gallery at 48 Natoma knocks another one out of the ballpark this summer with the opening of “Hawaiian Summer” this Friday. This is sure to be a fun event, and a very enjoyable exhibit over the summer.

More on the party in a moment. Let’s talk about the art first.

From painted surfboards to watercolors to mixed media, those who love the Hawaiian Islands will find much to like here. The works of three artists are featured.

If beautifully painted surfboards are your thing, you will recognize the work of Wade Koniaskowsky. His mission as an artist is “to create compelling ocean imagery that engages and captivates all who share an affinity for the sea.”

And what a vision this man has! Koniaskowsky’s images of waterfalls, beaches and idealized landscapes make me want to pull up stakes and head for the Pacific Ocean. You can practically smell the fragrance of plumeria and coconut suntan oil.

The wood Alaia surfboards are painted without a glossy fiberglass finish. They have an “organic” feel to them. The subject matter can vary from board to board, too. One sees a deep respect for the Polynesian culture, especially with the use of native motifs and styles. And then, one is surprised by the incorporation of a contemporary element — such as a road sign.

And yet, each surfboard stands alone as a complete work. The mixed motifs come together for a satisfying “whole.”

Now, THAT’S artistic talent!

Eileen Downes brings her talent in mixed media to the exhibit in surprising ways. Using mundane elements, such as gum wrappers and bits of paper torn from magazines, Downes creates heavenly tropical images.

At first glance, her collage “Yellow Hibiscus” could be mistaken for an oil painting. On closer examination, the brilliance of her collage talent becomes obvious. Words torn from headlines contribute to the work. It becomes more than the sum of its parts.

In another of Downes’ works, a sea turtle appears to swim through warm tropical waters to the viewer. She captures the beauty of the moment, as well as the animal’s personality. This is a happy turtle. He’s doing what he was created to do … and that is to make you smile. (I’ll bet you thought I meant it was a real turtle!)

One can be forgiven for losing oneself in the moment at this exhibit.

The romance and nostalgia of Hawaii are expressed in the watercolor art of Leslie Ruth. Her work is recognized for its realism. In fact, she won the Excellence in Realism Award from the Hawaiian Watercolor Society in 1995.

Whether you are viewing a cluster of coconuts, a study of tropical plants or a view of a surf shack, Ruth’s work has a kind of breathless quality to it. In a moment, she transports you to a unique, unduplicatable moment in time.

There is an added bonus to this show. In the back hall of the gallery, the art work of adult students from our area is on display through Aug. 21. Come see what local artists are creating in Chinese brush painting, watercolors, oils, photography, ceramics and more.

Every work on exhibit at this show depicts a priceless moment. But you can experience all of them for free. The Gallery at 48 Natoma is a public gallery, after all.

There will be a free, special luau reception this Friday, July 11, to celebrate the opening of “Hawaiian Summer.” From 6 to 8 p.m., enjoy refreshments, wine and live Hawaiian music by Joe Papuz. Come see the dancers from Polynesian dance classes taught by Natasha Forsberg also. Natasha is a well-known local talent in her own right.

Guests are invited to wear their favorite luau attire. Come for the entertainment, visit with friends, make new ones and enjoy the art.

“Hawaiian Summer” opens Friday, July 11, at the Gallery at 48 Natoma, and runs through Aug. 28. This gallery is located on Natoma Street in Folsom’s civic center. Admission is free. Call (916) 355-7285 for current hours.

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected].

Susan Laird


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