There are many facets to artistic expression, from painting and sculpture to wearable art. Silicon Valley Open Studios is an opportunity to explore local talent as they describe their creative processes in their studios.
This year’s open studios is spanning the first three weekends in May, with South Bay artists opening their workspaces on May 21-22.
These artists include Rose Garden resident Katherine Levin-Lau, who has been a professional artist all her life. She is a printmaker-cum-painter and draws her inspiration from the environment. In 2019, she was the first artist-in-residence at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and has also exhibited at shows in Germany.
“San Jose Museum of Art has my work in their permanent collection,” she says. “I developed a unique technique for my work which I use when I teach. Art makes everyone’s lives richer.”
She has taught locally at West Valley College in Saratoga and Hillbrook School in Los Gatos.
Silks and other fabrics can be canvas for artists. Barbara Pease, a Sunnyvale resident, worked in watercolors for many years, but her specialty is painting on silk, including scarves on which she paints patterns as a form of wearable art.
“Art is a way of communicating without words,” Pease says. “It is a window into the soul of the artist.”
Willow Glen resident Cathleen Fortune draws her inspiration from Byzantine iconography and medieval paintings from the frescoes in monasteries in Eastern Europe. She uses natural materials for her paintings.
“My relatives are from the former Yugoslavia, and we have visited them,” she says. “My maternal ancestors were Serbian Orthodox.”
Some artists participating in Open Studio have worked in the technical field, honing their artistic talent in their off hours.
Myrna Ehrlich of Cupertino worked as an engineer but attended art classes at area colleges and also studied architecture. Her interest her lies in making paper art and sculpting in wood. She has designed custom furniture, as well as an accessory dwelling unit.
“When I pick up a paintbrush, I just let it flow,” Ehrlich says. “I am a maker. I like to design and build things.”
Sunnyvale resident Ajit Gokhale took up photography while working as an engineer. He draws his inspiration from nature.
“It has been my passion since 1972,” Gokhale says of his art. “In the technical field, people do left brain activity. You need to exercise the right brain to bring balance to your life. It can be music or art, but in the process, you become a better engineer or doctor.”
Campbell resident Joseph Yudovsky, now retired, devotes his time to creating wood sculptures. He is inspired by nature and the beauty of mathematics. Born and raised in Ukraine, he built models of ships in his woodworking classes.
“I was the champion ship modeler in fifth grade,” he says. “My interest lies in showing people the beauty of the work and my technique.”
For a full list of artists participating in Silicon Valley Open Studios, visit https://svos.org.