Grass Valley Wine Co. artist reception Friday |

Grass Valley Wine Co. artist reception Friday

"Roadside Poet III" , oil on canvas by Betsy Lombard

ASiF Gallery @ Grass Valley Wine Company presents a solo exhibition of the works of Nevada City oil painter Betsy Lombard. This exhibit of mostly landscapes depicts an artist’s lyric vision of the natural world.

Lombard’s exhibition will be on display at the tasting room gallery now through July 7, and will be celebrated with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Lombard’s great sensitivity to color and light, combined with bold and decisive brush strokes, speak of the raw pleasures of being there… the sensations of warmth and cool, the relaxation that comes over us with the sounds of trickling streams and quivering leaves.

For a preview of Betsy Lombard’s works go to

For information on upcoming ASiF Gallery @ GV Wine Company shows, live music and events at the tasting room go to

The tasting room gallery hours are from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday through Monday and 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. There is also live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Grass Valley Wine Company is located at 128 Mill Street Grass Valley.

In her words

Oil Painter, Betsy Lombard writes about herself…

I am a self taught painter, having done so since the age of 12, and as of this writing, am about to turn 57.

As a teenager in L.A. I painted in my bedroom and outdoors. I did portraits of my friends. In my room I listened to Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and the Stones with large earphones that Dad wired up from the living room stereo. I practiced piano loudly while my mother made dinner — she never seemed to mind. (That had to be done before Dad got home). My mother took me to lots of museums in the L.A. area to see art, also to the Laguna Art Festival. I learned lots about art that way, and from art books.

After graduating midterm from high school, I wanted nothing more than freedom and independence. Going to college did not seem like an option.

I washed dishes in Upland, Ca. where I went to high school, cleaned rooms and bussed tables in the casinos of North Shore Tahoe. On Cape Cod I cooked lobsters, clams and corn in large galvanized tubs in, sorted cranberries, and painted houses. The men took off their shirts, and so did I- it was the era of Womens’ Lib!

In winter I made jewelry in a tiny cottage for a jewelry wholesaler. When I was about 18, I went to England and Scotland and worked in the basement of a University of London dormitory, making horrible food like beans and kippers for breakfast, and deep-fried bread. I hitchhiked to Scotland, watching English truck drivers roll a cigarette with one hand.

Back in Cape Cod, I lived outdoors for a summer, camping in my “new” 1950 Chevrolet sedan with a Hare Krishna girl named Karen. We roasted potatoes in the fire, lived near a pond and I cleaned house for a lady so wealthy she possessed an empty room. In Provincetown I had my first solo art show, selling one pencil self-portrait to a woman from New York. I painted in oils and watercolors while there. I drove that Chevrolet back across the country dwith a couple of friends. We went on backroads at 45 miles per hour, because that’s what the manual said was the best speed for my Chevrolet. We drove all morning, took a rest in the hot part of the afternoon, then drove again in the evening, getting into campgrounds late so as not to have to pay, and

got up and left early.

While living in San Francisco, I took the bus to Berkeley for housecleaning jobs. But I did not like San Francisco. My friend Trisha Gabrielson told me of a guy named John Maloney who had bought land up in Caspar. I had always dreamed of living in Mendocino and so I got in my green Chevrolet and went up there. At John Maloney’s I lived in a chicken coop, where I received my first marriage proposal from Brian, a tall handsome Finn. Later I moved to a small pink cabin on the headlands in Caspar and worked for my landlord baking baguettes and croissants at “Mother Earth Bakery.” I loved to go hiking in the rain up Caspar Creek, come back with a bouquet and take off my wet clothes, build a big fire, get dry and warm and then do a watercolor of the flowers.

That summer I dreamed of going to Greece, but was stuck cleaning rooms in a motel north of Ft. Bragg. All I was doing was working and sunning myself at the swimming hole on Big River. Finally, I had a “yard sale,” of paintings on the front porch of the Caspar Inn, and made two thousand dollars, a huge sum then in around 1977.

I packed up a Boy Scout backpack and flew to London, then went overland to France and Switzerland where I picked grapes in the “vendange,” the wine grape harvest. Taking a train down through Italy, I took a boat to Greece.

In the Greek islands I did spare watercolors leaving much white on the paper to capture the whitewashed environment with its blue accents and bouganveilla. I stayed there three months.

After returning from Greece, I lived in the Bay Area for 20 plus years, most of it on the Oakland waterfront, in the warehouses at Fifth Avenue and Embarcadero. I worked in soft pastels, and watercolor and gouache capturing the industrial environment with the poetic effect of the estuary, its water of dubious purity and the funky boats. Fifth Avenue was a good place to live near other rebellious souls, painters, musicians, alcoholics, boatpeople who appreciated the poetry of this special place. I often rowed in a dory or a sit-on-top kayak out the estuary towards the mouth of San Francisco bay. I did lots of water and boat paintings.

Fifth Avenue was right on the water, and more than once the whole place flooded. I took photos and did a large large pastel of the flood with all the warehouses and boats and fabulous reflections. I switched to oils and started going out plein air painting a lot, with my painter friend Spencer Chen. One of the first ones I did, on Muir Beach in Marin, I didn’t like and right away Spencer said, “I’ll take it!” I hung on to it and later realized it was pretty good, and sold it. We studied the Society of Six, a group of painters at the beginning of the century who had traipsed all over the East Bay hills. I remembered then that when I had first gotten to Fifth Avenue, there were some painters doing plein-air down at our little beach. At the time I thought their stuff was too raw. It was Lundy Siegriest and maybe Terry St. John. Of those painters I really admired Selden Gile and August Gay. I had a live model come to my studio once a week for a time, where I loved doing just the portrait in oils.

During the time I was at Fifth Avenue I worked as a picture framer, street flower vendor and then I got a job at the S.F. Chronicle as a copy person where I worked for 13 years. I worked there during the 1989 earthquake as well as the East Bay Firestorm, and a few other pier fires and such disasters.

I gave Open Studio every year of the 20 years I lived in the warehouses in Oakland. My studio had a view of the water and cheap rent.

Almost forty years after high school, I’m still glad I did not go to art school. I see people that have lost their thread when exposed to too many influences. I have more than enough influences. Of course, the impressionists, post-impressionists, the German Expressionists, Franz Marc, Egon Schiele. I have my thread. I know places I want to go, usually too many at once! Right now I want to stick to larger sizes, tone down my darks (lighten up palette altogether), do abstracts that are large and create a cohesive body of abstracts. I also want to spend some time copying masters, specifically John Singer Sargent’s “Fishing for Oysters at Carcale,” and his Venetian streets and interiors. I also

want to exclusively paint horses.

Here in Nevada City, I have come to appreciate the fall and winter, in fact all the seasons, like never before – they’re so marked here and I feel very connected to the earth observing them. They pull my moods so strongly – I think everyone feels this way. I am enamored of painting the weeping cherry tree in my front yard at the moment. There are three large tall paintings of it in my present show.

I use the word “painter” versus “artist,” as I prefer it. I find it less pretentious. I see myself as part of the working class. For the past 14 years I have worked as a Spanish interpreter. I work in the Courts as well as a variety of other settings, and I am also a DJ at KVMR. I’m an avid outdoors person, gaining inspiration from bicycling, kayaking, hiking and anything else I can dream up.

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