Since starting my handmade handbag and jewelry business, MONOLISA I have been fortunate to have met some incredibly talented artists. The six people featured in this article are artists I admire and whose work I have purchased myself. I am excited to share their talent with others. These artists live in California and travel around the state featuring their work at art shows. They also sell their pieces online. So, the next time you are looking for a one of kind piece for yourself or someone special take the opportunity to explore the offerings of these highly talented artists and makers.
"A Big Thank You to All the Artist for Bringing Such Beauty Into My Home."
I met Rose Hill at the Oakland Art + Soul event. I was fortunate to have a booth next to her. We immediately connected and had conversations throughout the day about life. Rose's work is beautiful and captivating. My husband purchased the above art piece for me. It is hanging in my kitchen and when it catches my eyes it reminds me of Rose's talented work.
Rose Hill Art
Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1951, Rose has spent most of her adult life in the bay area. She discovered her passion for art in 1996 and has been painting on mostly ceramics ever since. Rose received national recognition in fall of 1999 after appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and later her work was featured in "O" Magazine. Rose stumbled across her artistic interest and talent over 20 years ago when she and her younger sister Maxine Jones a former member of the female R&B recording group EnVogue started an ethnic line of bath and skin care products in California. Rose has long collected retro African American artifacts and inspired by her collection, began sketching designs for her won label, she soon found herself hooked on painting the nostalgic images.
Soon after opening their retail shops in Novato and San Rafael, CA., a reporter wrote about some of her ceramic pieces and the other items sold in their store. It wasn't long before Gayle King, well known as Oprah Winfrey's best friend, commissioned Rose to paint a set of plates for Oprah. Rose is well aware that the images she paints can be painful reminders of oppression and abuse, however she insists although this imagery is controversial it is still a part of our culture. Lisa Woolfork, Assistant Professor of English at UVA says "In terms literary and cultural study, there's a tradition of black women artists trying to reclaim things that could be considered racist, it's a commendable strategy to seize the reins of interpretation" says Woolfork, "to put racist on notice that they don't get to control the terms of conversation or inquiry of debate." Rose agrees that her art can only be created by a black person, African Americans will never trust whites to do this imagery.
I met Louise Bezark while doing the Crocker Holiday Artisan Market in Sacramento, California. It was a fun three day indoor show. Our daily conversations made the show especially fun and unique. I fell in love with her vessel designs, but the "Cat Over the Moon Hanging Ornament" caught my eye and reminded me of my twenty-two year old cat I call Boo Boo Bear. The ornament now sits in my dinning room cabinet - I admire it during many meals and it reminds me about Louise's lovely work.
Journey Vessels by Louise McGowan Bezark
Louise McGowan Bezark is an accomplished artist with more than a decade of works in private collections throughout the US. Her inspirations come from color, texture and shape, from creatures large and small, mineral and animal, all around the globe. She has a passion for wildlife that graces many of her works. Multiple processes are combined to create her gourd vessels; pyro-engraving, painting and detail carving along with her often bold use of color, negative space and texture, bringing forth the unexpected into view. She often uses metal leafing, pine needle weaving and embellishments to create cohesive and simple illustrations of life. Her work has been recognized by the California Gourd Society and the Cal Expo, Fine Arts Division, as well as being featured on the cover of Natomas N Magazine. You will find Louise and her work at various art shows & events throughout the year.
What her clients say: “Louise’s art is beautiful and unique. It exudes serenity and encourages introspection.”
“Louise’s vessels are exquisite – all of them. I am fortunate to own her piece entitled “Empty,” which was featured at the California State Fair. It is not only beautifully crafted, its’ spiritual essence is radiant.”
“When she creates she infuses her work with more than beauty they are infused with her heart and blessings as well. Forever a cherished gift for oneself or for a loved one.”
"End of the Line" - Maple spoon
I met artisan, Amy Boulant when I did a show in the small city, Calistoga. She was my neighbor and I instantly fell in love with her handmade designs. Fascinated by the ease of her demonstrating the design process she made look effortless. At the end of the show I was the proud owner of a beautifully handmade one of a kind maple wood spoon. Today, the spoon sits on my kitchen counter top. It is more than just a cooking utensil, it can be used daily - stir, saute, and serve every dish you prepare. A bonus, the spoon won't get hot like metal, contain any chemicals like plastic or rubber, and only get better with age. It is a beautiful addition to my kitchen.
Copper & Ash
Copper & Ash is the work of Amy Boulant, a Calistoga artist and California native. Amy's lifelong passion for painting, drawing and crafting have evolved into a love for Pyrography, a traditional method of "writing with fire" that dates back hundreds of years. Each original design is hand-burned into wood with her keen attention to geometric form and natural symmetry.
Combining form and function, Copper & Ash pieces add enchantment to the everyday, bringing art to the kitchen and table with wooden spoons, spatulas, cutting boards and serving utensils.
"Camping in the Sky"
I met Evan Kovasi at the Novato Art & Wine Festival back in 2019. I was fortunate to have my booth next to his talented photography work. I was mesmerized by the photographs he displayed in his booth. At the end of the show I decided to purchase Evan's piece "Camping in the Sky". This photograph on metal hangs beautifully in our family room. The beauty of this piece never goes unnoticed - many of our guests compliment its beauty and many interesting conversations center around the picture.
Born and raised in the hills of Northern California, Evan grew up steeped in the majestic beauty offered by the outdoors. Free to roam the countryside he developed a deep sense of appreciation for the ephemeral and episodic displays of the natural world. From a young age he would borrow his parents’ camera to take picture after picture of the sunset, the clouds, the spring flowers.
Though photography was always on the back burner it wasn’t until after graduating from college that Evan purchased his first DSLR. His passion for documenting our planet escalated quickly from that point. Self-taught, he would spend hours learning every aspect of his camera and the science of digital photography.
Today, his combination of technical expertise and artistic liberty are the genesis of works that sometimes look more like paintings than traditional landscape photography.
I met Melanie at the Crocker Holiday Artisan Market and later discovered her beautiful work online. Instantly drawn to the soft pastel color paintings and artistic note cards - I made a few purchases. I have "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” an original painting is in my studio and the “The Kiss” Giclee Print is framed in my living room. Her artistic note cards are my go to for writing personal notes. Her work brings a smile to my face every time my eyes capture her unique pieces of art.
Melani Grube Art
I’ve always made art, but I didn’t always call myself an artist. At least, not until I was faced with a series of unrelated illnesses that unfolded over two years. They happened to coincide with my taking courses to get my teaching credential.
Every time I took a course, a new illness popped up. I pushed on through with determination, but one day, while literally lying on the floor, too exhausted to get up, I asked myself: What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this?
A little voice deep inside me spoke, “You never devoted yourself to creating and sharing your art.” From that point on, I committed to my practice of art. I found that though I learned art techniques and applied them correctly, my finished art often felt dead.
So, I explored my creative process and found that I was in love with random paint spatters, but also with pen and ink work. And I married the two! The result was art that attracted deeply intelligent, sensitive and compassionate collectors. Good artwork can take you below the surface, into the deep and meaningful parts of your life. It feels alive.
I hope that you find inspiration, connection and a sense of well-being when you view my artwork.
"She Likes What She Likes"
I met Rob at a show in Alameda County and we instantly connected. Our booths were next to each other, so we chatted throughout the day. I enjoyed looking at his creative work and admired many of the pieces he had displayed in his booth. I fell in love with a sculpted dog that was the perfect gift for a very special couple. I currently have my eye of the piece above "She Likes What She Likes" - it is a show stopper.
With a BFA in Inter-arts that included theatre, dance and sculpture, Rob Nehring is the Sole Proprietor of Rusty Noodle Studios. Driven by the definition of sculpture as “something you back into when looking at a painting,” he tries to engage his audience with humor found in the personality of ordinary objects.
An accomplished artist, Rob’s sculptures are in galleries and part of private collections throughout the US. The characters featured in Rusty Noodle Studios are created overall from 99% recycled materials. Through found scrap materials, Rob lets the materials dictate what they will become. Rusty Noodle studios is happy to be in a recycling partnership with CASS.
"Stop to look at the art"
California Handbag and Jewelry Designer Lisa Ramos' Posts – I will be taking you through some parts of my business experiences and talk about fashion, hopefully with a bit of humor, interest, honesty, inspiration and to the point. Until next time…