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Photo courtesy of Christina Sweet

"The Facial" by Duane Anderson is part of his exhibit, "Watercolor Places," opening Friday at The Foundry.

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Photo courtesy of Stella Mullins

Marilyn Cameron's "The Little Goddess," part of the "On the Table" exhibit opening Friday at the Bakersfield Art Association's Art Center.

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"The Builder," with model Jessica McEuen, by Crysco Nabisco is one of his works in "Steampunk'd," which is on display at the gallery space in Henley's Photo.

As summer winds down, many consider vacations to cooler locales. If your budget doesn't allow that, head downtown Friday to artistically transport yourself to more pleasant climes.

Opening at The Foundry, Duane Anderson's "Watercolor Places" takes viewers on a trip with the artist.

"I would call it (the show) an artistic interpretation of places that I've been, with a couple of exceptions," Anderson said. "There are two paintings that are both from Bakersfield. I've been to Bakersfield before so I guess that counts," joked the Tennessee transplant who's lived here since 1968.

Other, perhaps more scenic, destinations depicted in the show's 14 watercolors include San Francisco, Redwood City, the Central Coast, Chicago, Utah and Prague.

"It's mostly scenes that captured my imagination in a way."

Two works that Anderson had hoped to include in The Foundry show captured someone else's imagination as well.

"Since then (becoming a Foundry member), I joined the California Art Club. As a result of joining them, I had two paintings accepted at an exhibit down in L.A. (But) I was looking forward to those being a part of this show."

The two harbor scenes -- one set in Gig Harbor, Wash., the other in Morro Bay -- are part of "Waterscapes" at the Altadena Town & Country Club, up through mid-September.

As for Anderson's style, he said he honed it during his years of architectural illustration.

"Most of the architecture firms know me by reputation for years of doing that. That's really where I refined my skill. It has enabled me to become a fine artist."

Although now a professor of architecture at Bakersfield College, he stressed art is his passion.

"That (educating) is my vocation. My avocation is painting. Now that I'm painting for myself I don't want to be photographically real with my paintings. I like to move in that direction but with an abstract perspective."

Anderson enjoys the artistic opportunities that working in watercolor creates.

"I like the challenge. It's a lot more difficult to paint with watercolor than any other medium. I like what happens when the transparent watercolor runs together and blends. The happy accidents when the color blends that you didn't intend. The unexpectedness of that. The granulation of the paper when the paint soaks down into the paper."

Along with painting, Anderson said he's enthusiastic about how the local art scene has changed.

"It's exciting to see more and more artists from other areas moving to Bakersfield, that breeds a lot of enthusiasm and excitement.

"I'm excited and encouraged by the growth of the arts scene in Bakersfield. I think First Friday has breathed a lot of life into that. It draws folks to downtown, more excitement and activity downtown, getting people to come to the galleries."

'On the Table'

Another art space aiming to draw people downtown Friday is the Bakersfield Art Association's Art Center. This month's group show, "On the Table," focuses on still lifes, works that depict commonplace inanimate objects.

"It's (still life) a good learning tool because your subject doesn't move," said Cindy Stiles who organized the show as well as contributed a piece. "If you do it right, you have control over everything. Your subject, as long as it's lit the same, is something you can come back to."

Other artists in the show are Lila Martin, Patti Doolittle, Linda Kahega, Toni Lott, Iva Fendrick, Norma Eaton, Karen King, Marilyn Cameron, Gena Hawk, Laura Mizrahi and Jodi Cheeseman.

Stiles said she was impressed by the quality of the work in the show.

"I think, for the most part, the artists really put their best foot forward. We have a lot of landscape artists. They really pushed themselves to explore a new area and produce some really nice work."

One of those artists is Doolittle, who painted an A&W root beer bottle with a glass and newspaper.

"Patti's work is always beautiful. She never paints still life, but she's just a good sport and she added a keychain that looks like Tweety Bird. I appreciate a little bit of humor in a painting now and then."

Next month is a show of sketches by Phyllis Oliver, but Stiles said more group shows are headed to the art center. In October, the winners from the Kern County Fair art competitions will be on display while the following month will highlight the 12 artists that are part of a BAA calendar of Kern County scenes.

Stiles was also excited for a group show set for March, "Reigning Cats and Dogs," which will have a call to artists in the late fall.

"It's totally open to interpretation. It's an opportunity for people to paint their pets or animals that they love and admire."

Ongoing exhibits and more

Also under the BAA banner, works by David Gordon and a "Vacation" group show remain on display at Dagny's Coffee Co.

Photography by Crysco Nabisco, aka Chris Hendrickson, remains on display in Henley Photo's gallery space. His "Steampunk'd" collection artfully depicts a grittier take on the genre celebrating the industrial movement.

The summer exhibit continues at Metro Galleries with "Abstract Conversations," a collection of works of Southern California-based artists Tina Bluefield and Moira Fain. Also on display will be assorted work from artists associated with the gallery, said Metro president Don Martin. The gallery will hold a reception with hors d'ouerves and no host bar by Mama Roomba and Keith Barbour performing.

Martin also said that people can sneak a peek of the new Metro Lounge, which is set to be ready for next month's big First Friday celebration.

The jewel in September's event is "Latination," a juried show featuring works from Kern County, California and beyond.

Submissions are still being accepted for the show capturing the essence of all things Latin. The competition is open to adult artists as well as a new category for children ages 6 to 16. All children's works will be displayed during opening night (Sept. 6) in the Metro's newly expanded Eye Gallery.

Four cash prizes will be given to artists in the categories of best in show, best new artist and first and second place. For information, guidelines and an entry form, artists should visit themetrogalleries.com. Entries are due Aug. 28.