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"Baby Kraken" by Ashleymarie Sey Lively, one of the works in her solo exhibit, "Lively Little Things," which opens Friday at The Foundry.

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A watercolor by Ron Mead, part of the "Chairs

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"Hay Bales, Cambria Style" by Chris Romanini is one of the works on display for her show, which opens Friday at Dagny's Coffee Co.

It will be a dead man's party all over town tonight, but local artists are keeping things a bit less spooky for First Friday downtown.

Taking that to heart is Ashleymarie Sey-Lively, a freelance artist/illustrator and stay-at-home mom, whose solo show, "Lively Little Things," opens at The Foundry.

Sey-Lively said her style has evolved since becoming a mother.

"Before I was married, I used to draw sexy pin-ups. I used to draw things that were dark. I think every artist goes through a phase like that. After having a child, this stuff isn't child-appropriate."

For this show, the artist said she took a more whimsical approach.

"I wanted to focus more on the lighthearted side of things. To play off life and the happy moments. I also wanted to focus on the daydream aspect. Your mind wanders to happy thoughts."

Her collection of 28 pieces is a mix of fun, brightly colored watercolors and acrylics.

For someone who used to work primarily in acrylic, this show was another artistic departure.

"I hated watercolor with a passion. My best friend, Jacqueline Monroe, she always did watercolors and she'd make it look bright and vibrant.

"Having a little kid around trying to use acrylic paint, it would dry up and you can't salvage it."

A "very stubborn person," Sey-Lively forced herself to give watercolors a try, to great success.

"It was a lifesaver. I was able to create art, I could squeeze it in. I don't have a lot of time to do it."

The Bakersfield native has stayed busy, recently moving back to town with her husband and 1-year-old daughter and completing freelance work in advance of the birth of her second child. She credits her network of family and friends for helping her thrive.

"I wouldn't be the person I am without my husband. And my family always supported me. They supported me throughout my whole (artistic) journey."

Sey-Lively said she is looking forward to the exhibit opening on Friday.

"If I can see someone smile or laugh when they see my art, it can make my day."

The opening reception will include a performance by Therese Muller and culinary creations by Shawna Fowler, who runs Window Sill Pie Co. with Marah-Stelle Jackson.

(Another colorful collection with a Foundry connection is still on display a few streets over. Gallery co-owner Christina Sweet's "Hooves and Horns" continues to brighten up Farmacy Cafe in the Padre Hotel.)

Bakersfield Art Association

The Bakersfield Art Association Art Center offers you a front-row seat into the local arts scene Friday with the opening of its "Chairs & Stools" exhibit.

Norma Eaton, who handles publicity for the BAA, said the exhibit is a collection of 12 paintings (watercolor, oil and acrylic) and three "chairs." Cats appear prominently in the show, with four paintings featuring feline friends.

The 14 artists featured in the show include Eaton, Dacey Dia Villarreal, Cindy Stiles and Ron Mead. This is one of the group shows that the art center hosts about every four months. The next, "Windows," will take place in March.

Head north to Dagny's Coffee Co. for other association-related exhibits.

A small group collection will be up in the coffeehouse's new addition (that used to house The Foundry), and Chris Romanini will display her work in the front, Eaton said.

Romanini, who describes herself as "a third generation Bakersfield gal," said she chose a farmscape theme for this show.

"I was inspired to work on farm scenes, as my husband is a third-generation farmer in the Buttonwillow area, and we raised our family on the ranch."

Her 12 oil paintings highlight her plein air work, which she has honed working with other local artists.

"The group from the Bakersfield Art Association makes arrangements twice monthly to meet at certain spots. After painting, they have a critique, which is helpful for encouragement and growth."

CASA fundraiser

Over at Metro Galleries, the ongoing exhibit by former CBS News correspondent Bill Lagattuta will get some artistic company courtesy of CASA.

The Court-Appointed Special Advocates of Kern County is hosting its Do Good fundraiser at Metro. With assistance from New Wine Church, which meets at the 19th Street gallery, the event includes an art show and silent auction, including donated works from Claudia True, Rose Lester and Jonathan Martin.

Indie rock band Holy Beast will perform and food will be served.