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Enjoy the art this First Friday

Art is a way for creatives to share their passions, which can include their memories and the causes they support. This month's exhibits and activities run the gamut with plenty to interest viewers.

Greg Stanley takes a look at his body of work with "Art Through The Years," his show at the Bakersfield Art Association Art Center. 

Growing up in Maryland, Stanley quickly embraced painting after his mother gave him an oil painting set at age 10. Along with oil painting, he devoted time to drawing and working with clay, finding ways to express his emotions through whatever medium he had available, according to the BAA newsletter. He studied art in high school, learning from each of his teachers.

His signature style of experimenting with contrasting colors was evident in his painting “Bubbles,” described as "a surreal landscape of green balls floating within an orange background" for which he won a ribbon in a local art contest in 1975.

Throughout the last 30 years, Stanley has sold portraits and commissioned works. In addition, he has created logo designs and colorful paintings inspired by black-and-white photos he has taken.

Stanley said this exhibit includes some of his best work since he joined the BAA in 2013. Some paintings represent the artist's emotions while hiking through the Sierra Mountains in during 2016 and 2017 when he experienced some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. The animal lover also enjoys painting a wide variety of animals, including his beloved cat, depicted in the painting “Aussie.”

"Art Through The Years" will remain on display through May at the BAA Art Center, 1607 19th St., which is open until 4 p.m. Friday. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The work will also be on display on the Bakersfield Art Association's website bakersfieldartassociation.orgFacebook and Instagram pages.

Art of essential work

Artist Tena Mullen-Henry is paying tribute to those serving the community with her new exhibit “Essential Workers of Kern County," which is on display at Dagny's Coffee Co.

She grew up appreciating the beauty of creation in its varied forms, as a logger's daughter in Oregon, where she and her family spent summers in the Sierra living in a tent as she listened to the chainsaws in the distance.

Mullen-Henry's artistic nature is inherited from her mother, according to the BAA newsletter. She graduated from Shafter High School in 1980 and, while studying with instructor/artist Kalman Matis, she won Best of Show in her category at the Kern County Fair and went on to win third prize at the state fair for her pencil drawing. Awards continued including this February when she was awarded the “Peoples Choice Award” for her pastel painting “Beach Ride at Sunset” from Kern River Valley Art Association.

Mullen-Henry wanted these paintings to honor the working class in this mecca of oil and agriculture where we live. Working in pastels, which she explored during the pandemic, she created the vibrant series depicting the scenes, equipment and people behind this essential work.

Mullen-Henry's show can be viewed at the coffeehouse, 1600 20th St.

Bakersfield Museum of Art

Those who have yet to see the current exhibitions at the museum can do so for free on Friday. Along with free admission, First Friday brings extended hours with the museum staying open to 8 p.m.

Explore the city's country music roots with "The Bakersfield Sound: Roll Out the Red Carpet," featuring musicians' detailed and colorful stage costumes and music memorabilia. Enjoy creative takes on local views with "Uncommon Perspective: Paintings by Art Sherwyn." And experience the visual tranquility "Color + Figure: Paintings by Linda Christensen."

If you want to get your stretch on, join the free yoga session with White Wolf Wellness Foundation in the Tejon Sculpture Garden. Held from 6 to 7:15 p.m., the class led by White Wolf's Stephen and Katherine Winters will be limited to 40 participants. (Visit bmoa.org/yoga for more details.)

The museum, 1930 R St., will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. For more information, visit bmoa.org.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.