Although the Bakersfield Art Association keeps its downtown art center closed for now, it continues to support its members with a virtual celebration of First Friday. Artist Elleta Abuliel's work is being featured on the BAA's social media along with more art from painter Sissy Ullmann, who was first highlighted in May.

Abuliel, a self-described "Okie from Muskogee," moved from Oklahoma to California in 1960. Growing up, she loved coloring books and her art classes but life led her to banking as an adult. She worked her way up from teller to assistant vice president and retired after 44 years.

Her post-retirement years have allowed Abuliel to pursue her love of art. Locally, she has shown her work over the last 15 years at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, the BAA Art Center and its satellite shows at Dagny's Coffee Co., the Guild House and Stars Theatre Restaurant.

Abuliel embraces a realism in her work, she said, aiming to paint subjects that have meaning to her and hopefully someone else.

In addition to canvas, Abuliel paints on silk, a medium she said allows the colors to have a mind of their own.

She wrote in an email, "I like doing silk paintings because of the bright colors, the way the colors flow/spread on the silk material."

Noting that art can "take you into another vision of life," she would like people to walk away from her work seeing " the beauty of color that surrounds us."

Last month, oil paintings by Sissy Ullmann, most featuring scenes of or locations near the Kern River, were featured on the BAA's social media. 

For June, in a nod to all the fresh produce of California, Ullmann's latest batch of paintings feature fruits and vegetables.

Ullmann said in May that she "pretty much paints every day," working in the little art studio she has in the back of her husband's shop.

"It's very nice to go back there and create five or six hours a day painting. I love it."

Both Abuliel's and Ullmann's work is on display at the Bakersfield Art Association's Facebook and Instagram pages.

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

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