Although there is no First Friday fanfare, the Bakersfield Art Association reopened its Art Center this week with limited capacity. Art lovers have an option to see the new shows at the center and at Dagny's Coffee Co. in person or online this month.
Charlotte White is the featured artist this month at the center, with a collection of mostly watercolors featuring many scenic locations familiar to Kern residents.
She said she was inspired by artists in the California Style, a movement in watercolor painting that flourished in between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s with artists such as Millard Sheets, Emil Kosa Jr., Ken Potter, Phil Dike and Dong Kingman. These creatives would paint on site, capturing a variety of scenes, from construction sites to cityscapes and sunbathers at the beach.
"They were some of the first people in California who would go out and watch construction sites. Or they would go to the circus or go to the zoo. Sometimes they would take those (watercolor) paintings and make oil paintings."
White's piece "Installing New Lights at the Bakersfield College Stadium" was definitely inspired by this movement. The painting, which sold just before the show opened, depicts a large crane working at Memorial Stadium on the northeast Bakersfield campus.
Others depict scenes and businesses in Kernville, which White visited during the past few months.
"With this pandemic, I left town a little bit on the weekends. It's just so stressful. I was teaching from home. It's just enough stress to drive you over the — I don't know."
Rafters heading to the Kern River, Big Blue Bear diner, Primo's Liquor and Deli with the giant chicken on top and Cheryl's Diner are all part of her latest series.
The artist also took in the Bakersfield sights with downtown spots Serrano's Furniture with its curved windows on 19th Street, the Fox Theater, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Jerry's Pizza.
White loves to paint outside and leads a weekly group on Saturday mornings to work outdoors.
Sticking to the morning hours under an umbrella, she said people stop and ask if she's a vendor.
She said, "They stop, see my umbrella and they're surprised I'm not selling strawberries or flowers on the street."
Despite those visitors, she said working in plein-air style remains a passion of hers.
"Just having the opportunity to get into the process of panting without a lot of distractions, it's an awesome opportunity."
White's work is on display at the Art Center, 1607 19th St., and on the BAA Facebook page (facebook.com/BAAartists). Current hours are 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
Artist Richard Hofferd was excited to drop off his art this week. Along with his show at Dagny's, he took some works to the Arts Council of Kern's temporary offices on 22nd Street.
In describing his pieces, he said there is no set theme for the show. In a discussion he referred to process art, the artistic movement in which the end result is not the focus of creation, he said his style is evolving.
"I'm not sure exactly how much conscious control I have of my imagery these days," he said. "I don't really design or plan. I tend to do abstractions and I like to challenge myself."
The collection features colorful pieces as well as pencil works.
Some pieces begin with "how I am able to see and interact with light and space," he said.
The artist, who turned 71 this week, said showing his work has been more rewarding in recent years, with displays at the BAA Art Center,
In an artist's statement, he wrote that he believes viewers may be able to relate to his lifetime quest of pursuing his passion for art and "how it often insulates me from pitfalls and compromises of everyday living, and gives me hope."
"We agree much has changed in recent months, yet I feel there is more reason than ever to create and fill our lives with beauty, so that we not forget what is."
Hofferd's work is on display at Dagny's, 1600 20th St.
While there will be no Kern County Fair this year, the Bakersfield Art Association is still planning to hold a show in its memory.
For October, it will hold a "No Fair" group show, which it is taking submissions for now. There is no set theme and current BAA members can submit work in any medium.
Pieces must have been completed between last August and now. Maximum size is 24 inches by 30 inches.
Entries must be in by Sept. 10 for consideration. Submit a photo of the work (files up to 3 MB in size) via email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the title of the work, medium and artist name in the message. Entry fee is $15 in advance.
Much like the annual contest that is displayed at the fairgrounds during the fair, works will be judged by a jury and ribbons will be awarded. The work from the show will be shared online through the remainder of the year.
For more information, call Jim Bates at 805-6201 or Toni Lott at 205-3488.