Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learning More About COCA Artist Catherine McCauley

Catherine McCauley is a professional artist whose work focuses on contemporary abstract encaustic painting. She shares a studio with Maggie and Tanoa, her two yellow labrador retrievers.

Keep reading to learn more and see Catherine's work.

What is your primary medium and process? 
My primary medium is encaustic which literally means "to fuse" or to "burn in".  It is an ancient process dating back to the Egyptians and Greeks in which dry oil pigment is suspended in a medium of molten beeswax and damar resin crystals. The medium is heated on a griddle at 220 degrees F and quickly applied to a rigid surface (I use wood panels). The wax is then manipulated with heat - a heatgun, torch or a particular type of iron - building up the surface and then using tools to carve, incise or scrape back into the wax. 
How long have you been an artist? When did you begin working in encaustic?
I was first introduced to the encaustic method of painting in 2001 and have worked exclusively with the medium since that time.  Prior to painting with encaustics, I used oil paints and acrylics, beginning my painting career at Sonoma State University in 1992.  Prior to that I began my love of art beginning in a ceramics class in 1970 followed by experimentation with drawing, clay, textiles (I still have my LeClerc floor loom from the 70's).  
How would you describe your style?
My painting style since using encaustics has been abstract.  The medium lends itself to using areas of color and/or texture, often focusing on surface design rather than subject. 
I find inspiration in nature.  My husband and I enjoy camping and it is often on our outdoor trips that I find inspiration.  I live in the hills in Sonoma County and the surrounding landscape inspires me along with visits to or memories of the ocean.
What artists most inspire you? 
Some of my favorite artists are Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown, Manuel Neri, and Antoni Tapies.  
What is your favorite part of being an artist?
My favorite part of being an artist:  there are so many favorite parts!  I love to create without using words.  I love color, surface, mystery, meeting with other artists who speak the same language a I speak.  Art is in my heart, in my soul.  It is a necessity for me to create.  I cannot image my life without it.
Check out Catherine's work and learn more about her encaustic workshops at http://www.catherinemccauley.net.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

COCA Artists Out and About

It is a busy summer for COCA artists! Check out these upcoming shows with Linda Donohue and Julia Rymer throughout the Bay Area.

Linda Donohue's work will be featured at art festivals throughout July and August, including the Los Altos Art and Wine Fair, the Palo Alto Fine Arts Festival and the Kings Mountain Art Fair. Her work is also on display at UCSF Women's Health Center until the 17th of July.

Visit Linda's website for more information about all her events coming up for the summer!


Julia Rymer's work will be featured in a Summer group exhibition at Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery in Lafayette opening August 2nd and continuing through August 26th. Visit the gallery website for location and information.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Learning More About COCA Artist Michel Misho

Born Michel Schorro in Lausanne, Switzerland, Misho moved to San Francisco at age 25 to become a professional drummer, touring and recording until 1984. Semi-retiring from music, following a US tour & a record release with Housecoat Project, he spent the next 15 years traveling the world teaching and taking photographs.

In 2009 he opened  Misho Gallery in San Francisco. Since then, he has held solo shows with his photographs in San Francisco, Buenos Aires and in his native Switzerland.  His pictures can be seen in the lobby of various buildings in downtown San Francisco, including the public utilities building.
In 2010 Misho expanded the gallery to help promote local abstract art from local artists and beyond. In 2011, he started collaborating with San Francisco artist Johnny Botts. Misho provided his abstract photographs as a background and Johnny painted over them with spaceships, robots, and other fantastical forms, leading to the "Spaced Together " exhibit in May 2012. One of those pieces was featured in the New York Times.

At the beginning of 2012, he expanded one more time to house a group he calls “Photo Nouveau," comprised of artwork that is abstract, cutting edge, and avant-garde— anything but “déjà vu”.

He is a very active member of the San Francisco Bay Area artist community, and also shows work internationally. This September he will work in collaboration with Pichai Poogsasaovapark, a Thai artist featured in a solo show in his gallery. The collaborative work is schedule to show for the month of February 2015 at the Baan Teuk Art Center in Chiang Mai. 

Keep reading to learn more about Misho's process and influences as an artist.

What is your primary medium and process?
My primary medium is photography but I see myself more as a image taker than a photographer. The images I capture are all reminiscent of abstract painting. In some way I extract the artworks that both nature and urban decay provide us and bring it to people attentions. I am fascinated with randomness and antropy. The way the drops lay on the sidewalk when somebody knocks a can of paint. The way a piece of metal rust when exposed to the elements.

Lately my need for challenges pushed me to start paintings. I love working with industrial acrylics. If my photographs are influenced by  abstract expressionist  artist, my paintings have a strong Asian influence. Both in China & Japan painting and calligraphy are often side by side and complement each other. I do love the subtlety and serenity of the old ink wash. Instead of trying to capture an images the painters capture the energy of the objects, the serenity of moment. This is what I do in my paintings. I start with a landscape whose serenity is extracted down to a very minimalistic  primary color. Then I let randomness guide my brushes and the paint.  I let randomness funnel the energy and the emotions of the moment into the canvas.
How long have you been an artist?
I started studing photography at age 14, buying my first SLR camera and learn to develop black & white photographs in my parent kitchen. At 16 I started concentrating on rock and jazz photography. Leaving very close to Montreux and their yearly jazz festival provided many opportunities for my passion. Also, I never stop taking photographs, eventually playing music became more important than capturing it on film and I moved to San Francisco. My new reincarnation as a visual artist started in 2008.
How do you describe your style?
Abstract expressionism with Asian influence.
What inspires you to keep motivated?
More than a inspiration it is a need. The need to keep creating and challenging myself. I do get bored easily. I guess the challenges are what keep me motivated. The challenge to get better at what I do, the challenge to create something new & beautiful. I do want my art to be beautiful. I do feel the pain and the anger than a lot of artists experience but rather that expressing it and chronicle it, I decided I want to fight it with beauty trying to make this world a better place.
What is your favorite part about being an artist?
The constant renewal of emotions.
Who are your favorite artists past or present?
Jimi Hendrix,  Ludwig Van  Beethoven, Richard Deibenkorn, Gerhardt Richter, Barnett Newman.

See more of Misho's art on his website, and stop by his gallery for a visit! Click here for more information, location, and events.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Learning More About COCA Artist Valerie Scott

Valerie Scott is an Abstract Expressionist painter who lives and works in San Francisco. She's inspired by the contemporary masters Jasper Johns, Francis Bacon, Gerhard Richter, Richard Diebenkorn, Willem de Kooning, and Chuck Close. These artists' works and philosophies have helped shape her into the painter that she is today.

Her creative process is ever evolving and reflective of her life thus far. Her abstractions convey emotional highs and lows as well as keen observations on the human experience. She often communicates nuance through color and texture, and she's found that the small wonders of daily life propel her to continually experiment with her process while bringing further works to completion.

Raised in Los Angeles but currently residing in San Francisco, she also contemplates the often tension-filled relationship between nature and urbanity. Valerie's studio is in Soma – a throbbing, urban enclave within the city – and it is here that she continues to develop her body of work.

What is your primary medium and process? 

Acrylic, textured paintings on canvas and wood. Playing with different shapes and mediums(ie. matte, gel, pumice stone, sand, paper, varnish, resin) to bring a 2-D painting with heavy texture and carvings into the surface to almost a 3-D feeling.

How long have you been painting?

Since the early 1970's- high school and college was the start of my real interest in painting, thanks to excellent professors.
How do you describe your style?
Abstract Expressionism 
What inspires you to keep motivated? 
The excitement of creating pieces with texture and paint that takes me on a journey of joy. Every painting has an experimental process which excites me.  
What is your favorite part about being an artist? 
The shear enjoyment of creating a work of art that one can contemplate for many years to come. The process of starting and bringing a piece to completion is the very definition of happiness to me.  The artist community that I totally feel empowered by keeps me going forward. 
Who are your favorite artists past or present? 
Richard Diebenkorn, Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Gerhard Richter, Francis Bacon to name just a few.

See more of Valerie's work on her website and at numerous local galleries and art venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. Be sure to like COCA on Facebook for updates about the latest events of artist members. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Learning More About COCA Artist Roberta Ahrens

Born in Roseburg, Oregon, Roberta Ahrens moved to San Francisco in 1981. Roberta  is one of Northern California’s master decorative painters with 30 years experience in the application of classic and contemporary painted finishes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in interior decorative surface treatments, color work and contemporary large-scale botanicals.  

Her long-time practical knowledge of artistic applications and her extensive experience in painting large-scale murals led her to develop her own dazzling, unique style of painting on a canvas that she makes by hand, called cracked linen.  The results are truly breathtaking, adding a depth and presence to her floral subjects. Her work morphs into many styles of interiors... modern, contemporary, cottage, rustic, Mid-century Modern.

All of Roberta’s work is painted on a surface called Cracked Linen, or Linen Wrap. The process for making cracked linen is stretching fabric, then layering several passes of a plaster mixed material. Once dried, the stiff canvas is then cracked. 

She is inspired by past and current interior design, and studying nature. She is constantly photographing flowers and other beauty found in Mother Nature!

Be sure to see Roberta's work in person or at the following websites:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

COCA Artists Out and About

COCA Artist Julia Rymer is currently featured in an exhibition of abstract paintings at Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery, a new contemporary art gallery in downtown Lafayette. Featuring several of Julia's works on panel and paper, this show is up through June 2nd.

There are exciting events to accompany the exhibition as well. Visit the gallery and meet Julia at a Summer Fashion Show on May 20th from 7 to 9 pm. More information about events can be found here.

The Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery is located at 3620 Mt Diablo Boulevard in Lafayette, and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm. For more information, go to www.jenniferperlmuttergallery.com.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Learning More About COCA Artist Andrzej M Karwacki

Born in Poland, in the historic town of Brzeg, Andrzej grew up during the years of political oppression and era of communist Poland. There he attended the School for the Arts and Literature. Unconsciously, these primary years were the platform for a deep attraction towards peace, poetry and art as a form of creative preservation.

In 1984, Andrzej moved to New York and continued his education at the School for the Arts at Jersey City State University. While he was earning his a BFA in painting, Andrzej had the opportunity to explore everything from sculpture to printmaking, drawings to graphic art. These years were pivotal processing years. Much of his art was more about pain than the serene beauty his current paintings convey. At the end of the 5 year BFA program, Andrzej had developed a strong discipline in the studio that is reflected in his prolific artistic nature today. After receiving his BFA in painting, Andrzej earned a Master's Degree and Honorary Award in the field of Urban Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Architectural design taught him to observe and imitate nature through new media. The rigorous nature of the field transformed Andrzej’s creative approach away from objectifying the world and towards autonomy through painting. 

After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994, Andrzej's artistic direction began to take shape after integrating Eastern spirituality into his artwork. For him, Eastern Spirituality and forms of Zen, mediation and Buddhism was closer to seeing world as beautiful rather than violent as he has in his early years. Andrzej's artistic philosophy led him to resume his academic work at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco where, in 2011, he received a Masters in Integral Psychology and a certification in Expressive Art Therapy.

While Andrzej’s current studio is based in Berkeley, his paintings are currently exhibited Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Boston, Paris, London and Hong Kong. His work is in private collections throughout the United States. 

How do you describe your style?

My artistic direction began to take shape after integrating Eastern spirituality into my artwork. My recent paintings have become Cosmocentric and see man and art as an integral part of nature. These concepts are based on Buddhist philosophy and works with an intention of equanimity that is neither a thought nor an emotion. In Buddhism, equanimity (upekkhā, upekṣhā) is one of the four immeasurables and is considered the steady conscious realization of reality's transience. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being.

There is a push and pull that develops in my paintings, one color at a time.  Each step is an inspiration for the next. My composition develops freely allowing my paintings to form from the depths of the creative process. The essence of each work carries its own unique direction. While they are often identified as Abstract paintings, I see them less as abstractions but more as connections. Each stroke builds upon the other producing a radiance and warmth of being. The layers of each work suggest a complex inter-connectivity of man’s own marking with nature.  With this approach, a unique network of color and organic lines develop a contemporary language defining the nature of man’s own being. 

See more of Andrzej's work at http://www.andrzejmichael.com/.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

COCA Artists Out and About

COCA Artist Hilla Hueber is on display in the exhibition Sea and Sky at Acabello Salon from March 17 - May 2nd, 2014. She is showing 9 seascapes in the space, its beautiful light bringing out the luminous colors of the work. See some of the highlights from the show and more of Hilla's drawings and abstract paintings at www.paintingcurve.com.
Acabello Salon is located at 2423 California Street in San Francisco.

You can also check out Hilla's work at her Spring Open Studios on April 26 and 27, Noon - 6 pm at 1890 Bryant St Studios. Preview Night is Friday April 25, 6 - 9 pm. She will be featuring her new pen and ink drawings and a few abstract landscapes.


Work by COCA Artist Roberta Ahrens will be featured at the Gail Van Dyke Atrium Gallery, a program of the Institute for Health and Healing - a national leader in bringing integrative medicine programs to hospitals in the Bay Area. 

The Gallery offers cancer patients, staff and the community healing art to help inspire feelings of tranquility and encouragement. Art chosen for this space is that which can buoy the human spirit and serves to complement traditional Western approaches to medical treatment.

The show runs from April 7th through July 4th, with a reception for the artist on April 10th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The Gail Van Dyke Atrium Gallery is located at the Marin Cancer Institute,1350 South Eliseo Drive (at Bon Air), Greenbrae. For more info call (415) 925-7624. Gallery hours are 8am to 7pm on weekdays.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Learning More About COCA Artist Julia Rymer

Julia Rymer is the most recent member to join COCA. Her abstract paintings explore nature, science and color. Keep reading to learn more about her and the work she creates.

Please give us a brief bio of who you are and where you're from.

I am originally from Colorado. I attended the University of Denver for my BFA in Art, and then received my MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in New York in 2004. I taught art at the college level for 5 years in Colorado before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2009.

What is your primary medium and process?
Apex, mixed media on paper

My work includes a variety of media, but mostly I work with watermedia- like watercolor and gouache- and drawing materials on paper. I also use acrylic and canvas or wood panel.

How long have you been painting?

As long as I can remember I have been an artist, but I discovered watercolor painting in high school. I had originally thought I would be a fashion designer or illustrator, but in college fell in love with abstract painting, and, well, that was that.

How do you describe your style?

My work is colorful, organic, fluid, gestural, at times formalist, and abstract. I have been told it is very feminine and whimsical as well!

What inspires you to keep motivated?

The need to "art"- because I think of art a verb as well as a noun. The urge to create is very primal for me, it is simply something I must do. That instinct keeps me creating.

Afterthought II, mixed media on paper
What is your favorite part about being an artist?

Everyday is different in the studio. It is always a journey, and often I have no idea where I am headed. I know I can be an artist my entire life, because it will never bore me.

Who are your favorite artists past or present?

Joan Mitchell, Roxy Paine, Paul Klee, Sara Westover, Michelle Armas, Amy Metier, and Spencer Finch.

You can learn more about Julia Rymer on her website: www.juliarymer.com. You can also check out her Etsy shop, or purchase prints on Artify.it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

NH2 Salon and COCA Benefit Exhibition for Hairdressers with Heart

NH2 Salon and COCA will hold an opening reception and silent auction on February 13 to benefit Hairdressers with Heart. 30% of the proceeds from art sales will go directly to the foundation, which offers pro-bono hairdressing services and wig fitting to those suffering from hair related side effects from cancer treatment. Hairdressers with Heart was started by the owners of NH2, Nicole Hitchcock and Nina Husen, who have created a national network of salons and stylists to support cancer victims.

Event Artists include Linda Donohue, Misho, Hilla Hueber, Andrzej Karwaki, Julia Rymer, Valerie Scott, Catherine McCauley, Raymond Difley, Katerina Connearney, Roberta Aherns, Mylette Welch, and Jennifer Hirschfield

Show duration February 13th- March 27th
Opening Reception February 13th 6pm-8pm
NH2 Salon
208 Vintage Way K-29
(second floor)
Novato, CA 94945
Phone: 415.897.8777

For more information, visit our Event page.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Misho Gallery Hosts COCA's Benefit and Art Brunch for UCSF Alliance Health Project

Date:  Sunday, January 19th
Time:  11:30am -2:00pm
Misho Gallery
680 8th Street , Suite 230 (between Brannan & Townsend)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Website: www.coca-art.com
Participating Artists: Hilla Hueber, Mylette Welch, Catherine McCauley, Linda Donohue, Katerina Connearney, Misho, Raymond Difley, Julia Rymer Brucker, Jennifer Hirshfield
After a successful 2013 COCA wishes to celebrate by giving back to the community. COCA artists will host a brunch and art sale to benefit the UCSF Alliance Health Project. Their mission is to support the mental health and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities in constructing healthy and meaningful lives.

Several COCA artists are already familiar with the organization through the donation of Art for their major fund raising event : Art for AIDS. They have found it to be noble cause and the relationship with the art community is a perfect match.
Please join us for wonderful food, libations and art. Ticket sale proceeds will be donated to UCSF Alliance Health Project as well as 30% of the art sales during this event which will include a silent auction.
TO PURCHASE TICKETS PLEASE VISIT OUR EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/coca-art-brunch-tickets-9302864117?aff=eorg