Tag Archives: Berkeley arts

Anatomy of a portrait: Artist captures essence of subject

Portrait cropped
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By Brandon Ahlstrom

“If the house was burning down,” Joan and Scott Fife tell me over the phone, “the portraits would be the first thing we take.”

There are two portraits hanging in the Fife household, one of Joan’s mother and one of their daughter Berkeley. “When people come over, Berkeley’s portrait is first thing we show them,” says Scott. According to Joan, a common reaction from guests is that she looks like she’s about to say something.

Before the Fifes received the painting, visitors to the painter’s studio in south Berkeley would also comment that she looks as if she’s on the verge of something.

For Seamus Berkeley, the painter in question, common reactions to a painting are a sure sign of its success, especially when the reactions are coming from both those who know the subject and those who do not. It shows that from nothing more than oil on canvas, viewers are independently able to apprehend the same idea. That idea is the essence of what makes Berkeley Fife who she is, or at least who she was at 18. (Note: the use of the word “Berkeley” in three distinct senses is purely coincidental and a continual source of frustration and amusement to all involved.)

Capturing the so-called essence of a person is Berkeley’s primary motivation in portrait painting.  “We’re in the universe experiencing this thing called being human, and it’s not going to last very long. So connecting with other people is really quite fascinating,” he says.Continue reading »

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Edy Boone: A life spent inspiring others captured on film

Edy Boone
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If you have lived in Berkeley for a while, you have probably crossed paths with Edythe Boone. A spry 74-year old with a quick laugh, Boone has worked as a counsellor and as a health activist, and taught art at several local schools, including currently at Berkwood Hedge and West Oakland Middle School. With her warm personality, she imbues the very young, as well as the very old, with the spirit of creativity. She also transforms lives.

The results of her work can be seen on our cities’ walls. She collaborated on the “Let a Thousand Parks Bloom” mural at People’s Park, and, in conjunction with Berkeley’s Youth Spirit Artworks, the “Music on our Minds” mural at the corner of Ellis and Alcatraz. She also worked on the well-known “Maestrapeace” which graces the façade of the San Francisco Women’s Building, and on the “We Remember” AIDS mural in San Francisco’s Balmy Alley. … Continue reading »

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Fine art, wine and a chance to do good

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This Saturday, Vintage Berkeley will be holding a fine-art silent auction to benefit Leiomyosarcoma cancer research. There will be wine, hors d’oeuvres and a chance to bring home a work of art by one of an impressive group of local artists.

The artists represented include Isabel Cohen, Freya Prowe, Audrey Wallace Taylor, Rachel Gingold and Berkeley-based Deb Sibony, one of whose monotypes is shown above.

Any pieces which don’t sell on the night of the auction will continue … Continue reading »

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Party on the sidewalk for art opening

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By Kim Weisberg

This Sunday, the Addison Street Windows Gallery will host a free sidewalk party to kick off the opening of its latest exhibit, Re-Formed!: Found Object Art. The party is from 1:30-3:30pm, and will feature “live music, a block-long art treasure hunt and sidewalk chalk for artists of all ages” to celebrate the work of five Bay Area artists who create sculptures with found objects.

The Addison Street Windows Gallery, which is always free and viewable from the … Continue reading »

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