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Face to face with Blue Line Gallery artists

Get up close with artists at New Beginnings show
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Darlene Engellenner explored a new style and dabbled in different materials for her artwork appearing in the Blue Line Gallery’s current exhibit, New Beginnings. This was apropos, considering the show marks the start of the 2011 exhibit season for the gallery and a new beginning for Engellenner. The 70-year-old Roseville resident has been an artist for 30 years and usually does collage, but this time she tried something different. She crafted a ceramic piece, attaching figures onto wood panels, which she painted with acrylic paints. “I’m interested to see what kind of reaction it gets,” Engellenner said. “It is kind of weird.” She’s referring to one of her two pieces displayed, titled “Window of the Desert,” which depicts an iguana in a desert scene. Her second piece, “The Princess of the Nile” has the figure of a woman’s head mounted on a painted wood board. Engellenner’s art is on display at the Blue Line Gallery, as part of a member exhibit that opens today and runs through Feb. 16. The show features the work of 41 emerging and renewing member artists whose work represents a variety of media, subject matter and artistic styles. Curator Beth Rohlfes said the gallery has about 250 member artists. “We try to give them as many exhibiting opportunities as possible to sell their art and make the community aware of what they’re doing,” Rohlfes said. New gallery member William Mark Sommer submitted a brightly colored painting called “Rebirth of a Love,” although he’s traditionally a photographer. Sommer said for about two years he was inspired to paint these abstract circles and objects — until he finally did. Artist Patty Paige Short entered “Heart Strings,” a ceramic and neon piece from a recent series she completed of figurative works infused with emotional purpose. Joon Park’s “Two is One” is an acrylic painting of two fish and a landscape inspired by his fascination with time. The movement of sun and weather in the painting shows time moving forward, encouraging views not to linger in the past. “One of my philosophies is to keep moving forward and never look back,” Park said. “Learn from the mistakes in the past and not dwell upon (them).” Park said the water droplets in the scene come from a Bruce Lee saying to “be like water,” a substance that adapts to new surroundings wherever it goes. The 21-year-old artist, who made his Blue Line Gallery debut as a student at Granite Bay High School, attempts to convey the unity of nature and human creations working together through the landscape and use of warm colors, he said. Sun City resident Elma Jellá entered her piece, called “Muse,” which is part of her “Threads” series that relates to the threads of our lives and connections to ancestors and the past. The 73-year-old said most of the pieces are self-portraits but done abstractly. “I try to loose the face,” Jellá said. “I don’t want people to see a pretty face. I want them to see to the feelings and emotions.” Jellá typically works with mixed media and collage. She paints with fluid acrylics in a “watercolor manner,” she said. She uses layers of paint and collage pieces, cut out from magazines, to achieve her desired affect. The retired kindergarten teacher started sketching and drawing in junior high school. She minored in fine arts in college and painted for a long time but took a break to raise four children. About 20 years ago, she returned to her love of watercolor painting. She considers herself an abstract expressionist. “What I always tell my (art) students is the reason I paint the way I do is because I’m still a kindergartener at heart,” Jellá said. She also draws inspiration from her travels and workshops she attends with her daughter, a clinical psychologist. Jellá is especially interested in dreams and figuring out ways “to find out who I am and relate who I am in my paintings.” As for Engellenner, she’s also a traveler. Last year, she and her husband visited Egypt, prompting her to make “The Princess of the Nile.” She likes to experiment with new materials and just have fun with the creative process. “The surprise, that’s the thing I like best,” Engellenner said. “You never know how it’s going to end up.” Several decades ago, Engellenner was a working mom. Her “night out” involved taking art classes at Sierra College in Rocklin. She took every class she could. Her husband jokes that she probably earned enough credits for a master’s degree. The longtime Roseville resident, who has lived here for 48 years, plans to continue making art as long as possible — her enjoyment of art keeps her young, she said — and supporting the local arts scene. “I’m really passionate about Blue Line and having a nice gallery,” Engellenner said. “I believe art is essential to our culture here.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- Blue Line Gallery’s New Beginnings exhibit When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, Jan. 15 to Feb. 16. Opening reception 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15. Where: 405 Vernon St. Suite 100 in Roseville Cost: Free admission, original artwork for sale Info: Call (916) 783-4117 or visit www.rosevillearts.org