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Colorful time at museum Richard Pena | Sat, May 05 2012 12:00 PM

For whatever unknown reasons I associate May with the start of spring. And with spring I somehow think about art, particularly visual art. Perhaps it is all the new growth and brightness we see in our byways and backyards, foliage that seems to revive us. And perhaps it is this same foliage that is inspiring the artists among us, motivating those  with talent, or at least ambition to attempt to replicate what nature is putting out there for us.

Julie Gay, Bonita museum director, and her staff have launched a one woman show titled, “A Life in Color,” by local artist Gloria Caballero.

The show opened with a reception a few nights ago that featured the artist and a near sellout crowd. The artist was asked when she started painting, she said when she was in kindergarten. When we think about it almost all artists start at about that time, stick figures with whatever crayon is available and a life’s work is launched.

Caballero’s show is all about color.  And this might echo the artist herself since she seems to be a colorful person.  Her father, she tells me, was employed by the State Department and his assignments took him to various cities in Mexico and the southern parts of this country.  Gloria was born in Mexico City, while her father was on duty there.  Most of her life, however, was centered in El Paso, and other southern cities. The family did not often accompany the father on his assignments. Gloria’s mother was ill with a type of leukemia and needed constant care.  This generally fell on Gloria and her siblings.

As a youngster, Gloria always seemed to be able to find work.  One of her favorite jobs was as a model in El Paso.  There were two department stores in town and each time they had a new line of clothing to offer she would get a call to model.  Her delight, however, was in painting.  She recalls the elation she felt when a high school teacher entered one of her paintings in a contest and it won an honorable mention.  She said that all an individual needs is something like that, something that will give the student the confidence and the encouragement to continue the work they love.
The works on exhibit show the versatility of Gloria, the artist.  There is the bold, bright images in oil, the lesser ones in acrylic, and then the quiet, tender ones in watercolor.  She tells me that she was vastly influenced by the expressionist painters, Cezanne and the like and much of her work is examples of this trend.  If we had a preference it would be in her watercolors, mostly images of water scenes, boats and the like that express the medium to its fullest.
Gloria, we understand has exhibited in various Southern California galleries such as the Tarbox Gallery of San Diego and the Jenner Street Gallery of La Jolla.  She had her first solo show at La Galleria in Tijuana which, we might say, gives her an international audience.

The current show in Bonita will run through May 16.  The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 in the afternoon.  The show is well worth a special trip.

Speaking of galleries, Beverly Sanchez, another local artist, alerted me to the art gallery at the J Street Marina.  We will tour this facility within the next few weeks and report on it.  An art gallery is something new for Chula Vista. We believe it will give a healthy boost to culture here. 

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