Visual Violins of the Mendocino Coast



Artist: Babs Levine

The violin is really my first decoupage creation.  I think one can see my quilt making influence also.  I started out making the checkerboard mosaic around the rib of the violin from little pieces of paper from the NY Times Magazine that I glued to a strip of fabric.  It made it easier to go around the curves.  I kept the front of the violin quite simple because I wanted to feature the beautiful curves of the F holes.  I used real fabric on the front, which perhaps was a mistake because it took many coats of varnish to make it smooth.  I have never held a violin before now and it was such fun to participate in this challenge.

I grew up in Los Angeles, but have owned property here since the mid-70s.  My husband and I built our house from a kit, working on it over a 20 year period and we have lived there permanently for 13 years.  Joe Rosenthal helped us build the second phase of our house, which includes my art studio.  It was through him that we became acquainted with the College of the Redwoods Community Choir and we have been participating in this choir and the Music Festival Choir ever since.  Last year I joined the Mendocino Women’s Choir as well.  I do love music, especially classical music.   I also love Visual Arts and have studied sculpture (stone and wood carving), photography, drawing and painting, preferring watercolor and my most predominant love, quilt making.  My quilts are fabric collages that are meant to be hung on the wall.

Mendocino Lady


Artist: Claire Fortier

The violin's shape is reminiscent of the female body and keeping with a theme of Mendocino, our local tattoo shop was the inspiration for Mendocino Lady. The tattoos are representative of parts of our county: grapes, redwoods and music.

I first began painting in 2000 and have worked in oil, acrylic, watercolor and pastels. My favorite medium is oil and Mendocino is a gorgeous place to paint plein air or on location.  I have studied with many local artists (Bob Rhoades, Karen Bowers, James Maxwell) as well as many visiting artists at Mendocino Art Center.  I was a member of the Artists Co-op of Mendocino and currently have my work on display at Curves and Edward Jones Investments in Fort Bragg . My work can also be seen at my website:


Symphony of the Redwoods


Artist: John Rossum

“I’ve got a project.” I told the assembled members of my artistic advisory committee, Willie Bose, Bruces Dahl and Goddard, Doubie Doubiabo, Don Fosse and Ken Kearney at our regular meeting at the pub in Mendocino.  “I need to decorate a violin for the Symphony of the Redwoods”.

In less than a nanosecond our music lover, Kearney, coughed “Chainsaw!” and that had to be the path.  What else was there?  Symphony of the Redwoods- chainsaws icalzando!

The chainsaw is made from the donated violin and 28 gauge sheet steel that has been cut and acetylene-welded to form.   Then it was coated with clear lacquer to inhibit oxidation.  The base is made of American walnut and finished with wax over Danish Oil Finish.


Ballet Bricolage: Homage a Donna et Guy





Artist: Don Paglia

The lovely instrument you provided me immediately called to mind Man Ray's 1924 photograph "Le Violon d'Ingres" in which he painted "F-holes" on the semi-nude back of his model, Kiki de Montparnasse. So I decided to try something similar in a sculptural assemblage.  As a physician who has long been drawn to figurative art, it's second nature for me to see anatomical forms in such objects.  Sculptures that I've done in the past utilize found natural objects such as branches, roots, bones, etc.

I have been in lifelong awe of music-makers and dancers and have been fortunate to number both among my closest friends.  Dating back to childhood, one of the dearest is Donna Brunner Boguslav, R.N., a singular intellect, dancer, writer, calligrapher and assemblage artist.  A close friend of hers, Guy Keptelhack, plays first violin for New York City's Broadway Bach ensemble, so I thought it appropriate to honor both of them and their continued contributions to these varied art forms with this metaphorical bricolage.

I was once asked in a NASA interview what I would want to know about extraterrestrial beings, were we ever to encounter any, and my immediate and intuitive response was, "Do they make music?"  To that I would now
add, "Do they make violins or cellos?"

Los Angeles native Don Paglia has pursued simultaneous careers in academic medicine and fine arts and is currently Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine.
Initially a self-taught artist, he received formal training in multiple media under the singular influence of UCLA’s Jan Stussy.  He was appointed to the NASA Art Program to document the 1983-84 mission of space shuttle Columbia.  His paintings, drawings and sculptures have been exhibited regionally and nationally and have received ten Best-of-Show awards.  The have been included in exhibitions at the Smithsonian and Los Angeles Air & Space Museums, Kennedy Space Center, L.A. County Museum of Art, UCLA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Art Institute of Southern California and others.

He is represented by the Prentice Gallery in Mendocino, Orlando Gallery in Los Angeles, and the White Bird Gallery in Canon Beach, Oregon.

Mendocino Meadow


Artist: Judith Greenleaf

My inspiration has been the beauty, color, and movement of the Mendocino coast.  They are the subject of many of my oils and watercolors. 

Fortunately, I have never had to work at anything but making and teaching art.  I continue to give workshops at the Mendocino Art Center, at my home and studio in Little River where I have lived since 1970, and, during the winter and spring, at my art and nature center and a beach resort hotel in Los Cabos, Baja California.

My sculptures and drawings explore implications of the human form.  The watercolors and oils reflect my passion for working outdoors, absorbing the essence of nature in the moment.  In everything, the process is spontaneous, intuitive, an ongoing dialogue with the material.  I never know what anything is going to look like till it’s done.  Please visit or contact me at



One Violin: Many Pieces




Artist: Karen Bowers

The title comes from the song ONE by U2.  “We [play] as ONE, but we are not the same.  We get to carry each other, carry each other…” 

I began to paint in Mendocino in the early 1980’s, inspired by the natural landscape…the sea and the forest.  My initial approach to this violin “canvas” is rooted in this painting genre.

Thematically, I looked at the idea of a symphony…the variety of instruments, sections, orchestra members, the many pieces played over time and thought about the distinctions and the harmony, or unity, of the musical result.  I researched SOR’s programs, since 1983, and culled the names of the people (approx. 87) who played violin over time. The violinists’ names run around the rim of the instrument.  The maestros are listed on the neck. The chin rest looked like a whale to me.  The sections of the orchestra are applied therein.  …ONE whale of a symphony, many sections.

The violin is painted in layers of acrylic paint and collaged with my hand made marbled paper and painted redwood leaves.  Acrylic varnish was applied in several coats to protect all of the surfaces. My collaborator and husband, Leonardo, devised the violin stand.

For me, painting is a practice, an exercise of color, shape, value and purpose.  Practice time is a chance for new work… an expansion of perspective, a purpose clarified, a willingness to keep optimism present.  This is why I paint and what I hope to convey.

Karen is known for her development of personal style and her fresh approach.  She has been exhibiting her work locally over the past 20 years, at What’s Afoot Gallery, Artists Cooperative of Mendocino, and the William Zimmer Gallery and has earned top awards in national juried shows.  In 2004, Karen was selected as an Artist-in-Residence at Yosemite National Park, where she had the honor of showing her paintings at the Yosemite Museum Gallery.  Recent works of Karen’s can be seen in her studio, by appointment, and at the Mendocino Art Center.  She also teaches workshops in her studio and at local art centers.  Please visit her website at


$20.00 = 5 entries

Photos by Larry Wagner  


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