Wieghorst Museum’s ‘Moments in Time’ features artists of various flavors

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Contrary to the misconception, painters are using both sides of the brain in the process of creating art. There is a preparation stage that includes measuring, analyzing, logical thinking and only after this chapter is complete, the right brain turns on and propels the creator right into “the zone” where there is no sense of time or space. Oh, and the enviable life of people who sees things as they are not and translate the world for us by using brushes and colors.

Contrary to the misconception, painters are using both sides of the brain in the process of creating art. There is a preparation stage that includes measuring, analyzing, logical thinking and only after this chapter is complete, the right brain turns on and propels the creator right into “the zone” where there is no sense of time or space. Oh, and the enviable life of people who sees things as they are not and translate the world for us by using brushes and colors. At least this is how Grace Schlesier explains her creative process, describing how sometimes she has an idea first, and then goes out in the beautiful San Diego looking for a space to illustrate it or is inspired by the landscape to tell a different story.  Some of Schlesier’s art pieces are now on display at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum in El Cajon as part of the art show  “Moments in Time,” featuring several local artists.

Museum Director Earlene Hollmichel aims to bring people in attracted not only by Olaf Wieghorst’s original art which is permanently displayed, but also by the multitude of artistic themes featured by the “Moments in Time” exhibit and signed by Grace Schlesier, Gloria Chadwick, Denise Rich, Dennis Torzeski, Millie Shaw and Debbie Hughbanks. Wildlife, landscape and still life in oil, watercolor or scratchboard adorn the walls of the museum in a very inviting and inspiring setting.

Schlesier was present with two pieces illustrating the ocean, something she loves the most, and several other landscapes.

“To me, art is really experimenting. I am always learning and hopefully every painting I do is a little better than the one I did before, but that’s not always the case, many get scraped,” she said.

She is now working on a fairly large frame called “Gentle Surf” and “it’s like walking on the beach in the surf and I want people to feel that their toes are in the warm water in the sand as they are walking.” Schlesier taught art for more than 20 years, “but now I have shows all over and I am not here on a regular basis, so I had to quit. Some of the students I had go out painting with me and I still critique their work.”

Schlesier has her studio at her home in Mt. Helix and considers herself blessed to live in such an incredible location that offers an endless variation of landscapes as a source for her amazing art. 

Explaining the name of the show “Moments in Time,” Rich talked about her favorite subjects, the bovines.

“Mostly it’s a moment in time that I witnessed personally,” she said. “When I go out in the field and I take a picture, it’s about me being there and the sights and the sounds, hearing their breathing and their mooing. They are making eye contact, they are interacting and it really is a peaceful, wonderful experience. So I bring the photos back to the studio, I am not just looking at the pictures that someone else took, these are pictures I took, I am referencing being in the field with them and the sounds and everything.”

Each cows seems to have its own personality and quite noticeable is a sassy one in the corner of a small frame and how the other comes across as very playful. Rich admits that this is “the number one comment I get from the people who raised them and are moved” by the fact that they can actually recognize the cows based on their personality, not only by the physical features. Rich is a local artist and her studio is open to the public on Main Street in El Cajon, very close to the museum. She spends lots of time looking for models, drives to far away farms to connect with owners to ask for permission to use their cows as models for her paintings.

“At one point I put an add in the Ramona paper and I just said “artist who paints cows looking for models and I had three people answering,” she said.

Hollmichel reiterates the many attractions the museum has to offer.

“We want to get people into the museum. We have a lot of people saying, we didn’t even know you’re here. We want people to see what we have to offer, see the Wieghorst’s original art – his paintings, watercolors and sketches. We have a beautiful cactus garden open to visitors and we also have his house where he lived when he moved to El Cajon,” she said.

The exhibit will be open until August 22.

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