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A summer of firsts for Courthouse Gallery

A summer of firsts for Courthouse Gallery

Three artists will make their debut at the Courthouse Gallery in Exeter this month. It also marks the first show for four new board members and a new president of the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum Association.

Titled “Summer Classics,” the Gallery’s latest show will open this weekend on Saturday, July 6 with an artists’ reception held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Food and refreshments will be catered by Kristy Alves of Hometown Emporium. At the reception, art enthusiasts will have an opportunity to discuss the exhibit with the artists. The show features watercolors by Christy Caldwell, drawings by Wendy Miller and oils by Sharon Potts.

Potts was born in Exeter, raised in Tulare and Visalia and has been living for the past 15 years in Elderwood. Potts did study art at College of the Sequoias from 1968-1970 but is essentially a self taught oil painter.

“I’m not a detail kind of girl, I’m more interested in the way colors and shapes play off of each other,” Potts said.

Potts has spent most of her time painting landscapes and seascapes but has recently started painting still-lifes and florals.

“As I work on a painting, ideas for another one pops into my head. It seems as though each painting creates another one,” she said. “When I paint, I’m in my own little world and very happy. Especially if I think it’s going well.”

Wendy Miller is a Central Valley native born in Tulare and currently living in Visalia with her husband and two children. She graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles and then spent several years living in Japan and traveling throughout Asia. She said she feels her experiences there refined her observation skills and cultivated curiosity about the world.

“The goal is to capture the emotion of a moment in time,” she said. “Each drawing is a work of discovery.”

Miller said she was interested in drawing as a child and has been taking drawing lessons for seven years. Currently a math teacher at Sierra Vista High School in Tulare, Miller draws realistic works from her own photographs in both graphite and colored pencil. She said she enjoys the ongoing dialogue and collaboration with her peers, the feeling of getting lost in a project and making a three-dimensional object appear on a two dimensional piece of paper.

“Pencil is an exacting and time consuming medium in which to work,” she said. “

The most experienced artist of the three is Christy Caldwell, who also happens to be one of the Gallery’s newest board members and an Exeter resident. Born and raised in the Visalia/Exeter area, Christy has lived in Exeter for the last 35 years. She is married to Steven Caldwell and they have four sons. Christy has been painting since the age of 7 but has never received any formal training. She originally painted oils but discovered watercolors early on and began attending workshops across the country, including those taught by art teacher Gerald Brommer of Southern California. Christy said she prefers plein aire painting and has been commissioned to paint people’s homes on canvas many times.

For the last 24 years Christy has primarily painted in the form of teaching her grandchildren while working as a labor and delivery nurse at Kaweah Delta Hospital. With her retirement last month, Christy said she plans to become more involved in the Exeter art community. She took her first step recently by becoming one of the newest members of the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum Association’s board of directors.

Christy is part of a changing of the guard at the museum. She joins husband Steve Caldwell, Robyn Stearns and Jim Tyler as new, younger members on the Board of Directors of the Exeter Art Gallery and Museum Association. Stearns is the board’s new president, relieving Ed Zimmerman who served as an interim president since founding President Leon Ooley resigned last year.

“We have such a good thing going here and I’m so pleased with all that is happening at the Gallery and Museum,” Stearns said.

Zimmerman remains on the board and will continue to serve as chairman of the scholarship committee. The board did lose longtime board member Jim Gordon who will remain as a volunteer docent.

The Courthouse Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. For information about upcoming exhibits, special events or to volunteer as a docent, call the gallery at 559-592-5900.

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