On Saturday, June 10, 2017, Escondido hosted the “Second Saturday Art Walk” which occurs each month. Having just hosted a painting party that afternoon, I carefully raced down to Grand Avenue to engulf myself in more art.
The sun began to melt into a pillow of clouds as a band sang its lullaby in front of a building which reads “Arthatch / Distinction.” As I approached this art collector’s haven, the music became louder, which quickly faded upon entering the warmth of the building.
“Distinction Gallery” houses two stories of exquisite art by emerging and seasoned artists. The high caliber of artistry from the new artists flows seamlessly into those works of the experienced. This creates an adventurous-like ambience while visiting the gallery. This evening’s exhibit is entitled “Furs, Tails, Feathers and Scales.” To name a few: artists such as Brady Willmott, Armando Gonzales, Jennifer Anichowski and Michelle Hauswirth all deservingly display their breathtaking works on the walls of this exhibit.
Ascending towards the second story of the building is like flying through a vivid time warp. Both staircase walls are adorned with admirable pieces by a motley of Distinction’s artists. Each staircase may get jammed like State Route 78 without complaint since this is a traffic jam that any art connoisseur would welcome into their lives.
The top story houses the elaborate studios of resident artists. On this evening, the studio, which echoed the “Furs, Tails, Feathers and Scales” theme belonged to artist Sarah Catherine who specializes in painting horses. With so many books on how to paint animals, it is easy to get lost in the millions of horse paintings. Sarah’s work however, slices neatly down the center of the clutter standing out on its own.
An accomplished pianist, Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science degree which provided her with a promising career. It was the passion for painting that encouraged her to withdraw from her career so that she could embrace her true inner self through art. Speaking with Sarah, one gets the sense that she isn’t the stereotype of an artist.
“Not to sound clichéd, but when I paint, it’s more of a spiritual feeling,” she says.
What is intriguing about her work is her realistic approach to painting. The compositions of each horse are also unique since they eschew
traditional portraiture. Sarah credits feeling once again with her inspiration.
“I wouldn’t say it’s realistic,” she says, collecting her thoughts.
Looking around the neatly organized studio, she picks up an older painting to demonstrate. Even her older works are striking, impeccable and detailed.
“This painting here is more ‘painty’ looking,” she explains. “So, I never really set out to become a ‘realistic’ painter. I just went with my inner feeling and it evolved naturally. If you had to label it, I guess you’d call it ‘contemporary realism,’ but I’m not sure.”
If art is a reflection of her inner self, Sarah is warm, unique and humble. Her experiences and perspectives are significant to the world of art. Perhaps it is her background in music because, similar to catchy songs, it is difficult to remove the horses from your mind.
The exhibit “Furs, Tails, Feathers and Scales” runs through July 1, 2017. When you visit, don’t be surprised if you’re left with the sounds of galloping horses echoing through your mind afterwards.