Escondido, CA

When an art exhibit is like a garden

Sharon Ford standing next to her American flag oil painting “Fly Free.”

Great art is like a blossoming garden of flowers. I stood at the doorway of the Escondido Municipal Gallery and asked my mind to guide me to that garden. A few seconds later, I found myself flying through a jovial mass of celebrative people. Within a minute, I landed within the colorful yet diverse art displays of the  “Color-Bytes” exhibit. I soon found my eyes savoring each piece like a bee gathering nectar from a mass of flowers.

Artist Theresa Early Newbern radiated like the colors of her floral inspired paintings. Her enthusiasm extended beyond her own work. She expressed admiration for the three other women with whom she shared the “Color-Bytes” exhibit. Her “Butterfly” and “Orchids I” paintings are strikingly bold yet graceful. Their size magnifies the beauty in flowers which one might otherwise miss. Although flowers are common subject matter, Theresa captures their elegance and colors at their peak complimented by well-balanced compositions.

Artist Aimee Jo’s expressionism works stood atop each other like an emotive pillar. Each piece appeared to represent a moment in her life. There is a unique strength in the vulnerable innocence of her pieces. The most soft-spoken of the four friends, it was easy to realize that her art was her voice.

The American flag is the ubiquitous symbol embedded into the minds of we the American people. Artist Sharon Ford turned that patriotic symbol into modern art. Her portrayal of the flag was respectful yet elegant. Her interpretation of the simple color palette breathed new life into each portrayal of the flag. The flag was indeed symbolic of this exhibit through the message of freedom.

Catherine McKechnie originally studied in Brooklyn New York. Her abstract works are sophisticated yet tranquil. The vertical lines of “Synergy” and “Color-scape” are mesmerizing and warm. Each color falls within the color scheme of each season making her pieces timeless. Speaking with her, one gets the idea that she has a wide variety of work that the world has yet to discover. Creating art since the third grade, she proudly explained that she hasn’t stopped since, nor ever will.

Leaving the “Color-Bytes” exhibit, I couldn’t help but feel artistically cross-pollinated. Not only from the visuals but by the spirits of these four unique women. What was captivating was how they managed to create a large world in such a small space. Each artist could easily exhibit on their own. The fact that they exhibited together made the experience much more inspiring and intimate. Without any prior knowledge about the exhibit – for whatever reason, I was drawn directly into it. Upon entering an art gallery, let your spirit be the guide and be prepared to be surprised. You never know what garden you’ll discover.

“Color Bytes The Language of Color” runs now through October 3 at the Escondido Municipal Gallery.

Story and photos by Armando Eric Padilla of

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