Benjamin Yu is the winner of the 2013 Congressional Art Competition. Benjamin’s artwork, "Monotony", will represent California’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. Capitol, where it will be displayed for one year. Benjamin, senior at Jesse M Bethel High School in Vallejo will attend the Academy of Art University in San Francisco as a Fine Arts Major on a full scholarship.
Julian Gordon of McKinleyville is the winner of the 2012 Congressional Art Competition. Julian’s artwork, an oil portrait on canvas titled “Erin”, will represent California’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. Capitol, where it will be displayed for one year. Julian, senior at Arcata High School who is taking Advanced Placement Art.
Bill Clarke has lived in Napa, California all his life. He spent much of his youth on the Clarke Ranch in Napa County where ducks were plentiful and many hours were spent hunting. Naturally, Clarke took a special interest in collecting and carving decoys.
Clarke's choice of materials was always distinct to the region: In the late 1800's, railroad's were built on part of the family ranch, granted by a right-of-way. The original railroad ties were made of redwood. As the ties were replaced, they were given to neighboring farmers to use as fence posts. When the posts were later removed, Clarke saved them and now use the ties for carving the beautiful naturally-colored duck decoys such as the ones displayed in Rep. Thompson's offices.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Beverly Wilson began painting lessons at the young age of 11 and continued art studies through college. Beverly holds a Fine Arts Degree from UCLA where she studied with noted artists Richard Diebenkorn and Jan Stussy. Soon after graduating, she spent a year in Italy, selling her sketches as she traveled through Tuscany and Umbria. It was her love of the wine country and the tranquillity of rural life which brought her to the Napa Valley in 1983.
The source of inspiration for much of her work is the beauty and simplicity of everyday life. She is impressed by the more obscure and overlooked subjects and attempts to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary by the use of vibrant color and bold composition. The combination of reality and imagination work together to capture the moment. What is implied is just as important as what is obvious.
The woodturning artwork of the late Bill Giese is a unique contemporary collection of bowls that embraces the traditions of old world craftsmanship. Giese was an artist whose work reflects a background in carpentry and precision tool work. The elegant geometric simplicity of his designs also reflects his experience in interior cabinetwork. Giese created his bowls by using hardwoods and softwoods from all over the world, combining colors and grains that enhance the form and structure of each piece. The international influences are not only found in his use of material, but are also alluded to in his design patterns.
Numerous art shows around the country have recognized Giese with awards for his wood turning skills. His work is shown in galleries and collections across the country, from Illinois to Texas to California. He was a member of the Humboldt Woodworking Society, the American Association of Wood Turners, and the Redwood Empire Woodturners. The bowl pictured below may be found in Congressman Thompson’s Washington, D.C. office.
Carol Andersen is a visual artist who has lived in Humboldt County for over twenty years. She received her Masters of Art in painting from Humboldt State University in 1989. She has shown her work throughout California and is represented in many private collections in the United States. Andersen currently resides in a small house on the shores of Humboldt Bay, overlooking the tidal mud flats. This daily connection with nature serves as a constant influence for her art work and the Pacific Rim provides great inspiration for her drawings and paintings.
Andersen’s colorful fish painting displayed in Congressman Thompson’s office is the first in a series dedicated to the conservation of watersheds. Andersen believes that an overall policy and plans for watershed protection and restoration are greatly needed. She feels that clean water, clean air and healthy resources are elements of public trust.
Artist Claudia Flood received her Masters in Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington and also attended Burnley School of Commercial Art in Seattle. Her work has shown extensively from San Francisco to Louisville, Kentucky, and her paintings have become prized among private art collectors around the country. Flood recently displayed her work in one-woman shows at the Atrium Gallery, the Lurie Company, San Francisco, and the Mendocino County Museum in Willits. Last year, she was commissioned by Allied Domecq to do a series of paintings on wine bottles as represented by Clos du Bois, Atlas Peak, and William Hill Wineries. These bottles were auctioned at the Winesong charity auction this past summer and the proceeds went to the North Coast Hospital Fund.
The oil on canvas painting chosen by Congressman Thompson is one in a series of portraits of notable local farmers and ranchers entitled “Mendocino County History Makers.” This particular piece features longtime Potter Valley resident David Hopper. Flood may be contacted at her Potter Valley studio through her website.
An avid fisherman, Daniel Vallerga has been tying fishing flies for over 45 years. Vallerga is a retired phone company supervisor who currently resides in Humboldt County. The spey flies featured in Congressman Thompson’s Washington office are Mr. Vallerga’s White Winged Akroyd, Lady Caroline, and Glen Grant.
A decoy by Don Shebert is the latest addition to Congressman Thompson’s decoy collection. Shebert resides in Clarksburg, CA. The decoy in Congressman Thompson’s office is a Bufflehead based on a decoy by Nathan Cobb, Cobbs Isle, VA circa 1870.
Earl Thollander initially trained as an artist at City College of San Francisco, then with Earle Loran, John Haley, Worth Ryder and Eugene Newhouse at the University of California. There was an interruption of World War II, in which Thollander served as navigator and gunnery officer aboard a landing ship in the South Pacific. Nevertheless, he continued to paint and draw pictures while he was in the service. Upon his return from the war, he attended the San Francisco Art Institute and several other art schools. Thollander then trained in illustration with Patterson & Hall, a service furnishing art to advertising agencies. From that beginning, he worked as a staff artist at the San Francisco Examiner, followed by several years at Landphere & Associates as an illustrator.
Thollander had a long and varied artistic career, working in many mediums including watercolor, oil, gouache, casein, colored pencil, monotype and acrylic painting. He also drew with a bamboo pen dipped in India ink. Thollander is best known for his unique and exquisite pen and ink illustrations, and paintings that combine pen and ink with watercolor, that depict people and places from all over California, the United States and the World. In his lifetime, he had sixty one-man shows and participated in countless group and invitational exhibits. Thollander said, "To make pictures has been the joy of my life. I would gladly begin it all again.”
In 1960, Thollander became a freelance artist, pursuing his fine art interests along with commercial assignments. As the years progressed, he eventually illustrated thirty-two children’s books and twenty cookbooks, then, in 1970, began work on ten of his own books that he wrote, designed and illustrated, four of which remain in print at this time. His original book that started the acclaimed series "Back Roads of California," was published by Sunset Books for twenty-six years. Travel became a very important part of his life, and in 1974 he began to take sketching trips abroad, on which he served as escort to artists and others. By 1998 he had visited seventy-one countries.
In June of 1998, Thollander sketched a wine label for Congressman Thompson’s Congressional wine. The original sketch hangs in Congressman Thompson’s office.
Dr. Edwin Carlson is an emergency physician who has been in practice for twenty-eight years. Dr. Carlson has used photography as his artistic expression for the past 35 years. His latest endeavor has been using image and emulsion transfer techniques, as represented in the photograph Congressman Thompson used as a Christmas card serving in the California State Senate. That sketch of the California State Capitol is now framed in Congressman Thompson’s Washington office. Dr. Carlson lives and practices in Napa Valley, California.
Ed Snyder has been waterfowling and carving since he could lift a gun and wield a knife. He was an expert carver and painter at age 13, when he was carving for "shell money." He would carve and sell by the dozen back then, not realizing that he was setting the standards for west coast carvers in the years to follow.
Snyder is a member of and donor to Ducks Unlimited and the California Waterfowl Association. He is also a member of many carving and decoy associations, such as the "Pacific Flyway Decoy Association," where he has won countless best of show and first place awards. His work has been featured in many newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, and in books, such as Wildfowl Decoys of the Pacific Coast. Snyder also recently received a "Certificate of Recognition" from the California State Senate for 50 years of waterfowl carving. He currently resides in Rio Vista, California. For more information on Snyder and his work, please visit his website.
Henry Evans (1918-1990) began making botanical prints in 1958, depicting some 1400 subjects in 31 years. In that time, he was accorded more than 250 one-man shows in many countries around the world and in almost every state in the union. Self-taught as a printer, botanist, and artist, he developed a unique style and technique. He drew directly from living subjects, and all subjects were portrayed life-size. Evans used linoleum as a printing surface and an 1852 Washington Hand Press to make the prints. All of the work was done by hand. All of the materials that were used were of the best quality, and all of the editions were limited. Each linoleum-block print was numbered, dated, and signed by the artist. After printing, the blocks were destroyed.
Evans' work is in the great print collections of the Albertina in Vienna, the Library of Congress in Washington, and the New York Public Library; in various museums and libraries across the country; and in numerous private collections in America and abroad.
Some of the more notable exhibitions of Evans' prints have been held at the National Arboretum in Washington, the Royal Horticultural Society in London, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, McGill University in Montreal, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and the Los Angeles County Museum. Three prints of Evans' grapes are framed together and hang on Congressman Thompson’s office wall. Additional information on Evans and his work is available on his website.
Jan Hoyman & Douglas Browe
The ceramic craftsmanship of Jan Hoyman and Douglas Browe is a form of functional art. Not only do the artists find joy in seeing their pottery used in the act of serving food, but they also take inspiration for their decorative pieces from the joyful interaction of giving. The culmination is a celebration of food, wine, and the people who enjoy their work. The three pieces of earthenware that are displayed in our Washington office exhibit the essential forms of the Hoyman-Browe studio. For more information about Hoyman-Browe Studio, please visit their website.
Mary Silverwood grew up in Ft. Worth, Texas and graduated with a BFA and MFA degrees in Studio Art from the University of Texas. Since 1965, she has taught in public and private schools and traveled extensively in Europe, Mexico and Central America. Silverwood works in pastels, using black rag paper on which she masterfully blends broad fields of rich color with rendering lines that give her pieces extraordinary energy. Silverwood began painting at the age of 16, she sees most of the events of her life simply as interruptions to her need to put color on paper. She is a studio artist, first using a camera to capture her images. She returns to her studio to transform and compose the photos into images of brilliant color and composition.
Until recently Silverwood lived in Monte Rio, a small community in Sonoma County, California. But, in August of 2000 she moved closer to the landscapes she paints; she now lives in Belen, New Mexico.
Michael Guerriero is a talented artist raised in Central California a BA from CSU Stanislaus. He draws inspiration from the abundant natural beauty of coastal northern California.
Mick Schwartz was born in Pennsylvania and raised in California. After moving to Humboldt County, he studied sculpture and pottery at College of the Redwoods. For the past 18 years, Schwartz has owned his own studio pottery business. He uses a reduction firing technique with his own personally formulated glazes. He is known for his trout pottery, created through the use of molds formed from actual fish caught by the artist.
Noel & Janene Hilliard
Glass Tile Lamps were first conceived and crafted by the creative husband and wife team of Noel and Janene Hilliard. Drawing their inspiration from different cultures around the world and blending in large amounts of their own creative impulses, the Hilliards and their highly skilled craftspeople have produced a remarkable line of lamps that stand out with their own unique signature style.
Every lamp made at Hilliard Studio is designed by Noel and Janene Hilliard and crafted by hand. The bronze bases are cast using traditional sand cast techniques, in their foundry. To produce one lamp requires any where from 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the size and style. Each one is individually hand crafted using hundreds or thousands of mosaic glass tiles. Hilliard Lamps strives for museum quality construction and design by combining countless skilled hours with customized and high grade materials. For more information, please visit their website.
Phoebe Ellsworth was born and raised Northern California and in fact has lived here her entire life. Ellsworth is inspired by gardens and flowers, which she believes are "always asking to be painted." She finds flowers from St. Helena to be especially inspiring.
Raymond C. Carrington
An artist for thirty-five years, Raymond C. Carringtom maintains sculpture studios in both Fairfield and Mt. Shasta, California. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of California at Berkeley and also served for two years as an Intelligence Officer at Travis Air Force Base. Carrington taught advanced mathematics for thirty-five years at Vacaville High School.
Currently, Carrington is the curator of a forty-two piece permanent collection of Carrington Logging and Sawmill sculptures, which was donated to the University of California at Berkeley, College of Natural Resources in 1994. Mr. Carrington also serves as president of the non-profit organization “Carrington Foundation for Public Art,” which donates metal sculptures to qualified agencies. Carrington's metal sculptures have been shown and sold at galleries throughout the United States and Europe over the past forty-five years and are housed in many notable private collections. For more information on the Carrington Foundation, visit their website.
Born in Stamford, Connecticut, Robert Capriola has been carving decoys for personal use and for sale for many years. Raised on the coastal waters of Long Island Sound and the Chesapeake Bay, Capriola was introduced to waterfowl hunting and shooting at age ten. By age fifteen, he was carving decoys for his own use while hunting the Potomac River Bottoms and Chesapeake Bay shorelines. After a year and a half of engineering school in Colorado, and two years of seasonal conservation work, Capriola enrolled at Humboldt State University in Humboldt Bay, California.
While in Humboldt, Capriola met professional carver and bayman Bill Pinches, who apprenticed him for over one year. Pinches introduced Capriola to the world of carving competitions and encouraged him to begin selling his work. Capriola carved professionally and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources before taking a position with Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in 1996. In 1997, he began working for the California Waterfowl Association as a waterfowl habitat biologist in the Sacramento Valley and has continued to carve working decoys in his spare time out of his Chico, California shop.
Congressman Thompson is pleased to display three of Robert Capriola’s decoys. The two photographed below are the hen and the drake Wigeon.
Robert Stennett has been making ducks from intricately carved wood for over thirty years. He makes ducks in all forms—diving ducks, flying ducks and ducks that are emerging from the water. He also makes tableaus for each duck, creating a scene in which the duck can exist. Stennett started working on his duck creations in the 1970s after retiring from a career driving trucks. Each duck is created from a myriad of small meticulously carved wood pieces, showcasing a wide range of natural wood colors.
Tom Klapproth holds a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin. After studying at Wisconsin, Mr. Klapproth continued his art education at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his Masters in Art. Klapproth’s early training at Wisconsin was conservative and realistic. Berkeley caused him to change his style toward abstract expressionism. Eventually, Klapproth's own style emerged, using recognizable forms and shapes in a general expressionistic manner.
He opened the Sam Spade Private Eye Art Studio in Eureka in 1980 and later moved to his present studio at 208 C Street, where he is one of twelve working artists. His work is included in many private collections and galleries, chiefly in Northern California. He has taught in public and private schools and at the local community college, and gives private lessons in his studio.
Wendy Brayton was born and raised in Sonoma County. Only after leaving Sonoma for New York did she realize how lucky she was to be surrounded by the diverse and natural beauty that Sonoma has to offer. Brayton returned to California and enrolled in Sonoma State University, where she received her degree in sculpture. She currently spends her time painting on location, rediscovering the vistas of her home. Brayton's website can be found here.
William “Bill” Neal
Bill Neal has a long history of crafting decoys in the San Francisco Bay Area, and his influence on successive generations of carvers is widespread. When Neal moved to Blackpoint, California, he began his carving career making decoys for use on the estuary where the Petaluma River enters the San Pablo Bay.
Before World War II, Neal sold his decoys at the Redwood Sport Shop in San Rafael to supplement his income as an apprentice house painter. Upon joining the Armed Services in World War II, Neal sold his entire inventory because, as he says, “I wasn’t sure if I would be coming back!” He ultimately did return to the Bay Area and embarked on the lifelong pursuit of carving unique and beautifully crafted decoys. Neal continues to make decoys for himself or on special order.
Warren Zimmer found his passion in art during his early childhood years growing up in Beloit, Wisconsin. After attending Chicago Art College, he moved to Sausalito to pursue a career in commercial art. He began making animated training films for the U.S. Army. In 1964, he moved to Little River, worked in advertising and animation, and taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. Zimmer began working with fine water-colors, which soon became his specialty.
Zimmer also worked at the Mendocino Art Center. To promote art knowledge, he opened the Gallery Fair, now the Zimmer Gallery. He has also volunteered time in Mendocino, serving on the Mendocino Historic Preservation District, the school board, the Art Center Board, and the Rotary Club. On September 11, 1998, Warren Zimmer passed away at the age of 84, “surrounded by his second wife Leone McNeil, three sons, five grandchildren, and countless friends.”