Celebrating the Women of Chico Paper Company

We at Chico Paper Company strive to showcase the beauty our little town has to offer, and supporting the work and artistic talents of our local artists has always been a priority. 

We carry the works of the best local artists and the majority of them are women.

We celebrate these incredibly talented and fearless females. 

Art by Mariam Pakbaz  

Art by Mariam Pakbaz

 

Art by Kathryn Silvera

Art by Kathryn Silvera

Kathryn Silvera - “Perfect is boring, try extraordinary, strange, brilliant, weird, curious, exceptional or odd.”

 

Art by Pam Robinson  

Art by Pam Robinson

 

Art by Janet Weidel

Art by Janet Weidel

Janet Weidel - “As a woman in her senior years and a child of the ’60s, I have been a part of an evolution of the women's movement most of my life.

"I have experienced far more that I want to forget than what I want to remember. That being said, I have seen women come together, share their stories, tell their lives in a forum that takes strength, character and more than a little perseverance. I see today's young women taking a stand like no other time that I can remember; and do it with determination and a solid sense of unity and creativity.

"In the world of art, women still have walls to break through, changes that can be made. Great artists like Angelica Kauffman were swept under the carpet because there was no place for women in the world of art. Thankfully, brave contemporary women such as Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe gained recognition and inspired me to put brush to canvas. I know I will never be recognized as a truly great artist. But I am an artist, and I am a woman, and I am celebrating how far we have come.”

Art by Lea Gadbois 

Art by Lea Gadbois 

Art by Marilyn Quinn

Art by Marilyn Quinn

Art by Melinda Whipplesmith-Plank

Art by Melinda Whipplesmith-Plank

Art by Jeanne Nouveau 

Art by Jeanne Nouveau 

Art by Candy Matthews

Art by Candy Matthews

Art by Ellen Heise

Art by Ellen Heise

Ellen Heise - "Working as a Taiwanese woman artist in Chico has made me so different from others. Maybe I have more stories to tell like why I am here or the culture shock or how it's been harder to overcome the language barrier (luckily I majored in a foreign language and literature while I was in Taiwan). Years past I have made this place as my home and where my inspiration is from.

"I am in love with those changes in seasons and beauty in the nature. I have slowly developed my style of artistically expressing where I am from and where I am educated as an artist in the U.S. to express who I am and what I love. I feel so blessed to be apart of two different cultures, backgrounds and ideas in art and creation. There is always more for me to develop and discover from this fusion of two nations."

Artist profile: Lea Gadbois

Her artwork has been glimmering in our Fourth Street-side window and she may have even helped you design your latest custom framing project. We're talking about the multifaceted artist and fellow Chico Paper Company designer, Lea Gadbois. She is our youngest artist in the gallery and a marvel with the paint brush. 

Gadbois' impressionistic landscapes embrace the natural world in Northern California. Depicting familiar settings with bold colors and dynamic textures bring the landscapes to life, and add an element of fantasy to feed the imagination. 

The Chico artist shared her methods, inspirations and ultimate painting playlists. Get to know your neighborhood artist, Lea Gadbois. 

 

How did you get started painting?

I took an art class in high school which introduced me to the medium, followed by intro to painting in college.

I took it just for fun, not knowing I would get serious about it in the years to come. After college, I offered to help paint murals in the Babylon Art Center building (which no longer exists), and that experience ignited my interest in painting professionally.

How would you describe your style?

Part impressionism, surrealism and realism, strongly influenced by Van Gogh.

You work with a lot a textures, what is the appeal?

Working with texture is fun! It literally adds another dimension to the art, making the composition more interesting. For example, I'm working on a painting of a tree where I am building up the texture of the tree bark to the point where it starts to get sculptural. In this sense it's nice to combine modeling and painting in one piece, so that I'm not limited to one art form.

What was the inspiration for the starry night pieces with glitter?

One of my favorite things to do is to go camping and watch for shooting stars at night, where there is less light pollution. Since I can't go do that all the time, I paint the starry night scenes to procure that sense of being out in nature: peaceful, relaxing, and quiet. It's also extremely difficult to get a really good photograph of the stars, so I might as well paint the night skies how I remember them- with a little extra pizazz. Plus, it's fun to take an typical night scene and add my own twist to make it truly awesome. 

What challenges do you face with working with resin?

Not getting it on the carpet in my room, not lighting my apartment on fire, working quickly/ efficiently/accurately, keeping the dust & hair off of the art, all in a limited space. Oh and it's fairly expensive and if I mess up then I can ruin the entire piece. It's fairly toxic too so I hope the respirator that I use will prevent me from getting cancer.

Do you have any pre-painting rituals?

I usually have a big meal with lots of coffee or tea to keep me painting for several hours.

 

Do you listen to music while painting? if so, what's your ultimate art making playlist?

Definitely.  My Pandora thumbprint radio is on point. It's an eclectic mix of punk, '90s, hip-hop and alternative music --  all upbeat and fast-paced to keep me moving.

How different has it been as an artist, working in an art gallery and frame shop?

It is quite different. Each job uses a different skill set. Being around art all the time definitely inspires me to keep creating. Working on the gallery floor, I have the chance to interact with potential clients on a personal level, and hearing positive feedback also helps!

What's your favorite piece you've ever made?

It's really difficult to choose just one favorite .I like so many for different reasons. Some pieces I've spent countless hours to complete, and others were more spontaneous and whimsical. each piece has a memory of a struggle or challenge that was overcome. I guess if I had to choose one it would be a drawing of my boot on a record with a guitar in the background, which were objects that represented me at the time-a-self- portrait. A traumatic event happened when I was working on that piece, so there are a lot of emotions tied to that drawing.

Which medium do you prefer and why, painting or drawing?

Painting because it is less restrictive and I like working with color and texture. Plus if I mess up, I can always paint over it.

Drawing is a lot less forgiving!

A carpenter's life ...

Chico Paper Company artist Kurtis Kruger was asked to create a piece of furniture to fit with our client’s newly remodeled home.

The request was simple, they wanted a unique counter top to pair with their kitchen cabinets. Kruger delivered a stunning design.

He envisioned a live-edge wooden bar top counter where the clients’ kids will eat breakfast, and a pounded copper table top for the other side of the bar. Stools with a similar, organic shape complete the little breakfast nook.  

It’s a functional, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture our client and his family will cherish for years to come.

Kruger walked Chico Paper Company through his process of tackling such a statement piece of home furnishing.

How did you approach this project?

I'm very humbled when people consider my taste and skill set worth incorporating a piece in their house. I'm always honored to be chosen to work creating ideas and furniture for other people.

This project was no different. The client enjoys the beauty of live edge wood and the story that the wood itself can tell. Telling that story is my passion in woodworking.

The organic nature of the wood before Kurtis Kruger transforms it into a counter top. 

The organic nature of the wood before Kurtis Kruger transforms it into a counter top. 

What was it like collaborating with the client?

The clients were wonderful. Of course every design starts with a basic idea. But after that idea, I like to let the wood decide how it will best be displayed. The clients gave me artistic freedom to design the pieces and work with the space in order to accomplish the detail they wanted. This is where I do my best work, having the design freedom to let the space and natural materials allow for the artistry that makes my pieces different than furniture plans that can be purchased at any given hardware store.

Kurtis Kruger sanding down the wood in his workshop. 

Kurtis Kruger sanding down the wood in his workshop. 

Close up of the wood grains. "I like to let the wood decide how it will best be displayed," Kruger said. 

Close up of the wood grains. "I like to let the wood decide how it will best be displayed," Kruger said. 

How was seeing your work completed in the client's space?

It is always gratifying. It's great to see hard work come to fruition. What is more gratifying, however, is knowing that that piece will have a long-life of use and enjoyment.

Kruger hand-pounding the sheet of copper that will wrap around the client's kitchen counter. 

Kruger hand-pounding the sheet of copper that will wrap around the client's kitchen counter. 

A side view of the installed table top with stools. 

A side view of the installed table top with stools. 

A closeup of the pounded copper installed. The client said messages and doodles inscribed with lemon or anything acidic can be left on the copper counter and easily wiped away without permanent damage. A fun little perk to the family's original piece of furniture. 

A closeup of the pounded copper installed. The client said messages and doodles inscribed with lemon or anything acidic can be left on the copper counter and easily wiped away without permanent damage. A fun little perk to the family's original piece of furniture. 

Artist Profile: Kathryn Silvera

Kathryn Silvera is a mixed-media artist who is always challenging her artistic abilities to create interesting pieces.

Chico artist Kathryn Silvera. 

Chico artist Kathryn Silvera. 

Her intricate imagery blends the artist's love of literature with her own artistic storytelling. She works primarily with resin, watercolor and encaustics (bees wax).

Mythology and literature are eloquently married in her latest work.

There is something so haunting to each piece. After spending some time with her artwork, an appreciation of the thematic elements and layers adds to the love of her creativeness.

Kathryn sat down with us to share her creative process and opens up why book pages are a staple to her style.

What is the inspiration for your new body of work?

I was hanging out with my friends and somebody was talking about Lenny from the novel “Of Mice and Men.”

I was all “Lenny, who strangled that poor bunny?” -- it was a mouse but it made me think of a bunny -- I don’t know why. That book also makes me think of “Watership Down” -- Again a bunny, not sure why. But then I made the bunny and gave him wings, which later seemed inappropriate so I made a cat with wings.

I don’t set out to create with anything specific, it’s just kind of a chain of events that inspire my artwork.

Your imagery lately has been featuring a lot of skulls (human or animal), what is the appeal?

It connects us to our history. There are a lot of threads to our past that will interconnect us to our present and lead us to our future as well.

What challenges do you face with working with resin?

Not getting resin on me.

 

How do you know when a painting is done?

It just feels right. You know, it’s talking to you as you’re working.

Do you have any pre-painting rituals?

Yes. Usually, I’ll put on music, but just for one minute, I’ll take a moment to close my eyes and zen. I probably sound like a weirdo, but I’ll just take a moment to find the center -- just like everybody, everybody has so much going on, and you’ll be stirring just from your day, and I want to slow that pot. Whatever is going into my art, that’s my heart, and I don’t want anything else going on. I’ll take the moment to blank out. It’s just a second though, and then it’s over.

Where do you draw inspiration when you select color palettes?

From the subject of my painting itself. What makes sense to me and also whatever is tickling my pickle that day. It doesn’t always have to be the correct color of a bunny -- if I want to make it blue, i’ll just make it blue -- it all comes from my weird brain. It would be multiple avenues, nothing particular. Often it’s nature but barring that, it has become the stranger/danger place that is my imagination.

You often use a lot of book pages and literature in you work. How important are those words with your imagery or how much do you consider the words when approaching a painting?

I always like to match it up. I do my piece, and then I match it up.

When I read a book, I include that book -- especially if I’ve had it for years and if I’ve read it several times -- each time I read it, at different points in my life, it’ll have a different meaning to me.

Like when I read a piece of literature at 16 it meant something different when I was 21 and it meant something completely different at 31. Then I take that book I had when I was 16 and I rip out the pages, it’s like a piece of me that I’m including in that particular art piece, and I’m doing it for a specific reason because it’s thematic to that piece. Whomever is viewing it is also reading snippets from those pages, if they read that book then they’re remembering how they felt when they read it. They might have had some of the same feelings I had. It’s like being pulled back into that piece both with the literature and the artwork. It’s like a chain of events for me, like I’m sharing my favorite book in an nontraditional way.

Kathryn Silvera coats a piece of artwork with resin during Open Studio Tours last year.

Kathryn Silvera coats a piece of artwork with resin during Open Studio Tours last year.

Do you ever have a sense of guilt when you rip into your favorite book?

No, not at all. I have this Thesaurus -- reference books are my serious jam -- and whenever my husband and I travel, we’ll go into used bookstores, I’ll hit up the reference section.

One in particular I got from a family friend, and that one is about halfway thin because I’ve been yanking pages out for art for years now. Every time I take a page out of that one, it’s super special and I get a little bit like eeeeek, this is a special page right here. I loved that person who gave me that book and that person is no longer here anymore. It’s not guilt, it’s more like, this is a golden feather right here -- it’s more that feeling.

What's next?

I'll listen to wildly different music while painting. Like last night I had on classical and the previous night I was listening to Skrillix. I was thinking of putting playlists on the back of each painting.

From the Frame Shop: Picturesque design meets preservation

When our client, Barbara, received the gift of a hand-painted vase from Vietnam, she instantly wanted to display it. 

Framing a vase isn't one's first instinct, but Barbara's main concern was preservation of the beautifully crafted vessel. 

"I knew if I put it out, people would touch it," she said. 

So we worked with her in selecting a deep enough frame to house the vase and a lovely silk, fabric mat to line the walls of her shadow box. 

Barbara also wanted the vase to be propped up in the shadow box, so we made a velvet wrapped box for the gorgeous vase to rest on. 

Our framer/owner Eric, mapped out the lining of the shadow box walls. Each side ishand-wrapped with a pink, silk fabric. Eric also, and unintentionally, matched the light pink silk fabric. 

Our framer/owner Eric, mapped out the lining of the shadow box walls. Each side ishand-wrapped with a pink, silk fabric. Eric also, and unintentionally, matched the light pink silk fabric. 

Because the vase will be displayed vertically, Eric chose to wrap the fabric with the silk threading going horizontally. The horizontal grain breaks up the upright piece. 

Eric played with a few ideas on how to create the box. He finally settled with stacking pieces of acid free foam boards. 

Eric played with a few ideas on how to create the box. He finally settled with stacking pieces of acid free foam boards. 

A close up of the vase's detail against the silk fabric. 

A close up of the vase's detail against the silk fabric. 

And viola! Barbara has another gorgeous design and display for her Asian-themed living room. 

And viola! Barbara has another gorgeous design and display for her Asian-themed living room. 

Picture This: What to do with antique, thrifted finds

Our client and his wife brought in this tattered, old camp pennant they scored at a local antique shop. We worked with them to select the perfect hand-wrapped fabric mat on which to float the pennant.

The tall, dark and handsome cherry-wood frame made a lovely home for the 1918 banner, but this project presented a few challenges. The American flag had begun deteriorating in the left-hand corner of the pennant, so our framer delicately pieced those red and white stripes back together. 

Our framer/owner, Eric, hand stitched the 61.75" by 25.5" pennant to a hand-wrapped sea-foam green fabric mat. 

Our framer/owner, Eric, hand stitched the 61.75" by 25.5" pennant to a hand-wrapped sea-foam green fabric mat. 

Eric then carefully pieced back the frayed, fragmented American flag. 

Eric then carefully pieced back the frayed, fragmented American flag. 

A close-up of the flag before. 

A close-up of the flag before. 

Eric (left) and our client (right) pose with the finished product. What an awesome antique find to have framed in your home!

Eric (left) and our client (right) pose with the finished product. What an awesome antique find to have framed in your home!

Video: Design. Create. Deliver. Install.

Good design doesn't have to be expensive.

Choosing a custom designed frame, as opposed to a ready made option, offers endless choices.

The touch of a fabric mat, the detail of a beaded fillet hugging your image, or the depth of a shadow box can enhance your artwork while preserving it for years to come.

Our vast selection of hand-crafted frames cater to anyone's style, whether you lean toward a modern, sleek look or a gold-leaf embellished frame, or prefer a rustic, weathered look, we have it. With preservation framing, your beloved items or artwork will be safe from harmful exposures causing fading and deterioration.

In the end, custom framing pays for itself.

From the Frame Shop: Designing for the occasion

When it comes to selecting the perfect frame for a project, the decision can be overwhelming, but we have you covered. 

Framing your artwork is ideal, and we see a lot of artwork come through our gallery doors, but framing for an event poster requires an extra touch of eye-catching allure. 

This idea is extended to framing for commercial design. Why not capture the aesthetic of your event by pairing it with an equally pertinent framing design? 

Concours de La Chapelle did just that.

Our client  who runs the annual benefit gala for the Rotary Club of Paradise and Northern California Ballet, selected an elegant design highlighting the best qualities of their artwork that also reflect the aesthetic of the event. 

Suede mats are doubled up to add a pop of color that takes the eye right into the vibrant red classic cars and the ballerinas. The saturated mats complement the intense color of the Concours' exquisite design. 

Suede mats are doubled up to add a pop of color that takes the eye right into the vibrant red classic cars and the ballerinas. The saturated mats complement the intense color of the Concours' exquisite design. 

Attention to detail is our master framers' speciality. 

Attention to detail is our master framers' speciality. 

A glistening gold, beaded frame lines the bold angular lines of the modern matte black frame for that extra touch of class. 

A glistening gold, beaded frame lines the bold angular lines of the modern matte black frame for that extra touch of class. 

These elegant elements married together match the decadence Concours de La Chapelle offers, and are forever preserved in this lavish, classy design. 

These elegant elements married together match the decadence Concours de La Chapelle offers, and are forever preserved in this lavish, classy design. 

Videos: Meet your neighborhood artists

If you missed our live demonstrations at the gallery for Artoberfest, fear not! We have lovely recaps of Kathryn Silvera, Pamela Robinson, Marilynn Jennings and Janet Weidel at work. 

A special thanks to our local gallery artists for sharing their craft with the Chico community, and local musicians The Rugs and Lisa Valentine for lending us their amazing music. 

Watch these masters at work! 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more artfully  fantastic updates,  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzmYoOthJFet1JzBWb8d6NA

Artist Profile: Ellen Heise

Local oil painter Ellen Heise has a knack for recreating, capturing and combining her thoughts on canvas. 

heisephoto.jpg

She eloquently illustrates the beauty of Northern California's outdoor vibrance with her brush strokes. 

Elements of her Taiwanese heritage are also apparent in her creations. It's a harmonious union of both east and west in art and ideas, and her signature painted borders offer art lovers two images in one. 

Ellen sat down with Chico Paper Company to share insight into her artistry. 

 

How long have you been painting? 

I have been drawing since I was a little child, maybe 4 or 5 years old. I remember I always got into trouble from drawing everywhere -- the wall, dining table and floor. However, I never really used paint until I met my private teacher the year before I moved to the U.S. about 17 years ago.

How have you developed your style over the years?

I have slowly developed and changed my style by keeping my mind open and trying different techniques by closely studying other artists.

 

Along with being a Chico Paper Company artist you also teach art. What do you love about the two and how has your artistic abilities helped with teaching?

I never thought of being an art teacher at public schools since English is not my primary language, but luckily my background as a professional artist and experience as an English teacher in Taiwan make me who I am now; an art teacher who also paints as a professional artist. 

I love teaching art to the children and help them to find their special ability in art. I am often surprised by my students, especially the younger ones. I love the energy and passion from my students and love to see the smile and positive environment when they are working on any art projects I bring to them. My training as a professional artist at Chico State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree does play an important role and useful tool in my teaching career.

Do you have any pre-painting rituals?

I love painting in the morning after my coffee. I love to go through all the photos I took during visits with nature to settle my thoughts and clear my ideas and then I will sit with my blank canvas for a few minutes which I call "talking to my canvas." Normally, my idea and picture of what I want to paint will come to me.

What inspires you?

Nature and colors are the two main inspirations to my creation. I think God made me a recorder of nature in this human form. I get very excited when I am in the natural environment just like a little kid goes to a candy shop.

What is it about painting that you love?

I always tell my students being an artist is the most lucky thing in my life because I can document the existing nature with my brush and paints. Being an artist helps me see things in deeper layers and details; also it helps me cherish what we have. Now my teaching job gives me the chance to spread what I think are important messages to the younger generation and to share my inspiration to those who have the same passion. 

Video: Doug Rathbun scrap metal salmon sculpture

Chico Paper Company artist Doug Rathbun is known for his fun and clever metal fish light fixtures, but did you know he can create one to your liking? 

A customer did just that. 

Watch the evolution of Doug's process creating a big-belly salmon.