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A A! is for Apple 

Peggy Irvine’s drawings and other arty delights

Few fruits come close to occupying the place in mythology held by the apple. From the infamous Tree of Knowledge incident to the golden apples used to distract Atalanta in her fateful race, apples have been used to deceive. But they're also symbols of innocence -- behold the apple-cheeked youth, wholesome as apple pie. Slice one horizontally for a view as suggestive as any of Georgia O'Keefe's flowers. Iconic still life subject, the apple's place in art is assured. Similarly, apples and bookstores have a natural, if somewhat unexpected, relationship -- at least, according to Eureka Books. You missed the apple tasting if you missed last week's Arts Alive!, but the apple art show continues through the month of November. Originally inspired three years ago by artist Peggy Irvine's botanical illustrations of local apples, owner Scott Brown invited a few apple farmers to come to Arts Alive! and offer samples that evening. The event was a smash. The following year, people stopped in with apples from their own trees to show off and lined up with questions on orchard care for the farmers. And with every unique apple that walked in the door, Irvine found inspiration. This year's exhibit features her newly-completed set of apple drawings, plus graphite drawings of Douglas fir cones and cherries, and watercolors of native flowers. Eureka Books is located at 426 Second St. in Old Town across from the Gazebo. For more information on the exhibit, visit

Legends of the ocean also abound, and here in Humboldt, the ocean is an inextricable part of the culture. On Saturday, Nov. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m., Eureka Art and Frame Company hosts "Upwelling," a show featuring Matt Beard and Shawn Griggs, two local chroniclers of the waves, along with guest artist Spencer Reynolds, down from Brookings. The surf-jam band Liwefi will provide trance-inducing rhythms. Anyone familiar with Griggs' and Beard's work already knows to expect a high-quality show -- life shimmers off every canvas. Everyone else can preview at, and Immerse yourself. Eureka Art and Frame is located at 1636 F St., Eureka.

Further collaboration takes place at College of the Redwoods with "Conversation: A Ceramics Exchange," an exhibit featuring ceramic-based art by the students at the CR and Mendocino College Art Departments. Works ranging from traditional wheel-thrown vessels to innovative, wall-based installations are on display at the CR Art Gallery. A visiting artist workshop with Mendocino's Gregory Baird takes place in CR's CA 136 on Thursday, Dec. 9, the final day of the exhibition, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, or to make an appointment to see the show, call 476-4558. 

Meanwhile, in Arcata, Victor Hernandez has spent the last year creating an unprecedented arts alliance with the Humboldt Arts Project (HAP). In its first year, HAP has exhibited thousands of pieces of work from more than 500 local visual and performing artists. This month's Arts! Arcata, HAP takes over several sections of A-town with shows at the Ironside Gallery (Ninth and I streets, aka "the old surf shop" -- it looks so barren without Matt Beard's brilliant mural adorning the windows!), the Robert Goodman Wines Good Taste Tasting Room (937 10th St.), Humboldt Brews (856 10th St.) and the Jambalaya (915 H St.). And, as with all events in Arcata, this one features samba! Specifically, SambAmore. Further details at Arts! Arcata is this Friday, Nov. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m.

While HAP has been successfully flooding the town with art by anyone desiring to be a part of things, the folks at Upstairs Art Gallery continue quietly highlighting proven local masters. The November Arts! Arcata show is a rare opportunity to see Linda Mitchell's new exhibition of oil paintings -- her first solo show in more than five years. (Note: Mitchell is a former NCJ Art Beat columnist.) "Interactions" represents Mitchell's continued fascination with painting the human form. "As a painter, I'm visually drawn to subject matter that includes people," Mitchell explained. "Painting figures is a challenging endeavor, but the human form adds a layer of emotional complexity and visual interest I haven't found with any other subject matter." Mitchell's exhibit runs through Friday, Nov. 26, at the Upstairs Art Gallery at 1063 G St. (inside Umpqua Bank).

On a related A!A note: During the month of November, the Hunter Plaid Gallery displays ceramic sculptures and layered drawings from Kelley Donahue in "Today is a Story we Heard Long Ago." Hunter Plaid is over in Sunny Brae and, as Arcata's most progressive gallery, always worth the slight trek beyond the Plaza confines.

You do not have to trek at all to see paintings by Augustus Clark -- his work decorates Café Brio, Arcata nexus of mover-and-shakerdom. Texture and color explode off Clark's highly expressionistic pieces. He says of the Brio show, "This current series of paintings is influenced primarily by the Chinese brush masters whose main emphasis was on beauty and poetic appreciation of nature. I love these things as well. I also love the Northwest school of painters (Graves, Tobey, Case and Otto), as they were directly or indirectly influenced by Asian art and culture. This show at Cafe Brio is dedicated to them, and to you, the viewer."

Fans of color and texture should also be sure to check out paintings by artist Lida Penkova continuing at Eureka's Los Bagels Truchas Gallery, Second and E streets. Humboldt Baykeeper's Beth Werner liked her work so much she purchased a painting -- and with the holidays approaching, looking at art as potential gift material is a good idea. Just up E Street, at the Baykeeper office, Scott Hemphill's whimsical copper sea sculptures adorn the walls, hang from the ceiling and decorate the windows, along with relatively affordable and similarly capricious sketches, all nautically themed and seriously charming.

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Jennifer Savage

Jennifer Savage

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