"Lakeside Harmony" by Neil Andersson | Credit: Courtesy

There’s beauty in simplicity.

And at Lompoc Valley Art Association’s Cypress Gallery, simplicity is what the upcoming Water and Wood exhibition is rooted in. Featuring artists Neil Andersson and Chuck Klein, the collection includes painting and woodworking pieces centered around natural scenery and elements.

For both Andersson and Klein, the natural world has inspired their art for years. Andersson’s work revolves around painting scenes on-site using oil or pastel, while Klein uses wood from the Santa Barbara area to craft simple yet intricate designs. Coming together for the exhibit was an effortless decision as both had admired each others’ work for a while.

“I think we share a love of art as a knowledge-based, transformative process,” said Klein about why the pair decided to collaborate with each other. For both artists, art is a way to creatively interpret their life experiences.

In this collection, a majority of Andersson’s pieces were painted at Kiwanis Lake in Lompoc. With soft shading, light pastels, and melded colors, his work is a delicate interpretation of the environment there. For him, a standout piece in the exhibit is “Lakeside Harmony,” as it perfectly captures the peace he feels painting at Kiwanis Lake.

“Mid Day Sparkle” by Neil Andersson | Credit: Courtesy

“Really, I’m just trying to make something that I like to look at — and hope that someone else will like it too,” Andersson said about his artistic process. “The beauty is that for each person, that image of the real place comes only from the painting, which for each viewer is different. I love that.”

For Klein, his woodworking displays an expert understanding of how to showcase natural elements in their best form. Incorporating the organic shapes of the wood and complementary elements such as bird feathers or carved beads, his pieces are modest yet sophisticated.

“Growing up in Santa Barbara, I was always amazed at the diversity of the physical environments that exist in a remarkably small area,” Klein said when asked about how his environment inspires his pieces. “For the artist, having all this beauty and inspiration so accessible is a remarkable miracle lived out every day.”

Water and Wood will be open to public viewing at Cypress Gallery (119 E. Cypress Ave., Lompoc) from March 30 to April 23. See lompocart.org.


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