Panoram-azing: New works by Iris Sabre at Benicia Plein Air Gallery
By Keri Luiz
All of the oil paintings are new, painted on-site within the last few months. And all are the same dimension: 18 inches by 24 inches.
But the landscapes vary widely and colorfully, from the windmill at Golden Gate Park to the mist-enshrouded shores of Point Richmond.
The work belongs to Albany-based Iris Sabre, featured artist at the Benicia Plein Air Gallery for the month of January.
Sabre divides her time between six painting groups in the Bay Area, including Benicia’s Da Group, meaning she gets to spend her days visiting some of Northern California’s most beautiful spots. “Some times I go out alone, some times I go out with friends,” she said.
Lately Sabre’s work has been influenced by the classes she took over the summer with Petaluma-based artist Camille Przewodek.
“I’ve been using more warm colors,” Sabre said. “I took the classes from her because I really like the use of her warm colors. Very warm, and she really accentuates the color effects of light.”
Did that affect Sabre’s painting style? “I don’t know if I’ve changed very much. Sometimes it’s looser, sometimes it’s tighter,” she said.
“I’ve heard people say that everybody has their own way of using the brush, and it’s pretty unique to them, and that’s their style.”
And her work can be very gestural, because she prefers to finish a painting in one sitting. “It can get pretty extreme,” she said.
“I usually try to complete it in one time outdoors. If I go inside and try to work on it more, it doesn’t have the same kind of enthusiasm, and it’s hard to match the light,” she said.
“The light is changing so rapidly that I feel like the best thing is to paint as rapidly as I can. That probably comes across in the brush strokes.”
The gestural style gives the viewer two different perspectives from the same painting. While it may look like a lot of loose colors up close, from a distance the paintings tighten up and give the viewer a much sharper image.
“They do carry better from a distance, usually,” Sabre said.
“When you are painting you have to stand back and see the whole thing from a distance. You have to keep walking back a little ways.”
If You Go
Iris Sabre’s new works will be at Benicia Plein Air Gallery, 307 First St., from Jan. 10 through Feb. 3. An artist’s reception will be Jan. 12 from 5-7 p.m.