The Inspired Landscape
When it comes to the art of Steve Emery and Kathleen Lipinski, it is undeniable that people’s first reactions are instant--a mix of awe and pride. The awe and pride come from seeing places that we know and love captured with a serene and majestic quality. We at once can reflect, experience and be reminded of the vast beauty of Marin County.
Steve Emery, Alpine
A Life-Fulfilling Purpose
In a short conversation with Steve Emery, his words support these thoughts: A sense of life-fulfilling purpose that comes from knowing and acting with passion to preserve and support community. The husband and wife duo are facets of the Marin art community and also the broader community in general--even receiving the Marin Cultural Treasure Award in 2014. They also worked and contributed to charities for the past thirty years. One charity close to their hearts that Emery mentioned is the Buckelew Programs.
Kathleen Lipinski, Point Reyes Evening
The print, Point Reyes Evening, Emery used as a marker to retrace how he and Kathleen began making art. Over twenty years ago, Emery came back to the Bay Area after college in Santa Cruz. It was then that they would screen print in their garage. Emery imaginatively explained the layered process to achieve the multicolored skies that made Lipinski well-known. The different colored inks are "like honey, but thinner”, put in place with a squeegee run across for a smooth gradient. This technique is used for skies, sunsets, and “fog between mountain ridges”.
As their work evolved, Lipinski’s later works include commissions. Known for her signature skies, Emery noted that the commissioned piece, Mt. Tamalpais at Sunset, diverges from Lipinski's main body of work. Because of the nature of this commission, the sky is imposing, with clouds and coral color scheme. This distinct vantage point of Mt. Tamalpais was in fact the view from the individual's home.
Kathleen Lipinski, Mt. Tamalpais at Sunset
When I asked about the concepts of place and purpose, Emery had several points to expand on. One of them is that this “wilderness” of Marin is what initially attracted people here: they got the opportunity to get away from San Francisco’s urban setting and be with individuals who preserved Marin’s natural beauty.
Another major point was that both the community and this couple grew from each other. In this specific environment, the public engagement and neighbors helped the couple thrive. Emery also believes that is truly why they received the Cultural Treasure Award; their contribution to the community did not go unnoticed.
The last point brings everything full circle: the poignant thread of the artist’s work and life.
Emery explained over the years “following branches”, and in turn, he and Lipinski make their own “branches and leaves”. He stated that creating is “one of the most admirable pursuits and actions that a human can do” and is “not limited to the visual arts”. Artists have a sense of carrying on a shared “history and continuum”. These statements and the imagery that he constructs with these words are the treasure of their work.
Creating is “one of the most admirable pursuits and actions that a human can do”
The pair continue to work outdoors, hike, and take photographs all across Marin County. After years of showing at the Sausalito Art Festival, they will now transition to Mill Valley’s Art Festival, and Lipinski will even create the event art. Be on the lookout for their work and the Mill Valley Art poster!
Thank you to Steve and Kathleen for taking the time to speak with us, and the opportunity to write this. Visit their website and blog to see more art and learn more about them at:
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