Dual Businesses: Upstairs Art Gallery and Levin and Company Bookstore

Dual businesses: Healdsburg bookstore serves as grand entrance to art gallery

Levin and Company bookstore has been in business for 27 years and Upstairs Art Gallery opened six years later. While the original store was also on Center street, the move to the center of the block on the Healdsburg Plaza quadrupled their business.

The bookstore, which started selling used books, developed a committed following of loyal customers who asked it to order new books. Now, only the sidewalk cart holds used books and the store is filled with new publications.

Owner Aaron Rosewater has hung out in bookstores since he was an 11-year-old, first in the long-gone Toyon Books, where his mother Adele Levin worked, then in the store his mother started with business partner Jacquie Robb. He bought out Robb in 2001.

Adding an art gallery has complemented the bookstore. Walk through Levin and Company, head up the stairs and the conversion to art gallery begins on the walls and shelves of the stairwell carry some art objects and visual art.

The gallery began with artists from the Santa Rosa Art Guild who wanted to show their work. They saw the available space and created an artist-owned gallery.

Only 16 artists belong to the gallery at a time because of the available wall space. Each artist-owner pays monthly rent and a 20 percent commission to the gallery.

Current manager Carolyn Wilson has been in the position for seven years. The first manager was Phyllis Rapp, who just returned as a gallery artist. Over the years about 60 artists have been part of the gallery.

“It’s a perfect match — the gallery and books,” said Wilson.

Levin and Company and Upstairs Art Gallery are located at 306 Center St.

For more information visit upstairsartgallery.net or levinbooks.com.






Where you can find Marsha Connell’s paintings in Sonoma County Fall 2018


, , , , , , , , ,

Anchor Bay Inlet.jpgMy Studio 2180 Beverly Way, Santa Rosa by appointment. (Showing Anchor Bay Inlet, above, and many other paintings in oil, watercolor and pastel)
marsha@marshaconnell.com 707·527·7754 main; 707·331·0105 cell
Open to public during Art Trails Open Studios
October 13, 14, 20, 21, 2018. Save the Date! Bring your friends!

IMG_2674.jpgCorrick’s (showing Pond in Bloom above), 637 4thStreet, Santa Rosa,
10 am to 5 pm Mon – Sat
Art Trails Gallery at Corrick’s, and My Daughter the Framer
Receptions every First Friday 5-7 pm

Mimi's Garden, o-c, 30 x 30".jpgUpstairs Art Gallery (showing Mimi’s Garden 1 & 2), 306 Center Street, Healdsburg, 11 am to 6 pm daily
21st Anniversary Celebration June 23 Saturday 2-8 pm. Join us!


IMG_2710.jpgEmpire College, 3035 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa 10 am to 6 pm Mon-Sat
On the walls outside the Law Library


Petits Bijoux Small Painting Jewels


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upstairs Art Gallery, 306 Center Street, Healdsburg

Please join May’s featured artists
Saturday May 12, 2-5 pm for our artist reception

Petits Bijoux  Small Painting Jewels  by Marsha Connell

Plein air painter, Marsha Connell, is exhibiting a collection of Petits Bijoux, Intimate Scale Paintings from France to California, in the Upstairs Gallery’s Small Works Showcase. The Showcase is uniquely situated to be viewed as you climb up and down the staircase.

These “Small Jewels” celebrate encounters with wild and domestic landscapes, and traveled home in suitcases to tell the story. Marsha’s expressive and rhythmic brushstrokes are a dance of color, in oil and pastel.

Reaching the top of the stairs, you can meander in Marsha’s larger scale garden paintings, from the coast to tabletop bouquets.

Creek at Bowling Ball Beach by Marsha Connell, oil, 12 x 12″

Upstairs Art Gallery is on the Mezzanine above Levin Books on the Healdsburg Plaza, across from the Gazebo.

Stop in anytime to view this month-long show, open daily 11-6, hosted warmly by the dozen plus artist/owners.

PictureSnow and Wildflowers 1 by Marsha Connell, oil on canvas, 12″x12″

I’m a new partner and will be hosting the gallery:
Saturday May 19, 3-6; Sunday May 20, 2-6; Sunday May 27, 11-6.

Renoir’s Bridge 1 by Marsha Connell, oil on canvas, 7 ½”x 9 ½”

Flora and Fauna in Silver and Gold  by Dan Scannell

Dan Scannell’s new series was inspired by Japanese screens from the 19th century.

He became interested in the highly stylized nature scenes, and thought it would be interesting to create paintings based on Sonoma county flora and fauna. He then finished the backgrounds of these paintings using gold and silver leaf as Japanese artists did when making screens.

Gold Magnolia by Dan Scannell

FOLLOW those BLUE Art Trails signs, NEW DATES October 21-22 & 28-29!


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Art Trails Open Studios rescheduled:

October 21-22 and October 28-29

Art Trails 2017 opening 018 copy.jpg

In the spirit of an offering, a gift to our community, about 130 Art Trails artists throughout Sonoma County, will open studios and hearts to the public, sharing beauty and hope. My studio, #24 on Art Trails map, 2180 Beverly Way, Santa Rosa, will be open both weekends, 10am – 5pm.

Just as music can be inspiring and soothing, light and dark, taking us on emotional journeys without words, seeing wonderful art can be uplifting, inspirational, moody and joyful, bringing comfort, solace, contemplation, refuge, and pleasure. I invite you to visit, and have a hug, share a story, tea and cookies, and travel through my plein air paintings to healing landscapes, places of memory, dreams and renewal.

Our hearts are breaking for those who have been devastated by fire. Several Art Trails artists have lost homes, studios and/or their entire art inventory. The Art Trails Artist Relief Fund has been established. Donations can be made directly at many Art Trails studios and exhibits, and on-line at www.SonomaCountyArtTrails.org or www.SebArts.org. Make checks payable to SCA, with a notation indicating Art Trails Artists Relief Fund; checks may also be mailed to Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol, CA 95472.

I will be donating a percentage of painting sales, and will also be offering my contemplative Dream Vessels collages and some hand held carved clay sculptures.

An updated list of artists and maps showing participating studios will be posted by the weekend on the www.SonomaCountyArtTrails.org home page. We encourage visitors to stay up to date on road conditions.

Thank you for supporting the arts!
Marsha Connell, Chair Art Trails Steering Committee


The Human Race: Support The Living Room


, , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve recently joined a business referral networking group (a stretch and an education for an artist!). We are supporting The Living Room here in Santa Rosa through Sonoma County’s outstanding annual Human Race, a truly creative and open-hearted event. Some of the fun takes place on the pavement through efforts by thousands of runners and walkers, and some of the fun and good works take place behind the scenes, for example right here. (In 2016 there were over 8,000 participants with almost $600,000 raised to date for over 225 nonprofits who will benefit from the event. The first Human Race in 1981 raised $1,800.) I invite you to learn about the important services that the Living Room provides for homeless and at-risk women and children and to make a contribution if you are so moved. $10, $20, $50, or an amount of your choice. This is a straight donation fundraiser. No Pledges. Thank you so much for caring and helping our community thrive. Follow link to donate:

I’m excited to be offering two plein air painting workshops in May


, , , ,

These painting workshops will be held at stunning Sonoma County sites that are only accessible via the conservation groups that protect them from development, Pepperwood Preserve and Laufenburg Ranch. Painting in community, with guidance and support from an enthusiastic and practiced plein air painter, could be a great way to kick off your summer painting season or vacation time. You are welcome to join us for one or both sessions, whether you are an experienced painter or haven’t picked up a bush or pastel since childhood. Scientists, hikers, and students, painting and drawing deepen your powers of observation which translates to many disciplines.


Two Landscape Painting Workshops


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marsha Connell #PaintCamp - Version 2.jpg

Recording & Expressing “Spirit of Place”

Sunday, May 7, 2017, 9am – 3pm
Pepperwood Preserve
2130 Pepperwood Preserve Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Meet at the Bechtel House
$45 per participant ($40 for members)
For ages 13 and up

Explore plein air painting with artist and Santa Rosa Junior College instructor Marsha Connell. Deepen your naturalist and artist observational skills. Express your responses to Pepperwood’s verdant and blossoming spring landscape. Open to beginning painters, who will learn basics of working in the field, and experienced painters, who may expand their repertoire and enjoy support for finding their own voice. Demonstrations will be given in oil and pastel,  but students may use any drawing or painting media of their choice.

Marsha’s approach to landscape painting conveys the spirit of place and evokes the mood of the inner landscape. Marsha has also taught at Sonoma State University and at a variety of other venues in the US, Mexico and France.

A suggested materials list will be sent upon registration.

Reserve your spot

Painting Iconic Rural Landscapes

Saturday May 13, 2017, 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Class level: All levels
Class Size: 6-15

$60 per person, $45 per Sonoma Land Trust member

Learn how to convey the spirit of place and embody the rhythms and forms of the landscape in this plein air painting workshop at Sonoma Land Trusts’ legendary Laufenburg Ranch near Calistoga. Beginning and longtime artists alike can benefit from Marsha’s expertise and extensive history of teaching, which brings out the joy of the creative process.

Enjoy a day in the bucolic setting of Laufenburg Ranch in Knight’s Valley. Create a record of your experience, which might include the magnificent 1883 barn, native oaks, old orchards, creek and hillsides, even Mt St Helena, by painting in the field. Explore gesture, shape, composition, light and shadow. Beginning artists: learn the basics of using painting materials and composing images. Experienced painters: expand your repertoire of painting techniques and visual approaches, realist, tonalist, impressionist, expressionist. Demonstrations will be given in oil and pastel, but you may use any drawing or painting media of your choice.

Materials Required: You will be able to do this with simple minimal supplies, for example, just black and white or three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) of oil or acrylic, and one brush, or a basic small set of pastels, or any materials you may already have.

Sign up here

3 Art Receptions for 3 Great Events


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Sunday, October 23, 2-5 pm, La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard

La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, 3575 Slusser Road, Windsor, CA, is hosting an Artists’ Reception, welcoming collectors, aficionados and friends to view the Estate’s permanent collection of artwork, and a revolving exhibit changing seasonally, through our partnership with Healdsburg Center for the Arts. We are currently featuring fourteen large expressive landscape drawings and paintings by Marsha Connell. (Exhibit dates August 15-January 15) View and purchase the art online.

Our permanent collection highlights a diverse selection of local artists, including James Armstrong, Elaine Greenwood, Chris Henry, Cari Hernandez, Dusanka Kralj, Benjamin Owen, and Paula Strother.

We invite you to enjoy these fabulous artworks, and light hors d’oeuvres expertly paired with La Crema’s acclaimed wines, including selections only available at the Estate, in a panoramic vineyard setting.  

              RSVP appreciated: marsha@marshaconnell.com

AWS Meeting Photos September 2016 123a

Friday, October 21, 6-7:30 pm,  Sebastopol Center for the Arts

A Cabin Above a Lake
began as a demo for AWS (Art Workshop of Western Sonoma County), just last month, inspired by small plein air paintings from our recent East Coast annual summer sojourn. As Helen Frankenthaler once said, ” I had the landscape in my arms when I painted it. I had the landscape in my mind and shoulder and wrist.” After revisiting it in my studio, I entered the painting in this juried exhibit, and am pleased that juror Sukey Bryan selected it, (along with about 56 other works from a pool of almost 700 entries).  Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 High Street. Exhibit dates: Oct 21 – Nov 27, 2016. I’d be pleased if you joined me at the Artists’ reception for YOUR LANDSCAPE.  

Marsha Connell's Murder of Crows Painting in Peter Perez's altar for Day of the Dead, Sonoma county History Museum, 2016.jpg

Saturday, October 22,  6 pm – 8 pm, History Museum of Sonoma County

Reception for  Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Altars. This exhibition brings together altars created by community members, festive artwork and three-dimensional sculpture associated with the Day of the Dead celebration. I am honored that Peter Perez requested that my painting, Thinking About Bonnard, from my Murder of Crows series, be included in his altar against violence.

Exhibit runs October 18 – November 27.

The reception in the History Museum of Sonoma County is concurrent with a reception in the adjacent Art Museum of Sonoma County, for Faith Ringgold: An American Artist featuring storyquilts, works on paper, tankas, soft sculpture, and original illustrations.

Exhibit runs October 23 – January 29.