Painting Pepperwood’s Landscapes


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Are you hungering to return to the joys of plein air painting in a unique location? Would you like to practice seeing more deeply with brush or pastel in hand?

Come paint with me during the glorious wildflower season at Pepperwood Preserve on Saturday May 1.
Seeking vaccinated painters beginning or experienced. Class will be entirely outside with Covid guidelines followed. This will give us the camaraderie and intimacy of being with just a small group of people while spaciously arrayed in the landscape. 

Pepperwood  Preserve is over 3000 acres located  above Safari West between Santa Rosa and Calistoga. We will be headquartered on the hillsides near the Bechtel House.

You’re welcome to paint in any media at any size. I plan to demo some approaches with oil and with pastel. I also paint in watercolor and acrylic, and find drawing and sketching a profound way to connect with nature. My intention is to support and encourage you in directions of your choice. 
Use any art materials you already have. But please read my supply ideas list which will come with registration confirmation, for reminders of how to prepare for a day in the landscape and for thoughts on how to expand, or to limit, the supplies you own or bring.

Here’s a link to Pepperwood’s site for more information and registration form:

It would be a pleasure to share this experience with you. 
Please forward to interested friends.

Warmest greetings, 

New SebArts Virtual Open Studios, SAVOS


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Aztec-Dahlia-Gardens.jpgAztec Dahlia Gardens, 36 x 36″, oil on canvas, SOLD, giclées available 

Art Collectors: you can now visit artists and buy art from the safety of your favorite armchair or get your mask and hand sanitizer to visit in person.

Please help test this virtual project by going to my online gallery 6 paintings at a time will be available directly from the SAVOS shop during September. Kindly share this news with friends who might enjoy the healing comfort of art, to visit online or to own, or who are simply curious. Let me know how this new site works for you.

My physical studio will not be open, but more images including oils, pastels, watercolors, drawings and giclée prints will be accessible via my website, Facebook, text, emails, phone, and Zoom. Please contact me any day this month (10 am – 5 pm) and I can help you navigate this virtual landscape. Links are at the bottom of the email.

Also my art is on the walls at Upstairs Art Gallery, Center Street next to Healdsburg Plaza, and Gallery at Corricks, 637 4th Street, Santa Rosa.

Limited outdoor appointments may be available to pick up art from my studio or to see a piece that calls to you in person. We will observe current Covid safety regulations as listed on the SAVOS website. Looking forward to in-person hugs in 2021!!

Each SAVOS artist’s page will show if their studio is open virtually or physically. There are about 137 of us!

Check in on the website for virtual events, panel conversations, demos, videos. On Tuesday, Sept 15, at 1:00 pm, I  will be on a virtual panel with other SAVOS painters to talk about our artistic processes, motivations etc.  Please join us! You will need a zoom account. Join live

10-Marsha Connell-Wildflower Heaven 2-oil- -30x30"-2009Wildflower Heaven, 2, oil on canvas, 30 x 30″, available on SAVOS website

Dream Vessels and A Murder of Crows


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Connell3_125 Dream Vessels_Metronome.jpgDream Vessels #125: Metronome

Gathering paintings and collages and poems for an exhibit at Upstairs Art Gallery Feb. 24-Mar. 24.

Discovering connections and stories in my own artwork, how collage making laid ground for constructing Murder of Crows paintings. What Vanitas symbols can you find?

Artist reception and short poetry reading with my daughter Reba on Sunday afternoon March 10, 2-5 pm. You’re invited!

Upstairs Art Gallery, 306 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448

(707) 431-4214  Open daily 11-6  

March Featured Artist, Marsha Connell

Dream Vessels and A Murder of Crows

EXHIBIT DATES: February 25 – March 24, 2019

Artist Reception:  Sunday, March 10, 2019: 2 -5 pm  

Poetry reading with Marsha Connell and Reba Connell, 2:30-3 pm.

Marsha Connell_Thinking About Bonnard_o/c.tifThinking About Bonnard, Murder of Crows oil painting series

Press release:

The March Featured Artist, Marsha Connell,  presents works that articulate an artistic evolution initiated in collage and leading to the “Murder of Crows” still-life oil paintings.

Connell had long been a painter and sculptor when her daughter, Reba, invited her to make a collage for shared communication while she was having her junior year abroad in Israel, a year that coincided with the first Gulf War.

The collages became an unexpected healing process, fueled deeper by a dream of war preparations that suggested she bear witness.  The collage “letters without words” to her daughter grew into a series of 150 “Dream Vessels” that speak with a visual vocabulary, like Vanitas paintings, symbolically merging awareness of death and the passage of time with the beauty of life.

When words finally came, they emerged from the “dreaming in the day” dance practice of Authentic Movement.  The resulting poems were often written in the presence of the collages and arose from a similar place of finding connections among discovered fragments.  They accompany the Dream Vessels, but do not describe or explain them.

The arranging and rearranging of found images in collage-making, laid the groundwork for assembling and staging objects in the “Crow” series.  “Spirit birds” and wings play a supporting role in the collages; birds star in the still-life series.

Marsha-Connell-Thinking About Hokusai-Oil-16x16in-2012.jpg

Thinking about Hokusai, Murder of Crows oil painting series


“Through this work, I found a way to bring hope together with darkness.  Assembling these found images was like taking the broken pieces of the world and putting them back together.”

Both the collages and the crow paintings entice the viewer to look closer and follow a path of discovery.  The paintings are also homages to other painters, such as Thinking of Bonnard and Thinking of Emily Carr. And there is humor, Connell confided,  “The longer these crows were in my studio, the more trouble they got into!” evidenced by their activities and positions in the paintings.


Wake Up! at Claudia Chapline Gallery


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Many thanks, Joyce Lynn, for curating the Wake Up! exhibit at Claudia Chapline Gallery , Stinson Beach, CA, and for follow-up coverage in the Pacific Sun as well as @

Awakened in Art: Dream and art tell difficult political truths

Dreams of 1990’s Gulf War inspired Santa Rosa artist Marsha Connell’s ‘Dream Vessels’ series.

Like surrealism, the political-art movement opposing totalitarianism in the aftermath of the horrors of WWI, the power of art and dreaming in these turbulent times holds the possibility for social change.

Last week, less than a month before the 2018 midterm elections, a cadre of Northern California artists shared their art and held a dialogue to raise awareness about U.S. domestic and foreign policies in the month-long mixed-media exhibition “Wake-Up! The Political Power of Art and Dreams,” held at the Claudia Chapline Gallery in Stinson Beach on Oct. 28, that now continues online.

Works in that show included Flag of Death, created by artist and gallery owner Claudia Chapline, which graphically depicts the reality of U.S. foreign policy. Chapline says the piece came from a dream she had on March 11, 2006, the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “For me, the flag painting symbolises the discrepancy between American ideals and manifest American policy,” says Chapline.

Santa Rosa artist Marsha Connell’s “Dream Vessels” collage works, featuring landscapes spiked with light, were inspired by dreams Connell had a month after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. She dreamt that women writers, artists and poets were brought to observe preparations for the first Persian Gulf War when a voice boomed out, “The women soldiers will go first!”

“I felt a distress so profound there were no words for it,” Connell says.

A friend suggested the dream meant the artist was to bear witness, and the collages became her way to communicate and begin a healing process that ultimately brought her peace.

She calls the collages “Dream Vessels,” because each dreamlike picture contains a vessel. “The vessel offers the possibility of transformation, hope and reconciliation of opposites,” she says.

Joyce Lynn is founder and editor-in-chief of Plum Dreams Media. See works from ‘Wake-Up! The Political Power of Art and Dreams’ at

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EXHIBITION:  ​WAKE-UP! The Political Power of Art and Dreams


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Claudia Chapline

​Claudia Chapline Gallery                              ​​Joyce Lynn, Exhibition Curator

​415-868-2308                                                415-267-7620​                             ​​                                                        




EXHIBITION:  ​WAKE-UP! The Political Power of Art and Dreams


AT:  Claudia Chapline Gallery, 3445 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970


DATES:  October 6 – 28, 2018


ART EVENT:  ​Reception: October 6, 2018, 2-4 P.M.


Like surrealism, the political-art movement opposing totalitarianism in the aftermath of the horrors of World War 1, the power of art and dreaming in these turbulent times holds the possibility of social change. Art and dreams, conduits to truth, are paths to healing and transformation. Art and dreams wake us to reality and response.


“Wake-Up! The Political Power of Art and Dreams,” an exhibition at the Claudia Chapline Gallery, Stinson Beach, California, October 6-October 28, is scheduled the month before the 2018 Congressional elections to create dialogue and raise consciousness about U.S domestic and foreign policy. An opening day reception will be held from 2-4 pm on Saturday, October 6.


At the reception; attendees can share/write/sketch their political dreams to inspire positive action. There will be a drawing for the exhibition’s commemorative poster.


This exhibition in the pop-up gallery will include works derived from dreams by Northern California artists: Dream Vessels by MARSHA CONNELL; Flag of Death and other images of war by CLAUDIA CHAPLINE; works by artist-activist RICHARD KAMLER; FrankenBush by ADAM HARMS; They Never Stood a Chance, an installation of remembrance and survival by JENNIFER LUGRIS; and Dream Veritas! From Tragedy to Transformation, a multimedia presentation of dream profiles by journalist and exhibition curator JOYCE LYNN, and more.

Several graphic pieces will capture dreams about Donald Trump.


Exhibition curator Joyce Lynn is a journalist, including eight years as a political reporter in Washington D.C. She has profiled political activists from student Nazi resistance fighter Sophie Scholl to peace “mom” Cindy Sheehan, whose dreams have illumined their way.


The exhibition is located in beautiful Stinson Beach, 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Artist/writer Claudia Chapline has received numerous honors and awards for her promotion of community arts. WAKE-UP! is an activity of the 50 State Initiative of, a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the U.S. A percentage of sales from the exhibition will be donated to Bay Area peace candidates.

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 or





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


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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) 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


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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!


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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 or 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 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