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Uniquely Sacramento: Local Artist Captures Our ‘Wistful’ Valley

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Hwy 20 Fall Orchard by Julie Smiley

The latest work of local artist Julie Smiley is meant to be a recollection of familiar sights with a conscious effort to include the fragments often overlooked. On exhibit through December at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, the work, titled “The SkyLine Series”, features landscapes of the Sacramento region full of the beautiful hues and unique views of our valley.

With plenty of reasons to take pride in the region we call home, Sacramento’s natural landscapes have been the most ever-lasting. Despite our human nature to restrain the land’s splendor, artists such as Smiley have the ability to encompass faults into a beautiful frame.

“It was more a challenge to me of, ‘Can I appreciate being here?’ and ‘What do I see?,’ said Smiley. “There was a little bit of conflict in there because I felt like everywhere I looked there is something in the way in the valley. At the ocean there’s always miles and miles and miles of uninterrupted view, but in the valley there’s always something. There’s a fence post, there’s a wire, there’s a tree in the middle of the field, there’s mountains on either side. So it’s very much me trying to say, ‘What’s beautiful here, how can I get to know it, how can it become a part of who I am?’”

Smiley is originally from Crescent City, a rural, fishing and timber town on the Northern Coast close to the Oregon border. She has now lived in Davis for three years and has embraced the physical change.

“I mean it’s obviously beautiful; or it’s obviously beautiful to me,” said Smiley. “I think the colors are amazing, and the way dust creates these amazing sunset glows and the tule fog is very wistful.”

The “SkyLines Series” is indeed a nostalgic experience for anyone who has spent time in the Sacramento region and longed for its atmosphere.

“They could have a sense of loneliness in them or I like to think that the objects in the landscapes kind of take up on the role of figures there. Whether it’s trees that are huddled together or it’s the telephone poles leaning in – those are the things that end up speaking for themselves.”

Julie Smiley’s “SkyLines Series” will be exhibited along with works by Amber Aguirre & Bill Rushton. The show opened Nov. 4 at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis with an opening reception being held Saturday, Nov. 14, 7- 9pm. See the exhibit while you can now through Dec. 5.

For more information on Julie Smiley and “The Skyline Series,” visit her blog at julieb-smiley.squarespace.com. For more information on the gallery, can visit natsoulas.com.

Photos courtesy of Julie Smiley

Uniquely Sacramento: Local Artist Captures Our ‘Wistful’ Valley via @sacramentopress

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