An interview with Tom Quinlavin

The Places I've Been

"I continue to explore the power of color, to create an emotional and visual experience by limiting my palate, pushing the color, a removal technique and using additives that create a different sensation for the eye and mind."  — Tom Quinlavin

Tom's one-man show, Quinlavin - Color 2022 runs November 9 - December 3. Don't miss this huge explosion of color! Join us for the Artist Reception on Saturday, November 19th, 2-4pm.


Tell us about the art featured in your show, Quinlavin - Color 2022.

This is a collection of work from 2020-22. Most of it was an exploration of the range of the pigment yellow and my removal process.

How would you describe the nature of your work?

I work predominantly in the abstract. I like working with a larger size that allows you to feel like part of the painting.

What kind of response do you hope your work elicits from viewers? 

I'm hoping you have some emotional experience from my work - what that feels like is up to the viewer.

What does being an artist mean to you?

I am what I am...I couldn't being anything else.


Tell us something about your creative process.

It starts with a thought that can come from anything - something I've seen or heard or felt. Then that thought incubates in my mind until I'm physically ready to attack it.

Do you ever get in a creative rut?

No, I'm never in a rut. Some things just take time.

Do you listen to music while you paint? 

No, never - it would be disruptive and interfere with my process. 

How long have you been painting?

I started painting in high school when I was given the opportunity to take art instead of gym class. I jumped on board, as I was already the best runner in my high school's history. In 1982, I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Long Island University, CW Post Campus. I then spent the next 10 years in New York as part of the East Village Art Scene.


mARTinez Creates!

Featured art:  Aloe by Renaye Johnson

In each of our shows this year, we have been delighted to shine a light on local arts groups - Lamorinda Arts Alliance, California Watercolor Association, Concord Art Association, Contra Costa Plein Air and now Martinez Arts Association

All of these groups not only provide support for artists in the area, but they also benefit the entire community by hosting special events and building stronger awareness for the arts.

Come by soon to check out the latest work from MAA members!

Shenandoah by Dorrie Langley

Memories by Peggy O'Farrell

New cuties in our gift shop!


Painted rocks by Jeff DeSalles

So many great reasons to visit the aRt Cottage - we have a great show featuring artwork from the members of Contra Costa Plein Air Group, plus we have lots of new handmade items in the gift shop! You're sure to find something special for yourself, your sweetie's birthday, a hostess gift or just because.

Crocheted hats by Julie Van Wyk

Crocheted bikinis by Julie Van Wyk

Felted Frog by Kelly Williams

Felted Owl by Kelly Williams

Bringing the outdoors in

Black Diamond Mine by MJ Lazarski

For July and August, our gallery celebrates the joy of the outdoors with art from members of the Contra Costa Plein Air Group, curated by the group's founder, Nancy Roberts.

"To experience the beauty and joy of our existence here on earth is the path to achieve great happiness. My intention as an artist is to share some of this beauty from my perspective. My paintings attempt to explore the nuance of nature, inspired by working outside, en plein air. When not painting on location, I enjoy returning to my studio to work on commissions and in-depth studies. Primarily self-taught, I have followed a non-traditional path to my professional art career from a thorough study of the masters and contemporaries alike. Developing my composition, color harmony, tone, light, perspective, and brushwork skills help me portray paintings that are simultaneously engaging and inviting." MJ Lazarski

Sakura by Nancy Roberts

Don't miss this summer show - you'll enjoy looking at many beautiful locales and familiar scenes, as interpreted by 20+ local artists:

  • Dan Kennedy
  • Dreher Warren
  • Dwight Shackelford
  • Gail Jones
  • Hamil Ma
  • Janet Mardirosian
  • Kathleen Gadway
  • Kathy Brokaw
  • Linda Geniesse
  • Lorraine Wells 
  • Mary Frazier
  • Mary M. Young
  • Meghana Mitragotri
  • MJ Lazarski
  • Nancy Roberts
  • Nathaniel J. Bice
  • Patrice D. Newell 
  • Peter McNeill
  • Rebecca Davies
  • Renaye Johnson
  • Roswitha M. Kress
  • Sharon Cohune

Martinez Marsh by Roswitha Kress

Journeys - Exploring my mind and the world


Jim Isham

Our show for May and June features beautiful work from members of the Concord Art Association:

  • Anamilena Ayala
  • Annette Batchelor
  • Colin Hall
  • Deanna Merrigan
  • Deena Sheranko
  • Irene Bee Kain
  • John Nakanishi
  • Kees van Prooijen
  • Laurie Mansur
  • Lori Rutledge
  • Marjorie Graham
  • Nancy Roberts
  • Pat Calabro
  • Pat Viera
  • Renaye Johnson
  • Saira Grube
  • Sharon Petersen
  • Tom Quinlavin
  • Yumiko Nishizawa

CAA members will be guest docents here in the gallery each day during the show - be sure to come by and say hello! We're open Wednesday through Saturday, 11am-5pm.

Everyone is welcome to join us for the Artist Reception on Saturday, May 21st, 2-4pm. 

Renaye Johnson

Poem: Cyanaen Rocks


Rocks by Lorraine Wells

Cyanaen Rocks

How could water move    

Euripides Ignatius and Plato 

Do not have no way around it 

Dancing rocks bright red corals 

The wind blows high this very day 

day passed night on its way 

Bright blue sky 

Dancing rocks 

Jason sea Odyssey 

Sea is so calm here 

rocks more as soft boulders 

How could they move 

a little in two centuries 

Could the water move 

we through it 

could we move along the Water 

rock stone boulder 

dance in the sea 

We will kiss the lizard king and she

And be well in home

Yes home.

Thomas Stanton
© 2022


The Benicia First Tuesday Poets’ Group and members of Benicia Literary Arts have written ekphrastic poems about paintings from our show, Watercolor - A Happy Medium.

Ekphrastic poems are vivid verbal descriptions of a work of art. Fifteen different poets each came to the aRt Cottage to pick one pieces from each of the 15 artists in the show. 

Poem: Settled


Settled - Barbara Tapp


two buildings

one in decay

the other a beautiful house

located in close proximity 

each with a history

one more recent than the other

both inhabited

the building in decay

lives bats, spiders and other creatures

the beautiful house

people dwell

both places create a home

comfort from weather,

place to raise young,

have food,

realms of safety,

and most important thrive

both buildings life has settled

settled in


Thomas Garry
© 2022

The Benicia First Tuesday Poets’ Group and members of Benicia Literary Arts have written ekphrastic poems about paintings from our show, Watercolor - A Happy Medium.

Ekphrastic poems are vivid verbal descriptions of a work of art. Fifteen different poets each came to the aRt Cottage to pick one pieces from each of the 15 artists in the show.