Artist Spotlight - Eric Vandetta

Inductive Reasoning

Eric Vandetta is a teacher at Wren Avenue Elementary, an arts magnet school here in Concord. He has been creating digital art for about 12 years, and exhibiting for a little over a year. 

When asked what keeps him motivated to create, Eric says, "To be honest, it's pleasing myself that is most inspirational. When I look at a picture and know it's done (at least temporarily), I think, 'I made that and I like it!' It's pure pleasure.

Inductive Reasoning is inspired by my affection for the religious art of the Renaissance - the dramatic poses, angels and other objects flying through the sky, the fluidity of the images, and the richness of color. This picture brings the style a little closer to our time with the addition of the fence and lattice. 

Pretend You Don't Notice

Pretend You Don't Notice started as a photo of a tree. In fact, that tree led to five completely different pictures. I created the landscape, then I saw a deer's head camouflaged in the picture, so I created the two deer from scratch."

Learn more about Eric at

Artist Spotlight: Martin Biro

sunset martin biro

Originally from Budapest, Hungary, Martin Biro currently resides in Pleasant Hill. After studying art and economics in college, he became a silversmith with the family business, Biro and Sons, in San Francisco. 

"I went back to painting in my 40s when a well-known artist, Pauline Teller, asked me why I was not painting. I decided at that time to use only a palette knife instead of brushes, because oil paints create a very moving effect when layered with a knife. I have a growing interest in abstract expressionism, which I feel gives me greater freedom to explore.

All my paintings in the "Five from Six" show are based on photographs I've taken while wandering about New Mexico. My daughter was working on a PhD at the University of New Mexico, so I frequently traveled there to see her, as well as my best friend, Jerry Dunbar, who's an indigenous artist there. We've spent a lot of time spent viewing the colors and landscapes of that state, especially the Native American reservations."

martin biro
Four Corners

Four Corners is about the spot in the Southwest where four state borders meet at one point - Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

Click here to learn more about Martin Biro's work.

New show: Five from Six

Walter Crew
Walter's Raven Scape by Walter Crew 

Owner of the aRt Cottage, Fro Schmidt, enjoys developing themes for each show. Her last several shows have featured female artists, so she thought she'd try something new and call upon six male artists to exhibit five pieces each, hence the show title, Five from Six.

"This show is not about a group of artists who have known each other or worked together for a long time. But I have a connection with each man and connections between them have also been revealed. George, Walter and Martin are long time members of the East Bay Artist Guild (EBAG), the first art group I ever joined many years ago.

Robert was also an EBAG member at one time. Both Robert and Walter are currently volunteering as docents at the Valley Art Gallery in Walnut Creek. 

Eric is a teacher at Wren Avenue Elementary School of the Arts and has frequented the aRt Cottage. On one visit, he purchased one of Walter's pieces. 

I met Tom several years ago, when he drove by the aRt Cottage one day and asked me what the place was all about and if he could exhibit here - and he currently is my highest selling artist.

I hope you all will enjoy this striking collection of bold and bright works from some very talented men!"    --- FRO

Borders by Tom Quinlavin


September/October 2020
Five From Six
Show opens on Tuesday, September 1st
Closes on Friday, October 23rd

Artist Reception - Sunday, October 4th    2-4pm 

Artist Spotlight: Helen Chu-Hirschberg

Helen Chu-Hirschberg

"Many years ago, in the throes of dissolution, musings both positive and negative were all-consuming. Escape, freedom, guilt, and others would be central to a metamorphasis. 

One night, I had a dream, classically Freudian in its symbolism. As I made my escape on a train, I peered out the window, to be confronted with a standing large bull - no ordinary bull, for it had two heads.

For me, the train, in its figurative sense, represented my departure. Two heads, one for me and one for my ex, was the graphic manifestation of our irreconcilable differences. Bulls, stereotypically stubborn, epitomized our inabilities and/or unwillingness to compromise.

The shattered glass over the "happy family" is for destruction, and myriad expressions swirl over a conflicted family."

Helen Chu-Hirschberg
Helen Chu-Hirschberg

Artist Spotlight: Pam McCauley

pam mccauley

"I come from a family of painters, both my mother and uncle were oil painters. Following graduation from Occidental College with a BA in Art and a Teaching Credential, I taught high school art in the Los Angeles Unified School System. I had very little time for art until my family was raised. But for the last twelve years I have started back with a passion exploring painting and means of expression.

To me the most important aspect of painting is the interpretation of emotion that a person, object or place is emitting; I love color especially and admit to being an unabashed colorist.

My favorite quote is from Picasso, 'inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.' That says it all."

Pam McCauley
Pam McCauley

Artist Spotlight: Virginia George

Virginia George

"I have worked in various media since I was a child. In 2018, however, I began focusing exclusively on collage:  painted paper, found paper, and mixed media. Since then my collages have been in numerous exhibits. 

For the Summer Musings exhibit, I selected four pieces.

Japanesque #7, from my recent Japanesque Series, uses both painted and found paper. The found paper comes from multiple prints I found in a battered old book of Japanese prints from the 18th and 19th centuries.

By the Sea also uses both painted and found paper, including Chiyogami paper and vintage wallpaper.

Sunset uses only paper I painted. It is part of my recent series using only the complementary colors orange and blue.

Splash uses paper I painted and one piece of found paper. It is part of my ongoing midcentury modern art inspired collage series.

See my website for selections from among my work and my CV. My work can also be found on Instagram @virginiageorgecollage."

virginia george
Virginia George

Artist Spotlight: Ruth Stanton

ruth stanton

"My art is about nature and people. As an artist, I strive to capture the beauty
in the people and places I have experienced in my life. 

Part of my creative process before I begin painting is to select images from my personal photographs that have a lasting impression on me. Whether it is the quality
of light, interesting shapes, colors, strong composition, or an image which
tells a story.

As an artist, I strive to breathe life into my paintings with the hope people
will view my art as uplifting and joyful."

ruth stanton
Ruth Stanton