Meet the Artists
My Passion for Professional Still Imagery & Fine Art:
As a Freshman in high school Aaron was filling up two to three rolls of 35mm films per-week. The Riekes Center (a non-profit organization in Menlo Park, geared to helping people achieve their goals) made it possible for Aaron to perfect his numbers & exposures which spurred his true passion for the fine arts.
While finishing High School in 2007, Aaron was already active in the business of photography and would soon become a professional in the field. In 2012 Aaron taught his first Digital Darkroom Photography class to underprivileged High School students in the Bay Area.
After graduating from the Art Institute of California in 2015, Aaron witnessed first hand how most students attending underprivileged schools needed more resources and mentors who were passionate about the field of Fine Arts. So, Aaron took on the task to build new innovative ways to best serve the community through the arts by extending digital photography classes to these students.
In 2015 to 2020 Aaron became the Visual Arts Director at the Riekes Center. In this role, Aaron was able to provide new photography equipment to students, and develop a curriculum for photography techniques and digital data organization.
In addition to Aaron’s role as a Visual Arts/Communication Arts & Financial Aid Director, Aaron worked as a professional Freelance Photographer in the Bay Area with a tremendous amount of work, which led to meeting key community stakeholders within the Silicon Valley.
Aaron’s Photography has been the contributing photographer for the Atherton Living, Los Altos Hills and Mountain Home private magazines since June 2021 and current.
Aaron has now successfully shown his first Art Gallery showing in 2022 at Mirada Art Gallery on Main Street, Half Moon Bay.
During the months of September through December, Aaron will be showcasing a series of Ancient tree series (4,850 year old pine trees) at Ocean Blue the Vault Art Gallery on Main Street, Half Moon Bay.
– Aaron believes that these ancient trees have genetic information that can help us understand our climates within the planet. These series of photographs will hold history, resistance, adaptation and growth.
Aaron Alvarez Mendoza
My personal challenge is to create the most striking photography on a personal level, then share that vision and enjoy reactions. My photography realistically represents the subject and composition. I also like to develop an artistic, imaginative interpretation. I photograph coastal scenes, landscapes, travel, nature, and cityscapes. I prefer vibrant color, like bold graphics, and use the best light for impact. I offer my photography art in a variety of media types. Metal, acrylic, wood, and canvas prints. Prints and framed art also. I have image merchandise available on my website with direct fulfillment offered. It’s been a joy to be part of the H.M.B. community, participating in various organizations, work/school volunteer activity over the years. Love my life on the coast for the last 38 years. How could you not with the natural surroundings & local community?
Barbara Masek Photography has also been a commercial photography service business and individual needs since 2010. I work with clients in head & portrait, event, and promotional assignments. https://www.barbaramasekphotography.com/home3 Sign up to receive previews of new releases and seasonal promotions. https://www.barbaramasekphoto.com
Betty Wick considers her life of art to be a series of personal expression that evolves visual imagery, created from all sectors of invention. She relies without question towards imagination in aspects of reality. It is a progression seen in her work time and time again and offers her the freedom she needs to create an honest representation of how she views life around her. She has displayed her work in national and international galleries, and been preserved by private collectors from around the world. She has created work for Warner Bros., Ford Motor Corp. and Jonny Cat. Her illustrations have appeared in numerous publications including The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. She has created wine labels for Emercy and Dilecta Wines, in Paso Robles, Ca. Betty resides on the Central Coast of California.
Casey is a lifelong, Half Moon Bay local. She created Layers Of Intention during the beginning of her Master’s degree program in Mind-Body Medicine nearly three years ago as a grounding tool, through the creation of jewelry and her Reiki practice. Now as she enters her Ph.D. program in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University, she still finds comfort in creating pieces of jewelry that are layered with intention through the metaphysical properties of crystals.
David Ebner has designed and created memorable art for Television and Cinema since he was 18 years of age. Listed by Wired Magazine as one of Hollywood’s most creative individuals, Ebner has contributed to over 70 feature films and has worked with notable auteurs such as Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Stephen Sommers, Francis Ford Coppola, Taylor Hackford, David Fincher, John Woo, Frank Darabont, among others.
While only 22 years of age, Dateline NBC and Entertainment Tonight, the two leading cable programs were branded with title graphics created by Ebner and his team. On top of that, Ebner oversaw the graphics for HBO, Nat Geo Channel, ESPN, Skybox, among others, winning BDA and Promaxx awards.
Ebner joined Guillermo Del Toro for Hellboy, then as a producer and production partner for Pan’s Labyrinth, in which his team created the visual effects, winning over 100 film festival awards and won the best in show at SigGraph’s Electronic Theater, representing the very best in Visual Effects work that year.
As the Creative Director and Senior VFX Supervisor of Cafefx, his team created the films for Universal Studio’s “Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” It is still considered the most successful theme park addition, with an immediate boost of 1 million annual attendees to the park.
Due to Ebner’s talents in art direction, Ebner was invited to direct a stage show, “Long Gone Dinosaurs” which has been visited by over 4 million people.
Ebner’s watercolor, pencil and acrylic paintings reflect the emotion, passion, and feelings which percolate in his creative mind, drawing upon nature and imaginative inspirations as well as fascination by the works of Winslow Homer, Franz Marc, Claude Lorrain, Georgia O’Keefe, and master watercolor artist John Ebner.
Just as he has for many film directors, Ebner often reaches within for new possibilities and exploration to delight people, often the case with groundbreaking visuals that have never been seen before.
Eleven years ago we moved to Half Moon Bay. I love this beautiful place where green fields end at the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean. We made our home in an old train station. One day Coastside Land Trust brought a herd of goats and sheep to graze the coastal meadows. I owe those animals a debt of gratitude; their connection to the land, sea, and air shifted something in me. After years of putting my creativity last, I moved it to the front of my to-do list. I draw, paint and weave – finding inspiration from and incorporating elements of the natural world into the things I make. Often working in collaboration with my husband Steve we find delight in the creatures and elements in our garden and beyond.
Erika Adkins creates two-dimensional works in both acrylic and encaustic. Her pieces rely on layering colors, textures, and meanings, often the result of multiple paintings on a single canvas. As a third-generation artist, Erika grew up assuming everything can be viewed for its aesthetic merit. Recently her work has explored conflict: between humans and the environment, between her dogs, or between history and individuals. Her current subject matter explores borders, barriers, and bridges. Born in Pittsburgh, PA and now based in Half Moon Bay, Erika holds a degree in Fine Art from Yale University and an MBA from the Leavey School of Business. She has spent the last 20 years working in Tech, while keeping her “Batman” art life alive and well.
For Jo Fry, history is always bleeding into the present, affecting the way she sees and experiences the world.
As a child she was always drawing – friends, the horses that lived down the street. As a 16-year-old she studied history and design at the University of London, then earned a bachelor’s degree with Honors in Interior Design from San Jose State, while taking oil painting commissions to earn extra money.
As an adult, she focused on a career in retail, and on being a single mom to two children after the death of her husband. She became a school volunteer and taught Art in Action for El Granada Elementary. Although retail allowed her to do copywriting, product, and industrial design, it was a far cry from the creative world of her youth.
Now she is re-emerging – her love of beachcombing re-igniting her creative spirit. Inspired by a deep respect for the sea and its inhabitants, and the beauty of our coastline, Jo calls herself a Sea Glass Artist, and incorporates sea glass and finds into her paintings and wearable art. Her unique and original mixed media work is featured on the websites of Silicon Valley Open Studios and Red Bluff Art Gallery. She has been awarded a solo public art exhibit by Redwood City for July-August 2023.
Jo is a member of the Community of Coastside Artists and has shown work at many prestigious California Art and Sea Glass events. She is a volunteer archivist and docent for the Half Moon Bay History Museum and authored articles on glass for the museum’s website; her unbounded passion for the subject bringing meaning to the medium of sea glass, through her art and its links with the history of our community.
Joni is a native of Half Moon Bay, and with so much natural beauty, I wanted to capture it in my watercolor art.
And since retiring, I’m able to devote more time, to what I love, painting.
Thank you for checking out my artwork at The Ocean Blue Vault.
Larry Salveson is a Software Developer in the San Mateo, CA area. He has enjoyed a lifelong passion for photography, which has evolved to include creating digital paintings. Larry’s images span a broad range of interests including people, abstracts, nature, and landscapes.
Custom sizes are available for most images. Contact me directly for signed prints that I make myself. Other prints can be ordered from my website.
I currently live on the beautiful coast, but I grew up in Pennsylvania where my love of art began as a child. I am a creative person who is inspired by nature and the world around me. A lot of things I see in nature show themselves as something else in my mind’s eye. A rock looks like a face, a piece of wood with a hole is an owl’s eye, a spikey tree nut on the ground is a hedgehog. I like to collect these items and use them in my nature inspired collages. I have been collecting bits and pieces from nature since I can remember. I incorporate these pieces of nature into mixed media collages that represent landscape scenery, people, animals or just about anything that is relevant in my life. My most recent work is a collage of an angel that represents a teenage girl who was taken from the Earth too soon. The flowers from her funeral are in her wings and dress, there is sheet music and cats and crystals, and nature, and so many things that she loved incorporated into the piece.
I love to teach art classes for my two kids and their friends and classmates. This enables me to share my love of creativity and hopefully inspire others to create along with me. I’m always being introduced to various forms of art and I love to experiment and see what transpires.
Recently, I have been included in the following themed juried exhibits:
San Francisco Women Artists Gallery- 647 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122
Mistlin Gallery, Central Ca Art Association- 1015 J Street Modesto CA 95354
SIY Gallery- 1026 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Noemi’s origin traces back to Barcelona, Spain, where she spent her formative years captivated by the city’s rich tapestry of art, architecture, and culture. Immersed in the vibrant environment, she delved into the study of art history, drawing inspiration from iconic figures such as Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet, Salvador Dali, and others of that era.
In her twenties, she embarked on a new chapter by relocating to the United States, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite the change in surroundings, her unwavering passion for art remained constant, manifesting itself through her daily commitment to painting. Today, her works grace public and private collections across Europe and California, renowned for their dynamic movement, vibrant color palette, and the profound expression of emotion.
Noemi draws inspiration from her travels and finds particular joy in depicting Urban Landscapes, though her love for the Impressionist style endures and continues to be a focal point of study in her home studio. Over the past eight years, her pieces have found homes with both local and international collectors, earning her finalist accolades in competitions held in San Francisco, Barcelona, and Italy. Notable showcases include exhibitions in Silicon Valley art shows and esteemed Barcelona Art Galleries, along with various private exhibitions.
Beyond artistic pursuits, Noemi is driven by a mission to contribute to her community, dedicating a portion of her proceeds to causes close to her heart.
Her academic background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Tourism from the University of Barcelona. Early in her professional journey, she navigated the realm of consumer marketing, making significant contributions at companies like Virgin Airlines, GAP, and Visa.
For commission inquiries and updates on her latest creations, Noemi can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay informed about her upcoming events and art exhibitions by following her on Instagram at #noemaneroart or visiting www.noemimanero.com.
Patt Sheldon is local—born in San Francisco and raised on the Peninsula. She taught mostly middle school English and Health Education in Belmont for 35 years, and never considered herself artistic, though her flair for color always showed.
Patt became a knitter, then a weaver after moving “over the hill” in 1999. Experiencing two summers of heavy coastal fog, she realized she needed indoor sports to combat the fog. She took a few weaving classes and many knitting technique workshops, learned ice dyeing one afternoon, and is self-taught in jewelry design. She creates unusual pieces and prefers being ahead of the crowd rather than part of it. Her works are one of a kind.
Patt’s love of color led her to Czech glass beads and the Czech Republic’s centuries-old family-run factories. She has visited three times and brought back many treasures to share in her work. Her excuse in returning is to combat losing these companies to cheaper made Chinese beads that have infiltrated the market.
She also uses different types of gemstones, especially for pieces for sale at the Vault.
Ice dyeing natural fibers became a passion, preferring its soft patterns to deliberate designs. She dyes clothing and large array of home goods, as well as fabric. The most exciting part of her ice dyeing has been collaborating with a former 6th grade student, now a fashion designer in Los Angeles.
Realizing how isolated artists can be, particularly after retiring from teaching and working at home, Patt started a group called Colony of Coastside Artists in Feb, 2010. The group is open to any level artist living on the coast interested in socializing, art discussions, and group projects, and is currently over 120 members strong. Prior to 2020, CoCA met monthly, and has resumed annually sponsoring Open Studios in November, which is available to all coastside artists.
Besides selling through CoCA’s Open Studios, her diverse work sells in stores, and several in-person shows, mostly on the coast. Her website www.pattsheldon.com highlights her vivid colors and textures. Patt also sells through Harvard Market, Make It Main Street, and Etsy and GoImagine online under the name Patt711.
She is very excited to return to The Vault’s collective art group.
I live in Half Moon Bay and paint primarily watercolor sketches. I am a retired history teacher, and varsity basketball, baseball, and football coach. I took up painting after I retired and found I have a knack for it. I concentrate on watercolor sketches of historical iconic buildings and structures. San Francisco and Half Moon Bay have been my recent focus. I also just finished a major project; an oil painting of Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France.
Robyn Drake grew up in a volatile, isolated household on a farm in Iowa where her family raised cattle and horses and grain crops. Her refuges were horses, dogs, and art. She’s been involved in art most of her life as a form of non-narrative expression. Painting and drawing have been natural extensions of her physical and emotional self – like another appendage or sense. For her, making art has been an outpouring of something essential that had no other voice.
Her work has primarily been figurative throughout her career as an artist; portraits, still lifes, and florals in oils, oil pastels, and charcoal. The most recent direction has been horses, a return to her roots as an artist on the farm. “I can convey intense emotion that’s approachable when presented through the image of the horse. Horses have been a singular constant throughout my life, and I’ve always had at least one personal horse. These paintings also serve as expressionistic self-portraits.” With the horse series, she also changed mediums and began using acrylic paint for its immediacy and practicality.
Currently, she lives near San Francisco in Half Moon Bay with her horse, Patrón, where she works as an artist and english saddler for sport horses; a business she started in 2000 in the Chicago area, and then transitioned to the Bay Area in 2013.
She sometimes works from stock photos of horses, and sometimes she does photo shoots of horses she knows through her saddle business clientele. She often spends as much time preparing the compositions as she spends painting.
“Beyond the tensions of volume and geometry, passion and order, is the pull to express mythic icons in the light of contemporary mysticism.”
She sees her art as a visual koan. Arete, the grounding pursuit in her work; a path rather than an achievable destination. Throughout the searching and the striving, she hopes to express something deeply vulnerable in an often unsympathetic universe.
Spence Platt is a local artist, born and raised in San Jose. Spence grew up loving the western genre and country music and pulls his inspiration from that love. He uses a mixed media technique which includes but not limited to inks, watercolors, acrylics, spray paint, and resin. This blending of media provides texture and dimension to his work.
As many galleries closed during the pandemic, Spence intertwined his love of nature and the outdoors with his passion for art, traveling and adventuring throughout California finding beautiful places to display his work. You can follow his journey on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
I am grateful to live in this beautiful place where on my daily walks (and sometimes in our own backyard) I see a spectacular variety of life. I’ve fallen in love with our local birds, and sharing photos of them has delighted me and my friends. I marvel at the diversity, so I’ve produced high-quality metal prints of our local Owls and Hummingbirds in new, more affordable sizes.
I’ve been a maker from my earliest years. As a child, I drew horses, made paper dolls, greeting cards, garments, cooked and baked. I could draw all the Flintstone characters, and a pencil drawing I did of Peter Tork of The Monkees was published in a teen magazine. I painted 40 murals in a hospital when I was 18. By the time I got to high school, I decided to major in art, stepping away from my high academic achievement and probably disappointing my parents. I went to Pratt Institute but quit in my second year. Since then, I have been on the journey. Always creating — my hands are never idle! I had a long career in graphic design, including my own sign company in the 80s and 90s, and a career in advertising until my retirement two years ago. I now devote much of my time to painting and have completed over 700 paintings in the last 40 years, mostly in private collections.
I like to paint outdoors from life (en plein air) and about 50% of my paintings are done that way. I pack my gear and take it when I travel. Having a focus on depicting the places I visit gives added meaning, and mementos galore! Visit my website for more details on my long and varied career.
Susan Grabowski, originally from New Jersey, spent 22 years on Cape Cod before making her way to the San Francisco Bay Area. She captures the fleeting moments in her light-filled paintings in the California plein air/impressionist style.
I feel very fortunate to have lived near the coast for the majority of my life. I was raised in Southern California and spent much of my childhood and young adult life on Catalina Island. I now call the San Francisco Bay Area home where I have lived for the past 23 years.
My love of the coast has heavily influenced my art and is a continuing source of inspiration. The changing colors of the sea, the shadows from the cliffs, and even the fog which we experience regularly has its own beauty. When I paint I not only try to capture the scene on my canvas but I also try to convey a feeling and a mood about the subjects which hopefully translates to the viewer.
Though mostly a self-taught artist with little formal training I have attended various workshops of well-known artists whom I admire. I typically paint in oils but I also enjoy using gouache and experimenting with mixed media.
I belong to the Bay Area Plein Air Group along with various other art organizations: California Art Club, Oil Painters of America, Society of West Coast Arts, and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.
Art That Makes a Difference
Mavericks Community Foundation engages the community, develops partnerships, and inspires giving to make a positive, lasting impact on the San Mateo County Coast.
The organization serves as a catalyst for local giving by bringing awareness to the nonprofits in our community. They facilitate fundraisers, capacity-building seminars, and events to encourage community development. Mavericks Community Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of those on the San Mateo County Coast.
What is the Ocean Blue Vault?
Ocean Blue Real Estate founder David Oliphant introduces the Ocean Blue (Art) Vault, a local artists’ collective. David’s vision in creating this special space is to showcase local artists who celebrate the natural beauty found in Half Moon Bay.
In this Living Locally segment, meet photographer, Steve Maller; sculptor, Marie LaCour Studio; eclectic creative, Jennifer Roberts Almodova; and local artist, Sonya Kleshik who champions this unique collective “as bringing the community together because art acts as an instrument of connection.
The Ocean Blue Vault supports our local creative community & endeavors to offer the premier location for artists to show and sell their art on the coast. The Vault is committed to diversity, not only with the wide range of art offered each quarter, but diversity in its selection of people – all artists will find a supportive, safe environment and will feel welcome. The Vault strives to pay the artists the highest split on the coast with 100% of the proceeds from the “non profit” wall going directly to that quarter’s local charity. We are about community first.