Sutro painter balances gallery show with Senate job
Painter Paula Saponaro finds inspiration in the hills surrounding the 1870 barn where she keeps her studio in Sutro.
“Things Unpainted: New and Recent Works,” her show in the J. Anderson Gallery at the Nevada Library and Archives, is inspired by the area.
“This landscape is piles of metal, rocks, wood, textures and motion — not simply sky, valley and mountains,” she said.
But her life is not limited to rural solitude — she works as a session attache for Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, at the Nevada Legislature.
“This is an extremely schizophrenic time in my life,” she said with a laugh. “It does get a little chaotic.”
Whether it’s the constant natural changes outside her studio or the hectic daily pace at the Legislature, Saponaro feeds off excitement.
“Apparently, mild disarray inspires me,” she said.
Saponaro’s show runs through May 1.
She said “Things Unpainted” refers to the lack of mining carts, wagons and steam trains in her new series.
“This isn’t a series on historic Sutro,” she explained. “It’s cats, coyotes, women, men, birds, canals ponds and trees — lots of trees and water.”
The series is a change in focus from realistically painted barns and water lilies to more interpretive, abstract-expressionist style work.
“I’m pleased with this body of work,” she said. “It’s broader and has strong color concentration, which is my primary reason to paint.”
Included with her original paintings is a portfolio of limited-edition giclee prints taken mostly from her “Great Basin Landscape” series, including the striking “Last Bouquet.”
Her work with Sen. Schneider keeps her busy, but Saporano has more art in mind. She’s working on a set of wine bottle labels, lining up shows at galleries in California, and ready for an interview with National Public Radio in August.
“So things are moving right along,” she said.
IF YOU GO
What: ‘Things Unpainted: Sutro, New and Recent Works’
Where: The J. Anderson Gallery, Nevada Library and Archives, 100 N. Stewart St.
When: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays through May 1
Information: Call 684-3313