Corner Gallery and Art Center Ukiah
Adele Pruitt, Kathleen Gordon Burke, and Polly Palecek will be exhibiting in the Corner Gallery’s front window the month of August. It is an opportunity to see and purchase their art, especially as Adele will have many 12”x16” examples of her work at an affordable price.
Kathleen Gordon Burke and Polly Palecek met Adele many years ago at Adele’s landmark Renaissance Gallery, however they did not meet each other until nearly a decade ago when a formal relationship of teacher and students developed. The first time Kathleen met Adele was when she and a friend entered her Renaissance Gallery to buy old world artifacts. Kathleen’s friend was so taken by Adele that whenever he would visit from the East Coast he always wanted to go by to see her.
Kathleen Gordon Burke
During High School Adele had to choose between art and music, a choice she has stuck to these many years. Adele has been teaching art longer than most of us have been alive and she’s been creating art even far longer as she approaches her 98th birthday without any sign of slowing down. During Polly’s birth year of 1946 Adele was already an accomplished teacher and new mother with a developing career.
After Adele received a Masters Degree in Art Education in 1961 from the University of the Pacific she spent many years in the public school systems in California before she started her own gallery and studio. There she incorporated painting, teaching and fine art restoration having learned art conservation under the tutelage of Bill Haney, founder of the Academy of Art Conservation and Science. As one of only a handful of freelance art restorers in the US, she has amassed a lifetime of expertise restoring, in some cases, a treasured family painting and in other
cases, museum-quality works of art.
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During the ‘60’s Polly was also studying art, however as an undergraduate at Illinois State University, mostly spending her time in the sculpture studio repurposing tombstones into sculpture. During high school she learned the fundamentals of oil painting, skills that served her later when she returned to oil painting in Adele’s studio.
Kathleen Gordon Burke
Kathleen also decided to resume oil painting after abandoning it for 40 years to concentrate on a career in graphic arts and marketing. Knowing Adele taught painting she entered into what has become a decade of learning with her. Through these classes, including lunch afterward, the group of women was not only fellow students but also become dear friends.
The malleability and smell of oil paint attracted Polly Palecek to the medium while she was in high school. While a career and family distracted her for many years she has now spent her retirement happily returning to oil painting. Not long after her retirement she rekindled a friendship with Adele Pruitt by taking classes with her. Ten years later Polly spends two days a week at Adele’s studio connecting with her as a friend, teacher, and muse. She has learned many different techniques through Adele’s tutelage but currently is using direct application of paint, wet on wet, to create paintings that reflect her lifestyle: vases of sunflowers, blooming cacti, outdoor “still life’s”, and coastal vistas. When Polly is not at Adele’s she has a lovely home studio nestled in the branches of an oak tree.
While it is impossible to categorize Adele Pruitt’s paintings, she uses a variety of media…oils, watercolor, egg tempera, encaustic and batik, and her works include landscapes, mostly of Mendocino County, a variety of portraits, and bold abstracts. Though her impressionistic landscapes are perhaps her most popular, her work has touched on a wide range including portraiture, abstracts, trompe l’oile, icons, and plein aire painting. It is these many techniques that she teaches her students, including Polly and Kathleen, which they now enjoy showing in exhibits and in their homes.
Adele offers a variety of learning experiences. While the Covid19 pandemic has curtailed classes currently, she teaches beginning to advanced oil painting during which she offers many styles of painting and color theory, a skill that few instructors currently can match, as she can teach everything from old masters to abstracts, portraits to icons, realistic color to arbitrary color.
Adele is such a treasure for all of us; it is an honor to have her as a teacher, an artist, and a friend.