Discovering the Art of Caren J. Gafni

Caren J. Gafni, “A Spiritual Retreat”- Mixed media

Caren J. Gafni, “A Spiritual Retreat”- Mixed media

“Art has allowed me to venture into a different world,” says Caren J. Gafni. “To me, art is not just a vehicle for beauty, but also fills me with a sense of excitement and wonder.” As a painter, Gafni had been exposed to art from an early age (her father was a successful furniture designer), but she only dedicated herself to painting in mid-life. After years of working as a psychotherapist, it was her daughter who encouraged her to pursue her passion. That began in 1996 and the artist has not stopped since. Gafni’s influences include French impressionists and contemporary artists such as Ed Moses, Billy Al Bangston, Joe Goode and David Hockey. 

Caren J. Gafni, “Seasoned”-Watercolor

Caren J. Gafni, “Seasoned”-Watercolor

“My first goal in painting was to explore color,” says Gafni. In doing so, she spent months in the museums of Paris and Italy and painting en plein air. To refine her technique, she has studied at the Brentwood Art Center, UCLA and Otis; the result is a remarkable body of work. Gafni’s paintings are richly colored and textured, exploring diverse methods of collage, acrylics and watercolors. She has a unique ability to capture subtleties of color and express realism in abstraction. And, like Pierre Bonnard, she brings an intuitive gift in her choice of composition—with a palette that is soothing, yet invigorating—as if one has taken an inspiring journey or gone on a spiritual retreat. “Painting is like a dance,” says Gafni, “that allows the viewer to experience the rhythm and flow and grace of movement. It is a visual experience that makes one come alive!”  

Caren J. Gafni, “Sedona,”-Watercolor

Caren J. Gafni, “Sedona,”-Watercolor

Another of Gafni’s main artistic influences has been painting with Artist Co-Op 7. Artist Co-op 7 is a group of artists that support the artistic and spiritual growth of each individual member. One of the leaders, Jeanne Hahn, says, “To watch the artist paint is, in itself, an exciting experience. My goal is to find many approaches… art exists beyond the prejudice of logic.” Artist Co-op 7 offers an ongoing art program at the American Jewish University Whizin Center for Continuing Education.  For more information call (310) 440-1246.

Caren J. Gafni and Jeanne Hahn’s paintings, along with ten other artists of Artist Co-op 7, the artists’ reception will be Sunday, August 16, 2-5pm. in a group show “Rhapsody in Hues” at Valley Institute of Visual Art, VIVA, 13261 Moorpark St., Sherman Oaks 91423 Contact info: www.vivaartcenter.org (818) 385-0080. August 12-29, 2009.  Caren J. Gafni can be contacted at peachapple@aol.com.  Jeanne Hahn can be contacted at (818) 885-8305.  

Adréana Robbins is a freelance writer and can be contacted at: arobbins@tolucantimes.com

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