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Encinitas Artists of Excellence

Inspirations Gallery Encinitas - March 2024
Reception March 9 from 5:30 to 8:30

Encinitas Artists of Excellence presented by Surfing Madonna Oceans Project is an invitational exhibition that will run for the month of March at the Perspectives Gallery in Encinitas.  Intended as a special tribute to the exceptional artists from Encinitas, Cardiff and Leucadia who have been “Arts Alive” Banner Artists, the artists in the show are: Bob Hord, Donna Butnik, Karin Kellar, Julie Ann Stricklin, Cheryl Ehlers and Cathy Carey. The reception on March 9 from 530 - 830pm will include an exciting musical event with the Peter Sprague Trio performing.  Peter is another one of the exceptional local artists Surfing Madonna wants to honor with inclusion in this show. 

Peter Sprague is an award winning guitarist, composer, publisher, and music instructor who lives in Encinitas. He has worked with some of the finest contemporary jazz artists alive such as Chick Corea, Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny, Sergio Mendes, Hubert Laws, and Billy Childs. He runs his own recording studio called SpragueLand, and he has published several books highlighting his teaching concepts. “Peter is amazing. I have known him for years and have always thought of him as one of the best. A great musician who also happens to be a great guitar player. With Peter I always hear the music first. His amazing touch on the instrument is always present whether on electric or acoustic. The level of precision and discipline he brings to his music is something that he makes seem easy, but is in fact one of the most difficult things a guitarist can be asked to do. He is absolutely masterful at it.” said Pat Metheny in the 2019 San Diego Troubadour.

Bob Hord began his art adventure while in his senior year at Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, when he was recruited by Hallmark Cards in Kansas City. Later he worked for Mattel Toys until he decided to try freelancing as a commercial illustrator and never looked back. “I suppose cartooning is what I’m best known for having illustrated many cards, tee shirts, books. posters, etc. But I also developed a style of paper sculpting that I have used in much of my commercial work as well as fine art pieces. Besides my commercial work my other interests have been ceramic sculpting, metal sculpting, mixed media and creating musical instruments, primarily cigar box guitars, under the moniker Smokebox Bob.” Bob has a great sense of humor and it is evident in all his work. “Over the past couple of years I have worked on a series of black and white paintings depicting the daily life of robots.” Bob is currently working on creating the illustrations for the upcoming Surfing Madonna Ocean Safety coloring book to be used at their Special Needs Surf camps.

Donna Butnik is a native Californian and studied at California Institute of the Arts graduating in 1979 with a BFA. Donna studied painting - oil and watercolor, stained glass, mask making, paper maché, murals, pottery, silk screens (serigraphs) and animation. Her favorite method of painting and teaching is the drip method using enamel house paints, originally inspired by Jackson Pollack. Butnik’s painting techniques enable her to reach subconscious levels of imagery. “My inspiration is drawn from my dreams, models and nature surrounding me. My best creations are when the painting paints itself. I just stand out of the way; and let the drips turn into a visual melody.”

Karin Kellar graduated with honors from the School of Design at NCSU.  She practiced graphic design in Burlington, VT and taught Design classes at Champlain College before moving to San Diego in 2006, and Cardiff in 2009. For her 2022 banner Karin said “I painted this in honor of my Mom, Mary Ann Johnson, who passed away in April 2021. She loved to sit and watch the birds in the wetland areas where I grew up in North Carolina on the Outer Banks. Seeing the Osprey, egrets, ducks and herons reminds me of her and her smile.” The proceeds from the sale of the banner were donated to the Nature Collective in honor of Karin’s Mom.

Julie Ann Stricklin is a full time illustrator, graphic designer as well as fine artist based out of San Diego. She works traditionally as well as digitally. She graduated from San Diego State with a degree in Applied Arts and Sciences with an emphasis in design. A decade later, she returned to school to earn a digital graphics certification from the Advertising Arts College. Julie Ann Stricklin’s Meditation Rocks became a large focus in her life starting in 2012. Her Meditation Rocks can be found all over the world in shops, galleries and museum.

Julie Ann Stricklin has illustrated 20+ published books and covers for indie writers as well as publishers.

Cheryl Ehlers was born in northern California and raised in Europe for most of her formative years. Always interested in the power of creativity, she is both an award winning and published artist who works in a variety of genres in fine art painting, graphic and textile design, using a variety of mediums to express herself.

“I am fundamentally interested in creating works that call for the participation of the audience to the same extent as my involvement in it. The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery of the story, and evoke basic human emotions.”  Ehlers believes, that art can have a tremendous impact, and advises students and adults, “don’t be afraid to explore yourself, or be concerned what others might think, just be confident in your beliefs”.

Cathy Carey’s paintings express an essential connection of all things through a joyous spirit. As an accomplished oil painter, Cathy studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC and has a BFA in painting. 

“My paintings take place in an altered reality. When I travel I fill up sketchbooks with blind contour sketches, in order to create interesting and exaggerated shapes and sweeping expressive lines! Back home in my studio I work up my sketches into paintings. I choose the colors to express the way a place and time feels to me. I let my experiences percolate into memories, so I’m painting something I felt, not just something I saw.” Cathy was the past Executive Director and President of Surfing Madonna Oceans Project and is now Director of Programming for Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad. Her paintings are represented by InArt Gallery in Santa Fe NM, The Ranch at Taos in Taos NM, Wilde Meyer Gallery in Scottsdale and Tucson AZ. 

ART SHOW: Welcome
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Art Show Entry Info for Artists


By submitting I acknowledge that I have read and understand the general presentation requirements of the exhibition and will abide by them. The greatest possible care will be taken in handling art works. The Front Porch Gallery, Surfing Madonna Oceans Project and/or their agents will not be responsible for loss or damage to any artwork submitted.

Artist Waiver

Please print, fill this out and bring to the drop off at the Gallery with your artwork delivery

General Presentation Requirements

We strive to protect your work. To prevent possible damage to it, artwork must be appropriately prepared for exhibition when delivered.

1) Two-dimensional work must be wired with sufficient gauge to support the weight of the work and be ready to hang. Your work must be professionaly framed (you can frame it yourself but it should be professional and appropriate for a museum display) or if not framed the edges should be neat and canvases should be on museum gallery wrapped canvas width  - 1 1/2” wide stretcher bars. If your work requires atypical hanging or presentation structure, please contact us prior to delivery dates for clearance. Special hanging, display and/or lighting requirements will be at the discretion of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project and Front Porch Gallery staff.

2) Installation and multiple piece works must include a simple diagram showing installation positions. If your installation is different than what you describe it may disqualify your piece and cannot be accepted.

3) Work previously exhibited at Surfing Madonna Oceans Project shows will be accepted.

4) Accepted artwork may not be removed before the end of the exhibition.

5) Sold artwork must remain in the show until load-out.

6) Artwork must be considered appropriate for viewing by all audiences, including children.

7) Artwork that fails to comply with entry requirements will be disqualified.

Submission Guidelines

General Show Eligibility
You may submit if you’re a California resident artist & your original work was made within the past 3 years.

Surfing Madonna

Surfing Madonna Contact info:

Cathy Carey - 760-877-0869

For more information about Surfing Madonna Oceans Project

ART SHOW: Services
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Previous Art Shows

Ocean-Earth-Air - Poway Center
Third Annual Save the  Ocean 2023 - Escondido Municipal Gallery
Second Annual Save the Ocean 2022 - Escondido Municipal Gallery
Inspirations 2022 - La Playa Gallery La Jolla 
Save the Ocean 2021 - Escondido Municipal Gallery

Surfing Madonna Oceans Project wants to spread our message of hope and appreciation for the ocean and support the arts. We believe that creating art and public appreciation of art increases cognitive abilities and eases anxiety and depression in these difficult times. Art can make a difference in the community, and that collective action can greatly impact the world.

ART SHOW: Who We Are

Thank you to our Sponsors:

Support for the Arts Enhances Our Community!


California Arts Council


San Diego County District 2
Community Enhancement Grant

ART SHOW: Projects
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