Virginia Kamhi

Malibu Lagoon - Virginia Kamhi

My art journey began at an early age, as I sat beside my grandmother while she painted, or imagined myself wandering through my great uncle’s landscapes. Art surrounded me, and I spent many childhood hours drawing, coloring, and experimenting with various media.

To this day I am excited by the smell of oil paint and turpentine that I remember so well from childhood visits to my relatives’ art studios. A mere whiff is enough to send me on an imaginary adventure to someplace as yet unexplored. It may seem strange that I have chosen pastels, and not oils, as my medium of choice, but I love the tactile quality of working with pastels.

A native Californian, I am inspired by the natural beauty and varied terrain of the California landscape. I am taken by the quality of light at different times of day, the morning mist, a magnificent sunrise or sunset, the texture of dried grass on a hillside, the colors of the earth.

I love to paint outdoors en plein air. I believe that when I experience the time of day, quality of light, temperature, and even the scent in the air, those qualities become evident in my paintings. Even when I paint in the studio, my paintings are from photos I have taken on location. Often I will spend a number of hours taking photos in just one spot so I can absorb the feeling of my surroundings, taking in the sounds, the sunlight, the shadows, the warmth or chill of the air. Outside in nature, I become centered and at peace, and my hope is that I might share this with others through my paintings.

Canyon Oak - Virginia Kamhi

Although I have studied art history, drawing, ceramics, and oil, pastels have become my greatest passion. I love using my fingers to work the pastel into the paper, and I may frequently be found with pastel smudges on my face, hands, and clothes. I have been fortunate to have studied pastel with Richard McKinley, Alain Picard, Albert Handell, Alan Flattmann, and other eminent pastel artists. I am currently being mentored by Jannene Behl and Bert Collins at West Hills Ojai Gallery.

I am an award winning pastel artist. My works have been juried into shows with the Pastel Society of Southern California, the Santa Paula Art Museum, the Ventura County Arts Council, the Westlake Village Art Guild, the Santa Paula Society of the Arts, the Thousand Oaks Art Association, and Destination: Art of the South Bay. In addition, I have exhibited with the Arts Council of the Conejo Valley and member shows of other art organizations to which I belong, in particular the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore.

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Virginia Kamhi was a participating artist in the 2016 Rejoice in Art! Fair