Artist comes to critters' rescue

Local talent Foxey McCleary to donate 50 percent of proceeds from sale of animal paintings
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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The Colfax Art Walk has gone to the dogs – and cats – for a good cause.

For the second season of the monthly art shows at Main and Depot Street businesses that kicks off from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Colfax artist Foxey McCleary is painting rescue animals from Angels Rescuing Kritters – or ARK – a Weimar-based nonprofit organization.

McCleary’s show is being hosted, appropriately, by the Doggie Depot, located at 9 Depot St., Suite 1, where pet groomer and owner Pam Firpo often foster rescue animals that are up for adoption. This month, she’ll have their paintings on her walls.

ARK is “a great organization and it’s an honor to help,” Firpo said. She described McCleary’s paintings of the cats and dogs as “beautiful” and a “complement to the shop, definitely.”

When invited to show her paintings at the Doggie Depot, McCleary said she knew just what she wanted to do.

“My daughter-in-law, Kristina Fischer, is involved with ARK. She fosters animals and volunteers,” McCleary said. “I thought if I could help them out, that would be fine.” For the paintings of the dogs and cats Fischer used a gouache medium that results in brilliant colors. The pieces will sell for $100 each and McCleary will donate 50 percent of the proceeds to ARK.

Suzie Bayne, of Weimar, is ARK’s president and founder. She said she’s very excited about the art show and the fundraiser. “It will help feed many more animals,” Bayne said. She also hopes the paintings will lead to adoption of animals that need homes, such as Anela, a tortiseshell cat that has been up for adoption since 2009. “I’m hoping they’ll find that forever home they’re seeking,” Bayne said.

Generally, McCleary said, she likes to paint people. Her work can be seen on public art works such as the shadow murals she has worked on with Jim Bowers on Auburn Street, the Sierra Vista Community Center, Colfax Market and the Union Pacific shed. In the past, she has also painted murals on the Lot of Art next to Marson’s Men’s Store.

McCleary retired from teaching ceramics to the physically disabled at Studio 700 in Roseville after 10 years but continues to teach at the Sierra Vista Community Center where she is also involved with the Sierra Vista Art Center.

She is optimistic about the future of the Colfax Art Walk. “It’s coming along fine,” McCleary said. “We’re getting more venues. … It took PlacerArts (the Arts Council of Placer County that sponsors the Auburn Art Walk and is helping coordinate the Colfax Art Walk) a while to get going.”

McCleary is also an award-winning artist. Her painting “Sodden” recently took third place in the 30th Jubilee Open Juried Show, sponsored by PlacerArts. This show can be seen through May 31 at the Arts Building, located at 808 Lincoln Way in Auburn.

Other artists participating in the current Colfax Art Walk, held the second Friday of the month from May through October at Main and Depot street venues, are Daunine Vining, showing marionettes and pencil drawings at Creative Corner Arts & Crafts Co-op; painter Kathleen Ryan at the Hair Studio; Peggy Just Peterson, block prints, at Main Street Pizza; Katherine Cook, also block prints, at Colfax Greek Bistro; photographer Rick Krach at Brooklyn’s West Deli; metal sculpture artist Floyd Green at Ammo Camo & Bait; and painter Jim Lee, who has is work at Café Luna.

Free maps are available at any of the participating venues; on Friday, look for the red “Colfax Art Walk” signs.