It wasn’t long after she noticed the effect her dreamy paintings had on viewers that Emmeline Craig knew she wanted a gallery of her own.
They entered her Bolinas studio “in a buzz,” Ms. Craig recalled of her visitors, “and their shoulders would drop and their body language would change.”
“I adored that,” she said.
Now, the French-born artist, who opened the Blissful Gallery less than a month ago in Stinson Beach, is seeking to draw attention to what she describes on her website as “a place where reverence for life is the primary form of art.”
The gallery, located on Highway One at the site of the former Healing Arts store, is currently exhibiting artwork from across the region ranging from fused-glass tableware from Pamela Brody Heine, an artist from Bend, Ore., to intricately designed glass sculptures by Alexis Berger, a Berkeley craftswoman, that “are like out of a fairy tale,” Ms. Craig remarked.
It also features more than two-dozen paintings—ranging in price from $25 to $2,500—by Ms. Craig, whose use of oil and watercolors creates otherworldly and warm compositions reminiscent of surrealist art.
Often depicting spacious landscapes, her paintings seek to “remind people that there is a space inside…where we can feel secure.”
Ms. Craig moved to Bolinas from her hometown in Provence, France, in 2000, shortly after she met her late husband, Buddy Craig.
She offered exhibitions in her art studio in Bolinas, where she worked as a cashier at the Coast Café until 2008, when she decided to focus entirely on painting.
Her work has appeared in businesses and galleries across West Marin, including the Bovine Bakery and the Red Barn in Point Reyes National Seashore, and at art festivals and galleries in and around the Bay Area.
The Stinson Beach gallery is the latest development in Ms. Craig’s career. She hopes her paintings will offer a refuge, if only momentary, from anxiety and uncertainty, which she acknowledged she acutely feels some days as an independent artist.
“There are days when I’m wondering how I’m going to make it through the month,” she said.
But Ms. Craig sees her role less as a source of income than as an opportunity to lead viewers to “reconnect with what is real,” and she is not anxious about the future of her gallery.
“I imagine the [gallery] is going to find its own place and is going to find its own rhythm and pace,” she said late last week. “It’s going to go as far as it can go, as far as the world wants it to go.”
A grand opening for the Blissful Gallery will take place this Saturday, January 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. To learn more about about Emmeline Craig’s work and her gallery, visit emmelinecraig.com.