| 13 September 2006
(Wendy Edelstein photo)
On the weekends, Lin Salamo logs eight- to nine-hour days in her studio painstakingly rendering familiar East Bay scenes and still lifes in acrylic paint. "Painting is not a hobby — it's a passion and a part of me," says Salamo, an editor at the Bancroft Library's Mark Twain Papers since 1970.
Visitors to her studio — a converted garage in her El Cerrito home — see local streetscapes (such as the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Vine Street, shown below) in saturated, bright colors. "I love that you can use color to communicate something to people," she says. The unexpected hues give viewers "a chance to look and think again."
Salamo frequently paints from photographs she's taken. Usually "some aspect of light touching a building or an odd angle" captures her attention, and then she'll return repeatedly to photograph the site at different times of day, later reviewing the snapshots to find and paint what initially struck her.
Over the years, she's noticed she seldom paints landscapes that don't have manmade structures in them. "I like how the natural world and the geometric forms we impose on it interact," she explains.
Salamo has shown her work in several shows, including an "Artists at the Library" exhibit two years ago at Doe Library's Morrison Library, where a number of her paintings of campus buildings were on view. The head of the Morrison Library bought three of Salamo's works — two paintings of Doe Library and one of South Hall, where the School of Information (formerly SIMS) is housed. That purchase was "a really big moment for me," says Salamo.
Salamo, who works only when natural light filters through her northern skylight, knows exactly what she'll be doing come retirement: "My goal is to paint seven days a week."