Magazine article Southwest Art

Thalia Stratton

Magazine article Southwest Art

Thalia Stratton

Article excerpt

When artist Thalia Stratton's parents settled in Los Gatos, CA, after World War II, they brought with them many traditions from their native Greece. Stratton's father, William, planted vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and the family soon enjoyed an abundance of fresh tomatoes, cherries, apples, figs, lemons, onions, and beans. Holidays were marked by celebratory feasts for family and friends. Summers usually meant visits to the Greek island of Samos, where lunches in picturesque seaside cafes lasted for a lively three hours.

So it comes as no surprise that today, some of Stratton's favorite subject matter revolves around the fine art of dining. Her slice-of-life paintings capture eating establishments in far-flung locales such as Paris as well as ones close to her home in San Francisco. The scenes often reflect an ambience best described as old world elegance. Waiters in long white aprons carry flutes of champagne on silver trays while chic urbanités share meals in sundappled cafes. "I like to paint restaurants that have a European feel because it is so close to me," Stratton says. "I gravitate to quaint cafes and bistros because I am comfortable there and have such wonderful memories of eating in places like that."

As this story was going to press, Stratton was finishing paintings for a May solo show at Arata Fine Art Gallery in San Francisco and looking forward to the publication of her dining scenes in a cookbook, The Art of Dining: Epicurean Delights. The cookbook also features recipes by her nephew, John Stratton, a Le Cordon Bleu chef. This month Stratton's painting, LUNCH IN PROVENCE, is on display in the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition at Devin Galleries in Coeur d'Alene, ID.

Trained as an illustrator, Stratton is drawn to paintings that suggest a story to the viewer. Although she has a master's degree in fine art from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, early in her career she worked as an illustrator for clients such as Neiman Marcus, I. …

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