Bolen to grace cover of art trails catalog

Susan Manter Bolen’s painting “Heart of the Forest” has been selected to grace the cover of the 2015 Sierra Art Trails - Yosemite Foothills Open Studio Tour catalog.

The three-day Sierra Art Trails event will be held Friday - Sunday, Oct. 2-4.

According to Jon Bock, Sierra Art Trails president, the new catalog is largest ever, including articles on “Discovering Yosemite Art,” “A Tribute to Yosemite Artists,” and “Making Art in Times of Crisis,” focused on the California drought and related wildfires.

This year’s event will feature 108 artists showing in more than 50 locations in homes, studios, galleries, and businesses in more than a dozen communities in Eastern Madera and Mariposa counties.

“The show is the largest and most anticipated arts event in the area, featuring artists and artisans working in a wide range of media including painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, woodcarving, ceramics, glass, and more,” Bock said.

The $18 Sierra Art Trails spiral bound, full color catalog serves as a “Ticket for Two” to the event, and includes a list of artists and their viewing locations, and detailed maps to get you there.

Manter remembers while looking at the work of Max Ernst, coming across a reference to a piece called “The Heart of the Forest,” with no accompanying illustration.

“I have always admired his elaborate imagery, in particular the use of light to accent the edges of form,” Manter said. “I was struck by the poetic nature of the phrase, and decided to come up with my own interpretation. I still have not seen the Ernst picture, and have no idea what it looks like.

Manter said the ideas that came to her were based on the color scheme of blue, green and red.

“I pictured a bright crimson heart floating above the forest floor,” explained Manter. “I chose to focus on simplicity, beauty and color; lining trees and bushes in a turquoise glow. The incandescent blue bird in the heart’s interior implies a sentient animal presence in an otherwise dark and secluded enclave.”

Manter creates surreal, symbolic, and intuitive images as well as boldly bright colorful landscapes and mixed media sculptures. Her influences include mythology, psychology (Jungian), heraldry, alchemy, and art history from ancient ties to the present. She is fascinated by cultural traditions, festivals and rituals associated with the wheel of the year and the changing seasons.

Manter said she is mostly self-taught with a smattering of formal education. After many years traveling and working countless minimum wage jobs, she met and fell in love with John Bolen. This relationship gave her the opportunity to create freely and continuously. John contributes to the art work by cutting wood for mixed media pieces, and also framing and matting.

Bolen’s work can be viewed at her web site, She is represented by Williams Gallery West.

Catalogs can be ordered on the web at or can be purchased at select resale locations including Stellar Gallery, Timberline Gallery, and Williams Gallery West in Oakhurst.

Details: (559) 658-8844.

- Sierra Art Trails