I GOING PLACES I
Artist Linda Zalla is
inspired by the forces
WEEK OF AUG. 12-18
Special to the Jewish News
ocal artist Linda Zalla is a
study in contrasts. She
takes her art very serious-
ly. Three weeks out of four
she paints during most of
her waking hours — in solitude, with
classical music as her accompani-
ment. But that fourth week — watch
out! When Zalla comes out of her
West Bloomfield studio, she's
bursting at the seams with energy,
ready to relate to everyone around
her. And the quiet intensity that she
puts into her paintings is perfectly
balanced by Zalla's exuberance for
her family, her friends and her
This curious contrast is but one of
Linda Zalla's artistic bent was discovered in her youth.
several unique to Zalla. She describes
painting as "an integral part of my
very being" and is particularly in-
trigued by the balance in nature's
dynamic forces — the calm versus the
forceful, the soft versus the hard, the
clear versus the misty.
What emerges on canvas is
Zalla's interpretation of the harmony
between these contrasting elements,
"between my heart and my intellect
and between my imagination and
Zalla's artistic talent was
discovered in her youth. Her piano
teacher very early on noticed that the had something to offer adults as of the few she will never sell. Entitl-
sketches she would make while well."
ed The Sage, the watercolor portrait
waiting for her lessons far outshone
Zalla defines herself as an was painted in a class from a model.
her musical ability. The teacher sug- abstract expressionist, who uses "But when I'd finished it, I realized
gested to Zalla's parents, Rose and acrylic paints enhanced by the art of that without my intending it to, the
David Rubenstein, that they save the collage "to form my magic world of portrait looked like my dad. It has a
money they were investing in Linda's painting."
religious quality for me, almost like
"Collage helps me convey the feel- a permanent memorial to him."
A native of Detroit, Zalla receiv- ing of the intricate layers of the earth.
By the mid-1970s, Zalla decided
ed a youth grant to attend weekly I'm fascinated by geodes and crystals that there was nothing more she
classes at the Detroit Institute of — the raw beauty of rock formations." could say about still lifes, children,
A second source of Zalla's inspira- and flowers. "I wanted to explore in
Arts. She also took lessons at Sam
Field's Art Studio. By high school she tion is atmospheric conditions — the a more abstract manner, and I
was determined to pursue an art seasons, the weather, the clouds. wanted to say something new that
career. She won her first public "The clouds are always changing. If other artists hadn't said. I changed
recognition in 10th grade by design- I can catch a cloud formation and both my media — from water color to
ing the winning poster for the Jewish keep it, then I've caught an excite- acrylics — and my point of view."
Community Center's Book Fair that ment that's permanent, and when I'm
She employs a type of collage
year. Zalla continued her art educa- gone, it will still be there. That's im-
technique in which she first takes
tion at the Center for Creative mortality."
Although she has been painting small pieces of paper, many of
Studies and received a bachelor's
years, Zalla's unique technique unusual texture, some imported,
degree from Wayne State University
with a double major in fine arts and emerged only 10 years ago. "I started some self-made, and arranges them
out painting with watercolors. I've on the canvas. On top of the papers,
"By my junior year, I had realiz- always been a very spontaneous per- Zalla applies her acrylic paints. "The
ed the need for financial security," son. My best work is not done in a beginning part goes fast," Zalla says.
she recalls, looking back fondly upon labored manner. Originally water- "But because I was schooled very
her teaching years in Livonia and color was a wonderful vehicle for me strongly in composition, I have to
Detroit. A decade later Zalla return- because it whooshes out. I painted force myself to pull back after the in-
) ed to education as an instructor at the children and flowers because I knew itial spontaneity and go more slow-
Center. "Teaching gives you a total- them, and I could identify with ly." Sometimes Zalla purposely does
a piece leaving color out because it
ly different kind of creative satisfac- them."
An early painting of Zalla's is one forces her and the viewer to focus on
tion, and eventually I realized that I
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Le Le and Nan Nan, through
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Olympic basketball team plays
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Phoenix Center, Pontiac, Friday
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Hollygrove, Holly, 10 a.m. to 7
p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and
Labor Day through Sept. 25, 150
entertainers on four stages,
Baldwin Pavillion, Meadow
Brook, Rochester, Women's
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2593 Woodward, Berkley, Larry
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Roger Behr, Tuesday through
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You Never Can Tell, and
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Geneva, through Sept. 24; The
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Sonnets, through Aug. 28; Once
in a Lifetime, through Oct. 16;
He Who Gets Slapped, through
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Smith Theater, 27055 Orchard
Lake Rd., Farmington Hills,
Alice in Wonderland, today;
Grease, Saturday, admission.
Dearborn, The Man Who Came
to Dinner, Fridays and Saturdays
through Sept. 10, admission.
DETROIT INSTITUTE OF
5200 Woodward, Detroit, open
auditions for actors, actresses, a
stage manager and percussionist,
by appointment, Sept. 1 and 2.
Continued on Page 67
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