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The Salida Council for the Arts has scheduled a Valentine’s Day Creative Mixer in the Salida SteamPlant Paquette Gallery from 5:30-7:00 p.m.Thursday February 14, featuring the art of the late Gene Diodato and music by Bob Campbell and Joan Lobeck.

The SCFTA Creative Mixer is a free monthly public gathering,held every second Thursday, features free hors’ de oeuvres, a cash bar, beautiful artwork, great conversation, and music. Those interested in knowing more about the local arts scene in a casual social setting should attend. Those with with information to share about upcoming creative and art-related events are invited to give brief announcements.

Artist Eugene “Gene” Diodato (1935-2013) was one of the few who had the talent and skills to replicate when light has transformed nature from the predictable to the surreal. For Gene, painting nature brought happiness, love and reverence. His work has been described as having “a quality of gentleness.” The subtlety of his colors and choice of subject matter never shout for attention, but appeal rather to the perceptive insight of the viewer.

The last 25 years of his life were spent in nature, mostly painting in the Upper Arkansas Valley…not as a vocation, but rather as a path toward self-fulfillment. Even as an infant, he reveled in the moments when light transformed the world from the usual into the transcendent. Gene painting what was real, always governed by adherence to the truth that nature displays.

Diodato distinguished between looking and seeing. “Looking,” he explained, “clouds the truth with assumptions, biases, and inaccurate conclusions. Seeing, on the other hand, discerns the truth of what our eyes are viewing.”

Musicians Joan Lobeck and Bob Campbell have teamed up to be the featured musicians for February’s Creative Mixer. Lobeck brings her experience as a piano accompanist and vocalist,most recently as the accompanist for the High School Drama Club’s “Little Shop of Horrors” and the musical director for KHEN’s “Tenderfoot Mountain Kaper” Radio Show this past fall. Bob will be crooning and accompanying on guitar. He is a member of “You’ve Got Male” and sings at the Methodist church. The duo has sung together at Vino Salida and has prepared a repertoire of love songs for the Valentine’s Day Creative Mixer.