Head Above the Clouds
● By Style
Photo by Dante Fontana
Loomis artist Imi Lehmbrock-Hirschinger often goes to great lengths to get the right composition to paint her masterpieces, like regularly renting a small airplane to get photographs of the perfect terrain to portray in her work.
She paints the Sacramento Valley’s rivers and fields not only because it is visually appealing to her, but also because she feels it needs to be recognized and preserved for its beauty.
“Utilizing a wide range of photographs, I select some strong compositions, usually focusing on a small section of the photograph,” she says. “Concentrating on a few basic lines and colors, I start the process of painting while emphasizing focal points and adding contrasting elements and layers of color,” she says. It is no secret that Lehmbrock-Hirschinger’s favorite themes are aerial landscapes; however, she paints many large-scale commissioned works in the area as well, using oils or acrylics on canvases and walls.
Many years ago when Lehmbrock-Hirschinger was an art teacher in Mayrhofen, Austria, she developed a method of combining watercolors, oil pastels and inks to achieve distinct textures and surface qualities on paper. To offer students an additional cultural experience, the director of the school asked her to convert a classroom into an art gallery, where her first exhibit was displayed. “As it turned out, my future husband, James, was one of those international students who came to my exhibit,” Lehmbrock-Hirschinger says. “We were married two years later, and after, I moved to the United States.” Upon moving to a new country, she earned a full scholarship and completed her bachelor’s degree in art with honors. It was then that she experimented with various media and techniques but still held on to her passion for watercolors and ceramic sculptures.
During the past few years, Lehmbrock-Hirschinger has been quite busy: She had a one-person exhibition at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center; participated in both the Crocker Art Museum Art Auction and the KVIE Art Auction; held several group shows at the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville, the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, and the King Oral Surgery Clinic in Rocklin; as well, she commissioned numerous pieces for private clients. Lehmbrock-Hirschinger also worked on an extension of her 120-foot long mural in her Austrian hometown.
Currently, she is working on several commissions and says, “It is especially rewarding for me to be able to visualize where my paintings will be permanently displayed, and I enjoy creating the perfect artistic statement for a particular environment.”
Lehmbrock-Hirschinger’s husband, James Hirschinger, is also an artist, but in the photography field. At their art studio in Loomis, he displays his work, while she often shows her paintings. The couple participates in regional art events, including the Autumn Art Studios Tour and the Loomis Art Loop Open Studios Tour, in which they invite visitors to their studio.