As Fay Colmar moved around the Leo Freedman Gallery at Cal State Fullerton, there was a certain bounce in her step.
Colmar, a CSUF alumna, showed the highlights of her life as a prominent Orange County artist in her exhibit, “Full Circle: The Art of Fay Colmar” at the one of the college’s galleries. The gallery is up until June 30.
“I feel like I’ve had a wonderful year,” Colmar, 87, said addressing friends and family members. “I’ve made a very good living from it. I’ve gained a lot of exposure. And this is my swan song.”
The retrospective gallery that features pigmented, three-dimensional art — both representational and abstract — tells the story of Colmar’s evolution as an artist, with each wall representing a certain decade of her career.
Colmar proudly admitted that she never could have put together the show without the help of her children and other relatives.
“My mom was a huge influence,” said Mary Colmar Dahl, Colmar’s youngest daughter. “We always think that the biggest legacy to us (her children) is that she taught us how to see.”
Among friends who celebrated Colmar’s art were three women who’ve known her for a number of years. Virginia Spencer, Marjorie Kerr and Martha Bartholomew, along with Colmar, are the last remaining members of an art collective based in North County.
The Bloody Marys, as they call themselves, meet once a month to discuss art and compare notes on their work while drinking the classic cocktail.
The collective started in 1986, when Bartholomew, the self-proclaimed official Bloody Mary, invited a group of female artists over to her house for food and drinks.
“They came and we had different salads and I served Bloody Marys and when I cheered, I said, ‘We are officially Bloody Marys,’ ” Bartholomew said. “Little did we know that we would become women in Fullerton with a little notoriety. We were known for that there.”
Added Spencer: “It was sort of unusual in our age bracket and in our generation to find a group of women who were interested in art and who could get together and talk about it and encourage each other.”
The group’s tradition consisted of monthly meetings where art and world issues were discussed. An important element of the get-together was the table decoration, as the hostess had to follow a theme and carry it out in the presentation.
“All of us were mothers or wives. All of us had families. Some of us were quite wealthy and did not have to work to support their art, but they did anyway because it was not the husband’s job to do that,” Colmar said. “We all became friends because we had the same family values. Along with art, along with the feminist movement.”
Colmar’s portfolio, memorabilia and a resume documenting her art that had been purchased by buyers like Sheraton Hotel and the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, sat on a table.
Colmar said she has no plans to slow down.
“Before, it was kind of a hobby, but now it’s my life really,” Colmar said. “I can’t wait for this show to be over and then I can get back to work.”
“Full Circle: The Art of Fay Colmar” is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June 30 at Cal State Fullerton Leo Freedman Gallery, 800 N. State College Blvd. A closing reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. June 23. For viewings by appointment call (714) 525-6576.
MARGHERITA BEALE is a contributor to Times Community News.