GOINGS ON SANTA BARBARA : Strawberry Fields : The Dougherty family is preserving California’s fruited plains in a joint artwork exhibit.


Barbara Dougherty wouldn’t mind painting strawberry fields forever. Or any fields for that matter. Dougherty describes herself as an agricultural painter.

Dougherty (watercolor paintings); her husband, Michael (wood sculptures) and their 16-year-old daughter, Elvi Jo (charcoal figure drawings), will show their artwork Sunday at the Fess Parker Red Lion Resort in Santa Barbara. The title of the show, and its overriding theme, is “Harvest California.”

“I paint the agriculture fields, specifically strawberry fields and orchards,” Barbara Dougherty said. “It’s out of a passion and love for these places. And there’s also the environmental issue that the fields are vanishing.”

Growing up in California, Dougherty said, gave her a sense of the importance of agriculture to the state and she wants to help preserve it in some way. She spends much of her time visiting fields up and down the state, most recently concentrating on the San Juan Bautista area.


In Ventura County, she said, she is particularly fond of the banana plantation and baby’s breath fields of La Conchita, and strawberry fields and lemon orchards in Oxnard.

“I love painting outside and, frankly, I discover an emotional catharsis when I’m standing in a strawberry field,” she said. “This is where I am. This is California.”

Dougherty said it takes a lot of time and effort to organize a show. In fact, she was so exhausted following last year’s exhibit she thought that she’d never want to see a field again. But that feeling was short-lived.

“I went on (California) 126 and there was a parsley field being picked. My heart just sank out of my body,” she said. “I hadn’t lost the passion.”

The art show will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Red Lion Resort is at 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

Bronze sculptures by Pueblo Indian artist Michael Naranjo make up the bulk of a new exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art titled “Touchable Art.” As the name implies, all the art is meant to be touched and, therefore, is available to blind and sighted visitors alike. Naranjo went blind in 1968 at the age of 24.

Several events are planned in conjunction with the showing, including a lecture and slide presentation by Naranjo at 7:30 tonight in the museum’s auditorium. For information, call 963-4364.

So what’s your sign? You may get asked this question often, but do you really give much thought to the origin of the zodiac? On Friday, the director of the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, E. C. Krupp, Ph.D., will share some ancient myths about the sky. The talk will begin at 8 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Cost is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children. Call 682-3224.


It’s a little bit down the road, but tickets went on sale at UC Santa Barbara last week for the April 7 visit of the Dalai Lama of Tibet. With 1991 designated as the Year of Tibet, the Dalai Lama has been on a lecture tour. His topic on this occasion will be “Freedom and Responsibility in the Global Community.” Because a large crowd is expected, the Dalai Lama will speak at the Events Center on campus, where the Gouchos play their home basketball games. Tickets are $6 general admission. To order, call 893-3535.