Small Town Muse

Watercolorist Candace Rowe finds inspiration in Alameda.


Landmarks like the tube are common subjects.

Painting courtesy of the artist

Before Candace Rowe relocated from Seattle to Alameda sight unseen, she was already dreaming about life here. “It all began with a photo of the Posey Tube. I have always loved the architectural beauty of the Art Deco era. I was immediately intrigued.” A recent empty nester, Rowe had a history with watercolors but hadn’t picked up a brush in over 20 years. Two years later, her own interpretation of the tube and a dozen more watercolors of Alameda landmarks were celebrated in a show at Frank Bette Center of the Arts.

“I knew that this cool little town was the place for me,” she noted with a smile. Alameda didn’t disappoint. “It absolutely lives up to all of my expectations. It is so Gilmore Girls!” Rowe described the similarities between Alameda and the fictional Stars Hollow and chatted about the draw of making a home in a quirky yet picturesque small town, chock full of local characters and history.

“I love that people here are so passionate about Alameda and that my paintings inspire them to share stories about working on the Hornet and what life here was like back in the day,” she said. A native of small town Idaho Falls, Idaho, Rowe brings realism to her work that is equal parts earthy and idyllic. “I never painted architecture before I moved here,” she said. She dabbled in still life, portraits and abstracts in college then put painting aside to raise a family.

Painting Courtesy of the artist

“I was always more into the process of painting rather than the finished product. It was the first time I realized that if I paint something that I feel passionate about, I will want to hang it on my wall,” and added with a laugh “and maybe other people will want to hang it on their wall, too.”

“In examining all the details that went into painting the sign at Ole’s, the bricks at Del Monte, the vintage windowpanes at Croll’s—I developed an intimacy with these places. They are like friends I run into around town.”

Rowe’s Alameda project allowed longtime residents to see home through fresh eyes. She is selling original watercolors and giclée prints on paper in series of six. She also offers an offering of ready-to-hang wrapped canvas prints and whimsical greeting card prints.

With Rowe bound to become a quintessential small-town artist, locals will surely embrace her work in the future.


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