From her childhood in Napa and Suisun Valley, local artist Donna Covey ended up in Benicia, where she has lived for over 30 years. Although she majored in Art:Design in college and taught art in K-12 schools, Covey never created art for herself for over thirty years. After a busy career as a junior high and high school principal she decided to pick up her paintbrush eight years ago and start experimenting with acrylics and watercolors.

She began painting landmarks in Suisun Valley that existed along the bike trail that she and her friends rode as children. Her Suisun Valley series of paintings were so popular that she was contacted by galleries in Northern California and asked to paint series of local landmarks in their communities. As a result, Covey has added to what she now calls her “Northern California Neighborhoods” series that includes “Benicia Alleys and Side Streets” a group of paintings that will be featured in March and April at Milinda Perry’s Salon and Gallery in Benicia.

Benicia Bait & Tackle

Covey’s self-described Contemporary Fauve Expressionist style is a blend of bright color, composition and images that impart a sense of place and mood. Covey will tell you that her intent is to create a visual relationship using the elements of design to evoke an emotional connection for people who view her work. “For me, buildings and signs are a vehicle to create design and composition within my format. The bright colors, along with elements of whimsy, are meant to make people smile,” she says.

The bright colors and whimsical mood of her paintings prompted Laurie Wotus, wife of San Francisco Giants Bench Coach, Ron Wotus, to ask Covey to participate in two Giants Wives Fundraisers in 2014 and 2015, by creating artworks for Giants’ charities that were auctioned at AT&T Park

Peregrine Landing Building in Downtown Benicia

Peregrine Landing

Solo shows throughout the Bay Area have included those sponsored by Variety Children’s Charity in San Francisco, Wente Vineyards in Livermore and the Napa Valley County Library. She’s especially proud to have had a solo show here in her hometown a few years ago at Umpqua Bank.

For Covey, what started out as a fun hobby turned into an unexpected career, painting, showing and selling art throughout Northern California and beyond. Covey and her hosts Milinda Perry and local artist Terry Hughes invite the public to an artist reception on Friday, March 3rd from 5-7pm at Milinda Perry’s Salon and Gallery.