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That exploratory nature leads to focused read- ing about subjects she’s immersed in, and the knowledge she gains from reading comes to play in her art. For instance, Holli and five other art- ists (including former Montecito Magazine cover artist Nicole Strasburg and another magazine art- ist, Libby Smith) have been painting together and organizing exhibits of The River’s Journey , a series examining all 92 miles of the Santa Ynez River (www.rose-compass.com ). Holli has not only hiked the watershed, but also read about the his- tory of dam building and the mythology of water. “I kind of work in bodies of work,” she says. “It’s a ball of yarn, and I just keep following, follow- ing.” In the Fall 2016 issue of Montecito Magazine , the “Portraits of the Central Coast” story covered Holli’s six-year project about local people who have shaped our community. Casual Breakfast and Lunch • Indoor & Patio Corner East Valley & San Ysidro roads Mon–Sat 7 am–2:30 pm • Sun 8–2 • 969-6250 MONTECITO COFFEE SHOP Holli likes to describe her work as “sumptu- ous,” and it certainly captures a richness, both visually and through its narrative power. “That surface is so important,” she stresses, “I’m not try- ing to make it look like a photograph. It’s a blob of paint, but it looks like light, and what’s light? Can you hold it in your hand? Can you taste it? It’s like being a magician. ‘How did they do that?’ ” Of course, she is one of the talented “theys” making magic with paint. One of the ways is with special magic wands, as it were, or as she says, “Some really old crusty brushes that I don’t know what I’ll do if I ever lose them. One of them has a perfect drawing point.” Like many artists, she was drawn to being creative since her childhood grow- ing up in Redlands. She originally attended UC Santa Barbara to study art, but ended up with an ergonomics major, then transferred to San Diego State to earn a master’s degree in exercise physiol- ogy. She says, “I have a really long background in anatomy and physiology, so that’s helpful for my figurative work.” MontecitoMag.com 51