The Scanlan Permanent Collection and Lisa Ross Exhibit are the highlights at MK Envision Galleries in Point Loma, Calif.

By Mariecor Agravante, Special for California Business Journal

Tucked comfortably in the Arts District of Liberty Station in Point Loma, Calif., MK Envision Galleries first opened in October 2016 and now enjoys a thriving client base.  Founders Michelle Ballantyne and Kelsey Nordal share the aesthetic of featuring art that focuses on the natural world with emphasis on “beauty in our backyard.”

On permanent exhibit is the Scanlan “Windows to the World” collection by husband-and-wife team John and Deb Scanlan.  MK Envision is the only West Coast gallery to showcase the Scanlans’ work.  The couples’ oeuvres evoke nostalgia and happy memories.  Viewers can’t help but experience a romantic longing to visit the places they see captured in the Scanlans’ photography.

From the Scanlans’ “Windows to the World” collection

The couple perceive the world as both tranquil and exquisitely attractive.  They convey the power of that quiet serenity and allure through their camera lenses, especially of locales in the Old World.

To the Scanlans, Europe holds special meaning. They admire Europe’s culture, history, and symbolism – and they inform others of Europe’s grace, delicacy, and refinement through their photography, hence the name of their collection, “Window to the World.”

Also on exhibit at MK Envision Galleries is the Lisa Ross “Imaging the World” collection.  Ross has traveled to all seven continents and has produced photography pieces from well over 450 cities and upwards of 100 countries.  Travel is her inspiration.

She credits her high school teacher, Mr. Duane Carter, for her introduction to fine art photography.  At 17, Ross won an award from Ansel Adams, who was very supportive of Duane Carter’s arts department at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.

Despite this glowing start, allergies to dark room chemicals steered Ross towards other career tracts, first as a psychotherapist and then as an award-winning writer.  In fact, Ross garnered acclaim as a political writer and journalist, notably through her columns, My Best Shot and The Ross Retort.  Then when digital photography became possible, Ross returned to her love of photography.

Always shooting raw, Ross revealed that her go-to camera brand is Canon.  Ross acknowledged that if you go back in time, her portfolio in a way parallels the history of the modern Canon camera, for there was a time she would always invest in the latest Canon.  Now she chooses to stick with her two Canon 5D Mark III’s (at 23 and 50 megapixels).

One of the things that sets Ross apart is her style of printing her photographs.  She prints with Epson printers using pigment inks, which allow her photographs to achieve a painterly feel and quality.  And how does she avoid those dreaded pixels when maximizing her artwork?  She credits the use of more than one software to help in that regard.

Lisa Ross

Her most exciting photographic excursion to date was her trip to Antarctica via the Abercrombie & Kent expedition cruise.  While in Antarctica, she photographed the wrecked Petrel whaling ship, which stands near British explorer Shackleton’s resting place.  Her “Petrel” original is part of the Lisa Ross collection on exhibit at MK Envision Galleries.

When asked what she relishes about the modern age of digital photography, Ross said she likes that there is little need now for carrying hefty loads of luggage full of various camera equipment.  Rather, a professional photographer nowadays can travel far lighter.  Of course, she does warn that one must constantly back up computers at all costs to avoid losing any images or data.

Ross is quick to admit that she hardly ever gets rid of any images she’s taken.  There have been times when she, for instance, revisits photos captured many years previously.  Sometimes she’ll “forget” they are there, and then “rediscover” them.  By reworking them with fresh eyes she can produce new pieces of art.

About her creative process, Ross doesn’t mind breaking the rules.  But she advises that one still has to “learn them and know them first to understand how to break them artistically.”  For example, her oeuvre, “For Muscat,” on display at MK Envision Galleries, tastefully disrupts the photographic rule of thirds.

As for the frames of her photographs, Ross disclosed that she works with only one framer – Jeremy Dunaway at Artware on Miramar Road in San Diego whom she has trusted for 17 years.  For Ross, framing is part of the presentation.  Her artwork’s impact therefore does not end where the photo ends, but extends and includes the frame as well.

To see more of Lisa Ross’ photo artworks (and their unique frames), visit MK Envision Galleries, where they shall remain on exhibit from now until April 15th, 2018.

Besides hosting a quarterly photo contest to recognize emerging and seasoned artists, MK Envision Galleries has likewise gained popular traction because the gallery can be rented as a venue for private events.  Corporate event, fundraiser, musical recital, bridal or baby shower, anniversary party, cocktail gathering, and soiree planners can rent the venue for a memorable experience.

Arts District Liberty Station

2825 Dewey Rd, San Diego, CA 92106