Barbara’s Column

Canvas for a Cause - LPAPA raises funds to match city grant


Photos courtesy LPAPA

Plein Air is to painting, what al fresco is to eating

Both bring a breath of fresh air that satisfies a hunger.

Laguna’s long love affair with plein air painters began with Norman St. Clair, who is credited with enticing other artists to Laguna after acclimating himself to warmer, sunnier climes - and the light, ah, the light of Southern California. They brought fame to Laguna in the early 1900s as an Art Colony. 

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. founded in 1996 by Saim Caglayan, revived and has continued the traditions of those pioneering artists.  

Sunday, the association hosted Canvas for a Cause to raise funds to match the city’s $50,000 grant. Ten teams set up easels on Main Beach, followed by an auction of their works at the Ocean & Forest Gallery. 

Each team included a prominent member of the community and at least one artist, except for Caglayan’s, which had three painters: himself, Kyoko Ishigami and Pierre Bouret

The teams had two hours to complete a painting and all members of the team were required to participate.    

“I touched the brush and the brush touched the painting,” said Mark Christy, the local celebrity for the Celeste Gilles team, which included painter John Crosby.

Team Cheryl Kinsman was converted to Team Tom Lamb when she was unable to attend the event. Anthony Salvo was the team’s painter. Festival of Arts board member Anita Mangels completed the trio. 

“I laid the foundation for the entire work,” said Mangels. 

Team Harry Bithell was the first to complete a painting, well ahead of the two-hour limit. The prominent participant was City Councilman Kelly Boyd, the painter Tom Swimm. Suzi Bithell observed.

 Team harry: Kelly Boyd (L), Tom Swimm, Harry Bithell

Swimm who prefers studio painting, was made an offer to participate in the paint-out that he couldn’t refuse: his wife, Rosemary, is the executive director of LPAPA.

Laguna College of Art and Design President Jonathan Burke also had some adjusting to do.

“My medium is oils but plein air - not so much,” said Burke, decked out in T-shirt designed by a LCAD staff member Carol Covarrubias. “It’s so challenging - the light keeps moving.”  

Burke was the celebrity member of Team Jeff Sewell, an artist. Artist Fernando Micheli was the third member of the team.

Team Jeff: Jeff Sewell (L) and Jonathan Burke

Mayor Steve Dicterow served as the prominent local on Ludo Leideritz’s team. David Downes was also a member.

Team Debra Huse’s team was composed of Carol Urie, artist Calvin Liang and Randy Higbee

The irrepressible Pat Kollenda said Team Melanie Froysaa’s entry was mostly grey and white.

“I couldn’t screw it up,” she said. “But watching an artist bringing it to life was inspiring.”

The artist was Rick Delanty.

Team Melanie: The winners! Rick Delanty (L), Pat Kollenda and Melanie Froysaa 

Rita Pacheco was the artist on the team headed by LPAPA board member Mary Linda Strotkamp. Jeff Pierce and Faye Baglin completed the team.

Team Toni Kellenberg’s team included artist Michael Obermeyer and Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum. 

Team Toni: Toni Kellenberg and Michael Obermeyer

When the two-hour deadline was called, all the paintings were framed and carted off to the gallery for the wine and cheese reception and the live auction. 

National Charity League member Luci Becker assisted. The 15-year-old Laguna Beach High School student was a bronze winner in the recent Festival of Arts Junior Gallery judging.  

Team Melanie’s work brought in the highest bid - $6,275. “I did the sky,” said Baglin.

Mary Linda team’s entry raised another $5,570 and Team Toni’s entry brought in $4,825.

All told, the auction raised $32,300. 

“Because of that and donations, we will match the city’s grant,” said Swimm. 

But wait - There’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading