Sawdust: Celebrating the soul of art for 50 years

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Sawdust arts grounds, dotted with eucalyptus trees, is the summer “home” to more than 200 artists from June 24 – August 28 (10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily).  The artist’s hand-made booths, the variety of works represented, and the host of friendly cafes make a veritable feast for body and soul for the thousands of visitors every year. It’s no wonder the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival was properly honored last week for featuring “the soul of art for 50 years.” 

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Laguna Beach Mayor Steve Dicterow congratulated the Sawdust Festival at ribbon cutting for the 50th season opener

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Donning certificates of award to the Sawdust are (from left to right) Assemblyman Matthew Harper, representative for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Naz Namazi, representative for Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Sergio Prince, Laguna Beach Mayor Steve Dicterow, Sawdust Art Festival Board President Jay Grant, and Senator John Moorlach.


JoAnne Artman Gallery is featuring two new artists

By SUZIE HARRISON

JoAnne Artman Gallery announced that they are showing the work of two new artists they represent, Greg Miller and Lee Waisler.  

Drawing from the diverse cultural and geographic makeup of his Californian roots, Miller explores his relationship with the space he inhabits to communicate a particular urban experience. Working with both paint and collage, he constructs and deconstructs exploring the contradiction, ambiguity, and truth between urban streetscape and history.

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“Rose/5th,” Acrylic, Collage and Resin on Canvas, 48” x 48,” by Greg Miller

Miller’s art is clever and cool. His abstracted backgrounds of drips, patterns, and phrases and the peeling back of layers provide a study in the impermanence of the things that surround us. His large-scale paintings and installations aim to make the most fleeting parts of American culture tangible. They grab us nostalgically, rousing us to enjoy the momentary beauty found in the impermanent parts of our lives. There is a fragile heroicness conveyed within the temporary nature of it all, especially within his construction of paper, wood, and natural materials, that gives Miller’s work liveliness and depth. Miller spends his time between New York and Los Angeles.

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“Red 60_2,” Acrylic, Silicon Carbide and Maplewood on Canvas, 59” x 59,” 

by Lee Waisler

Waisler lives and works in Palm Springs and Venice, CA. “Inspiration comes from work, the most effective way to find inspiration is by working,” he said. “The Artist’s intention/idea of a work takes precedence over the means by which the work is executed. The varied subject matter of my work issues from reactions that I have to people, events and ideas. With reference to the portraits, I believe that certain individuals have been significant in the development of world culture. Some of those who have advanced social justice are now being diminished or marginalized. I want those people to be remembered.

“Over the years, my painting has developed sculptural qualities with the inclusion of dimensional elements such as wood, sand, and glass. These materials themselves have come with strong symbolic associations. Wood is life, a living material. Glass is reflective and introspective. Sand is the ancient symbol of time. Through the use of these means and others, I wish to create a unique interaction between the viewer and the painting: a kind of confluence resulting in deepening insight via imaginative perception.”

JoAnne Artman Gallery is located at 326 N. Coast Highway. For information about these artists and galley exhibits, call 510-5481 or visit www.joanneartmangallery.com


Husband & wife team will be featured at Artists Republic

Artists Republic will showcase “Aquatics,” a duo exhibit by Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock, July 2 to Aug 14 with an artist reception on July 2, 6 to 9 p.m. Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock are a husband and wife team living and working in San Francisco. Their international art careers have spanned over a decade - working individually on solo projects and together in the form of the art duo KEFE.

Kerry Tunstall Ferris Plock

Tunstall’s work can be seen on permanent display in prominent bay area establishments Bar Crudo and A16, as well as Palm Springs venues Alcazar and Cheeky’s. 

Both artists have works in prominent collections around the globe. In their upcoming show Aquatics, Tunstall and Plock focus on the theme of the ocean and underwater creatures. 

“We live by the ocean; we can hear the fog horns by the golden gate bridge at night. The ocean and water was a big part of both of our childhoods - I personally love the feeling of weightlessness and silence you get when immersed…” said Tunstall. When asked about their process and the idea of collaboration; “The big ideas come out of the title for the show, so we make sure everything we do works within that parameter first.” 

“For ‘Aquatics,’ we will be doing some floating compositions. Ferris has aquatic creatures that cross with his ukiyo-e works, and I will have a lot of rich patterning in my work too. Since we work in the same space, and with the same materials, it’s a very fluid, fluent process with a lot of crossover. The conversation is basically- do you want to work in on this? Or hey this thing would look great there. Some of the works will be done individually, but we naturally try to complement the other work in the show, reflexively almost. So the whole body of work is really a collaboration,” said Turnstall.

This will be the first time the artists will be showing as a duo in Southern California. For hires images and artist interviews, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The gallery is located at 1175 S. Coast Highway.


Festival of Arts temporary sculpture will be at bus depot

The City of Laguna Beach is collaborating with the Festival of Arts by providing a sculpture pad near the Broadway Bus Deport for the exhibition of sculpture from the Festival’s permanent collection. 

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Hal Pastorius

“Bulk Head”

Artist’s rendering

The Festival will be installing the sculpture “Bulk Head” by artist Hal Pastorius for a three year exhibition. The installation is a nod to the Sawdust Art Festival’s 50th anniversary, as Pastorius was the first president of the organization in 1966. 

The lodging establishment and City of Laguna Beach fund this project.


Estate Sale will offer Terry Thornsley’s art June 25 & 26

An estate sale of Terry Thornsley art works will be held on June 25 and 26at his studio on Laguna Canyon Rd. Thornsley was a renowned Laguna Beach artist and resident for over 30 years where he showed his work at the Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Festival and his home studio.

He was a versatile artist whose modes of expression included watercolor, soot, stone and bronze. As an avid sea kayaker, outdoorsman and naturalist, most of his inspiration came from the natural world. 

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Terry Thornsley painting in Old Borego in 2012 

Thornsley’s public artworks can be found along the California coast at the San Diego Airport, several places in Laguna, Balboa Island, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Long Beach and also in Maui. His final Laguna piece was “Grace,” which is displayed next to the Main Beach Lifeguard Headquarters. 

Thornsley loved Laguna Beach and was very appreciative of the clients, contacts and friends he made here. We would like to invite those who have supported and admired his work over the years to come by the studio and view his remaining works of art, June 25 and June 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 2375 Laguna Canyon Road.


“All Shook Up” – an all Elvis musical coming to Laguna Playhouse July 6 and will be running through August 7

Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham is thrilled to announce the first show in the Laguna Playhouse 2016-2017 season, the perfect family summertime, fun-time musical, “All Shook Up,” book by Joe DiPietro, musical direction by Jeff Biering, choreography by Paula Hammons Sloan and directed by Steve Steiner. 

“There’s no better way to open a season than with Elvis. Our subscribers and audiences can’t help falling in love with this infectious, summertime confection that the whole family is going to jailhouse rock & roll to,” says Wareham. “All Shook Up” will begin previews on Wednesday, July 6; will open on Sunday, July 10 and will run through Sunday, Aug 7, at Laguna Playhouse.

In “All Shook Up,” one girl’s dream and a surprise visit from a mysterious leather-jacketed, guitar-playing stranger help a small town to discover the magic of romance and the power of rock & roll in this all Elvis musical, loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, featuring hits “All Shook Up,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and many more.   

The cast of “All Shook Up” features in alphabetical order: Joseph Ambrosia, Gabrielle Beckford, Michelle Bendetti, Alexa Briana Crimson, Cole Fletcher, Lily Ganser, Christopher Hansell, Dwan Hayes, Clark Helman, Dereis Lambert, Stevie Ann Mack, Melissa Mangold, Jonathan D. Mesisca, Noah Pattillo, David Sasik, Alan Slabodkin, Jill Slyter, and Siena Yusi.

“All Shook Up” will begin previews on Wednesday, July 6; will open on Sunday, July 10 at 5:30pm and will run through Sunday, Aug 7. Performances will be Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be additional performances on Thursday, July 7; Thursday, July 21 and Thursday, Aug 4 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, July 17 and Sunday, July 31 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $40 - $75 and can be purchased online www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling 497-2787. Group discounts are available by calling 497-2787 ext. 229. Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road. 


Art-A-Fair set to open for 50th season on June 24

Juried fine art festival, Laguna Art-A-Fair, will open its gates on Friday, June 24, at 10 a.m. with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting, free entry and a golden ticket contest entry for people who attend the ribbon cutting.

Now entering its 50th year of operation, the festival features the work of 125 local and national artists. Art media on display include painting, ceramics, glass, jewelry, photography, sculpture, mixed media, fiber, digital art, charcoal, pencil and wood. 

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To commemorate its 50th year in Laguna Beach, Laguna Art-A-Fair is hosting celebratory events, local collaborations with other art festivals, and much more, including: 

Golden Ticket: Any customer who spends $200+ at the Laguna Art-A-Fair sales booth from June 24 until Aug. 13 will have a golden ticket entered into the golden box. A winner will be drawn from the golden box on Aug. 13 and will receive a $500 gift certificate at Laguna Art-A-Fair to use this summer.

July 10: A Live Art Auction and Wine event, with proceeds benefiting the prestigious Laguna College of Art + Design. Art for the auction will be donated by Laguna Art-A-Fair artists and wine will be provided by The California Fruit Wine Co. 

Aug. 13: A Golden 50th Celebration with a gold-themed party at Laguna Art-A-Fair, where guests will dance to a live band, enjoy drinks and small bites, and have a last chance to receive a Golden Ticket before the winner is drawn at 7 p.m.! Entrants must be present to win.

Aug. 20: A collaborative Sea Lion Sculpture painted by Laguna Art-A-Fair artists will be viewable in progress at the Laguna Art-A-Fair grounds throughout the summer. On Aug. 20, this coveted sculpture will be paraded from the Laguna Art-A-Fair to its ‘furever’ home at Pacific Marine Mammal Center for all to enjoy.

“50 Gifts for 50 Years” social media giveaway, where Laguna Art-A-Fair followers will have the chance to win Laguna Beach-themed gift baskets.

Passport to the Arts Clock Collaboration: The three art festivals (Laguna Art-A-Fair, Festival of Arts, & Sawdust Art Festival) are collaborating on an “Art Is Timeless” project. Festival artists will create 50 clocks that will be found throughout the city of Laguna Beach. More information on this project will be made available on the http://lagunabeachpassport.com/ website in early June.

Throughout the summer, the Laguna Art-A-Fair will also offer daily adult art workshops in watercolor, oil, acrylic painting, clay sculpting and gourds. To maximize instructor-to-student time, class size is limited to six students. Fees for the classes range from $30-45 per person. Call the number below to sign up.

Enjoy live entertainment on the grounds Thursdays through Sundays. Outdoor dining at full-service restaurant, Tivoli Too!, encourages patrons to refresh and reflect on the art while enjoying a cool beverage and tasty meal.

Laguna Art-A-Fair is open daily June 24 through Aug. 28; Sunday–Thursday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday–Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. The festival is co-located with Tivoli Too! restaurant at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, please call (949) 494-4514, or visit their website, Art-A-Fair.com


Ed. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time. 

 

Bristlecone pine trees are like wisdom personified

Story and photos by Fitz Maurice

After leaving Arizona I headed up to Nevada to discover Great Basin National Park. It’s an astonishing experience that inspires and humbles you when you realize that you’re standing with trees that are 5,000 years old and growing. This is a sacred place – forests being the first temples on earth. Perhaps that is why the bristlecone pine trees are only whispered about. They are a rather well kept secret, for good reasons.

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Ancient bristlecone pine tree and Fitz, on the QUEST, May 2016

Bristlecone pines stand alone and unprotected, too vulnerable to the graffiti and theft of indecent people who are selfish enough to impose destruction on this sacred ground, stealing something that should be holy to all of mankind.  

“On the QUEST” means to me, first and foremost, my desire and commitment to protect and preserve our national parks. Even if you personally never go, you have the comfort as an American of knowing the most rare of natural beauty is there, just waiting for you. The truth that you may have been searching for is there, waiting for you to behold. God bless America and keep our national parksours: the People’s Parks!

When I visited the Bristlecone Pines, it was the kind of day that they thrive on but not so friendly to we humans. At a high altitude of over 10,000 ft. it was below freezing and blowing a cruel snowy wind up to 30 mph! As you can see in the photo, I’m wearing five layers of wool, a down coat, and I had the scarf across my face so I could breathe. The air was that frosty cold! These types of conditions provide the old tree souls with some protection from the public. It is exactly the freezing weather and constant snow that spares these ancient trees from too many visitors, diseases, insects and drought and, worst of all, vandals.

Needless to say, I had the entire frozen and sacred temple to myself and was able to learn so much about how these 5,000 year-old trees survived and thrived. It was a great opportunity, witnessing how these remarkable trees lived yet another day on earth. After all, they love freezing cold snowy days and have thrived on them for thousands of years.

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“Bristlecone Pine Tree, Great Basin National Park, Nevada,” 

Charcoal Drawing by Fitz Maurice

The ancient trees are still growing – another excellent example to us all. As long as we are alive, we should be growing.

I also observed the tree’s willingness to bend, which saves them from breaking. When the force of storms beat on them, they simply grow with the flow. This tooling by the wind has sculpted the bristlecone pine trees into forms that are gnarled as if by determination, yet they remain green and growing.  Above all, their goal is to reach up to the light. They will weave around anything and turn and twist until they have stretched in every way possible to reach an inch higher. 

I’m struck by the realization that these ancient trees started growing there in Nevada during the time of the Egyptians!

I’m left with this question: When will mankind truly honor nature? When will we admit that we are still very adolescent and need to grow up enough to realize that humans must learn from nature? We need to learn from wise trees such as these that have proven their successful existence despite all odds. I’m learning so much living immersed in nature. I’m learning to bend and twist my life to God’s way, like the way the trees seek His light.

I believe that bristlecone pine trees are truly wisdom personified.

To see some of the newest National Park Paintings visit Woods Cove Art Gallery, 1963 South Coast Hwy, in Laguna Beach. 

 

FITZ Maurice has been on her “quest” to paint live in every national park in America. Now totally committed to help promote and protect the parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer; hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene. Finally setting up with portable easel and oil paints, FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each national park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world.To see her National Park Paintings: www.nationalparkpaintings.com


Magical Mystery Tour – Pageant of the Masters preview night

By SUZIE HARRISON

Photos by Lynette Brasfield 

Going behind the scenes at Pageant of the Masters for press preview night is always magical. I think of it as the Magical Mystery Tour, where Director Dee Challis Davy and her collaborative team are, “waiting to take you away,” into a world of illusion, where art comes to life. 

In this year’s Pageant, “Partners,” the theme illustrates the stories of some of the mostmemorable partnerships and compelling collaborations that led to the creation of many of the world’s most treasured works of art.

Like many of the famous collaborators featured in “Partners,” the brilliance behind this year’s show illustrates the theme in action, the true partnership between Challis Davy and her team, who are absolute partners in genius.

From the unveiling of the largest recreation ever done in the Pageant’s 83-year history, a fresco by Diego Rivera, “Detroit Industry,” Challis Davy said this Pageant was going to be the biggest year ever.

“We are all really excited about how big and ambitious the show is this year,” said Challis Davy. “It’s going to be a little bit exciting and a little bit terrifying for us at the same time.”

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Scott Methvin painting Frida Kahlo

To add to the excitement, “Partners” will feature new special effects, including an explosion effect and new lights with Co2 effects. 

Over her 21 years as director, Challis Davy finds that the advancement in digital projection has made a big difference in the show.

 “It’s almost like the ability to change the scenery instantaneously. It makes our stories much more compelling when we can illustrate them with video imagery,” she said.

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The Butterfly Brooch

Richard “Butch” Hill, Technology Director, now in his 34th year concurs. He also said that the Pageant would feature better lighting effects with the use of LED lighting. Now they are able to dim the lights better and create and smoother fade out.

“These technologies really have made a big difference on the paintings,” said Hill. “These lights stay white all the time, so the colors really pop on stage. It really makes a big difference. The color is so vibrant now and almost looks electric it just pops colors.”

David Cooke was the artist working on the biggest piece yet to be shown at the Pageant. Cooke, now in his 11th year behind the scenes, explained the enormity of the piece. 

“It’s 33-feet long and15-feet high and it will fill the entire opening of the stage. The rest of the mural will be projected from the director’s booth at the back of the bowl and will be projected on the front of the stage building,” Cooke said. 

Scenic artist Scott Methvin pointed out the magic of the Pageant - it’s truly theatre with gorgeous paintings and sculptures that come to life. Their work has to be exacting in every way. 

“We have to use a special acrylic paint on the sets that don’t reflect the light, but soak it in,” Methvin said. “And on the costumes another special type of paint for the costumes that also blend in with the set. It’s very complicated.”

Setting up the actors for the sets, making adjustments to the costumes, pulling on them just right for movement and positioning them just right, it was exciting to see the magic come together. 

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Gerolamo Induno’s Kiss on the Hand

 “Sometimes it’s challenging. It depends on the person’s pose, what the garment is supposed to be doing,” Director of Costumes and Headpieces, Reagan Foy said. “You’re trying to create it flat, but yet at the same time there’s some dimension to it.” 

Sharon Lamberg, a Pageant veteran of 30 years as a scenic artist and costume assistant said she enjoys that through the magic of the Pageant, that they are able to fake the audience into seeing something they’re not.

We’re taking basic acrylic paint and making you believe that it’s an oil painting or a watercolor,” Lamberg said. “You’ll see jewelry that’s made out of Styrofoam and making you believe it’s an enamel and gold piece. Because it’s all an illusion.” 

While some of the pieces may seem daunting this year, Hill said he has never turned Challis Davy down. “We always find a way.” After all, isn’t that what true partnership is all about!

The Pageant runs nightly July 7 to Aug 31 at 8:30 p.m. Advance tickets cost $15 to $230. For information, visit foapom.com or call (800) 487-3378.

Please look for a preview of the Festival of Arts in Tuesday’s edition.


A stellar Buyer & Cellar at the Playhouse stars Emerson Collins in a superb one-man tour-de-force

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Emerson Collins, star of Buyer & Cellar, on the red carpet at Laguna Playhouse

Lithe actor Emerson Collins cuts a distinctive figure walking downtown Laguna, coiffed as he is with a Beatles-on-steroids hairstyle guaranteed to draw attention to his handsome looks and warm smile. For the next couple of weeks, he’ll be playing the role of Alex More in the sweetly ironic, deeply inspired and witty comedy Buyer & Cellar, currently on stage at the Laguna Playhouse. 

Collins’s high-energy yet nuanced performance during the 100-minute one-man play mesmerized me. It’s not easy to keep the audience’s attention after an opening event including good wine and good food, but Collins, assisted by bright red pants, attitude, and plenty of talent, succeeded magnificently, dominating the sparse stage set. 

Buyer & Cellar was inspired by Barbra Streisand’s 2010 book, A Passion for Design, in which the singer describes the simulated shops in her basement where she displays her collection of prized objects. The play imagines that Collins’s character has been hired as a salesperson for a similarly constructed basement mall: Alex is a lone salesperson with a lone customer, a fictional diva who closely resembles Babs herself.

I caught up with Collins the following Monday, intrigued by the actor and the incredible focus he brings to his part.

LB:  Let’s talk about your impressions of Laguna Beach first. Are you having fun? I noticed this on your Twitter feed: “Nothing is more terrifying about a gay beach adventure than the possibility of a matching swimsuit disaster.” Please tell me this hasn’t happened to you here.

EC:  Not to me, thank god. You know, for gay men, swimsuits are an important fashion statement. We like them skimpy and preferably unique. The other day my friend and I saw two guys with identical navy blue Speedos decorated with palm fronds approaching each other. It could have been a train wreck! Fortunately they just giggled… But seriously, I’m having a wonderful time staying in Laguna, feeling like a local in town. I can tell that this is an amazing community of people who love each other. I adore the restaurants, the beach, the artsy stores, the unique ambience of this tiny enclave. And opening night was wonderful, what a great audience.

LB:  Great! Tell me a little about your background, how you became an actor.

EC:  I guess my career started with Christmas pageants when I was a kid. I remember being very jealous of both my siblings, because they were young enough to be Baby Jesus. I was upset that I could never be Jesus! I had to be satisfied with being a shepherd! Then, in college, I decided in my sophomore year to focus on acting. I headed out to Dallas where I did 18 shows in just a few years, from Shakespeare to children’s theatre. 

My big break came when I starred in the LA production of Southern Baptist Sissies, and my proudest accomplishment was producing and starring in the film version of the play, both written by the talented Del Shores. The film won 15 film festival awards including nine Audience Awards, and I won Best Actor in a Feature Film from the Red Dirt International Film Festival. I love Southern Baptist Sissies because it’s fun but also has a meaningful message, challenging hypocrisy but also offering hope to gay adolescent boys everywhere. Del’s a great writer.

LB:  You’ve won many awards, too many to list. What’s another favorite?

EC:  Well, Buyer & Cellar is a favorite play of mine because it is witty and poignant at the same time. It says so much about our relationship to celebrity, and how alienating it can be to be a celebrity. And the play is becoming a piece that nearly all young male actors want to do, because it’s challenging, it’s just you, a chair and a piano bench on the stage. So getting the role – three days after an appendectomy, by the way! – was so affirming. Then winning the Desert Theatre League Award for Best Actor in a Comedy for my performance in the role of Alex meant and means a lot to me. The playwright, Jonathan Tolins, is a genius. Every word, every phrase matters.

LB:  I know you must be tired of answering this question, but how on earth do you manage to memorize 100 minutes of monologue?

EC:  Not easily. I spent an hour and a half every day for five weeks learning and relearning three pages at a time. Every day I’d add a few more until I’d memorized all 60 pages. Quite often I did this while wandering around West Hollywood. I’m not sure what kind of figure I must have cut, talking to myself like that. Also, as I worked, I mentally broke down the script into scenes with transitions, which helps, though the play isn’t written that way. Plus every movement I make on stage, every hand gesture and step, is part of the choreography, so that jogs the mind as well. It’s all part of the journey on stage. My director Larry Raben is great that way.

LB:  Where do you find the energy to perform, sometimes twice a day?

EC:  Oh, protein. Sleep. Deep breaths. Actually, I never feel tired when I’m on stage, only afterwards. I feed on the audience’s energy, even when they are dead quiet, because that means they’re focusing. And hearing them laugh is wonderful.

LB:  What lines usually get the most laughs?

EC:  The longest, loudest laughs are usually at the part where Barbara comes down to the basement to shop – for things she already owns, of course – and I say I don’t have enough change. She responds, “No wonder I never see anyone else here.” Those lines push the boundaries of make-believe and they’re somehow funny and sad at the same time, revealing the self-delusions that can come with celebrity. 

LB:  What’s the saddest line, in your view?

EC:  When Barbara says, “It’s terrible to be a little girl who has never been told she’s pretty. It’s something you never get over.” The audience I think at that point realizes the poignancy of the make-believe mall, what it means for her and for us.

LB:  Such a great play! What are your leisure plans during the run of Buyer & Cellar?

EC:  I’m going to enjoy the beach, enjoy wandering around town like a local, enjoy the restaurants. Nick’s, for one, is great. I Iove Laguna!

In addition to acting on stage and in film, Emerson Collins has his own production company with partner Del Shores. He’s also starred in four seasons of the hit “The People’s Couch” on Bravo. His website is www.emersoncollins.com 

Buyer & Cellar will run until June 26. For more information on the play, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com


Barclay Theatre hires former Playhouse executive 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Karen Wood, whose contract with the Laguna Playhouse was not renewed in February, has been hired as Executive Director of the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Wood began her stint with the Playhouse in 2008, taking over when Richard Stein left abruptly in 2007, “Out of the blue,” said then-Artistic Director Andrew Barnicle. 

It was not a good time for theater or any of the arts. Recession was drying up donations only to get drier as the recession deepened. 

Wood dealt with the problems with a serene mien, according to Siân Poeschl, city cultural arts manager.

“She is the absolute professional,” said Poeschl. “She takes everything in and makes educated decisions.

During her eight years with the Playhouse, she bailed the theater out of the red with successful programs that brought in audiences and she successfully reworked the business model, according to American Theatre Editors. 

She also opened the backstage door to groups such the popular Laguna Dance Festival and the Laguna Concert Band, broadening the audience. 

Wood is proud that her regime left the Playhouse in the black 

Proof of the high regard the Laguna arts community feels for Wood was her selection to the Arts Commission. 

She will be seated July 1 for a two-year term.

“I was so pleased,” said Wood. “It keeps me connected to Laguna.” 

Wood’s credentials include serving as managing director of the San Diego Repertory Theatre when she was wooed by the Playhouse. Prior to that she had held positions with the Music Center, John Aston Ford Theatre, and the Mark Taper Forum Center Theatre Group.  

“She will bring that experience within the performing arts and a strong understanding of the Laguna Beach arts community to the commission,’ said Poeschl.


LCAD’s 2016 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition will be hosted by the Laguna Art Museum starting June 18

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Trevor Christiansen

On End 3 – 2016

Oil on canvas – 48 x 62

Look for the unusual at LCAD’s annual MFA Thesis Exhibition this year 

For a month this summer, the Laguna Art Museum will feature works by Laguna College of Art and Design’s MFA candidates, with the opening reception taking place on Saturday June 18 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Artists will be available during the reception to discuss their work. 

The exhibition – the MFA Thesis Exhibition, Emerging Masters 2 – focuses on the work of students from the school’s Drawing and Painting programs, and will run through July 17.

For more information, visit www.lcad/site/mfa/ or follow on social media including Facebook at LCADMFA, Twitter@LCADMFA and Tumblr @lcadmfa. 

Or simply call 949-376-6000.


Laguna College of Art and Design bestows degrees on 123 students - largest graduating class in its history

LCAD Class of 2016

As of Monday, May 23 at 5 p.m., 123 students became graduates of Laguna College of Art and Design’s (LCAD) class of 2016. President Jonathan Burke with James R. Mellor, chair of the board of trustees conferred undergraduate degrees in Animation, Design and Digital Media, Drawing and Painting, Game Art and Illustration. Peter Zokosky, chair of LCAD’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in Drawing and Painting, conferred four graduate candidates earning MFA degrees in painting and two post-baccalaureate certificates. 

LCAD’s class of 2016 is the largest graduating class in the College’s history. It is also the college’s most diverse student group.

“During rehearsal I asked the graduating seniors if they were first generation or second generation from another country. Thirty-eight of our undergraduate senior class told me they or their families were from around the world,” said Hélène Garrison, PhD, dean and vice president of Academic Affairs. “It is telling the wide reach of Laguna College of Art and Design and its influence on art, design and entertainment throughout the world.”

She listed the countries: Armenia Georgia, Brazil, Britain, Chile, China, Cuba, El Salvador, France, Iceland, India, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, Tonga, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Elizabeth Turk, a celebrated sculptor and accomplished photographer and videographer delivered the keynote address. Turk has won several awards and grants, including: a MacArthur Genius Grant, and the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Fellowship, both in 2010; a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in 2011; and a Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award for Artistic Achievements from Arts Orange County in 2012. 

Turk commended students for their imaginative and eloquent Senior Capstone projects, citing Neal Wojahn’s persistence in earning his Bachelor of Fine in Game Art over the course of 13 years. 

“Thinking about this moment for all of you is humbling. The years, the resources you have committed, I wonder what words will do that effort justice,” she said. “All of us who create chase our curiosity, our passion, our crazy ideas, expose our vulnerabilities are undeterred by failure. We turn impossible into possible and this inspires everyone around us. This is success.”

Sigmundur Thorgeirsson, who received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration with an Entertainment Emphasis, was LCAD’s 2016 Student Commencement Speaker. He thanked his family for traveling from Iceland to see him graduate.

“I learned firsthand how hard-working and creative LCAD students really are,” he said. “In my major I took a class in almost every department. In Animation and Game Art, I saw students bring their creations to life. In Fine Arts, I saw paintings that left me breathless, in Illustration, students were creating whole worlds from stories and in liberal arts, I watched students become thinking artists. LCAD is a great school.”


See CAP’s ‘Contemporary Abstraction’ at Wells Fargo    

By M. “CHARLIE” FERRAZZI

“Contemporary Abstraction,” which opened May 2 at the Banking on Art Gallery at Wells Fargo Bank, is CAP’s newest juried exhibit showcasing the works of Kate Cohen, Halverson Frazier and Fred Hope. This juried show presents some of the current directions that the genre of Abstract Art is moving, from the viewpoints of these well-established artists.

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“Dilly Dat,” Kate Cohen, 30” x 28,” Mixed Media on Paper

A mixed media artist, Cohen layers her work with acrylic, charcoal, oil pastel, oil, ink and varnish, experimenting as she goes to see the results. Her works start from something that may catch the corner of her eye; something that keeps nudging her on until she allows it to become a vision that can be put into reality. Then it is a matter of ‘what if’ that drives it. 

Cohen’s latest series includes “Explanation of the Doodle,” combines the playfulness of whimsy and the beat of urban slang, utilizing her layering and strong love of lines. “Waka Boo evokes a feeling of lightness and freedom; and “Dilly Dat” offers a sense of energy and high activity with the line work and swaths of color that fill the image. 

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“Teutonic Depths,” Halverson Frazier, 3’ x 3,’ Oil

Frazier works from the perspective of memory and metaphor. His work brings in a sensorial response as well as a visual one. Using a fine glaze technique, he builds transparent layer upon layer giving an atmosphere quality to each piece. 

In Halverson’s “Transposition Series,” he uses this technique and skill in creating layers that, rather than build up upon one another, seem to reveal or expose the under layers, as rock formations do in nature. Using tonal shifts between and within layers, along with texture, Halverson gives the feel of time long gone by.

In “Teutonic Depths,” Halverson said that the painting is based on the existence of the Silfra Crack in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park, where divers can actually touch the American Plate and the Eurasian Plate at the same time. The feeling of being in the quietness and vastness of the underwater world is apparent.

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“Monolith Series #023,” Fred Hope, 24” x 48,” Oil

Hope’s “Tidal Zone” and “Monolith” series draw from Nature, memory and imagination. Growing up on Corona del Mar Beach, he experienced the light, colors and the effect of the natural elements on his surroundings. He has also been working with Wayne Thiebaud during the last four years to push and expand his exploration of abstraction.

Based on his experiences and memory, and his work with Thiebaud, Hope approaches his work without reference of planning, but instead uses intuitive paint handling, a free-form way of pushing the color around and watching the results. This method frees up his mind and allows him to further experiment getting deeper into abstraction, letting the paint do the talking. Using rich strokes and thick application he finds that oil allows him to create a sculptural feel to the surface, giving a dimension to the subject.

“Abstraction Study,” from his “Tidal Zone” series, is a piece that came from his free-form method. In this piece, he feels it shares his memory of the beach through the color and light that emanates from the canvas. In “Tidal Zone Series #196” there is thicker paint with texture and finer strokes, giving the feel of peering into a tide pool and seeing the many layers of rock and sand created over time.

“Monolith Series #023” focuses on a single rock. A simple yet complicated image, showing striations of color, and contour of shape caused by the elements of Nature and time. 

The exhibit runs through mid-August at The CAP Gallery, Banking on Art, located on the second floor of the Wells Fargo Building, 260 Ocean Ave. The exhibit runs through mid-August. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is free to the public. Visit www.caplaguna.org for information.


Ed. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time. 

 

Saguaro National Park: a drawing and painting quest

Story and photos by FITZ MAURICE

I had a lot to learn about the Sonoran Desert life and the iconic saguaro cactus since I had not drawn them before. For me, as an artist, I need to understand how things are structurally underneath the surface, and why they are that way before I can properly draw them convincingly.

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Fitz Maurice on her quest to paint in all the US National Parks, here in Saguaro

Realizing that the ultimate scene of Saguaro National Park was obviously the saguaro cactus in its element, I read, explored and examined first hand all I could about the life and growth of these wood-skeleton desert trees. They are remarkable up close as they throw up their arms to greet you – but watch out for their prickly spines! The largest cactus in the US, the Saguaro live up to 200 years, can grow up to 60 feet high and can weigh up to an amazing 5000 pounds when they are full of water inside. Saguaro cactus provide food and housing to many of the desert wildlife and if that’s not enough, they bloom with flowers on the top of their arms.

After exploring the highlights of this national park, it was easy to find the ultimate scene and start drawing. 

The drawing is the backbone of the painting, literally.  The oil paint hangs on the skeleton structure of the drawing, so the drawing needs to be strong and compositionally correct to support the passion of paint! This is why I spend so much time on creating the drawing. This is when all the decisions are being made.

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“Saguaro National Park, Arizona” oil painting by Fitz Maurice

The foreground of this composition portrays an exquisite relationship, as the Palo Verde Tree is protectively nursing the young “spear” saguaro. 

The primary focus points to the mature classic saguaro cactus, whose fifth arm is growing, indicating that it is nearing 200 years old. Other indicative Sonoran Desert plant life, such as the prickly pear cacti, cholla, and ocotillo are also represented in the painting.

If you want to understand an artist, look at their drawings. When I was in Rome, my eyes feasted on the original drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. I grew as an artist just being near such greatness!  

I draw in charcoal, which is both commanding and forgiving. At first I sketch in what my focus is – what I most want to bring attention to. Then I build the rest of the composition around that primary focus. A strong drawing is the beginning of a powerful painting. When the drawing has everything in its proper place, it creates a dynamic composition that pulls the viewer into that world. 

Then it is time to create in color. Color is about the vibration, heat, emotion, and passion of the subject being portrayed. Painting with colors at the end of my brush is intensely exciting for me. There is no more thinking or mind involved. In fact, it is all about leaving reality behind and being willing to transcend beyond comprehension. I feel I am submitting to the Spirit – the higher being inside me that naturally resonates with the ultimate. This connection allows me to manifest the ultimate imagery.

It’s exciting when I’ve surprise myself after finishing a painting. I can see that it took on its own life because I was not limited it by my own preconceived ideas. I let the painting show me how it was to manifest. When I create this way it is thrilling – like letting go of the reigns of a horse and letting it take you there!

  To see some of the newest National Park Paintings created on the quest, go to Woods Cove Art Gallery, 1963 S. Coast Hwy.

 

FITZ Maurice has been on a quest to paint ‘live’ in every national park in America. She is now in her fourth year. Totally committed to help promote and protect the parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer to each park. Hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene, she’ll finally set up with portable easel and oil paints. FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each national park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world.To see her National Park Paintings visit: www.nationalparkpaintings.com


Helen Lundeberg Retrospective at LAM ends May 30

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Laguna Art Museum’s exhibit, Helen Lundeberg: A Retrospective. The last day to see the exhibit is May 30. Helen Lundeberg: A Retrospective surveys Lundeberg’s career systematically, beginning with her landmark Post-Surrealist paintings of the 1930s. With her teacher and later husband, Lorser Feitelson, she organized the Post-Surrealist group, the first of its kind in the country, and wrote its manifesto. Though exploring psychology and personal expression, the Post Surrealists aimed to bring a greater sense of order and control to European Surrealism and originally styled themselves New Classicists. 

Helen Lundeberg

The Red Planet, 1934

Oil on Celotex - 30 x 24 inches

Collection of Rick Silver and Robert Hayden III

By the late 1950s, Lundeberg was working on a larger scale. She simplified her style into broad, flat areas of color and, though never a pure abstractionist, played a key part in the “hard-edge” tendency in mid-century painting. Bringing de Chirico-like ambiguities of space to architectural and landscape compositions, she preserved the enigmatic mood of her earlier, surrealistic imagery.

The exhibition follows upon an upswing in Lundeberg’s reputation. She is the subject of a substantial monograph by Suzanne Muchnic, published in 2014, and has been included in some recent international exhibitions—notably In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico, as well asat the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City in 2012-13. Ilene Susan Fort, Gail and John Liebes Curator of American Art at LACMA is a guest-curator. A fully illustrated catalog with essays by Dr. Fort and art historian Michael Duncan, accompanies the exhibit.

Residents of Laguna Beach enter free through the end of this exhibition on Monday, May 30, in gratitude for the City of Laguna Beach’s recently approved Matching Grant Program. Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive. For more information, call 494-8971 or visit http://lagunaartmuseum.org.


Buyer and Cellar opens at Laguna Playhouse June 4

Inspired by Barbra Streisand’s, “My Passion for Design,” Buyer and Cellar will open for a limited engagement at Laguna Playhouse on June 4. Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham was thrilled to announced the sixth and final show in the Laguna Playhouse 2015-2016 season, Emerson Collins starring in Buyer and Cellar, written by Jonathan Tolins and directed by Larry Raben. The production has been called, “Irresistible, delicious and wickedly funny,” by The New York Times.

Emerson Collins

“To quote Barbra Streisand, ‘Hello, Gorgeous!’  When I first saw this production, I knew that our subscribers and audiences would fall wildly in love with it and am thrilled to welcome Emerson Collins to our Laguna stage with the remarkable writing of Jonathan Tolins,” says Wareham. Buyer and Cellar will begin previews on Wednesday, June 1; will open on Saturday, June 4 and runs through Sunday, June 26. 

Buyer and Cellar is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs. Alex takes a job working in the Malibu basement “shopping mall” of a beloved “Funny Girl” megastar. One day, the Lady herself comes downstairs to play. It feels like real bonding in the basement, but will their relationship ever make it upstairs.

Performances will be Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be additional performances on Thursday, June 2; Thursday, June 16 and Thursday, June 23 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, June 5 and Sunday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from $48 to $61 and can be purchased online at http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 497-2787 ext. 229. 

The box office is open Mondays – Saturdays: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; open until show time on performance days; Sundays: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information on all shows and programming, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com

Laguna Playhouse is at 606 Laguna Canyon Road.


LagunaTunes will present a rollicking Rock Through the Ages concert at LBHS Artist’s Theatre on June 12

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Submitted photo

The 60-member LagunaTunes Community Chorus is ready to rock and roll

LagunaTunes Community Chorus will offer a free concert, Rock Through the Ages, at the Laguna Beach High School Artist’s Theatre at 4 p.m. on Sunday June 12.

Rock Through the Ages sends concertgoers on a trip back through six decades of rock and roll, spanning the beginnings of rock to the present day. The concert will feature favorites from artists including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Doobie Brothers, Van Halen, and more.  

These timeless classics should appeal to all ages, recalling fond memories for anyone old enough to remember when they topped the charts.

The 60-member chorus is led by Bob Gunn, the popular director of Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and Laguna’s St. Mary’s Choir. Gunn’s entertaining choral productions are well known throughout Southern California.

LagunaTunes is a 501 (c) (3) organization that provides choral singing for everyone – no auditions needed – and presents two concerts a year. The Festival of the Arts Foundation, the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach provide funding. 

For more information, visit www.lagunatuneschorus.com or email mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Troy Poeschl places second at Yosemite Renaissance 

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Photo by Mike Tauber

Troy Poeschl

Laguna Beach artist Troy Poeschl won second place honors at Yosemite Renaissance, a national juried show at the Museum of Yosemite National Park. His wall sculpture, “Head in the Clouds,” is composed of hand-carved maple burl and walnut, with stainless steel. The work was chosen from 973 submissions, and among 55 displayed at the museum from February to May 2016. 

The traveling exhibition recently opened at Kings Art Center in Hanford, CA and will relocate to Carnegie Art Center in Turlock, CA in late summer. 

Locally, Poeschl will be exhibiting at both Sawdust Art Festival and Festival of Arts throughout July and August. For information, visit http://troypoeschl.com/about.html.

To learn about Yosemite Renaissance visit https://www.facebook.com/yosemite.renaissance/photos/a.679458082190719.
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Three Festival of Arts students win top awards at annual National Ceramic Exhibition in Kansas City

Three ceramic students from the Festival of Arts Youth Arts Education classes received honors from the 19th Annual National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition in Kansas City, Missouri. These students, under the tutelage of FOA ceramics teacher Monica Dunham, were selected from hundreds of entries nationwide and had their work exhibited at the Kansas City Convention Center in March.

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Marc Stavisski (L), Amelie Thonar, teacher Monica Dunham and Shane Turkich

Kindergarten student, Amelie Thonar from Irvine, received an Artistic Merit Award and Curators Book Award (given to only 10 of the over 500 exhibitors) for her piece “Flower at Home.” Shane Turkich, a first grader from Mission Viejo, received an Artistic Merit Award for his piece “Red Cone Head.” Aliso Viejo fifth grader Marc Stavisski’s piece, “Oz Bag,” was awarded the Bailey Potter Cash Award and an Honorable Mention Award.

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Amelie Thonar’s piece “Flower at Home”

“It’s a great accomplishment for these young artists,” said Ron Morrissette, Festival of Arts exhibits director. “We’re thrilled that our students are receiving these awards and that the Festival’s summer Youth Arts Education classes are being recognized nationally.”

The19th Annual National K12 Ceramic Exhibition is the premier juried ceramic competition for Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12) students in the United States. Designed to showcase the best K12 ceramic work made in the country, the exhibition takes place in conjunction with the annual conference of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

The Festival of Arts is now accepting reservations for Youth Arts Education classes, available July 5 – Aug 31, Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. In addition to ceramics, classes are available in painting, printmaking, jewelry, and more. Art classes open to children ages 5-12. There is a $15 – $25 materials fee per child per class. For more information, visit: www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org or call (949) 464-4234.


Playhouse names Ellen Richard Interim Executive Director 

The Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced that, later this month, Ellen Richard would be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years. 

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors, said, “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” 

Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” 

Ellen Richard said, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015. During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards. She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed. 

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

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