One Hour/One Painting
takes place on Thursday, June 22
at 6 p.m. at LAM with author & critic Peter Clothier

This Thursday at 6 p.m., author and critic Peter Clothier invites participants to spend a full hour in front of a single artwork. The event will take place at the Laguna Art Museum and admission is free.

Peter Clothier is an internationally-known writer, speaker, and creative consultant who specializes in writing about contemporary art and artists. His newest released book is “Slow Looking: The Art of Looking at Art.” 

He has given talks for TEDx Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, and many other venues. Advance tickets are recommended. Call 949.494.8971 x 203 for more information.

It had to be Stu, wonderful Stu

Stu’s Celebration of Life took place last Saturday at Riddle Field, where Stu spent some of the happiest years of his life coaching Little League. One of the speakers, council member Bob Whalen, recalled a time when Stu did some umpiring also – but, being Stu, apparently he’d occasionally wander toward the bleachers to chat to the spectators or get caught up offering random coaching tips, so that he had to be reminded there was a game going on. 

Stu didn’t care as much about the rules as he did about the spirit of the game, much like his attitude toward journalism. “It’s about heart,” he’d say about both.

Because that was Stu – above all, a man with a big heart. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Brandon Leahy tells the crowd about his love of Stu

The words “kindness,” “warmth,” “mentor” and “humor” were repeated by almost all speakers during the remembrances. (Though Mayor Toni Iseman snuck in a “sneaky” also, by which she meant that as an inveterate newsman, Stu would put his interview subjects at ease, so much so that from time to time they’d forget they were talking to a journalist with the means to reveal their deepest secrets.)

But no one ever had to worry about that with Stu. As several speakers noted, Stu cared deeply about people and community. He loved journalism and news, not gossip, and never broke a confidence.

Another theme throughout the speeches was Stu’s tendency to talk, well, quite a lot. Several mentions of hours-long telephone conversations were made, with sadness that those conversations would no longer happen. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Speakers and FOS (friends of Stu) l-r: Brandon Leahy, Mark Christy, Shaena Stabler, Bob Whalen, Chris Keller, Dennis McTighe

Chris Keller told how he met Stu at his hotel one evening, an evening that became early morning as they talked nonstop about matters dear to each of their hearts – which we know would have included all things Laguna.

Speaker after speaker, including also Brandon Leahy, whom he regarded as a son, former Laguna mayor Elizabeth Pearson, Festival of the Arts’s Sharbie Higuchi, and Lynette Brasfield, now the editor of Stu News Laguna, spoke of his absolute confidence in the people he loved, and how inspiring it was to be so trusted by a man of such integrity.

Shaena Stabler, his business partner, said that Stu was “the best man she had ever known.” With tears in her eyes she shared: “He had a way of making each person in his life feel special and worthy and empowered to be the best versions of themselves that they could be. He gave freely and without limitation his time, his talent, and most importantly his beautiful heart...over and over again in this life.”

And to cap it all Mark Christy gave a speech that was funny, warm and generous, just like the man he was honoring. “I thought I knew more than most people about music, baseball and Laguna, but Stu had me beaten on all counts,” he said of their long and deep friendship.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Mark Christy gave a speech that was funny, warm and generous

Christy added, “Stu loved baseball and understood the integrity of America’s game rested on a fair and unbiased pair of eyes calling ‘em as they see ‘em…When reporting on local events, Stu dug deeper than anyone else, listened intently to all sides, positioned himself in the best vantage point to observe the action, and… at the end of the day, called it as he saw it.”

Pastor Don Sciortino started the ceremony with a prayer, Chris Quilter summarized Stu’s life, and three songs were played, each a Stu favorite, highlighting facets of his personality: Let it Flow, by Elvin Bishop; A Lucky Life, by Vonda Shepard; and Ramblin’ Man, by the Allman Brothers. A poem by Maya Angelou, When Great Trees Fall, was read by Linda Morgenlander, Brandon Leahy’s aunt.

Stu News Laguna staff were out in force also to pay tribute to their boss, mentor and friend. Present were former associate editor Maggi Henrikson, Police Beat writer Alli Rael, columnists Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Suzie Harrison and Samantha Washer, writer Dianne Russell, photographers Scott Brashier and Mary Hurlbut, and of course Dennis McTighe, McWeather, who relished the sunshine. 

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dennis McTighe, McWeather, made sure the sun shone

People seemed reluctant to leave, understandably. They had spent the last two hours eating great hamburgers and hot dogs at Riddle Field in true Stu fashion, listening to the music he loved, and sharing many a story of the great but humble newsman’s accomplishments – not to mention his wonderful quirks – and above all, his love of Laguna, and of Shaena, who has promised to keep Stu News Laguna flourishing as Stu had so dearly wished. 

It’s hard to bid farewell to such a man.

City prepares response to Paris accord & residents’ queries about joining the Climate Mayors Network


Within a week of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, more than 290 US cities pledged to honor the worldwide agreement – and the number is reportedly climbing.   

City staff is preparing an update on the existing Laguna Beach Climate Protection Action Plan to be presented on July 25 to the City Council. The presentation will include an overview of the Paris accord. 

“Toni (Mayor Iseman) requested that we put this on the agenda,” said City Manager John Pietig.

The City should join the “Climate Mayors Network,” according to letters sent to Stu News, including one signed by One World One Ocean founders Greg and Barbara MacGillivray.

“Barbara and I encourage our wonderful city council to sign on the Climate Mayors Network and adopt the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” wrote the MacGillivrays. 

Laguna Beach resident Sara Lowell wrote that she was surprised that Laguna Beach was not already on the list of U.S cities that have pledged to support the Paris agreement in response to President Trump’s opting out of the agreement. 

“I am posing a request to our forward-thinking city council members to sign such a resolution…” wrote Lowell.

However, Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Boyd questions the advisability of the city’s participation in the mayor’s network.

“Laguna Beach is one of the leaders in environment issues – we always step up to the plate,” said Boyd. “But, I don’t think we should get involved in international affairs.”

A history of environmental awareness

The council adopted the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2007, as recommended by then-Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman due to strong public support, she said.  

A draft action plan was presented to the city council in 2008 and approved in 2009 after review by other city committees. 

The council was last updated on the plan in 2012 by Environmental Specialist Michael Phillips.

His report included steps the City had taken to reduce its energy consumption: purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles, replacement of incandescent lighting in city-owned buildings with compact florescent lamps and the encouragement of natural lighting and ventilation in the construction of new public building.

Bike racks were installed downtown and sharrows were painted on city streets to encourage walking. The City also worked with Waste Management to replace its diesel fleet with low-emission vehicles.

The international and local goal in 2007 was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The stated goal in 2017 is to pursue efforts to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A Note from Shaena

Thanks to everyone who attended the wonderful celebration of Stu’s life last Saturday. 

I want to give an extra big thank you to Laguna Beach Little League, especially Steffanie Gapp and Heather Loughlin, without whom the event would not have been possible. From the Snack Bar (serving meat donated by The Butchery) to the beautiful centerpieces to chalking the field up, LBLL was tremendous every step of the way in helping make the day such a special one.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Stu was the best man I have ever known

I’d also like to thank Katie Ford for designing the beautiful programs, UPS Store for printing them at no cost, the LBHS high school baseball players that volunteered the day of the event, Laura and John Buckle for the sound, and Cory Sparkuhl for videoing the celebration. We look forward to sharing his video with our readers as soon as it’s ready.


More tributes and pics

Mayor Toni Iseman, acting as a reporter in honor of Stu, gathered a few tributes from attendees as they mingled before and after the Celebration – more than we can publish, but here’s a selection…

Greg McGillivray: “Stu was all that is best with Laguna. Heart, soul, intelligence and love.”

Bonnie Hano: “Stu knew what people wanted to know.”

Billy Fried: “Stu taught me all that I know about journalism. But not everything he knew! I’ll miss his wisdom and passion.”


View the two photo galleries below

Photos by Mary Hurlbut


Photos by Scott Brashier

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Waiting at the gate for the Festival Season to start


Filled with great anticipation, I am chomping at the bit, much like a racehorse waiting to break from the starting gate, wanting it to open. I’m counting down the seconds, minutes, hours, and weeks to see the glorious gates open to an exciting world of amazing art. With the Festival season so close, I was excited to check in with some of the artists to see what they’re feeling. I asked them, “Are you ready for the Festival to open?,” “What are you looking forward to this season?,” and, “What do you want people to know about your work this year?”

Kathy Jones

“I am so ready. The run-up to the Festival is always a little nerve-wracking, but my paintings are done, and the booth is in progress, and I think this year is going to be terrific. The new grounds are amazing, and I can’t wait to see the excitement when the show opens.

“I love walking around the grounds on the first few days, seeing all the new work, meeting the new artists, and catching up with everyone. I run into people from all over, friends, clients, and pals from all parts of my life. For me, because I am a musicaholic, I love the evenings at the festival. The music is great, I get to hang out with people I love, and I get to people watch. What could be better? It is a great way to spend the summer.

“A year or so ago, I did a quick series for a benefit we did for LOCA called “One Thin Dime” based on circus images. I loved doing them, and this year is a continuation of that series. They are upbeat, colorful images loosely based on my interpretation of circus performers. They make me happy to look at them, and I hope the viewers have the same reaction.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo provided by the artist 

Tom Swimm’s new nostalgic painting of the old Crystal Cove Boardwalk, “The Old Boardwalk,” 24” x 24,” Original Oil on Canvas

Tom Swimm

“I am ready for the Festival, the booth is being built and I’m working on a series of brand new paintings.

“Most of all, I am looking forward to being in the new environment of the Festival grounds. Quite extraordinary and an incredible departure from what the venue used to look like. I am anxious to hear reactions from fellow artists, patrons, and collectors about the new look. 

“I’m focusing my work on a theme this year: most of my oil paintings will be depicting Crystal Cove. It’s a magical place and a favorite among artists and collectors alike. Also, I am celebrating my 30th consecutive summer as a Festival artist.”

Reem Khalil

“I am so ready for the Sawdust to open. I love being amongst all the excitement, music and my friends. Not to mention, I love making money. This year I am all about my plant based natural dyes making wearable art and wall paintings. Bringing nature in your home.”

Elizabeth McGhee

“I am almost all ready for Festival. It’s always the final touches that take the most work.

“I am looking forward to the new grounds and especially hearing Herb Alpert play for celebrity night on Aug 26. I grew up listening to his music and collecting his records, so it will be thrilling to hear him in person. I am also gearing up for the Recycled Fashion Show on Aug 12, where I will be wearing a dress made of left over art supplies like crayon wrappers and scrap paper.  

“This year I am continuing my Mythica painting series where I am painting modern individuals as ancient Greek mythological characters. I have been working on this series since 2010, and I am 36 paintings into the 80 I plan to produce. I am also debuting a new series of still life paintings of toy blocks called, “Would You Like To Buy A Vowel... Or Consonant?”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo provided by the artist 

Part of Elizabeth McGhee’s new series of still life paintings of toy blocks called, “Would You Like To Buy A Vowel... Or Consonant?” This oil piece is appropriately named “I.”

Vinita Voogd

“I am ready for the festival to open. My works are already at the frame shop. I can’t wait to see them framed up.

“I am looking forward to the summer, to show my new works. Very excited to see the new grounds. It should bring in new patrons. I have new woodblocks I carved inspired by my travels; my residency in Venice, workshops taught in Wales. The power of ‘line’ is a major component in the hand carvings. 

“I am also experimenting with “chine colle’s” using new textures, intricate designs and new colors.” 

Until next time…so much exciting anticipation for the Festival Season, so little time!

Harriette Joffe’s art will be on display at Townley Gallery through the end of June

Townley Gallery will present the work of Harriet Joffe, an American painter with a distinguished career that spans from the post-World War II Abstract Expressionist movement to the present, through the month of June.

Joffe’s lifetime body of work has been described as “Explosive!” by the New York Times. 

Harriette Joffe’s art

Joffe was embraced by the first generation of Abstract Expressionist painters on the East End of Long Island, and represents one of the last living links to the icons of the avant-garde of 20th Century America, such as DeKooning, Lichtenstein and Rivers.

Townley Gallery is located at 266 Forest Ave.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

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