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?”

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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.

LPAPA announces “Best of Plein Air” Award Winners 

and reveals 2017 Laguna Plein Air Invitational Artists

On Sat, the opening reception for the “13th Annual Best of Plein Air” juried art show, hosted by LPAPA, turned into a lively and festive evening at the Forest & Ocean Gallery. Guests sipped wine and enjoyed nibbling on a beautiful array of artisan cheeses, fruits and sweets as they awaited the announcement of the five award-winning artists.

LPAPA is pleased to share the award winners:  1st Place was awarded to LPAPA Artist Member Pierre Bouret for his “Wailua River” (12” x 12” oil); 2nd Place presented to LPAPA Signature Artist Patrick Saunders for “Riverbend Breeze” (18” x 14” oil); 3rd Place went to LPAPA Artist Member Kathie Odom for “Vintage B&B” (12” x 16” oil); with Honorable Mention Awards given to LPAPA Signature Artist Jason Sacran for “Laguna Lights” (20” x 30” oil) and LPAPA Artist Member Christine Debrosky for “Along Cliff Rose” (18” x 24” pastel).  

All paintings are on exhibit at LPAPA In Residence located at the Forest & Ocean Gallery until July 3, or viewed (and purchased) online through LPAPA’s Best of Plein Air expanded online gallery at

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Submitted photo

Pierre Bouret, Wailua River, 1st place “Best of Plein Air” Award

In addition to the cash awards presented, the 1st Place award-winning artist receives an invitation to participate in LPAPA’s 19th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational the week of October 7 - 15.  After announcing the Best of Plein Air awards, LPAPA revealed the line-up of the artists that have been invited, and accepted, to participate in this year’s invitational: Jacobus Baas - Laguna Beach, CA, Suzie Baker - Shenandoah, TX, Cindy Baron - Boulder, CO, Zufar Bikbov - Oakville, CT, Carl Bretzke - Minneapolis, MN, John Burton - Carmel, CA, Saim Caglayan - Kauai, HI,John Cosby - San Clemente, CA, Bill Davidson - Boulder, CO, Rick J. Delanty - San Clemente, CA, Gil Dellinger - Laguna Beach, CA, Jennifer Diehl - Mt. Angel, OR, Aimee Erickson - Portland, OR, Andy Evansen – Vermillion, MN, Stephanie Hartshorn - Denver, CO, Jane Hunt - Boulder, CO, Charlie Hunter - Bellows Falls, VT, John P. Lasater IV - Siloam Springs, AR, Richard Lindenberg – Novato, CA, Daniel Marshall - Denver, CO, James McGrew - Lake Oswego, OR, Jim McVicker - Loleta, CA, Clark Mitchell - Cotati, CA, Michael Obermeyer - Laguna Beach, CA, Rita Pacheo - Carlsbad, CA, Colin Page - Camden, ME, Jesse Powell - Carmel, CA, Anthony Salvo - Newport Beach, CA, Jeff Sewell - Costa Mesa, CA, Michael Situ - Irvine, CA, J. Ken Spencer - Blackfoot, ID, Michele Usibelli - Woodway, WA, and Jove Wang – Alhambra, CA.

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Submitted photo

Patrick Saunders, Riverbend Breeze, 2nd Place “Best of Plein Air” Award

 The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association welcomes 35 nationally acclaimed 

contemporary landscape artists to participate in its annual Invitational each October.  The 9-day painting Invitational highlights include a paint out competition with all 35 invited artists painting at Heisler Park, Plein Talk at the Gallery with Artists and Experts, the Saturday evening Collectors Gala, and Sunday art show. Except for the Collectors Gala on Sat, Oct 14, all daily activities are free for the public, and although the artists may paint throughout OC, from Huntington Bch to San Onofre to Saddleback mountain, all events are in the LB vicinity. 

For more information regarding the annual invitational event, sponsorship or patron opportunities, visit, or contact LPAPA’s Executive Director, Rosemary Swimm, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 376-3635.

Letters to the Editor are lively this issue

Should Laguna Beach sign on to the Climate Mayors network, as suggested by Barbara and Greg McGillivray and Sara Lowell, in support of the Paris agreement?

Is Lang Park being primed for a second pool already, Tom Joliet and Scott Murphy want to know?

Roderick Reed asks, is America really the greatest?

Kristy Peterson has issues with the planned Verizon cell towers.

Plus we hear from perennial letter-writer Denny Freidenrich, who offers a view on President Trump and Michael Flynn.

Click on the Letters tab at the top of the page to read them all…

Shanti Orange County celebrates 30 years of serving the local HIV/AIDS community

Shanti Orange County this month celebrates 30 years of serving the local HIV/AIDS community. A non-profit agency, Shanti OC began as a grassroots organization in 1987 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis and it has supported the local HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ community ever since.

When Shanti was first created, Laguna Beach had the highest per capita HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. Shanti’s mission was to provide emotional support and practical assistance to people living with AIDS and other life threating illnesses. 

Sarah Kasman, executive director, says, “Shanti has been fighting the fight as first responders to the AIDS epidemic. While the disease has gone from a death sentence to a chronic disease, as long as there are new infections, our services will stay in place.” 

Today the organization’s mission is to enhance the health and wellbeing of those affected by HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases through prevention, education and life-saving supportive services. 

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Submitted photo

Shanti staff, (L-R) Dr. Lindsay Fitzpatrick Director, Mental Health Services, Dr. Dana Hodgdon, Mental Health Clinician, Sarah Kasman, Executive Director, Bruce Vancil, Case Manager, Diane Sorenson, Case Manager

There are currently approximately 7,200 persons living with HIV in Orange County. And this is what some of them say about Shanti: 

Ruth: “I love Shanti because it feels like family - but better! I get treated with dignity and I never have to explain my disease.” 

Patty: “I love Shanti OC because of the work that they have done for people not only in our community, but also, the work that gives the message to the world that people care about others.”

David (Theatre Out): “I love Shanti Orange County because of the amazing staff and Board that have created a caring, nurturing and open environment and who continue to provide a much-needed service to Orange County residents in need.” 

Shanti strives for zero new infections in Orange County. To fulfill this mission, Shanti offers three key programs: case management, mental health counseling, and prevention education and outreach programs. 

Kasman, who describes her staff as “amazing,” says there will be an official celebration of their 30tenth anniversary later this year.

(Statistic from

Shanti Orange County is located at 23461 South Pointe Drive, Suite 100, Laguna Hills. For more information, visit or call 949-452-0888.

Were you married at Laguna Presbyterian Church?  Celebrate 100 years of weddings with them on June 25

To commemorate its 100th anniversary, Laguna Presbyterian Church is celebrating all during the year. On Sun, June 25, they invite couples who were married at the church or off-site by one of their pastors, to the church to be recognized in one of their worship services at either 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m.

There will be a “wedding reception” in Tankersley Hall at 11:15 a.m., following the 10 a.m. worship service.  Everyone is welcome at the worship services and reception, and reservations are not needed.


Click on photos for larger image

Laguna Presbyterian Church – Then and now

The church has undergone many changes in its history. Presbyterian Church of Laguna Beach was formally organized in 1917 with 15 charter members and met in The Little Brown Church until 1928, when the new Spanish Colonial style church was built. 

In 1993, the building nearly burned down during the devastating fire, and the facility became a center of recovery. In the early summer of 2007, the congregation moved out of the seismically-unfit sanctuary to worship in the adjacent Fellowship Hall in preparation for the sanctuary’s restoration. The renovation of 2008-2009 resulted in the structure as it is today. 

The church is at 415 Forest Avenue in Laguna Beach with parking in the rear. For further information, contact the church office at 949-494-7555.


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