Artist Open Studios February event Saturday, Feb 7

This Saturday, Feb. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., art enthusiasts are invited to visit local professional artists in their studios during the Laguna Beach Artist Open Studios event. Participants can catch the free shuttle service from the Act V parking lot, located at 1900 Laguna Canyon Road, and take advantage of free parking for this free, unparalleled artistic adventure. 

A lucky participant will be eligible to receive two free tickets to this summer’s Pageant of the Masters. A form will be handed out, just have an artist at each of the five stops sign it, then enter the drawing to win. The winner will be notified.

Artist Open Studios is a celebration of Laguna’s thriving visual arts community. It is not only a fantastic opportunity to see, buy or commission art, or find original holiday gifts. It is also a venture to explore the city’s iconic artist colony – a time to uncover new talent and rediscover established artists. Who could resist the chance to step into the heart of where art is created, to experience something unique, something you just can’t see anywhere else?

Located throughout Laguna Beach, the majority of artist studios are nestled along Laguna Canyon Road. These studios, surrounded by oak trees and rich canyon colors, are the creative backdrop for many artists. Experience why legendary artists William Wendt, Frank Cuprien, and Edgar Payne set roots here in the early 1890s, captivated by the natural, idyllic setting. 

Observe 31 artists working in a spectrum of art media - fused glass, painting, printmaking, and bronze lost-wax demonstrations. Enjoy the behind the scenes process manifested in an artist’s own creative space.

The first stop visit painter John Repka. At the second stop, don’t miss the opportunity to make your own piece of kiln formed glass with Maggie Spencer, and view her colorful work. Each month, she presents a new project for visitors to try. Her studio is popular, often buzzing with activity.

Tucked in a serene spot at the third stop in the canyon, experience the creative ceramic and wood studio space, with Sandy Groves.

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Submitted photos

Sculptural jewelry by Linda Ames

Laguna Canyon Artists complex, at the fourth stop, offers a cluster of studios with a host of artists who work in a variety of art mediums, including artist Linda Ames. After multitasking as a painter, glass artist, and metal smith, Ames found that her passion is designing and creating sculptural jewelry.

“Since I was small I’ve always wanted something unique, one of a kind or very personal. It makes sense that is what I do now - design and create something from my thoughts and dreams, playfully changing my art piece until it says just what I want it to say,” said Ames. “Even though it’s the process that excites me, when I see someone try on my sculptures and love them, I have to admit it puts a big smile on my face.”

Her work is colorful, mobile, and well constructed. She considers herself an artist not a jeweler. Ames said that she creates her art using high-quality sterling silver, 14K gold fill, and organic and semi precious stones.

At the very last stop in the canyon, experience fun interaction, and demonstrations with artists Louis Longi, Olivia Batchelder, Deborah Paswaters, and Micha von Doring, who work on bronze, silk, painting and wood, respectively. Batchelder said visitors enjoy the mix of working artists and the camaraderie they experience at their stop.

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Olivia Batchelder

“My studio is behind the colorful gate. When you come to AOS, you’ll be greeted by a large silk installation of silk panels, suspended between the trees at the front of the property,” said Batchelder. “You will find me at work on a large silk canvas, laid across sawhorses for painting horizontally, where I paint with dye-colors in big swaths. The dye-color seeps onto the cloth different from the way paint lays down on canvas. It’s pretty magical. Come see.”

Batchelder’s Landscape Wrap is still one of her best and most popular pieces. The original idea for it goes back to the December 2010 flood, when her house and studio space were being rebuilt after water and mud damaged everything.

“I didn’t have a lot of space or equipment, so I used what I had. I choose double crepe georgette silk for its superb drape and matte texture, and worked with a rectangle that I folded into quarters so it would fit on my small 6-foot work table for cutting,” Batchelder explained. “I kept it simple - just a band of imagery on each end of the garment, and I cut a neck hole and front slit, then hemmed it simply. Each piece felt personal, and I signed each one.”

Batchelder said that she loves the creative process and gets excited about her finished work. “It’s always new, and always holds mystery. I get into the zone, and that is a fabulous place, for an athlete or for an artist,” she said.

“Artists live a rich life. This is in our work, or way of seeing, our friendships, our independence, and our moments with our art. Artists are called to art,” Batchelder said. “When you talk to us, see us at work, you get to see that we are very serious about our art, and very real people, digging deep.”

Also part of the studio tour, downtown, just off the canyon on Ocean Avenue, Artist Open Studio participants will discover painter Cliff Wassmann, and his works.

For a list of participating artists, and details about the drawing for two free Pageant of the Masters tickets, please visit the Cultural Arts Department page at www.lagunabeachcity.net or call (949) 497-0722. For more information about the 2015 Pageant of the Masters, themed “The Pursuit of Happiness,” visit www.foapom.com.

Participating Artists: Linda Ames, Ebrahim Amin, Olivia Batchelder, Elizabeth Bridy, Cynthia Britain, Elaine Cohen, Lydia Delgado, Micha von Doring, Phil Eaton, Lani Emanuel, Michael Ervin, Paul Gardner, Lorenzo George, Sandy Groves, Gina Mead Howie, Veronica Khristov, Louis Longi, Fitz Maurice, Patrice Miller, Deborah Paswaters, John Repka, Sheryl Seltzer, Michael Situ, Judi Smolin, Maggie Spencer, Tom Swimm, Cheyne Walls, Cliff Wassmann, Deborah Weinstein, Susan Wills, and Tracy Young.