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Laguna Friends of Architecture presents Author Alan Hess with his latest book at LCAD on April 12

Alan Hess, architect, author, lecturer, critic, and advocate for 20th century architectural preservation, will be appearing at Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) on Friday, April 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. to discuss his new book, Hollywood Modern: Houses of the Stars. Hosted by Laguna Friends of Architecture, there will be a talk, slideshow, and book signing. The public is invited to get a peek inside homes of Hollywood celebrities.

See the homes of the discerning Hollywood stars, from Groucho Marx to Leonardo DiCaprio. Hess’ talk looks at the intersection of celebrity and design, through the case of twenty-five houses designed by great architects for their informed, trend-setting, and extremely famous clients in Southern California.

Laguna Friends Hess

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Courtesy of ohp.parks.ca.gov

Alan Hess talks about his new book at LCAD on Friday, April 12

Participants will see gorgeous photos of the houses as well as little seen informal portraits of the stars and hear stories of these members of the glitterati, touching on film, fashion, architecture, and the everyday lives of legends. Hollywood Modern spans the modern era, from modern homes of the 1930s, through mid-century modern designs, to the present day.

Laguna Friends bookcover

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Hollywood Modern: Houses of the Stars

Hollywood Modern touches on the many moods of modernism. From Ed Niles’ “Johnny Carson House” in Malibu, which creates a ficus tree forest that extends from the garden directly into the house, to the machine-age austerity of Richard Neutra’s “Von Sternberg House,” (later owned by The Fountainhead author Ayn Rand), to A. Quincy Jones’ crisply, elegantly ultramodern Gary Cooper House in Holmby Hills, these houses edit, rearrange, and direct our point of view much like the carefully composed version of reality we see in motion pictures. 

 These different styles coexist as modernism and stand in distinct contrast to the Mediterranean villas and Spanish Colonial manses of early Hollywood.

LCAD Studio 1 (Laguna College of Art + Design) is located at 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd.

RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – please indicate if you would like to purchase a book at the event at a special price.

For more information on Laguna Friends of Architecture, go to www.lagunafriendsarch.com.


Park Art 

Park Art sign

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Photo by Tom Berndt

How can you breathe and relax with a Day of the Dead skull hanging around?


Join Forest & Ocean Gallery for reception Saturday featuring Master Photographer Ning Dhou 

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 30 from 5 - 8 p.m., Forest & Ocean Gallery invites the community to a reception featuring Master Photographer Ning Dhou.

Born in Nanjing, China in 1963, Ning Zhou developed a passion for photography as a young boy. Out of necessity, he learned how to economize on film by pre-visualizing his photographs, a skill he honed to an extraordinary degree.

Join Forest water

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Courtesy of Ningzhougallery.com

Music of Water: Red Venice

Even today, despite the advent of digital photography and with more than 40 years’ experience, this unique ability is the touchstone of his distinct style. He waits patiently until every variable, setting, and condition are accounted for and assimilated in his mind so that he can see them like a camera. Then and only then does he press the shutter.

Ning Zhou’s art opens our eyes to the beauty around us while focusing our minds inward.

For more information, visit www.forestoceangallery.com

Forest & Ocean Gallery is located at 480 Ocean Ave.


Must see, FOA Fresh Faces 2019 exhibit runs
through May 24 

Summer is just around the corner and the Festival of Arts is excited to announce its newest exhibit, Fresh Faces 2019. Presenting the works of the 23 newly juried Festival artists, the exhibit showcases a wide range of mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media and more. 

Fresh Faces 2019 runs through May 24 at the Festival of Arts Third Floor Gallery at Wells Fargo Bank. The opening artist reception was a big hit for art enthusiasts last Saturday, March 9.

“We’re welcoming a larger number of first year exhibitors than in recent years and their exceptional work, along with our longtime exhibitors, will help create one of the most exciting years the Festival has ever seen,” Festival of Arts Marketing Director Sharbie Higuchi said.

Must see FOA Carrie Zeller

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Carrie Zeller is a new artist and is posing next to one of her pieces of work titled “Girl on Bus”

Fresh Faces 2019 showcases a fascinating look into the world of the innovative and fresh new artwork of 23 prestigious artists from Orange County. The artists and mediums being presented are Duncan Asper (Mixed Media), Echo Baker (Oils), Peggy Chang (Oils), Monica Edwards (Oils), Victor Fisher (Sculpture), Hugh Foster (Photography), Alice Gamez (Oils), JP Greenwood (Photography), Carol Heiman-Greene (Oils), Ricky Hill (Sculpture), Lyn Hiner (Acrylics), Baruch Kaufman (Jewelry), Lisa Kijak (Fiber Arts), Peter Levshin (Photography), Dana Lewis (Oils), Gemma Park (Jewelry), Bree Poort (Mixed Media), Janine Salzman (Mixed Media), Pegah Samaie (Oils), Christopher Paul Scardino (Mixed Media), Ken Sugimoto (Sculpture), Chifumi Uehara (Sculpture), and Carrie Zeller (Photography).

Must see FOA Group Photo

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(L-R) Phyllis Fisher, Scott Albert, Dana Lewis, Pegah Samaie, Carol Heiman-Green, Shakiba Hashemi, Christopher Scardino, and Victor Fisher

 “It is so very rewarding to witness the new artists, docents, long time exhibiting artists, Festival Board members, and the general public enthusiastically involved in a variety of discussions, a testament to the camaraderie that can develop in the local art culture,” said Pat Sparkuhl, Art Collection Specialist/Curator for Festival of Arts.

These exhibitors were recently juried into the Festival of Arts by a panel of six knowledgeable artists and/or art experts which included Scott Albert, watercolorist; Cathy Cobb, Art Director for Automobile Club of Southern California - Texas Journey and New Mexico Journey magazines; Jordan Dimitrov, sculptor; Mark Jacobucci, painter (alternate); Sarah Jesse, Deputy Director for Orange County Museum of Art; and Evan Senn, Gallery Curator at Golden West College and Art/Art History Instructor at Cal State University Fullerton, Golden West College, and Laguna College of Art and Design.

Must see FOA onlookers

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Onlookers enjoying a first glance at the FOA’s new artists show Fresh Faces

Fresh Faces 2019 is on exhibit through May 24 is at the Festival of Arts Third Floor Gallery at Wells Fargo Bank located at 260 Ocean Ave. It is part of an ongoing series of shows that the Festival of Arts will be holding at Wells Fargo. The building is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is free. 

The Festival of Arts is a nonprofit organization whose proceeds support the arts in and about Laguna Beach. For more information call (949) 494-1145 or visit www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


Join Forest & Ocean Gallery for reception this Saturday featuring Master Photographer Ning Dhou 

This Saturday, March 30 from 5 - 8 p.m., Forest & Ocean Gallery invites the community to a reception featuring Master Photographer Ning Dhou.

Born in Nanjing, China in 1963, Ning Zhou developed a passion for photography as a young boy. Out of necessity, he learned how to economize on film by pre-visualizing his photographs, a skill he honed to an extraordinary degree.

Join Forest water

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Ningzhougallery.com

Music of Water: Red Venice

Even today, despite the advent of digital photography and with more than 40 years’ experience, this unique ability is the touchstone of his distinct style. He waits patiently until every variable, setting, and condition are accounted for and assimilated in his mind so that he can see them like a camera. Then and only then does he press the shutter.

Ning Zhou’s art opens our eyes to the beauty around us while focusing our minds inward.

For more information, visit www.forestoceangallery.com

Forest & Ocean Gallery is located at 480 Ocean Ave.


LCAD presents Walking Worlds: Visual Storytelling with Obsidian Entertainment, opening April 4

Laguna College of Art and Design’s (LCAD) BFA program in Game Art is proud to present, Waking Worlds: Visual Storytelling with Obsidian Entertainment, an exhibition showcasing the visual stories of Irvine-based video game developer Obsidian Entertainment. The opening reception is on April 4 from 6 - 9 p.m. and the exhibition will be held through April 25. 

LCAD presents art

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Courtesy of Obsidian Entertainment in association

In recognition and celebration of Obsidian Entertainment’s fifteen years of creating video games that have captured the hearts and imaginations of fans worldwide, this exhibition features work by Obsidian Entertainment’s finest creatives alongside those created by the studio’s talented fans. 

Showcased are works from the unreleased space role-playing game The Outer Worlds, works from Obsidian Entertainment’s original franchise, Pillars of Eternity, as well as a visual history of the studio’s many achievements.

For more information, contact Bryan Heggie, LCAD Gallery Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 376-6000 ext. 289. 

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave and is open Wednesday - Sunday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. and is always free. 


Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden to deliver keynote at 13th Annual Art Star Awards

The Laguna Beach Arts Alliance (LBAA) is excited to announce award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden as the honored guest speaker at the 13th Annual Art Star Awards. 

The exceptional event will be held on Sunday, April 7 at [seven-degrees] at 6 p.m. As the guest speaker, Marcia Gay will share stories about her successful and diverse career.

“With awards and accolades across the entire artistic spectrum, Marcia Gay Harden truly is an artists’ artist. We are honored and thrilled to have her as the 2019 guest speaker of Art Star Awards,” said LBAA Chair Rosemary Swimm.

Marcia Gay Harden has forged an incomparable body of work, transforming into each character she plays with the skill of a chameleon. Her critically lauded performances are myriad – from glamorous Ava Gardner in Sinatra, to artist Lee Krasner in Pollock (winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), to the down-and-out Celeste in Mystic River (Oscar-nominated in the same category) – and her versatility has been praised in other films such as Millers Crossing, The First Wives Club, Meet Joe Black, Mona Lisa Smile, The Hoax and Used People.

Award winning pose

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Submitted photo

Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden will deliver keynote
at Art Star Awards on April 7

Marcia Gay Harden has chosen a life away from mainstream Hollywood, moving between independent and studio films, and between television and theatre. In 2011 she reprised the role she originated on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage alongside the original cast with a tremendously successful stage run at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. 

In 2009, it was her exceptional Broadway performance in this starring role that earned a Best Actress Tony Award. Her fellow-nominated stars in the play included James Gandolfini, Hope Davis, and Jeff Daniels. Harden also received an Outer Circle Critics Award for her performance, as well as nominations from the Drama Desk and Drama League. 

That same year, she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her role in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.

Recently concluding a three-season run as Dr. Leanne Rorish in the CBS drama Code Black, for which she was nominated for a People’s Choice Award as Favorite Actress in a New TV Series, Harden also had a memorable arc on ABC’s hit drama How To Get Away With Murder

On the big screen she reprised her role as Christian Grey’s mother in Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed, following Fifty Shades of Grey, and Fifty Shades Darker, the trilogy grossing over $1.3 billion worldwide. 

Other recent films include the Paul Weitz comedy Grandma, starring alongside Lily Tomlin, and After Words, a romantic adventure shot on location in Costa Rica.

Adding author to her professional oeuvre, last spring Harden saw the publication of The Seasons of My Mother, A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers (Atria/Simon & Schuster), a poignant personal story which Publishers Weekly called a “graceful memoir.

Other nominations include a Tony nomination for Angels in America (for which she won the Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards), an Emmy nomination for her guest appearance on Law and Order: SVU, and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for American Gun. In the Summer of 2017, she made her UK theatre debut starring at Alexandra in the Chichester Theatre Festival’s production of Sweet Bird of Youth.

Marcia Gay Harden graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. in Theatre and an MFA from the Graduate Acting program at New York University

To purchase tickets to attend the Art Star Awards, an evening of Hollywood glitz and glamour, Laguna Style, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tickets are $100 each and include dinner as well as all the festivities.

The Laguna Beach Arts Alliance was established in 2002 as the result of an exciting partnership among more than 20 Laguna Beach organizations. The mission is to serve as an advocate for the arts, promote collaboration and networking among the arts organizations of Laguna Beach, and to serve as a united voice for the arts in the city.


Laguna Plein Air Painters Association’s “15th Annual Best of Plein Air” announces winners

LPAPA at Forest & Ocean Gallery hosted the opening reception for the “15th Annual Best of Plein Air” juried art show on Saturday, March 16. Guests sipped wine and enjoyed nibbling on a beautiful array of artisan cheeses, fruits, and sweets as they anxiously awaited the announcement of the six award-winning artists.

LPAPA’s Best of Plein Air is a special juried exhibition of original works of art created by Signature and Artist Members of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA). 286 entries were received for this prestigious show with jurors Daniel Marshall (Signature Member of LPAPA), Rosemary Swimm (LPAPA Executive Director), and Ludo Leideritz (Forest & Ocean Gallery Owner) choosing over 60 original framed paintings created by LPAPA Signature and Artist Members for the show’s coveted spots.

Laguna Plein lighthouse

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1st Place was awarded to LPAPA Artist Member Keiko Tanabe for “Hook Lighthouse, Ireland”

In addition to the usual awards, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention, a new Peoples’ Choice award was introduced through a LPAPA Facebook Social Medium Campaign where individuals were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite painting.

All paintings are on exhibit at LPAPA In Residence located at the Forest & Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach until March 24 or viewed online through LPAPA’s Best of Plein Air expanded online gallery at www.DailyBrushwork.com.

Laguna Plein cove

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2nd Place was awarded to LPAPA Signature Member Anthony Salvo for  “Crystal Cove Shadow”

Laguna Plein glow

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3rd Place was awarded to LPAPA Signature Member Michael Obermeyer for “After Glow”

Laguna Plein towers

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Honorable Mention Award given to LPAPA Artist Member Bob Upton for “Waldorf Towers”

Laguna Plein Pasadena

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Peoples’ Choice Award given to LPAPA Signature Member Durree Waseem for “A Warm Day in Pasadena”

LPAPA was founded in 1996 with a mission to preserve Laguna Beach’s rich artistic legacy founded by early plein air artists and promote the tradition of plein air painting in our community, across the nation, and around the world. 

LPAPA is one of the best recognized and most respected plein air art associations in the world with a growing roster of more than 600 local, national and international artist members. In addition to providing opportunities for established and emerging artists to show their work, LPAPA has a strong commitment to education utilizing their Plein Air Project to benefit young and emerging artists and the greater community.

For show details, visit www.lpapa.org

LPAPA in Residence is at Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays. 


CAP & LPAPA exhibit “Unexpected Places” through May 29

By M Charlie Ferrazzi 

“Unexpected Places” is an exhibit of juried works by Signature and Artist Members of Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA). 

LPAPA Artists Val Carson, Toni Danchik, and Brandon Gonzales participated in the Artists’ Conversation that was recently held at The CAP Gallery. CAP President Laura Mayo was the moderator. The title is the general theme of the works. The works are the personal glimpses of the artists and what has caught their eye. It’s on exhibit through May 29.

When asked to explain “the process” each Artist used in creating their work, it was interesting to note some of the common elements. For all it was the initial impact and response to the site: the light, colour, shapes, and atmosphere. Being able to capture that and present it to the viewer was a driving force for each.

Sketches done on site, whether pencil lines or color samples, were key to the start of the process. Line sketches are good for placement and composition of the scenes and elements of the scene. Colour sketches become colour keys, or reference, for the colours seen at the particular time the Artists are at the site. These sketches can be completed works for later sale or can become part of a reference library, similar to an Artist’s sketchbook, and never be offered for sale or viewing.

CAP and LPAPA artist conveersation

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(L-R) Laura Mayo (President of CAP), Toni Danchik, Val Carson, Brandon Gonzales (LPAPA Artists), and Rosemary Swimm (Executive Director of LPAPA)

The “Conversation” was then opened up to the audience for a lively and informative question and answer session. Here are some of the questions and responses.

Do you stand or sit when you are painting?

All three Artists answered “stand.” The reason being that when working in impressionistic style, stepping back from the work allows the Artist to see the overall work and see if it is coming together compositionally and making sense. Working up close only makes the details obvious to the eye.

Carson’s reply revealed that she did more to this ‘easel exercise routine’ by keeping her turpentine on the floor so as not to knock it off the easel. This meant she also did quite a bit of the up and down along with the back and forth!

Do you take the painting home to touch up or finish in the studio?

Carson answered “sometimes” for touch-up. If the painting is a sketch for a larger piece or to block in the scene, then it is a reference piece.

Danchik answered no, since she uses the original small sketches for reference for pieces done in the studio. She frequently will have a small value sketch in an upper corner as a reminder of any detail that is important to the piece.

Gonzales said that it depended on whether it is a competition piece, which means no. Otherwise he will revisit the site if he feels the need for more information for the finished piece.

Do you take photographs of the site?

All three artists stated they do as a form of reference of what was at the scene and the placement of the elements. They don’t use the photos for the creation of their works. Since pretty much everyone carries a cell phone, it is handy to snap a quick pic for reference.

Is there any beauty of the mountains that drives you to head up there and paint, away from the local beauty of Laguna Beach and surrounds?

Carson has painted in the mountains and spent quite a bit of time there in the 1980s at the family’s Mammoth cabin, but not any longer. The views are tempting but when the temperature is below 39 degrees it is a no.

Danchik calls herself a “fair weather painter” and has never tried.

Gonzales loves the mountains and has been doing quite a bit of it lately. He has a special pair of gloves he has cut the fingertips off of so that he “can feel the brush against the canvas” while painting.

What do you feel about working with kids and painting?

Danchik replied it was “Amazing. It’s wonderful to see plein air Artists working with children. It is interesting to see the different personalities of the kids come out from the exposure. Kids learn so quickly!”

Carson got her teaching credentials after her Art degree and has taught for 20+ years. She “loves working with kids. They learn so fast and are decisive of what they want to do. They aren’t scared to try.” Her students range from 3 to 73-years-old.

Gonzales currently teaches at LCAD. He has created a plein air curriculum for the Game Art division students. To introduce them to working in the open air and outdoors: completely different from the digital world they are studying.

What Artists do you look up to?

For Danchik it is the early California painters.

Carson was “raised on Mozart and Manet and later learned about the California Impressionists when she moved to California from Arizona. John Asaro is another, but I am in awe of Art and Artists.”

Gonzales chooses “Richard Schmidt and Sargent, but also others as he discovers them, their Art and approach.”

A last question: For inspiration while creating, do you listen to music or something else?

Gonzales listens to music in the studio, but outdoors it is the smells, breeze, light and atmosphere: the desire to absorb all the sensory elements of the site.

Carson is similar to Gonzales. On the rare occasion she will play classical music in the studio.

Danchik prefers being alert to her surroundings outdoors. She tells of the time she was out painting alone at Niguel Lake, listening to music and having a great time. Suddenly she realized it was dark! She packed her car to leave and found she had a dead battery. She only had enough cell battery to call her husband and Auto Club. All turned out well, but it was a lesson learned.

The “Unexpected Placesexhibit runs through May 29 at The CAP Gallery at 260 Ocean Ave, Second floor, Wells Fargo Bank. The free event is open to the public.

For more information, visit www.caplaguna.org.


Jazz Wednesdays is sold out, tickets available for exciting spring concerts

Next week’s Jazz Wednesdays concert, the final one of the season, is officially sold out, however Laguna Beach Live! invites the community to join for two unique and entertaining concerts coming this April and May. The concerts benefit the award-winning Live! Music & Kids program and will be held at [seven-degrees].

The program gives students the opportunity to connect to the joy and creativity of music, critical to their academic, social, and emotional growth. 

Laguna Beach Live! presents outreach programs, at no charge, to Laguna Boys & Girls Club and Laguna public schools. 

Jazz Wednesdays M PACT

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M-PACT will take the stage on April 17

On April 17, M-PACT, hailed as “one of the best pop-jazz vocal groups in the world” by the San Francisco Chronicle, will take the stage. Imagine the smooth soul of Sam Smith, the percussive power of Stomp, the funk and groove of Bruno Mars, the sophisticated harmonies of Take 6, and the brass bite of the Michael Bublé Big Band…all created by the human voice alone.

Jazz Wednesdays Blues

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Blues is a Woman plays on May 15

On May 15, Blues is a Woman takes the stage. This ensemble of six talented musicians blurs the boundaries between concert and theater, using storytelling and music to bring to life the colorful history of the bold and singular women who wrote and popularized the blues. The voices of these women are vibrant, challenging, inspirational, and dynamic. 

Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m. A full bar and buffet menu is available for purchase starting at 5 p.m. when doors open for dinner and social hour. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. VIP tickets are $100 and include preferred seating, Meet & Greet with artists, and a signed CD. 

Reservations can be made at www.lagunabeachlive.org or by phone calling (800) 595-4849. 

[seven-degrees] is located at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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