Laguna Beach

Laguna poet Ellen Girardeau Kempler’s first book will soon be published

Laguna has its share of fine poets, and a book by one of the finest, Ellen Girardeau Kempler, is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

“[Thirty Views of a Changing World] is inspired by master woodblock artist Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji,” Kempler tells Stu News. “It includes 30 photos (printed in black and white) and haiku and focuses on climate change and other existential threats now facing our planet.”

The book features photographic views of California – mainly Laguna – Japan, and Iceland.

Reviews have been glowing. “Ellen Girardeau Kempler makes an eloquent marriage of skillfully wrought haiku and stunning images. In these pieces, which slip into the consciousness like silk, she has mastered the deft word choice so essential to the form. Her lines stun with beautiful simplicity, enhanced by her glorious photographs that bring them to life,” says Ricki Mandeville, co-founder and editor, Moon Tide Press.

Linda Cabot, Artist, Ocean Advocate and Founder of Bow Seat Ocean Programs notes, “This is a timely and powerful selection of climate poetics. Ellen Girardeau Kempler’s gorgeous photographs and exquisite haiku inspire a new conversation about what it means to witness today’s uncertain environment. This collection pushes us to consider our changing world in playful and unexpected ways.”

Travel provides inspiration

Ellen loves to travel, and her trips have been transformative, she says, providing her with a deep connection to nature and inspiration for her poetry, which in this book contemplates the impact of our changing planet.

“It’s particularly important that people understand how connected we are to nature in these times of climate change. In recent years, I traveled to the Athabasca Glacier in Canada, and saw just how fast the ice is retreating,” she says. “The glacier has lost half its volume in the last 125 years.”

Ellen’s poems have been published in the Phoenix Rising Review, Orbis International Poetry Quarterly, Spectrum, Arrow and a number of other small presses. They have also won the Blackwater International Poetry Prize; been shortlisted for the Tom Howard and Margaret Reid Poetry Award, the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Prize and Ireland’s Fish Poetry Prize; and won three first-place awards and one second-place award in the annual Laguna Beach Library Poetry Contest. 

She has also received awards for her widely published nonfiction travel writing, features and opinion pieces.

Ellen believes in poetry’s power to reach hearts, change minds and move people to action. Thirty Views of a Changing World is her first book of poetry.

For more information, visit

Laguna families team up against MS


Eight years ago, my children and I stood in a chilly October rainstorm outside the Greeter’s Corner Restaurant holding a poster that read, “Go Daddy! Pedal Over MS!” We cheered as my husband cycled by on his 100-mile journey to San Diego, splattered in muck. It was his first time riding in the National MS Society’s Bike to End MS event, and the gloom and mess of the day seemed an appropriate end to my first year living with multiple sclerosis. 

Twelve months earlier, I had woken up one morning unable to stand up straight or hold a pen. My right foot drooped at unexpected moments, catching on carpets and curbsides. New to Orange County, I felt utterly alone as I embarked on a year of tests and second opinions that all ended with the same diagnosis: multiple sclerosis.  

Through the National MS Society website, I found a neurologist and lots of information. I learned that this unpredictable and often disabling disease results when the body’s immune system attacks and damages the central nervous system, disrupting the flow of information between the brain and the body. More than 2.3 million people worldwide have MS, but I didn’t know anyone to turn to for advice. What did my future hold? Would I end up in a wheelchair? Would I be able to play with my children?

At first, I was reluctant to talk about my condition, but once I did, I met a surprising number of Laguna residents affected by the disease. 

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Submitted photo

L-R: L-R) Amy, Natalie, Paul, Genevieve, and James Dechary at the 2011 Bike to End MS event in San Diego

One such person was Diane Babcock. Babcock’s 2010 diagnosis resulted in a near-fatal reaction to medication and significantly transformed her family’s day-to-day routine. 

“I almost died from a steroid treatment. I had to make major lifestyle changes, which in turn, changed my whole family’s lifestyle,” she says. “We hired extra help. I modified our activities and social engagements so I could take daily naps, attend doctor’s appointments and administer daily injections, which sometimes caused reactions. It was tough at first, but the family pulled together.”

Many MS patients do not exhibit visible signs of the disease, and because of this, have difficulty receiving emotional support in their workplaces and social circles. Babcock, however, credits her Laguna Beach friends for helping her and her family successfully manage her health.

“I was open about my diagnosis, but I was ashamed that I had to take naps when my children had outgrown them,” she explains. “When I told people I had MS and that fatigue was one of my major symptoms, I found nothing but support. People didn’t pressure me to keep up or shame me for not being active or involved. It really alleviated my stress.”

Submitted photo

L-R: Christine Fugate, Paul Dechary, Amy Dechary, and Jim Utt at the 2016 Bubbles and Brunch to End MS event, which raised over $70,000.

One of the major stresses faced by MS patients is the impact the disease has on extended families. Laguna Beach resident Sarah Durand, whose mother has lived with MS for over 50 years, watched her mother Tessa Ennals’s health deteriorate as Sarah attended college and went on to start her own family. When Sarah and her husband Rob moved to Laguna Beach in 2004, they looked for a single level home that her mom could navigate in a wheelchair. After a difficult search, they finally found a split-level 1950s ranch home in Temple Hills, but it still presented some serious challenges. 

“My mom was wheelchair bound at the time and could not make it from our living room into the kitchen,” says Durand. “We saw she wouldn’t be able to spend time with us and her grandkids unless we made dramatic upgrades to our house.”

Those changes included raising the floors of their home and remodeling their guest bedroom and bath.

“We were lucky to have the resources to make those accommodations,” Durand states. “Others do not. That’s why we got involved in the MS Society.”

Together, the Durands and my family joined the fundraising efforts of the Pacific South Coast Chapter of the National MS Society. Through annual events like Bike to End MS, Challenge Walk MS, and the MS Dinner Auction, the Society is able to fund a variety of services for people living with MS throughout Orange and San Diego Counties. These services range from emotional support groups and discussion panels on current therapies and research to education about health providers, insurance benefits, and wellness strategies. The Society also sponsors education scholarships and crisis intervention for families in need. 

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Submitted photo

Tessa Ennals and Lucas Durand make spin art together

On August 26, the MS Society will host one of its premier Orange County fundraising events, the fourth annual Bubbles and Brunch to End MS. Held at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach at 11 a.m., the event includes its signature complimentary champagne reception, silent auction, and three-course brunch. This year’s keynote speaker is Ronda Giangreco, who turned her MS diagnosis into a yearlong Italian dinner party. Over 300 people are expected to attend and raise over $75,000 to help MS patients and their families. Tickets cost $100 and are available for purchase at through August 23.

For more information about Bubbles and Brunch to End MS, contact Cristine Lovato at (626) 824-0325 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To learn more about MS and local assistance programs, contact the Pacific Coast Chapter of the National MS Society at: (800) 486-6762; or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

The art of inspiration is an inspiration of art!


Last Friday, My ARTiculation about artist’s sources of inspiration - the people, places, and experiences that shape and influence who they are as artists was to me as exciting as it was insightful. I’ve always been intrigued to learn what drives an artist’s creativity, and I’m enthralled to be able to get a peek into their brilliant minds.  

I received so much positive feedback that today’s column features new artists, who delve into their individual worlds of inspiration. 

 In my first piece, I found it interesting that many of the artists named Richard Diebenkorn, as a common denominator. Today’s column is equally compelling, and I love that the Golden State rules supreme!

Scott Moore, Oil Painting

“The Spanish painter, Joaquin Sorolla inspired me so much in 1990, that I moved away from watercolor and started painting in oil. My style and subject matter has nothing to do with his genre of oil painting, but his massive canvases that were on display at the Balboa Museum of Art knocked me out. I’ve never looked at art the same ever since. While Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent both are favorites of mine, the contemporary watercolorist, John Pike, opened my world to watercolor, giving me the tools to excel in the medium. 

California is the basis for all my work. All the cities, mountains, deserts and coast have contributed to my library of mental images that I sort through every time I begin to design an image.  Growing up in the Los Angeles area and observing the effects that the California sunshine has on everyday objects has provided me with an endless wealth of information.

My father, Carl Moore, was an art director and creative director in Los Angeles. He painted watercolors on weekends and always brought home art supplies from work for our family of five kids. Without his artistic support through my childhood and without my mom’s wit and crazy humor, I wouldn’t have had the ability to succeed in the art world.”

Paul Bond, Oil Painting

“Each painting has a unique inspirational source. There are as many inspirational sources as images. But the process usually starts with a seed of an idea that I nurture to fruition. An everyday scene I come across, or a thought I’m entertaining, or something read in a book or poem. 

Often, I pick up ideas from my travels. For example, I just finished a piece called “A Homecoming.” It is based on an experience I had when visiting the Tor and ruins of 8th century Abbey at Glastonbury, England. It is a sacred place steeped in Christian and Arthurian mythology. 

My wife and I traveled there recently, and when I entered the Abbey grounds, I literally fell to my knees and wept. The knowing that I had lived a beautiful lifetime there was clear and overwhelming. Perhaps I was a monk, or one of Arthur’s knights, or a lady of Avalon. I don’t know. I just know that it felt like home.”

Bond discussed his work this year at the FOA, “Viewing my work and reading the accompanying narratives is a bit like taking a journey through an adult fairy tale picture book,” he said.

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Photo by Paul Bond

“A Homecoming” exemplifies Bond’s experience at the Abbey

Cheyne Walls, Photography

“My main inspiration is Nature itself. I always loved the Albert Einstein quote, “Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

It’s being out in Nature, the clean air, trees, rivers, cloudy skies, mountains and oceans that gives me the sense of purpose and true enjoyment. I love going up to the Eastern Sierras and finding a stream, creek or small river and just hike along side of it, follow it as far as it goes.

There are so many amazing things that being outside can offer and my main goal as a photographer is to capture this to share with others.

To sit on the side of a mountain, overlooking the fog filling the valley floor while listening to the wind blow through the aspen leaves and distant sounds of rushing water. This is my heaven.”

Sean Hunter Brown, Photographer

“I think the artists that inspire me the most are the ones who have a true passion for their art and that passion is conveyed through the work. You can really feel when the passion is there.

Many places inspire me in Laguna. I like to explore the harder-to-get-to grotto areas of Laguna’s coastline. Places away from the highly visible manmade structures [where you] are surrounded by the natural rocks and cliffs. These areas make me feel like I am in old California which inspires me.

Another area that I draw inspiration from is Southern Utah. Its sounds strange for a mainly ocean photographer but places like Zion and Escalante literally blow/open my mind every time I get time to explorethem.”

Mike Tauber, Ceramics

“Give me a mountain bike, a camera and a path, and I’m on my way to another inspiration for my Golden State landscapes. California has such unique and iconic scenery from the Merced River in Yosemite, to the gnarled Cypress trees along the Monterey coast, to the desert washes in Coachella Valley, all provide great subject matter. Locally Barbara’s Lake in Laguna Canyon, and Aliso Creek in Woods Canyon offer views of ancient Sycamores and Oaks, Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons. It’s amazing.”

Until next time…so many insights, so little time!

Art-A-Fair offers more than art: artist workshops, live musical entertainment, and more

Art-A-Fair Summer Workshops and Events Calendar

Tues, Aug 1 to Thurs, Aug 3

Live music schedule for this weekend

Thursday, Aug 3, 4 – 7 p.m., Norm Douglas

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Photo by Laguna Art-A-Fair

Enjoy the beautiful Laguna Art-A-Fair grounds, art, and the many art workshops

Purchase as many or as few sessions as you like. Class size is limited to six students, must be 16 years or older, and all supplies are included. Workshop sessions are $45/4hrs (a.m. & p.m. sessions), or $30/2hrs (morning session only). Hours are 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and 1:15 – 3:15 p.m. daily. 

Contact: 494-4514, or visit, for a full schedule  

Tuesdays, now – Aug 29, Patrick & Christine Sullivan - Jewelry

Jewelry Workshop: Subject matter includes necklaces, bracelets, pins and earrings. Topics: Design, Wire wrapping, Wire forming, Hammering techniques.

Wednesdays, now – Aug 16, Barbara Kimmel-Palmer – Watercolor Watercolor Workshop: Topics: Composition, Wet-into-wet techniques, Adding texture, and Working with acrylic & metallic paint.

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Photo by the artist

Learn how to paint beautiful watercolor paintings with Barbara Kimmel-Palmer

Thursdays, now – Aug 31, Carol Heiman-Greene – Acrylic

Acrylic Workshop: Subject matter will cover realism in nature and wildlife. Topics: Rules of composition, Basic rendering, Working & Glazing with acrylic paint, Defining the light source, and Bounced light. 

Laguna Art-A-Fair runs daily through Sept 3. For more information about Laguna Art-A-Fair artists, workshops, events, and to purchase event tickets, please call 494-4514 or visit Season Pass for adults $8, $6 for seniors (65+), military and students, and children 12 and under are free. The one time ticket price allows for free entry during the entire summer festival season. Art-A-Fair is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Road.

Festival of Arts events, classes, music, Tues-Thurs

Daily Live Music Schedule

Dates: Now – Aug. 31, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free with Festival admission

Upcoming:Tuesday, Aug 1: Ilya Serov introduced by Roger Kellaway (part of Rising Stars); Wednesday, Aug 2: Yuko Mabuchi; Thursday, Aug 3: Steve Oliver (part of the Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate series).

Youth Arts Education Workshops

Dates/Times: Now – Aug 31

Mondays – Fridays, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.

Cost: $15+ fee, per child, per class

Bring out that creative spark in your young artist at the Youth Arts Classes this summer at the Festival of Arts. Kids will enjoy art classes taught by professional Festival artists in mixed media, jewelry making, collage and more. Meanwhile, parents will have free time to view the artwork on display throughout the Festival grounds. Festival artists will also share some of their creative techniques in a fun and friendly environment that will inspire your kids to come back every week. Open to children ages 5 –12.

Reservations required. For schedule and reservations, visit

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Photo by Festival of Arts

Children ages 5 – 12 can spark their creativity learning many forms of art 

Rising Stars Music Series

Ilya Serov introduced by Roger Kellaway

Dates/Times: Now – Aug 29

Tuesdays, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free with Festival admission

On Tuesday nights throughout the summer, the Festival of Arts’ roster of world-famous musicians and music aficionados introduce their favorite up and coming performers. Discover new talent on the Festival stage. This week features Ilya Serov introduced by Roger Kellaway.

“Art Talks & Tea” Series

“Female Figures”

Dates/Times: Wednesday, Aug 2, 12 – 1 p.m.

Cost: Free with Festival Admission

This week’s topic is “Female Figures,” discussing the portrayal of the female figure in different art styles. This is one of several topics discussed at the Festival’s weekly Art Talks: A Lecture Series. Each Wednesday through Aug 27, Festival artists lead conversations about their medium, inspiration, and careers in this fascinating and stimulating series. 

Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate

Live Performance by Steve Oliver

Dates/Time: Thursday, Aug 3, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20 Wine and Chocolate pairings (21 and over) in addition to Festival admission

Chocolate, wine, and all that jazz sweetens up the Festival of Arts this summer. On Thursday nights, indulge your senses at the “Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate” series. Sample a wide variety of wines expertly selected to complement and enhance the nuanced flavor of Xan Confections chocolates. The Festival’s casual and classy outdoor setting, together with the soulful sounds of jazz surrounded by fine art, creates an ideal evening for friends, sweethearts, and family. This week features a performance by Greg Manning.

Concerts are free; Wine and Chocolate pairings (21 and over) are $20 in addition to Festival of Arts admission. Limited seating available in reserved section for an additional $25 per person by calling (800) 487-3378.

For a full schedule and reservations, visit The Festival of Arts, located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, is open daily through Aug 31, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. For more information about the exhibitors, events, and for tickets, please visit or call 800-487-3378.

Sawdust Art Festival event calendar, 

Aug 1-Aug 3

There is something new and different every day at the Sawdust Art Festival, ranging from special admission promotions, special events and entertainment.

With nine weeks of arts and crafts classes throughout the summer months, the Sawdust Art Festival is jam-packed with an incredible line-up of fun activities for creative minds of all ages.

Throughout the festival, a wide variety of classes are offered from our expert professionals, many of which are exhibitors, ready to teach you tips and techniques to enhance your crafts. Some of Sawdust’s most popular offerings will get your hands dirty and your jaws dropping to the ground. Parents and their kids often find themselves behind the pottery wheel creating memories and works of art that last a lifetime. For a full list of summer classes, visit:

Tuesdays: Art Alive, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Art Alive is a relaxed atmosphere event where artists can interact with the audience however they choose or simply get in the zone and let their work speak for itself.

Tuesdays: Tropical Tuesdays, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Festival-goers can enjoy the sounds and drinks (including specialty Hawaiian beer) of the islands at the Sawdust Saloon every Tuesday.

Wednesdays: Sip, Walk & Talk, 3 and 7 p.m.

Take an insider’s guided tour around the grounds, while enjoying a complimentary wine tasting. Visitors will gain insights into Sawdust legend and lore while exploring unique art presentations from a variety of artists. Free with summer admission.

Wednesdays: Preschool Art Morning, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Preschool Art Morning offers art and fun for little ones. Designed for children ages 2 and up, these budding artists will be able to learn basic art skills and explore an array of art mediums. 

Thursdays: Arts and Craft Evening Classes

Every Thursday, Sawdust Art Classes (SAC) hosts Arts and Crafts classes for all skill levels. Starting at $45 a person, participants will learn screen-printing, painting, jewelry-making and pottery; and those 21 and over can simultaneously sip local “craft” wine and beer. Times vary.

Daily Art Classes:

Daily: Ceramic Center, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 9 p.m., Throw A Pot: One-on-one instruction at the potter’s wheel for all ages, Cost: Free with admission to take home as greenware, $10 to glaze, fire and pick up; $18 to glaze, fire and ship to your home.

Daily: Children’s Art Spot, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1 – 3 p.m., & 3:30 5:30 p.m.Classes are for kids ages 4+. Art fun for the little ones. *Free with admission, although most are complimentary, some classes and workshops may require a materials fee.

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Photo from Sawdust Festival

Artists of all ages can learn myriad art mediums at Sawdust’s Studio One 

Daily: Studio One, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1 – 3 p.m. & 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Painting, printmaking, collages and a wide variety of art workshops for visitors ages 7 to adult. Cost: Free with admission.

Photo from Sawdust Festival

Groove, dance, and enjoy live music on three stages every day

Daily Live Music Schedule, 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. 

Free with Festival admission

Enjoy live entertainment at three outdoor stages, the Tavern, Grill, and Main Deck, on the festival grounds. Musical acts of all genres, roving entertainment, and much more are on schedule to perform during our festival.

Tuesday, Aug 1: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.,Beth Wood, Tavern Dos Guys, Grill; 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Hot Club Debop, Main Deck; 4:30 – 9 p.m., Gary Shapiro - DUO, Tavern; 5 – 9:30 p.m., Traveling Homeboys, Main Deck.

Wednesday, Aug 2: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. George Lawton, Roaming; 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.,Poul Pedersen,Tavern & Michelle Mangione – Solo, Grill; 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Woodstock Mud, Main Deck; 4:30 – 9 p.m., Dub Rock Duo, Tavern; 5 – 9:30 p.m.; Nichole Preuss Group, Main Deck.

Thursday, Aug 3: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.,Oli & Mike, Tavern; 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., The Higgs, Main Deck; 4:30 – 9 p.m., Jason Feddy Duo, Tavern & Sabrina Lentini, Grill; 5 – 9:30 p.m., World Anthem, Main Deck.

The Sawdust Art Festival is open daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. through Sept 3. Tickets are Adults: $9, Senior 65+: $7, Children ages 6-12: $4, Children ages 5 & under: free, $18 Summer Season Pass, $24 Summer & Winter Annual Pass. Laguna Beach residents get free admission on Mondays and Thursdays after 5 p.m., and the first Friday of the month, all day, with photo I.D. For more information on these and upcoming programs, visit the Sawdust Art Festival at or call 494-3030. The Sawdust is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Road.

CAP presents a special juried – free – exhibit of works by Laguna Plein Air Painters Association artists

By M. “Charlie” Ferrazzi

“California, The Golden Stateˮ is a collaboration of Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) and Community Art Project (CAP). Water, rocks and cliffs of the California shoreline, rolling hills and towering trees of inland areas, and even some of the architecture to be found within the state borders, can be seen in this juried exhibit of 60 works by 27 Signature and Artist Members of LPAPA. 

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Submitted photo

“Santa Ysabel Preserve West” by Bradbury-Bennett  

While enjoying the exhibit, I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Bradbury-Bennett. (She pointed out that there was no relationship to either of the famous people that could be linked to her last name.) I had admired her piece “Santa Isabel Preserve West.” 

Working in shapes and colors, applying thin layers that contained rich color, the boulders in the field had a solid feel of strength and weight. The sunlight was strong yet not harsh; just a feeling of a very warm sunny day.

Bradbury-Bennett told me that she had been painting since her teens but had gone into electronics materials engineering when it became time to earn a living. Now being retired, she has been able to get back into her painting full time. “Like being in heaven,” is how she described it. She is a San Diego County resident and a member of the San Diego Plein Air Painters group. She has been the organizer for the last 5 years for this 10 year old group. Her work is mostly done on site, to be able to really feel what she is painting. Her enthusiasm and love of painting comes through when you talk to her.

Another piece that caught my eye was “Route 66” by Max Rendon, a 16” x 16” piece of sunshine. An old filling station done in brilliant yellow made bright from the sun and with a deep to light sky in a strong blue palette, the work of Maynard Dixon comes to my mind. It makes you want to spend time enjoying it.

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Submitted photo

“Point Lobos Grandeur” by Tom Swimm 

Talking with Kirsten Anderson, she revealed that she prefers to use mostly pure color on her palette, giving the works richness. Boats, sunshine, and coastal areas are her preferred subjects. She enjoys working on site doing her studies for larger pieces she may do later in studio. She can paint the same scene over and over and not have it come out the same. She always finds something different to focus on.

Painting in paint-outs is something she excels at. Anderson commented, “Painting is work, but enjoyable work. I enjoy the problem solving as I go along, finding myself more focused. I have won a number of awards at paint outs. At the end, my brain may be fried, but I have accomplished creating something.”

Awards were presented to the top three artists. First place went to Tom Swimm for “Point Lobos Grandeur”: the largest of the pieces at 48” x 60” which shows some of the beautiful coastal cliffs and arches in the Point Lobos coastal zone. Swimm has strong definition between his lights and shadows, yet there are also subtle changes going on that add depth and perspective to the scene. 

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Submitted Photo

“Batequitos Lagoon Evening” by Fernando Micheli 

Second place went to Fernando Micheli for “Batequitos Lagoon Evening.” Coastal wetlands in the Carlsbad area, the scene has dramatic shadowing in the foreground that contrasts with the still brilliant sunlight in the distance. A quiet and calming scene to enjoy.

Third place was given to Kirsten Anderson for “Eucalyptus Glow”. Her style is rough and loose with direct and deliberate strokes. She allows some of the lower layers to show through giving the feel of a colorist’s style of working. There is a glow that seems to come from within the stand of majestic eucalyptus trees.

The public is invited to come enjoy and explore the beauty of California and see why it has the nickname The Golden State.

CAP’s mission is to increase the visibility and appreciation of art and serve as a catalyst for Art Education. Visit for information about ongoing or upcoming exhibits or to join the e-mail list or to become a member and supporter of CAP. CAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit funded by the member supporters, the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Deal closes on 1199 Lewellyn Drive: City acquires 12.8 acres of Laguna Canyon open space

The City of Laguna Beach has agreed to acquire 12.8 acres of open space in Laguna Canyon.  Located at 1199 Lewellyn Drive, the property consists of two parcels located on a hillside behind the Sawdust Festival on the southern side of Laguna Canyon Road just below Skyline Drive.  

Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman stated, “The Lewellyn property is located on a prominent hillside that is visible to all entering the City. Its acquisition demonstrates the City’s commitment to the preservation of the beautiful open space that surrounds the community of Laguna Beach that every generation will treasure.”

Penelope Milne of CANDO, the Canyon Alliance of Neighborhoods Defense Organization, added, “We deeply appreciate the City Council’s action. Thanks to the City, the neighborhood is safer and both residents and visitors will continue to enjoy the lovely sight of the natural Canyon wall.”

City Manager John Pietig explained that, “The City’s General Plan contains policies that encourage the preservation of high-value habitat and scenic areas.” 

In 2016, the City entered into negotiations with the property owner to acquire the land and preserve it as open space. The agreement to acquire the property also resolves pending litigation. 

The cost to acquire the property is $1,300,000 plus related closing costs. After acquisition, the property will be maintained by the City. A project to improve drainage on the site will be developed and implemented.

Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones emphasized that, “These additional parcels are critical habitat for wildlife, and they fill a gap in our greenbelt. Thank you to the City of Laguna Beach for recognizing the importance of this land, and protecting these parcels in perpetuity!”

--From a press release

Dog Days of Summer show at Sue Greenwood Fine Art Gallery will run until Sept 10

Running until Sept 10, the show Dog Days of Summer will be featured at Sue Greenwood Fine Art Gallery. The show includes over 35 new works from six great artists, Suzy Barnard, Kay Bradner, Suzie Buchholz, Mary-Austin Klein, Geoff Krueger, and Scott Yeske. 

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“More Mesa Beach” by Mary-Austin Klein  

The show focuses on all aspects of art, and pieces range in variety or artistic style. Each artist has a passion and love for their work. A description of the artists’ inspiration accompanies their work. From light, to landscape, to objects, different things inspire each and every artist in the show.. 

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“Pug Sunday” by Kay Bradner  

Established in 2005, Sue Greenwood Fine Art is one of Southern California’s most respected contemporary fine art galleries. 

The gallery seeks to exhibit artists that exemplify aesthetic excellence with a focus on realism and figurative works of art.

Sue Greenwood Fine Art is located at 330 N. Coast Hwy, 949-494-0669. 

Editor is rained upon, doesn’t mind, in fact enjoys the experience: a short tale of travel


I love to travel. Which means I have to work in order to afford travel. Which means, actually, that I have to work while I travel, given the nature of StuNewsLaguna.

So every minute not at the computer counts. But stuff happens.

Off I went two Sundays ago, thinking I’d leave John Wayne at dawn and be in Southern Utah ready to explore its national parks by lunchtime. But a pilot was ill, so we waited for his replacement. 

And then when we did leave, someone spotted flames coming out of one of the engines, and we returned to the gate.

Much later, I landed in Phoenix Airport with nine hours to waste until my flight to St. George. 

Two breakfasts, several lunches, a boatload of coffee, approximately five dinners, a mystery novel, ten-plus formatted articles and many glasses of wine later, I learned that my second flight was delayed because of thunderstorms “which just about never delay flights here,” the ground crew assured us (except for that evening). 

Midnight, cross-eyed with fatigue, I arrived at Red Mountain.

(Next time I drive… What was I thinking?)

Monday morning, deadline day, I woke up early, hiked for two hours, rushed back to my room, worked until bedtime. 

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Adjacent to Snow Canyon in Southern Utah: red sandstone and black lave

Slept with a smile on my face, thinking that the next day I would be able to hike, do yoga outside, swim in the glorious dry heat, start getting healthy again. 

Tuesday, opened my eyes and heard the sound of pouring rain. No sign of its imminent let-up. What?

In Utah? In late July? There went my hike! There went my day off!

But no. This I would not accept. I was going, come hell, or as it happened, high water. I went to the gathering place. Two guides and one other guest were there.

And off we went, attired in flapping, unbecoming, but effective blue plastic slickers, to climb the petrified red sandstone hills. 

Best hike ever!

Sudden pink waterfalls threw themselves down the steep red rock. Fat raindrops stamped small craters on the surfaces of new ponds that had formed in rocky hollows. Streams nosed their way along stony grooves and pooled into puddles.

The red rocks appeared slick, yet were miraculously not slippery – we could “trust our tread” as our guides Shana and Rich advised. 

Amazingly, I made it to the top of a pudding-like hill, the rain exfoliating my exposed face more effectively than any spa treatment, the scent of soaked rock and sage an elixir impossible to bottle. 

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I am the blue dot three-quarters of the way up the hill 

By the time we finished our watery hike, the resurrection moss, usually almost invisible, was beginning to turn green. I thought of the desert tortoises, how they must be slaking their thirst. Of jackrabbits waggling their wet ears. Of gila monsters glorying in the rare moisture beneath their clawed feet.

And how lucky I was to have this one-of-a-kind experience.

I’m not usually the Pollyanna type. But it struck me that if my flights had been on time, and if I hadn’t had to work on Monday in my room and instead had hiked and been outdoors all day, and then woken up to the rain on Tuesday, I might have thought, “What the heck, I’ll just sleep in, I’ve had so much fun already” and then I would have missed an amazing experience.

So perhaps there is something to be said for bad luck, since it makes good luck seem all the more precious, even when it comes in unexpected ways. 

Not that I want more bad luck. Really. Especially bad luck that’s far, far worse than a flight delay or two. Please no! 

Well, that’s my deep thought for the day.

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Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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