Come experience beauty...

Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier seaside destination, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and surf.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Search for Treasure

Ahoy Matey! Grab your little sprogs, board your ship and set your course for a pirate adventure at The Laguna Playhouse. The youth theater is now performing Treasure Island on the main stage. This is an adventurous tale of a young boy, Jim Hawkins, and his search for the buried treasure of notorious pirate Captain Flint. Along the way he meets other legendary pirates Long John Silver, Israel Hands, Blind Pew and Billy Bones. Jim finds himself caught up in a race against these pirates to find the treasure that could save his families’ Inn.

I took my wee pirates to see Treasure Island this past weekend. Although only 5 years-old (twins) they sat mesmerized by the production. Never before had they seen a play of this scale; lights, ‘smoke,’ music, and a large stage. They cheered during the fighting scenes for young Jim to win. They laughed at the Parrot as he squawked and flitted about as Long John Silver’s trusty sidekick. Even Mr. S and I had some good laughs at the Pirate lingo.

At the end of the production we were delighted to be able to meet the cast. All the pirates were there along with Jim Hawkins and Parrot. My young landlubbers got many autographs, but were too nervous to ask for Blind Pew’s. I think he made quite an impression on them!

Blind Pew

Long John Silver


My Sprogs

The Youth Theater did a phenomenal job of portraying this scruffy and fun adventure of Treasure Island! So I say, “SHIVER ME TIMBERS and don’t ya be a Scallywag and miss this here adventure at that thar Laguna Playhouse.”

Treasure Island
Playing now thru May 1st
Click HERE for tickets

A Pirate Adventure
April 30th, 11am to 4pm
A fun-filled family afternoon of pirate-themed activities, including a treasure hunt, crafts table, story telling and more. Also included is a matinee performance of Treasure Island.
$25 per person
Call 949.497.2787 for tickets

By Anne-Marie S.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Art & Sea Adventure

Recently the family and I went to the Art & Sea Adventure in Laguna Beach. This program is put on by Laguna Outreach for Community Arts (LOCA) and is one of the more unique programs in Laguna Beach. It is a day spent learning about tidepool ecology and then taking that knowledge as inspiration to paint what you see while under the tutelage of a professional artist. LOCA is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to art education for people of all ages. They provide programs year- round in Laguna Beach in the areas of acrylics, ceramics, watercolor, printmaking and more. All of their programs are taught by professional Laguna Beach artists and are a great way to learn about the artistic process.

On a bright and beautiful Sunday morning, my family and I headed to Treasure Island Beach in South Laguna. It was low tide and the perfect time to observe all of the sea life that was living in, and amongst the rocks and pools. My 5-year-old twins were ecstatic to be visiting the tidepools again (we went last summer ). They love the ocean and enjoy learning about all of the “animals” that live in the water.  We joined a diverse group of about 20 adults, families, and children from 5 to 12 years of age. Some were locals, like my family, that were making the Art & Sea program a yearly outing, and others who were visiting Laguna from out of town and taking the class for the first time. We were all excited and eager to dive into the program to get our creative juices flowing.

We began by meeting with a docent from the Laguna Ocean Foundation  who taught us how to properly observe and respect the tidepools. She also handed us easy-to-follow guides to find all the species and organisms that make the tidepools their home. My twins loved it! They giggled with excitement each time they saw a shell move and discovered it was a hermit crab. They squealed with excitement at the first sea urchin they saw. They couldn’t believe it when they saw a sea star and the docent shared with them that it was feasting on muscles for its morning snack.

After exploring the tidepools we settled on the beach where we learned about water color techniques. Using techniques like ‘wet to wet,’ where you first wet the paper and then apply color… the kids painted starfish. By mixing colors they created a background for their starfish. The finishing touch was sprinkling salt on the painting for texture.

The artists were helpful and patient with the kids and coming around and encouraging them with their paintings. Teaching them how to clean their brushes and helping them shape their paintings. I could see the confidence building in them and the smiles on their faces showed how proud they were of their finished masterpieces. Still a week later they are talking about their adventures at the tidepools. I on the other hand, am busy finding frames to showcase our newest acquired pieces of professional artwork, ‘STARFISH.’


LOCA’s Art & Sea Adventures are taking place every Spring and Fall. Remaining dates for 2011 are below. To register call (949) 363-4700

Watercolors on the Beach at Treasure Island Beach
May 22, 2011
September 4, 2011
Adults $35/$20 ages 5-18, accompanied by an adult

Art & Sea Lions at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center
May 7, 2011
September 10, 2011
October 1, 2011
November 5, 2011
Adults $20/$15 ages 6-18, accompanied by an adult

By: Anne-Marie S.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Laguna Beach Get Away

With the long sunny days of summer just around the corner, consider making Laguna Beach your getaway destination. With seven miles of pristine coastline and top-rated water quality, Laguna Beach is the ideal summer playground. Beyond our beaches, experience the colony of art that Laguna Beach was founded on. Opening soon: The Festival of Arts Pageant of Masters (July 3-August 31), Sawdust Art Festival (June 24-August 28) and Art-a-Fair (June 24-August 28) showcase compelling works of art by local and international artists. Don’t miss the Pageant of the Masters (July 7-August 31). This year’s theme: ‘Only Make Believe,’ will surely knock your socks off!

Make your visit an overnight stay at Inn at Laguna Beach located just above Main Beach on PCH. You’ll be only steps away from one of the most famous beaches in Southern California.

View of Main Beach from Inn at Laguna Beach
Inn at Laguna Beach sits perched upon a bluff above the Pacific
Inn at Laguna Beach is within walking distance to downtown shopping, galleries and restaurants. They offer free WiFi connection, complimentary continental breakfast, and a Friday night Manager Reception with food and beverage. You’ll love the laid-back island feel of this hotel and the comfortable spacious rooms and suites they offer.

Comfortable and spacious rooms

Can’t wait for summer? Book your stay before May 31st and get ONE NIGHT FREE!

Grab your beach bag and head on down to Laguna Beach for some summer fun. We’ll see you at the beach!

By Anne-Marie S.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

California Art at Laguna Art Museum

The Laguna Art Museum has deep ties to the history and culture of Laguna Beach. It was in 1918, when a group of artists formed the Laguna Beach Art Association as a way to highlight some of the great artwork that was being produced in Laguna Beach. By 1929, they opened a gallery and in 1951 they expanded that gallery. In 1971 they had obtained non-profit status as a museum and had a healthy collection of artwork. It was in 1986 when the association formally changed their name to Laguna Art Museum. The focus of the Museum is American art with an emphasis on the art of California. In their mission statement they say, “Working within the tradition of the oldest cultural institution in Orange County, Laguna Art Museum documents regional art and places it in a national context. The Museum maintains its historic ties to the community and is responsive, accessible, and relevant to the area’s diverse population.” The Museum now, after 90 plus years, holds one of the most comprehensive collections of California art.

Currently at the Laguna Art Museum, are three exhibits that capture the historical, contemporary and pop culture of Californian and American art.

OSKAR FISCHINGER ‘Criss-Cross’ 1939, Oil on canvasboard
“Over the years, Laguna Art Museum has been fortunate to take into its collection significant holdings by underrepresented individual artists who, though they have had little art historical attention thus far, have made significant contributions to regional and national art. These holdings have inspired a curatorial interest in the artists' work, enough of an interest to explore the possibility of future exhibitions.
Extract will consist of several small, one-person shows from the Collection by Florence Arnold, George Brandriff, Elanor Colburn, Laddie John Dill, Jules Engel, Oscar Fischinger, Tom Holland, Peter Krasnow, Ruth Peabody, David Simpson, Vic Joachim Smith, Jean St. Pierre, and Chris Wilder. The exhibition will include brief curatorial statements on the importance of each artist's work, and will aim to assess the potential for fully-formed monographic exhibitions.” (excerpt from Laguna Art Museum)

While walking through this exhibition, I was struck by the diversity of the works in front of me. Some used non-traditional multi-media mediums, others, modern and geometric in their expression, and even some, like Chris Wilder’s work, ‘White Monochrome Fur Painting,’ were humorous and thought provoking. In fact, On Sunday April 10th at 1pm visit the Museum for a chance to hear Laddie John Dill and Chris Wilder speak about their work. Click HERE for more information. 

ELSIE PALMER PAYNE, ‘A Decent Burial’ c. 1942, Watercolor on paper
“Feature exemplar twentieth century works from the Collection ranging from impressionism to modernism. Works from the early part of the century will include several of the Museum's popular impressionist paintings, among them The Old Post Office (c. 1922-23) by Joseph Kleitsch. The exhibition will also feature works by artists who aligned themselves with a more modernist approach in both landscape and figurative works. There will also be several paintings on view that have not been exhibited in many years, including signature works by McClelland Barclay, Conrad Buff, Leland Curtis, Phil Dike, Elsie Palmer Payne, Lee Randolph, Anna Katharine Skeele, and Elmer Wachtel.” (excerpt from Laguna Art Museum)

I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition! Seeing some of the landscapes such as McClelland Barclay’s ‘Beach in Moonlight,’ drew me in and made me feel connected to the beauty of the ocean and the spectacular area in which we live.

When you visit the Laguna Art Museum, be sure to take note of the floors in the Museum’s lower level gallery, where the exhibition is located. You’ll notice that the large cement tiles have names stamped into them. The Museum discovered these by accident when they were stripping the floors of carpet to replace with wood. After a bit of research, they found out they were donor tiles from the 30s. No one had any idea that they were there! Some of the families and their stories were identified after the list of names were published in the local paper requesting information on their identity.

‘Sheep 1’ 1998, Charcoal on paper

“An attentive look at one series of drawings, Coleman's Sheep series. Upon first glance, the Museum's upper gallery will appear to be occupied by twelve identical drawings of one sheep image. However, with careful observation viewers will begin to see differences in each drawing and will eventually see a noticeable difference between the first and last drawing. The works are inspired by the sheep Dolly, the world's first cloned animal (1996). Coleman begins with a photograph of Dolly. He then makes a drawing based on that photograph. In the next drawing, he attempts to make a meticulous copy of the previous drawing. He continues the cycle with each drawing being a copy of the preceding drawing. Through this rigorous endeavor, slight unintentional variances occur, producing a series that begins with a drawing of a sheep and becomes a drawing of a drawing.” (excerpt from Laguna Art Museum)

This was a fascinating exhibition! It was so interesting to watch Coleman take one image and then replicate it once a year for 12 years and base it solely on the previous work. It was amazing to see the metamorphous. You can see subtle differences when looking at each image side by side. Then comparing the first one to the last, you see stark contrasts. Don’t miss this exhibition, you too will be fascinated!

All these wonderful and diverse exhibits are on display until May 15th.

Visit on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday at 2pm and get a chance to have a guided tour of the exhibits by a docent (FREE with paid admission.)

Have a smart phone? Use it to check-in at the museum and tag a friend and one of you will get in FREE!

The museum is open LATE on FIRST THURSDAYS ART WALK until 9pm. Be sure to drop in for a visit!

By Anne-Marie S.