On Saturday, Gaylene invited me to take the day off and hit Ojai a lovely little town on the hills above Ventura. The weather was ideal: warm with a refreshing breeze. Each year for about 25 years the artists of Ojai have opened their studio for the weekend to the public. So after a beautiful drive through ancient oak and orange groves I went to pay my fee and get my map at the Ojai Art Center. Each artist on the tour had donated a piece of their art to be auctioned of in the evening at the center. So I went through the exhibition and circled on the map at the same time who's studio I would like to visit. I elected 10 places out of 40... I also wanted to visit some of the galleries in town.
My first stop was to meet Christine Brennan. I just love her work. Somewhat naif, a bit sad, huge eyes on her people and gold leaves effect in some. I resisted to purchase an oil. I was very good by the way throughout the tour... having to talk myself into saving it for another time... That was sad but necessary. So where was I ??? Oh yeah, Christine Brennan. Her house is a magical place. A path of river rocks under old trees takes you to a small bridge with a koi pound a studio and her house. Just lovely. Apparently her husband is a carpenter. Some of his pieces are in their house and some have miniature areas painted by Christine. Just gorgeous. her studio is like a mini stable with barn door. Lots of wood that has been oiled and loved. Her paintings some jewelry and herself are on display all around. I selected a small original sketch that became a painting later. I love the idea to have the first idea of something. For me my sketches are very important. Anyway this little girl with glasses and big eyes and shy demeanor is perfect. I want to meet her and protect her. She is somewhat leaning sideways. Not sure of what is coming next. A full moon of a sort is above her head, unless is it an idea coming to fruition. She is deep in thoughts. She is going to have a good spot in my house.
I also purchased a poster of a gentle giant circled by bees. That was all. What I would really like is commission her to make a painting of Gaia and me.
So on with the tour. Next stop was Elise Pogofsky-Harris. She makes really nice landscapes with a moody time feel to them. She had some made in her travels to Italy. Very tempting. I was good. She has the most magnificent Oak Tree in front of her studio with a very precarious ladder sat against it. It was tempting to try it out and climb up. I just hugged it instead (mentally that is)...
Then to Julia Pfeifer. She makes really pretty bead necklaces in intricate patterns. Has won many awards. Nice space but no price on any of her things and didn't particularly like the feel of the studio and person. So off I went.
Linda Taylor has a huge printing studio. Shezelma would have been very jealous. Her prints were nice but not my preference at all. So of I went after taking a thorough look though. She had the most friendly old black dog that I played with a bit tossing him a pine cone of his choice...
Then it was Shahastra's place. Her pieces were shown in a yurt under oaks. The ceiling inside was showing the most interesting display of branches and leaves mixed with the light and color of the tent. I was mesmerized. I bought her inspirational cards. Each one has a pastel painting of hers. She is actually branching out of pastels into acrylic more spontaneous pieces that start has drips and turn into organic imageries. Nice colors. Not my thing. She was a perfect hostess as well as her husband. In her parking area I saw a woman taking pictures of the 4 toyota prius parked.... Too funny! Artist supporters are also environmentally conscious, but we knew that.
Next was Sherry Loehr. This woman has it all: the beautiful house with Fen Shui design all around, fantastic talent as a still life painter, she is gorgeous. Her pieces were everywhere on her walls. Her studio is upstairs with great natural light with good filtered light seeping through eucalyptus trees and oak trees. She is at branch level and can see the birds that live there and is inspired by her surrounding. Very nice. My Mom would have loved her. I could have been tempted to get one of her pieces. Even at a little price of $4, ooo. She had sold quite a bit by the time I got there. Nice to see that some people can make a living from their art.
Across from Sherry's is Elizabeth White. Another pastel artist that except for one piece didn't do much for me. I found her pastel a bit muddy and her landscape a bit boring. Sorry about that. She was not particularly welcoming either. So off I went.
Sylvia Raz was next with a magnificent domain. She is a woman from South America belonging to the surrealistic movement. Each of her pieces have a story behind and she is a delight of a person. I had a fabulous time listening to her. Her daughter is also a painter and her son a photograph. Talented trio.
I took a little drive up to the Happy Valley where Beatrice Wood studio and Center of the Arts is located. Rolling hills surrounding her studio. This woman was charming and beautiful until she died at the ripen age of 103 years old. She is one of my heroes and it was a thrill to be in her walls and her eyes seeing what she lived with for the last part of her life. She was a famous potter by the way, one of her many talents.
Coming back to town I stopped at Richard Amend and his wife Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend's. Another inspirational place with large trees well tended. The couple has their own studio separated by a nice garden walk. Very different imageries but strong messages. I had fun talking to each of them. I learned a lot too.
For lunch I had stopped in the downtown area and visited at the same two very nice galleries.
As you can see I had a splendid day.