There is never a better time to enjoy neighboring Topanga Canyon than in the late spring. And never a better excuse to discover the backroad beauty of Topanga Canyon than on this self-guided two day tour of over 20 artist studios, hosting over 50 participating artists.
We started at the town center circle where my editor (Kathy Leonardo) and I checked in and proceeded to view the the silent auction paintings. Participating artists had been invited to paint or decorate 8″ square canvases and put them up for bid starting at $35.
Studio #3, next door was The Topanga Art Imaginarium, a painting studio for kids and adults. The walls and center stands were covered with paintings created by the school’s students and owner, Natalia Wabnig. The room had a lovely ambiance and emanated creativity.
Next we got in the car and traveled on back roads to see the ceramic studios of Rebecca Catteral. Rebecca demonstrated her technique of transferring photo images to clay. She has lived in Topanga for the past thirty years and has been a member of the Topanga Canyon Artists since the 90’s.
Catterall talked about working with clay, “Some is wheel-thrown, some is hand-built. I do alternative Raku, such as Ferric Chloride and horsehair. Some of my work is sculptural such as my Tromp L’Oeil series.”
Also on hand were artists and jewelry designers vending colorful earrings and necklaces against a bucolic background.
Venturing further up narrow roads, navigating between fellow tour participants, we found the Topanga Inn featuring breathtaking views. Plein air artist Elena Roche’s work was on dsiplay. “You paint and paint and learn more on every painting.” the Romanian-Lithuanian born artist told us.
We also visited Robyn Feeley’s cozy canyon artist hide-away that she shares with her many pets and pet art. Robin paints water-color portraits of pets from photos for friends and commissions. She then creates ceramic tiles of the images. Many of her animal themed tiles were on display and for sale for as little as $10.
From there we ventured down rustic Old Topanga Canyon Rd to the art displays at the Ribbit Tree and Plant Nursery. Joel Harris had taken over a yoga studio with many of his iconic red roof houses.
With the shadows growing longer we ventured further down Old Topanga Canyon Rd. and parked in a field near Artist Robin Becker. She discusses her process and subject matter, “I use layers of color and imagery from my photographic journeys, sometimes using images of rooms, portals, passageways, landscapes, gardens and vignettes of architectural details.”
Also at this stop, we enjoyed the mosaic work of artist Karen Silton. She has been teaching and creating mosaics for many years. She also works in clay and other mediums. She’s had many diverse commissions, which include murals, tables and mirrors. She had a table of her wares for sale at this stop.
By five o’clock that evening, we had seen fewer than half of the studios on the tour. We headed back to the Topanga Gallery where a party was underway celebrating the day’s events. A crowd of artists and “gallery tour-ists” was assembling over wine and cheese. There were many bids made on the Silent auction Squares. It was starting to look like a successful event.
Reception and Silent Auction at the Gallery Saturday June 9 5pm-8pm, 2012
Phone: 310 455-7909
Photos by Gregory Dahl