Paso Robles Festival of the Arts 2011 Has Left the Park, but Not My Heart

Julia Munger Seelos participates in the plein air quick-draw competition

Julia Munger Seelos participates in the plein air quick-draw competition

Into the heart go all the sounds, sights, thoughts, and feelings the day produced. The heart has to stretch to absorb it all. All the musicians, artists, craftspeople, educators, planners and  sponsors did a terrific job of engaging the hundreds who came to interact with art. I am but one of those who is very grateful.

Last year’s festival was my introduction to the arts in the North County. It was also my motivation for checking out other events as they occurred. Although the Festival comes but once a year, Studios on the Park is available year round for those who want to continue to interact with artists and for creative individuals who want to learn more by taking classes and workshops from some of the artists they met through the festival. It would be such a shame if one had to settle for this kind of interaction only once a year. Maybe those who come from out of town have to travel for such an experience, but, thanks to Studios on the Park, those of us in the North County can enjoy our art year round. Even the children who explored their creativity in the festival’s many art opportunities  can continue to develop their artistic talents through classes at Studios on the Park just for them.

Young artists at the 2011 Paso Robles Festival of the Arts

Young artists at the 2011 Paso Robles Festival of the Arts

When I attended last year, I was totally overwhelmed with all there was to do. It was hard to know where to start, so I walked around and tried to see everything and do what I could. This year I was a bit more acclimated. I knew which artists I especially wanted to connect with during the Quick-Draw competition, and had even learned what plein air meant — a new term for me last year. I checked out the schedule to see that I didn’t miss any of the activities that were especially important to me.

I zeroed in on plein air artists and watched them work. I watched the paintings auctioned off, including the one by Sibyl Johnson which, unknown to many, had blown off her easel just before time to take it for the pre-auction exhibit on the walkway to Carnegie Library. It recovered nicely. You will see what happened in the video farther down.

Bremen Town Musicians at Paso Robles Festival of the Arts

Bremen Town Musicians at Paso Robles Festival of the Arts

Music was everywhere. I first enjoyed one of my favorite groups, the Bremen Town musicians, who played early in the end of the park closest to Studios on the Park. After they were off to a good start, I crossed the park to visit one of my artist friends, Bill Halopoff who works his magic with pencils and the mind of an engineer. I could still enjoy Bremen Town, even on that side closser to 12th Street.

Bill Halopoff with His Exhibit at Festival of the Arts

Bill Halopoff with His Exhibit at Festival of the Arts

 

After the plein air painters had finished, I attended Anne Laddon‘s talk on plain air painting. It was during that talk we saw Sibyl’s painting blow off the easel. It was unfortunate for Sibyl, but it couldn’t have happened at a better time to illustrate a point Anne was making.

As Anne spoke to us, she was accompanied by sounds of not only Bremen Town from one direction and the Bearcat Band from another, but toward the end of her talk the Central Coast Lovenotes were also in full swing. I will be sharing more of her talk on another site and will post links here when those are ready to share.

My next adventure was to watch the auction of the plein air paintings on the steps of the Carnegie Library. I had promised Laure Carlisle I would video the auction of her painting, but I was also interested in what some of the other paintings would bring in.  Before the auction started, it was announced that John Cosby‘s piece had won first place in the competition.

John Cosby decides what to do next on his winning plein air painting

John Cosby decides what to do next on his winning plein air painting

 

 

During the auction the Dragon Knights Stilt Walkers made an made appearance, adding to the excitement. Auctioneer Frank Mecham introduced each painting up for auction and had a bit of fun with those bidding on the paintings, since he knew several of them by name — another advantage of having as many local participants as possible. After each picture had been introduced, Tim Anderson, the gallery director at Cuesta College, critiqued it, pointing out it’s merits, and admitting he was applying what he’d learned at the lecture by Jean Stern the night before. I wasn’t lucky enough to nab a seat in time to get to that lecture myself. In the video below, you’ll see an example of how Tim introduced the painting of Vel Miller.

 

Rescued Baby Falcon

Rescued Baby Falcon

After the auction, I wandered over to the interactive environmental displays, making a quick stop at the falconers exhibit on my way to the Native Plant Society booth for a nature talk by Matt Ritter, author of a new book, The Trees Among Us. The book is an excellent field guide to the trees one will actually see in neighborhoods and parks not only in San Luis Obispo County, but in all of Southern California.  It illustrated every part of a tree you’d need to identify it, including pictures of the bark. After an introduction to a few of the trees we could see from our seats, Matt lead us on a walk to observe some of the other trees in the park. By the time he finished, I was in such a hurry to run off and see a watercolor painting demonstration by John Partridge that I forgot to go by and get my copy of the book until afterwards. It was then I discovered credit cards weren’t accepted by the Native Plant Society, and I’ll have to  buy this terrific book from Amazon.

 

Matt Ritter leads a nature walk for those interested in native trees.

Matt Ritter leads a nature walk for those interested in native trees.

The picture below is typical of the many I took during the time I spent observing John Partridge‘s watercolor demonstration titled “Painting Landmarks.” On the right side you will get a hint of what John was competing with — see that big black speaker? The Zongo All Stars were directly behind us playing full blast almost the entire time, and we had to huddle close to try to hear John. When I mentioned this to someone at Studios on the Park later on (I won’t say who), she said they never have any trouble hearing John there, and that his voice carried pretty well. Maybe next year he should hold his talk there.  Toward the end of the talk, Julie and the BadDogs started warming up in the gazebo, immediately behind us, though not at full volume, so John’s voice was caught in the middle somewhere.  To see what I mean, click on the web site links. Or wait until I get the video for the talk edited and up on You Tube and you hear it for yourself.

Watercolorist John Partridge gives a demonstration on "Painting Landmarks"

Watercolorist John Partridge gives a demonstration on "Painting Landmarks"

After John’s demonstration, I wandered about the park checking out the work of other artists under the canopies. I had hoped to stay and sample a bit of Julie and the BadDogs, but my feet were telling me I needed to go back to Studios on the Park for some rest. I found that in a studio shared by John Partridge, Laure Carlisle, and W.B. Eckert. The music was a bit softer inside than outside, and after my recovery, I took a closer look and a few pictures of items I had not been able to get close to Friday night. I’ll cover those elsewhere, since this blog has gone on long enough. Tune in for more later. And if you’d like to share your own perspective on this event, feel free to do so in the comments.