Here in Mount Washington, you can’t walk up the Hill without seeing an artist. Some are recognizable, like the members of the Mount Washington Plein Air Painting Collective, who cluster by the side of the road to paint the views that most of us just peruse or pass by. (I think this is why we need artists in the world--to help us to remember to look and see.)
Most artists aren’t recognizable as such, thought. Unlike us twitchy writers (or maybe that’s just me) artists look pretty normal--even serene.
The Artists Among Us
This is one of the reasons I go on the Arroyo Arts Discovery Tour, which takes place this coming Sunday, November 20. I visit old friends and make new ones. A lady I’ve smiled at on the Monk’s Trail turns out to be a painter. A retired Mount Washington Elementary School teacher creates art with beads. The micro-farmer is also a fiber artist.
As far as I’m concerned, an alternative title to the tour’s Mount Washington leg would be the "Good Neighbor, Good Art Tour."
The “Discovery” in the tour’s title refers to finding new art and new artists, of course. For me, though, it's also about discovering the artistic process and the inspiration behind it. In the artist’s studio, I see the view out the window and then find that same view on canvas, only filtered through the artist’s eye and hand. It’s a slowly evolving magic trick.
Visiting an artist’s studio is being a Looky-Loo who checks out the right brain instead of the drapes.
Mount Washington Artists Tour Too
Arroyo Arts Collective Co-President Heather Hoggan, who did the work of ten people in responding to my requests for tour information, says fewer Mount Washington artists are participating this year than last. Some of them will be exhibiting at Lummis Home, where the tour starts. And “sometimes the longstanding participants just want to go on the tour themselves,” says Hoggan.
To see or be seen--it’s a tough decision especially since this year’s tour is particularly intriguing.
New Artists, New Disciplines, Plus Tried and True
There are a number of newcomers such as Mount Washington artist Judi Delgado whose hand-bound books look like rare glowing treasures. LT Mustardseed will be participating for the first time; examples of her giant, fanciful “permanent public art installations and sculptural environments” can be seen adjacent to the Audubon Center in Debs Park.
Hoggan notes that Nicole Emmons and Ellie Rabinowitz will be demonstrating stop-motion animation and Mary Clark-Camargo will display mosaics. Both disciplines are new to the collective and the tour. Los de Abajo Printmaking Collective will also be making its public debut.
Blacksmith Heather McLarty isn’t new to the tour…but how often do you get a chance to see an artist studio that’s also a forge? Don’t miss the aforementioned Mount Washington Plein Air Collective, which is back at the Ziegler Estate. And that teacher/bead artist? Long-time Mount Washington artist/resident Liz Smith, whose work is a must see.
The Enchanted Forest
Hoggan herself has been working since January on Forest, For the Trees – an enchanting fiber installation that debuted at at the last NELA Second Saturday Gallery Night. Inspired by an installation by fellow collaborator Amy Caterina Hill, as well as the Institute For Figuring’s astonishing, crocheted , which recently exhibited at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Hoggan extended a call to artists via the website of the Yarn Bombing Los Angeles Collective.
Among the far-flung respondees was Boston artist Jane Wang, who “sent us a beautiful (and huge) wire crocheted vine and flower creation…[then] flew out here to attend the opening,” according to Hoggan. Local artists were well-represented; David Orozco, who created a seven-foot-tall tree draped with snow-like sheep’s wool, was trained as a scientist, has been crocheting since he was a child, and was an original contributor to the Hyperbolic Coral Reef.
The collective result of Hoggan’s invitation? A tiny room bursting at the seams with knitted and crocheted trees, clouds, rain, ravens, fish, flowers and forest creatures.
“One of the things I love about the Collective and art in general,” enthuses Hoggan, “is that you can ask ten people to make the same thing and you will get ten very different variations on a theme. That is what happened in this case. I did not see most of the pieces until last week, but the whole thing works so well together, it’s magical.”
All I can say is, Right-brainers, get ready for your close-up.