I missed Sawdust this past summer. So I had to go to Winter Fantasy Sawdust. The art and craft festival is pretty much just on weekends. And tomorrow is the last day. There is a chill in the air and this is the busiest I’ve seen Sawdust. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
I love walking through the threshold of what looks like a hobbit village. Santa is in the house and trees are decorated by local schools near his sleigh. Live music is top deck. As we saunter through the pathways, a man plays acoustic guitar next to the wheel that turns out water in a pond.
Around the corner, a diamond catches my eye. Not a real diamond. A cheeky silver ring with a diamond carved in it. Barbara Schuppe with her I’m A Treasure Jewelry has a rock n’ roll flare. Some rings have hearts with wings. Chunky linked necklaces are cool with hearts, “diamonds,” or trees carved on a charm. A mirror in the shape of a diamond with black wings hangs on a pink wall. The style is a cross between Betsey Johnson and Ed Hardy. Barbara explains it’s “Ugly Sweater Day” so she wore her pink Barbie sweater.
On Barbara’s business card it says, “This diamond tells you how uniquely beautiful you are, a sparkling treasure, enriching the world. Love what you love, celebrate who you are. Be Yourself!”
Her smile lights up her face as she says, “We’re all unique treasures.”
We chat about self-acceptance and in her Barbarism she adds, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” She passes on her wisdom and inspires people along the way. She’s like a muse or a fairy godmother.
Sawdust is own of my favorite places. At home, I slip off my shoes. A little piece of bark falls out. Ah. All the bark is a reminder of the artists carving out handmade treasures with different woods and metals.
May you find your treasure in Jesus this Christmas surrounded by family and friends! Merry Christmas!
Through the years, Pageant of the Masters has focused on the masters like Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Picasso, Raphael, Renoir, Vermeer, Leonardo da Vinci, and other artists around the world. But this year the theme is Under the Sun.
The Festival of Arts is celebrating 85 years and the Laguna Art Museum 100 years. Act One celebrates California and quite a bit of Laguna Beach’s art history.
The show opens with a Native American woman dancing near a fire atop a hill, depicting early life in Laguna Beach. The easy storytelling voice of Narrator Richard Doyle explains that a woman’s skull was found in Laguna Beach, dating back 17,000 years! Below, on stage, From the Beginning by bronze sculptor Jorge Fernandez depicts Native Americans sitting and standing on a rock. The first paintings begin with California’s mission era. Toll for Sunrise Mass, Pala Mission by J. Henry Sandham portrays a Native American pulling mission bells in San Antonio, Texas.
Back to California, picturesque paintings show the ranchos like Mexican Cattle Drivers in Southern California by William Hahn, and lithographs of orange crate labels are re-enacted. Both remind me of my ancestral history as my family worked the land and my Mexican grandmother packed oranges in similar crates in an Orange County packing plant.
Also, the artists’ colony and Festival of Art beginning are shown. Robert Kuntz was Laguna’s Renaissance Man known for his oil on canvas of beach scenes, numbers on signs, and freeway overpasses. The New Waves section aerials into the famous The Endless Summer lithograph by John Van Hamersvelf and The Laguna Beach Boys perform a Beach Boys song. Beach balls go flying!
The music is exceptional. I even get a good view of harpist Amy Wilkins before the barrier raises covering the orchestra pit. There are many harp parts in Act Two. Impressionist composer Claude Debussy’s ArabesqueNo. 1 floats through the air, but with keyboard not the harp. Arabesque is a beautiful piece for the harp with syncopation, but not easy. Claude Monet’s Déjeuner sur L’Herbe comes together. The yellow skirt is snapped in place by a stagehand. Rarely are so many paintings shown coming together. Usually, you only see one painting from behind the scenes.
No photography is allowed of these “living pictures,” but a video has surfaced on YouTube of Catching Fish at the Beach by Laguna Beach artist Franz A. Bischoff at the Under the Sun production. Maybe revealing the secretive demonstration to the media is a new thing. I won’t put in the link. Seeing the painting made before you go will dampen some of the magic.
At the end as tradition stands, Leonardo di Vinci’s The Last Supper comes together. The apostles step up to the table then Jesus is helped up the steps. The audience is quiet. The life-size painting turns around and the frame is set in place. From behind me, the wife moans, “Oh. Oh. Oh. My. Goaah.” She’s in shock at what she sees. Then the husband says, “Oh Shit.” The young couple have been sipping margaritas for the past ninety minutes.
Pageant of the Masters is the show to see for all ages. Many locals haven’t gone. You are missing out. The natural setting of chaparral-covered hills on a warm night under the setting sun is a great way to create memories with your family and friends.
Opening Night is busy but we find street parking in front of the Sawdust. We feed $6.50 in quarters that lasts about four hours, but the meter takes credit cards too. There is a $7 pay lot on Laguna Canyon where you can take the trolley for free.