Artists showcase their work at Sunset Beach Art Fest

Photo By Chris MacDonald. Gallery Show Chair Frances Small with Bill Anderson by his First Place Mixed Media Watercolor of the Seal Beach Pier.

131 pieces entered in long-standing local competition


Forty-Six local artists entered 131 pieces at the recent Sunset Beach Art Festival Show in the Firehouse Gallery.

“It was a spectacular spread of thoughtful zzcreations that blew my mind into a fresh space of Southern California splendor,” said Judge Rick Blake, a teacher, who painted the mural on Ohana Restaurant.

“The act of analyzing many different styles and genres was exhilarating and mesmerizing. The watercolor paintings submitted were numerous free flowing fantastic examples of our local environment,” Blake said.

“Eileen McCollough, who won Best in Show, had an excellent, quick brushstroke style that encapsulated the iconic Seal Beach Water Tower by focusing on the wood structure … creating a monumental feeling, with characters strolling by in her sweet figurative forms, that flow the same speed as the palm fronds flowing in the breeze,” Blake said.

“The photography category was equally eclectic but one photo stood out—‘Chihuahua’ by Mack O’Rourke, who snapped a detailed regal Chihuahua dog in black and white, adding stripes of Aztec decorations after the photo process, which highlighted the dog’s clear crystal blue eyes,” Blake said.

“If you listen closely you can hear the Mariachi tunes of the ancient Mexican town from whence the doggie’s ancestors have sprung,” Blake said.

In the Mixed Media category, a Linocut or Linoleum cut print of the Seal Beach Pier, harked back to Early California artists, such as the watercolorists or California Regionalist painters, who captured a focal point or landmark with a stylized version which changes your perception of that vision by turning it into a monumental lovely new view that lets the viewer see things in a whole new fresh way.

“The Art Festival shows respect for the value of art for all of us, especially those still in school,” said Bill Anderson, owner of a local art gallery, who won first place in Mixed Media for his Seal Beach Pier watercolor.

“It brings the community and surrounding area together for three terrific memorable days,” Anderson said.

“The 53rd annual festival’s profit helps Las Damas support the arts in the Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos School Districts. This is a wonderful donation of time and effort to the importance of art for our community,” said Anderson, who has painted Sunset Beach for more than 60 years.

Other Festival Art Show winners include:

• Watercolor First: Carrol Wolf—“Paris In The Rain”

• Watercolor Second: Alexandra Sullivan—“Turcs”

• Watercolor Third: Stan Wolf—“Main Street”

• Acrylic: Elizabeth Dorn—“Mother’s in Sunset Beach”

• Photography: Mack O’Rourke II—“Chihuahua”

• Oil First Place: Tom Wright—“La Belle #1”

“Thanks to all the artists for helping us see these places all around us. Art is everywhere,” Blake said.

“Many thanks to the more than 100 volunteers, who put on the annual Festival,” said Frances Small, Art Show chair.

“I’d particularly like to thank Festival Chairs Gayle Winnen and Karen Rauh, Art Reception Emcee Dawn McCormick and Singer Ryan Christopher,” Small said.

Firehouse Gallery Volunteer Dezi Pineda said he was thrilled to help out at his favorite local event.

“It’s so much fun to see such talented artists, craftsmen and women. I look forward to it every year,” said the University of California Irvine student, who grew up in Sunset Beach.

The popular event is scheduled to return to Mother’s Day weekend in 2022.