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Day Dreaming -- A Fabulous Day At The Autry Museum


Day Dreaming
© Marian Fortunati
9"x12" Oil on Linen



Click on the link above
for additional details.


The California Art Club's Annual Gold Medal Exhibition moved this year to the extremely impressive Autry Museum located near Griffith Park in Los Angeles.   Although previous exhibitions have been wonderful, I felt this year's artwork, venue and all the hoopla and extras were the best yet.



Ray Roberts' amazing painting deservedly took the gold medal.  It was an eye poppingly beautiful coastal scene that I wished I could take home for my very own.


The Club hosted many events during the run of the show.  All were different but designed to bring people back to the show in the hope that they would find an artwork they couldn't live without.   I don't know for sure, but I think the show was a financial as well as an artistic success.

The day of the show's closing, the CAC hosted a paint out for all members.   While weather during the previous week was really awful, on Sunday, the day of the paint out, it was amazing!

Chuck Kovacik, who is an actor as well as a wonderful artist organized a group of models and reinactors... all in period dress.   They posed in long poses or short pose vignettes.  Between 70 - 150 artists and guests wandered around chatting, snapping photos and painting or sketching the model or models which struck their fancy.   I painted Toni a well-known artist's model from the Los Angeles area.   I've painted Toni many times.   This time she was in a vignette called "The Letter".   I decided that I didn't have enough time to paint the entire figure, so I narrowed my field down to a head and shoulder view.   I really loved the way the sun created light and dark on the hat she was wearing.

I am continually thrilled with how friendly artists in general are... even those I hadn't met before were happily chatting with anyone who seemed interested in talking.  I spent a lot of time chatting with friends, but I got most of what I wanted to capture there on site and then finished up at home.   I'm now wondering if I need to grey out the flowers on the side of Toni's head..... What do you think?


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Poppies of Arlington Gardens

The Poppies of Arlington Gardens
© Marian Fortunati
16" x 8" Oil on RayMar Panel


Click on the link above for
additional details.



Occasionally I drive far to the east toward the San Gabriel Valley to paint with a group called "Thursdays En Plein Air".  Because of nasty L.A. morning traffic, the drive is tedious from my house to that area and I can't often join the group.  However, I sometimes do take advantage of the day by joining them.

   Brenda Swenson critiques the
watermedia work.
   Chuck Kovacik steps in for Walter
McNall to critique the oils.
   Yellow irises... Beautiful!!
There are many reasons  for going.  Among them are:
  1. Each session is followed by critiques by respected water-color artist Brenda Swenson or oil painter   Walter McNall a wonderful artist who is quite a beloved character.  If either of them is not present there is usually someone who steps up to take their place...   This is a difficult task but adds so much to the day... We all learn from listening!
  2. They go to places I've never visited -- often they are lovely.
  3. The group is large and diverse and I enjoy meeting and getting to know the various artists during the time we all break for lunch after painting all morning.
Several years ago because of this group, I discovered Arlington Gardens.    The lovely Arlington Gardens lie in Pasadena, CA, part of the San Gabriel Valley.  The gardens are a magnificent example of what a community can do to enhance the neighborhood.   Whenever I have the opportunity to paint there with a group, I jump aboard.  Each visit is magical and each year different.

Last week's visit was warm and sunny -- actually almost hot!  After wandering around the gardens delighting in the wide variety of flowers, plants and beautiful corners, I settled on the field of poppies.   Red poppies I'm told are originally from Italy.   Scattered among the large red flowers were our orange California poppies.   Pure heaven!   I decided to change the look by having a long narrow vertical format.  -- Just to be different I guess.   But I liked the outcome.  Hope you do too.

Another group I paint with is going next Thursday, but the weatherman is predicting rain and thunderstorms.   Hmmmmmm. 


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Taking Down a Show

Yellow Roses
© Marian Fortunati
8"x10" Oil On Linen Panel


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for additional details.

I recently read a blog post from a fellow FASO artist that I admire named Janice Druian.   She titled her post "Postpartum Painting".   Of course the title drew me right in, but when I read the reason she called it that, I had to laugh.    She was talking about how it is difficult to begin painting again after taking a show down.   I just took my "One Lucky Artist" show down today, but I don't really feel like that.   I even went out this morning with a plein air group and painted in a gorgeous garden.   (I'll post that painting soon.)  Of course I've been so "off" painting-wise and otherwise for the last few months because of all of my family issues, but now I'm just starting to feel like my old painting self.

Yesterday, on my last day of painting in the patio outside the Crain Art Gallery, I decided to bring along a prop.  These yellow roses in their bright orange water can caught my eye and I had a great day trying to capture their sunny look in paint!   I was painting happily away when my friends Petra and Angelo walked up!  I was so pleasantly surprised and had so much fun chatting with them, that I totally forgot to take them inside the gallery to see the show while it was still up.   It really was a lovely show to see all those paintings together on the wall.   Petra had actually "seen" the show virtually and had purchased a painting she liked without seeing it in person.   Here's a link if you're interested.   I do wish I had remembered to walk them through the gallery, though.  Sigh...

Painting in the patio was a really interesting and rewarding experience for me.   I didn't really know what to expect, but I'm glad I did it.  I met lots of nice people and answered their questions and I think it created some good will with the gallery and the Crowell Library people.   Many of my friends came by to see the show while I was there on Wednesdays and some artist friends even came by to paint with me.  I would do it again if given the chance.

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Venetian Serenade -- Memories

Venetian Serenade
© Marian Fortunati
14"x11" Oil on RayMar Panel


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for additional information.



Another in my Series of Paintings of Venice, Italy

One evening while my husband and I were visiting his family who now live on the "mainland" near Venice, Italy, we decided to enjoy special treat.


The gondolieri was a friend of my brother-in-law and we all enjoyed the ride through the beautiful and serene canals of "The Most Serene Republic -- La Serenissima".   As the sunlight faded, the moonlight and the lights from the cafes and stores along the canals cast reflections on the calm water of the canals.    We all enjoyed our Venetian Serenade.


Memories of our "Goodbyes"

        Sunset from my house after
                 our stormy day


 Watching the video that Dad
  created about his life
-- "Memories"


Floral Arrangement
from the Star Dusters


On Friday the family said our goodbyes to my Dad, James Boyd Beach.    Our goodbyes were said in the midst of an unusual late wild, windy and wet California storm.  The wind was whipping and the rain was flying sideways!  Dad, though, would have been proud of his family.  My son, Jon-Paul, and grandson, Tyler, held his urn so it wouldn't blow off the stand while Father Greg read some beautiful passages from the Bible.  Then all of us said our goodbyes -- even his youngest great-grandson, Cooper!  My cousin and his family came out from Oklahoma to say goodbye.


We placed his urn next to Mom's.  Now they are on another adventure!   They look out over the San Fernando Valley where they've lived since 1940.  They have a great view over the area where Daddy worked at Lockheed for so many years.   Later on that stormy day, the clouds began to clear and we looked out over a beautiful sunset from our home.


 Enjoying friends, beautiful
weather and memories



My family raising a toast
in his honor



 Ed Glasgow talking about
the Star Dusters Scholarship
for a worthy child of
a Lockheed employee
in Dad's honor

On Saturday we had a Celebration of Dad's Life.   He would have been so proud.  About 90 of us were there at the home he built in 1948 to celebrate and raise a glass to his life.  As you can see, the weather was vastly improved over the previous day!  Gastone cooked all day preparing delicious food and my son and daughter-in-law and some friends helped arrange furniture and drinks and all that was necessary to make the guests feel welcome.  There were so many people from Dad's life there.  People he worked with, people from the Lockheed Star Dusters and the Lunch Bunch with whom he socialized.  There were people from his video clubs and so many friends from all the years -- some I hadn't seen in 30 or so years!  And of course the family -- everyone wanted to see Jim's great-grandbaby.  Tyler walked all around and took photos.  It was wonderful.  The Lockheed Star Dusters (which are retired Lockheedians) honored Daddy by providing a scholarship in Dad's name to a worthy child of a Lockheed Employee.   They also sent THE most gorgeous flower arrangement I've ever seen!  


What a gift to have been raised by such a wonderful father and mother!

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Being There -- A Marketing Strategy?

Wisteria Shadows
Marian Fortunati
12"x9" Oil on Canvas Panel
Since my one woman show, "One Lucky Artist", opened at the end of February, I have gone to the courtyard patio outside of the Crain Art Gallery and Crowell Library every Wednesday to paint.   I'm not sure WHY I decided to do it, but I guess since I knew that Crain Gallery is not really staffed with sales people, that if I would be there, maybe more people would be encouraged to see my work.

As it turned out, it has been a very pleasant experience.  During the first few weeks, most of the people I chatted with were nannies or moms bringing their children to the library.  That was fine.  I enjoyed the warm sunlight in the courtyard and the occasional opportunity to chat.

During the last few Wednesdays, friends have come by to see the show and chat or to eat lunch with me.   I've gotten a chance to talk with friends whose busy schedules usually keep us apart.  A girlfriend I haven't seen in years came by to see the show and get reacquainted.  Several artist friends have dropped by to chat and to check out the gallery and the show.  One even brought treats!! (Thanks, Julie Hill!)  Another, Robin Neudorfer,  has come to paint with me on two different Wednesdays.  It was fun to see how she develops her fabulous pastels!

Last week two different sets of other friends came by to see the show.  What a surprise!!  We were having so much fun in the gallery, that we forgot that it is within the library complex and we were pretty noisy.  We got a very nicely phrased... "Shush!".  But it was so wonderful being able to share my work with friends who traveled a very long way to come by.

I even got some local press about painting in the courtyard:  http://sanmarino.patch.com/arts  (Then you'll have to scroll down to Tuesday, March 27, 2012.)

This week I'm hoping another friend will come join me to paint.   All in all I think the Wednesday "Artist In Residence" idea was a good one.   (That's what the people at the library have called it.... They even made me a sign!)  I've certainly enjoyed it.   Many thanks to everyone at the library/gallery who have enabled this show to be hung!!!  
If you want to come on by, my "One Lucky Artist" art exhibition will remain hanging until April 18th or 19th.
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Old Zoo Sycamore: Emerging from Grief


Old Zoo Sycamore
© Marian Fortunati
8"x10" Oil on RayMar Panel



Click on the link above for
additional information.


My glass really IS half-full (even a bit more than half).   Sometimes, though, when I think about Dad's illness and death, I lose perspective.  But really I do know that I am extremely lucky.   So very lucky to have enjoyed his company and guidance for so long and so very fortunate to be with a wonderful husband and kids/grandkids and friends.

Last Thursday, the San Fernando Valley Art Club had planned its monthly paint out to be at the "old zoo".   Huh???

Where was that??  I told the paint out chairperson that I might not be able to make it.    But on Thursday, I decided...  HEY!!!   What better way to get back into the joy of things than to go out with friends on a paint out??

It was fun.   I must say that if you have a group that plans destinations for paint-outs near you you should really take advantage of it.  These wonderful people work hard to scout out new places and to provide clear directions for all of us who get to join the group.   It isn't an easy task.  I sure appreciate it.   (Thanks, Trish!)  (Thanks, also to Jan, who does the paint out blog!!)



All through Los Angeles, the city where I was born, grew up and worked, are delightful spots to enjoy hiking and being out in the natural environment.   When I was growing up and then again when I was working and raising my family, I never explored them.



My guess is that my parents took me to the "Old Zoo" when I was a child.  Somehow, however,  I missed the fact that the zoo where I have taken Tyler is not the zoo of my youth.   The Old Zoo, still within Griffith Park but further south in the park, is filled with remnants of the "caves" where animals were housed along with great hiking trails and beautiful natural spots like this twisted sycamore stretching out over a small rock studded stream.

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