Montrose festival spotlights area artists

This year’s Montrose Arts and Crafts Festival featured booths displaying traditional oil paintings mixed in with an abundant mish-mash of artisanal wares such as hand-crafted baby cribs and wine-bottle holders made out of maple root.

A few thousand people strolled along Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park on Saturday and Sunday checking out the various booths, including one operated by Cathy Huntoon, who sells her own line of leather handbags through her business, Cathy’s Collectibles.

A banner running along the top of her booth read “home of the hipster,” but it wasn’t referring to members of a specific subculture.

“I’ve never thought of it that way. We’re old school,” said Huntoon, referring to herself and her husband. “[The handbags] are very usable and it fits on the hip.”

This year marked the eighth time she’s made the trip out to Montrose, mainly because it’s quaint, she said.

A few booths away, 89-year-old Margo Lennartz had her paintings on display.

Getting to see neighbors is one of the reasons she keeps coming back to sell her landscape art pieces, which depict scenes of nature throughout California.

“I like the people. It’s just like a little vacation coming here and talking to the wonderful people,” Lennartz said. “I feel like I’m camping, picnicking.”

Lennartz became interested in art around the time of her retirement from a career in physical therapy and now, in addition to painting scenes of the California coast, teaches art classes out of her La Crescenta home.

“When I retired, I wanted to be out in nature, by the sea and hillsides,” she said. “I didn’t want to see any more bodies, so I made up my mind I wasn’t going to be a portrait painter.”

While some artists discouraged anyone touching or taking pictures of their works, others like Dave Abernethy welcomed passersby who wanted to bang on his metal drums, which were actually repurposed propane tanks.

Owner of Grain in Focus, which produces homemade instruments, the Alhambra resident said he wanted to make a steel pan drum and got the idea a few years ago to flip unused tanks upside down and make some tweaks, including tuning them to D on the pentatonic scale.

A retired elementary school principal, Abernethy said he enjoys seeing people of all ages, especially youngsters, whacking his drums with a stick topped off with a rubber ball.

“I like to create things with sounds and the science of sounds,” he said. “All of these instruments are designed for kids and younger adults to enjoy.”


Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.


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