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Artistic Angler Looks to Ocean for Inspiration--Depicting It, Living It

There’s hardly a connection between a palette-knife painting and ocean fishing until you listen to artist and deep-sea fisherwoman Alida Van Gores.

“There’s something so magnificent about the ocean,” the 64-year-old woman said, as she scanned the blue horizon from a viewing deck around the Laguna Beach oceanfront house she and husband, Eugene Van Gores, 64, built. “I just drink it in every day. It’s so permanent and a tremendous source of inspiration.”

That’s the part she paints on canvas with a palette knife.

The other connection occurs each month when she boards a charter fishing boat with a group of women called the Dana Wharf Lady Anglers and heads to Mexican waters to fish for albacore.

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The all-women anglers group (except for a deckhand and the boat skipper) is the result of “being pushed around too many times on fishing trips by the boys who thought we were invading a man’s world,” she said.

But now, she noted, after four years of fishing monthly for albacore, “We’re all self-sufficient on the boat” and said she feels the world will change when more women learn to become self-sufficient.

On one of her outings, she won the trolling competition for catching a 20-pound albacore. That whole day belonged to her; she landed 24 albacore overall. “Boy oh boy, the magic word for me that day was ‘hookup,’ ” she said, the word shouted to alert others to watch their fishing lines.

And when she came home, she cooked her prize-winning catch. “I cook all the fish I catch,” she explained.

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If the ocean and fishing fulfill her physical needs, they also inspire her palette-knife painting, which has earned her an enviable reputation within the Laguna Beach art community as well as in art circles throughout the Southland.

“That’s why I’m so good at subjects like lighthouses, shorebirds and such scenes as the crashing sea,” she said. “I love the ocean. It lives inside me and often gives me strength.”

She is also a palette-knife painting teacher, and for the past 10 years, she has been demonstrating her skills as an exhibitor at the annual Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach.

Besides the palette-knife oil paintings, she gives instruction in her other artistic talent, the engraving of ocean scenes on plastic and metal.

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The engraving tools were made by her husband, a former Hawthorne policeman, who years ago presented her with what she said is her most prized gift: a cement mixer.

“I use it constantly to build the proper surroundings for the gardening I do around the house,” she said, noting that pouring cement is an artistic talent in another form.

“Cement is a very permanent thing, too.”

When the obstetricians, anesthesiologist, nurse and the jubilant father came out of the delivery room at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, you would have thought they just attended a sporting event instead of delivering Ellyne Warsaw’s baby.

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Each was wearing a sports cap provided by the new father, James Warsaw of Corona del Mar, who happens to be president of Irvine Sports Specialties Corp., which makes sports hats for major league teams.

He had two hats ready. For a boy, it read “Zakary”; for a girl, “Carly.” The boy weighed in at 9 pounds, 3 ounces.

“Looks like a linebacker,” one doctor said.

However, the baby was named after Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Zachariah Wheat.

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“Maybe we should have named him after (Dick) Butkus,’ ” mused the father.

Barbara Hopkins of San Clemente wants some help for a 7-year-old English boy who is dying of cancer and wants to be entered in the Guinness Book of Records for receiving the most postcards.

A copy of a letter from England with the boys’ address has been posted in various Orange County locations including the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in San Clemente, where Father Bob Fuhlman has asked parishioners to write.

Hopkins, a member of the church, said she doesn’t know if there is an existing world record for receiving post cards, but she is going to send a postcard to help him set one.

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The address is David, c/o 6 Hill Side Drive, Stretley, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, England.

Postage for the post card is 37 cents.


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