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Balboa Island Artwalk draws appreciative crowd and artists pleased with their sales

Hundreds of people jammed Balboa Island's South Bayfront Promenade during Sunday's Balboa Island Artwalk.
(Susan Hoffman)

Less than two hours after setting up his booth for the Balboa Island Artwalk Sunday morning, plein-air painter John Eagle noted his display panels were no longer full of his works.

“I’m halfway there, almost sold out,” Eagle said, pointing out the open spaces on the metal grid wall. “This is clearly the best one-day show in Southern California, in my experience.”

The beautiful setting along the South Bayfront Promenade, with boats in view and the cooperative spring weather helped draw visitors, Eagle said.

Plein-air artist John Eagle was recognized with Leadership in Art award for 27 years of attendance at the Artwalk.
Plein-air artist John Eagle was recognized with Leadership in Art award for 27 years of attendance in the Balboa Island Artwalk held Sunday.
(Susan Hoffman)

“It’s mostly repeat customers from previous years who are having a good time,” said Eagle. “It’s much more interesting than going to a closed end gallery both for exhibitors and attendees.”

Eagle, who has taught at the Laguna Beach College of Art and Design and operates a gallery in Laguna Beach, has been exhibiting his impressionist style oil paintings as part of the Balboa Island Artwalk since its inception 27 years ago. He is the longest running exhibitor and as a result received recognition this year with the Leadership in Art award during Sunday’s award ceremony, which he called “a delightful surprise.”

Mary Hardesty of Mary Hardesty Realty, Balboa Island has welcomed the opportunity to be the presenting sponsor of the Balboa Island Artwalk for more than 20 years.

“It brings us great joy to support and celebrate our local artists and those that come from a great distance to display art in a variety of interesting formats,” said Hardesty. “The lively atmosphere of the Artwalk in a beautiful setting on the bay brings art, music and conviviality to the community for a fun day in the sun.”

Artist Isaac Anderson, center right chats with Barbara Bray, right, Mary Olsen, Nancy Swan and Lee Olsen.
Artist Isaac Anderson, center, right chats with Barbara Bray, right, Mary Olsen, Nancy Swan and Lee Olsen during the Balboa Island Artwalk held Sunday.
(Susan Hoffman)

As they prepared to take in the Artwalk, a group of friends congregated first on the South Bayfront and Pearl to admire Laguna Beach artist Isaac Anderson’s mixed media art consisting of plaster on wood panel.

“I come to the [ArtWalk] every year to see friends, listen to the music and I have bought a painting here,” said Barbara Bray of Corona del Mar. “It’s a fun thing to do and local things are good to support.”

Bray was meeting up with her Balboa Island friends, Mary and Lee Olsen to attend the event together when they ran into Nancy and Peer Swan, friends from Newport Coast.

Further along the South Bayfront and Collins Avenue, people stopped to check out a slice of the tropics at the Eco-JE booth, which had birds and greenery hanging from a thatched roof. Alta Loma artist Sandra Lopez, exhibiting at the show for the first time, said she was thrilled to receive so many compliments.

”People were saying things like, ‘even if I weren’t shopping I’d come just to look at the booth’ and ‘this is the most unique and most refreshing and beautiful booth in the show,” she said.

Artist Sandra Lopez shows tagua nut in original form prior to becoming an organic necklace.
Artist Sandra Lopez shows tagua nut in original form prior to becoming an organic necklace, center left display during the Balboa Island Artwalk held Sunday.
(Susan Hoffman)

But once inside it was her array of unique hand-made, eco-friendly jewelry made from organic material that held shoppers’ attention. Lopez created by the pieces as wearable art, using biodegradable material in unconventional ways.

Holding one of the necklaces she’d made, Lopez spoke of the tagua nut, one of the natural materials sourced from Brazil, explaining, “it’s sustainable, hard and solid and can be cut and also takes dyes. They also make piano keys, buttons and vegetable ivory from the tagua nut and the bead part of the necklace come from acai seeds.”

The free Artwalk featured about 85 artists and three live bands.

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