'It's too much fun to miss'

Though she had badly burned her hand just days before, Sally Jordan said she just couldn't miss painting on a bright afternoon on Balboa Island.

"It's too much fun to miss," the Pauma Valley resident said from behind her easel, where she was painting one of the island's several frozen banana businesses. "In all my years here, I've never had anyone be anything but pleasant to me."

Jordan was one of 13 landscape oil painters invited by the Debra Huse Gallery to paint life on the island for one week in the beginning of August. The week culminated in a show Saturday as well as a "brush off" competition where artists have to complete a painting in just two hours. This is Jordan's third consecutive year participating and the gallery's sixth year running the event.

Artists agreed though the week isn't really about the Brush Off, it's about the art and the community they're painting.

"It just adds so much charm to the island," said Darrell Sherman from Mesa, Ariz., of the annual event.

Sherman's wife, Jane, used to live on the island and every year they come back. Sometimes, he said, they even pick up paintings of the island to hang in their summer cabin.

"It's taking some [of the island] back with you," he said. "There's so many places that feel good here."

While Jordan focused on the banana business and American flags lining the bridge against Bayside Drive, artist Keith Wicks from Sonoma kept it simple with a lone flag hanging above the art gallery.

"I like the light on the flag with the dark backdrop," he said. He frequently paused to chat with the island's flow of pedestrians headed to Marine Avenue.

"Here it's care-free, family life," Wicks said. "It's all-American. A little enclave."

The Irvine Museum Executive Director Jean Stern judged the artists' work from throughout the week Saturday. Painters also voted on each others' works for an "artists' choice award," along with a "people's choice," an "award of merit" and the blue-ribbon winner from the Brush Off contest.

The Debra Huse Gallery is located at 229 Marine Ave., on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World