Artwalk attracts many to Balboa Island

BALBOA ISLAND — Art lovers with kids and dogs in tow flocked to sunny Balboa Island on Sunday, strolling more than a mile of booths exhibiting paintings, sculpture and jewelry.

About 100 artists set up shop along the South Bayfront Promenade for the 17th annual Balboa Island Artwalk.

Shoppers browsed art ranging from beaded jewelry to seascape paintings along the crowded sidewalk. Kids sold lemonade, and residents opened their patios to make room for exhibitors and musicians at the community event.

Annie Quinn of Newport Beach said she comes every year to add to her collection of local art.

"It's just a nice collection of artists," she said.

Many of the artists whose work was on display also show at local venues like the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival.

Plein air painter John Eagle of Laguna Beach said he has exhibited his work in the artwalk every spring since its inception. He said the event is good for business.

"This is the best one-day show in Southern California," Eagle said. "I sell more paintings here in one day than in a weekend anywhere else."

Eagle painted the beachfront scene in front of him as he minded his booth.

"Patrons come here looking to buy something," he said. "They're looking to buy that special piece for their home or office or for a gift. That makes it different than the other art shows."

Anthony Hunt, a painter whose work is displayed at Peter J. Art Gallery in Newport Beach, showed passersby his unusual artistic method: He sketches a piece, then turns his canvas upside down and paints that way. He said he started the trick "for the viewing audience," but it now helps him see the shapes in the work more clearly.

Hunt said he has exhibited his work in the artwalk for about seven years.

"It gives me more exposure than the gallery," Hunt said. "And it's one of the only days I can actually sit down and paint."

The Balboa Island Artwalk was organized by the Balboa Island Improvement Assn. with Mary Hardesty Realty, SC Homes, the Daily Pilot and other local sponsors.

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