Taking a new artistic journey

Glendale and surrounding communities are rich with artistic opportunity. Learning, teaching, creating, displaying and viewing art are part of the area's cultural fabric. Jewels in this artistic tapestry include some impressive art teachers, particularly Margot Lennartz and two of her students, Karen Horn and Sarah Gordon. Horn and Gordon are displaying 30 works, 24 by Horn, at the La Cañada Flintridge County Library.

Horn, a Glendale resident, had her first exhibition experience in grammar school, when a prescient principal hung two of Horn's paintings in his office. Reflecting on this encouragement, the artist reignited her passion in 2006 after 40 years of giving to her career and family.

The former La Cañada resident's training with Lennartz and others is apparent in the professional polish of her work. Her ability is noted locally as she serves on the board of directors for the Verdugo Hills Art Assn., and holds membership in such prestigious groups as the California Art Club, Foothill Artist League, San Luis Obispo Art Assn. and Sierra Madre Creative Art Group.

Nothing in the exhibition looks like experimentation or ramping up. Horn is adept with water-based oil paint and depicts architecture, coastal seascapes, landscapes, gardens and nautical scenes. Some of her work on display in this exhibition has already been seen in shows at the Descanso Gardens Boddy Carriage House, Foothill Artists League at the Lanterman House and La Cañada Flintridge County Library, but there are also some unseen pieces.

One of Horn's new pieces, "Carmel," is a rocky seascape, painted on site in the plein-air manner. The composition is full of angles reflecting the geometry of the coastline. Her palette is vast yet organic. Nature put on her best for Horn that day.

The artist has frequently worked from inspirational photos. As successful as Horn has been with an organic palette, some of her best work is characterized by extreme though naturalistic coloration. Persimmon sunsets and extraordinary blue shadows electrify some of her pieces. Her personal favorite is titled "Lighthouse". The subject lighthouse is set off center in the composition, as though stepping aside to allow the brilliant sunrise to warm a cold blue New England morning.

One outstanding piece in the collection is "Eaton Canyon." Overhanging branches draw the viewer into the picture. The tree stabilizes the composition, moving the eye in a circular fashion, through the image, and back to the tree. The lighting is exquisite. The contrast between the tree shadow and the atmospheric background is striking. The off-center composition is a rewarding device for Horn.

It is unusual for someone with as little experience as Horn to be so technically good. She stands as motivation for those who find themselves in a similar situation, to find that their life purpose has perhaps changed. There is always room in life for one more journey. Horn says all she is doing is "following her internal light." Sounds like good advice.

Terri Martin has a degree in art history and an extensive background in fine arts.


What: Karen Horn and Sarah Gordon Exhibit Original Oil Paintings

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday until July 31

Where: La Cañada Flintridge County Library; 4545 Oakwood Ave.

Contact: (818) 790-3330

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