Sausalito Art Festival

By , September 21, 2009

This past Labor Day I went to Sausalito for the annual Sausalito Art Festival. This festival takes place every year over labor day and is one of the more sophisticated art festivals in the country. Sausalito is a lovely little village enclave with bungalows whose roofs sit – quite literally – in the clouds! With gorgeous blue skies, warm breezes and booth after booth of art, what better way to spend the day?


While at the festival, I fell in love with the work of wireist Diane Komer. Her masterful creations – made with black, heavy gauge wire – are wonderfully imaginative. She is able to show amazing detail with a single wire:


The shadows the sculptures cast on the wall behind them give them depth and an almost animated quality. Look how the simplicity of the design is so nicely executed:


My personal favorite was a sculpture she did of a high-heeled shoe titled, “Mary Jane”:


 I was also fascinated by the work of Leslie Thompson whose incised porcelain pieces involve such exacting intricacy that they look painted. Leslie trained with one of the master potters of the Acoma Pottery  style, so some of her  work is reminiscent of those patterns. Each piece of Leslie’s art requires countless hours to produce. However,  after about 30 hours out of the kiln, the piece is too hard to work so any design she takes on needs to be completed in that time frame.  This makes the larger, inticrate pieces especially difficult to produce.   These pots are delicate in composure but bold in graphic quality. Wouldn’t a grouping of the vases be gorgeous against a crisp white wall? I loved the contemporary feel of her work:


Look at the amazing patterns:   




I was also drawn to the vibrant watercolors done by mother-daughter artists, Cara Brown and Niz Brown. Both create large-scale paintings of romantic florals and lush foodscapes. Niz, also a well known realtor, creates bold and bright floral snapshots while Cara has a more photo-realistic approach. They both capture the essence the flowers they choose in a fresh and modern way. Look at the rich colors Niz uses:

Niz Brown's Ballerina Peony

Niz Brown's "Ballerina Peony"


The wonderful realism of Cara’s watercolors is so rare to see in watercolor:
Cara Brown's "Blossoming Hope"

Cara Brown's "Blossoming Hope"


 Artist Marc Sijan was at the festival exhibiting what he terms are his “Ultra-Realistic Sculptures”.  Done in resin, the detail of his sculptures is both fantastic and disturbing! His life-sized works can easily be mistaken for real human beings. Can you tell which one is me?

Marc Sijan's Sculpture

Marc Sijan's Sculpture

His “portraits” – detached heads and hands are a bit dark and have an almost Hannibal Lecter quality about them:

Marc Sijan "Portraits"

Marc Sijan "Portraits"

Definitely not run-of-the-mill art!

 One of the more accomplished artists I met there was Marvin Blackmore.  His work was, at one time, similar to the incised pottery shown above. 


Marvin Blackmore Sunspot

 Marvin’s techniquesand  his craft, his website notes,  have evolved over the years.  He added more layers of color and the designs have become more intricate. The two-tone carvings of the mid 1990’s are now multilayered, intricate hand-etchings performed with a needle. (Yes, a needle!)  He also points out that the constantly evolving designs, while primarily influenced by Southwestern Native Americans, now incorporate influences from Plains Indians and even the ancient East and Middle East. The layering and etching have become so sophisticated even other top artists find it difficult to understand how anyone can do it. Evolved from craft, Blackmore pottery now graces the collections of serious art collectors and museum from around the world.  His work is a very fine art indeed!

All in all it was a great day and I recommend taking a day trip to Sausalito, if for no other reason than to enjoy the stunning view of San Francisco from across the bay.  Always a pleasure!

 Best Wishes!


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