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Pet Peeves

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Stay at Home

By Mark D. Crantz

By Mark D. Crantz

Sometimes a story just falls in your lap. And it hurt. “Couldn’t you have just sent a PDF file?” I cried. Standing in front of me was a wisp of a girl who weighed less than the mountain of paper now enveloping me as she replied, “No. I don’t have a computer. It’s hard evidence. It’s better.” I wasn’t sure about that. My lap hurt. “Ever heard of Cliff Notes?”

The girl rolled her eyes and huffed out that the papers just appeared in her Hello Kitty backpack with instructions to get the stuff to me. She had no idea who put it there, but she was glad to get rid of it. “Give me 20 bucks,” she spat. “What?” I replied. “The instructions said you’d pay me. Give it up, Grandpa or you’ll get the cliff note version.” She waved a can of mace and I waved goodbye to my twenty bucks.

It was hard not to notice the uptick in painters roaming all over Laguna this past week. It was the 17th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational. Thirty-five acclaimed artists from all over the world are invited to compete with each other in painting Laguna’s beautiful coastline. The event culminates with the wonderful Collectors Soiree where painters and buyers meet and their great works may be purchased. Public sales continue on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25 at Tivoli Too.

That’s the news event everyone hears about. But while these gifted artists were busy putting their visions on canvasses, I was busy wading through a mountain of paper and what I discovered was way more exciting than watching paint dry. Right here in Laguna is an underground movement of stay-at-home artists. They don’t paint the great outdoors. They can’t for a variety of reasons. Many are stay-at-home spouses raising families. Others are stuck in offices making money to raise these families. Some are agoraphobics and are afraid of the outdoors. And one person is so hyper allergenic to outside pollen that her runny nose ruins creations before they are finished.

Forced by these situations, they have resorted to painting indoors. They call themselves the stale airs. They’ve asked me to get the word out to bring attention to their work. Pictures of bowls of fruit are the work of these unnoticed artists. Like the plein air artists, their subject matter is no less easy to capture. The play of light and darkness, the speed to capture a fruit’s heartiness before rot sets in is just as difficult inside as it is to get right outside. Unfortunately, the general public has no appreciation of the stale airs tireless efforts and the high costs associated in purchasing fruit at Haggen.

So the next time you get the urge to buy a seascape, expand your horizons and consider the paintings of bowls of fruit. Your purchase will help a stale air artist get noticed outside their homes and bring fresh air to your seascape collection.

Mark requests readers chip in and give him back the twenty bucks this story cost him. Either pay it forward or wave hello to his little friend Mace.

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