Sea of Abstraction

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“Ocean Blue” by Stallman

German artist Jenny Simon and Seattle-based duo Stallman craft textured pieces heavily influenced by the water.

Section by Ashley Ryan



The Signature Gallery

Home base: Grew up in Berlin, but has lived in Southern California for the past 14 years

Background: Growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Berlin, Jenny never expected to become a painter. As a child, she helped her father with wooden sculptures, composed music and enjoyed drawing, but in her 20s she started painting with oil.

“It was a way of letting my soul flow into the canvas and tapping into my own little world, realizing how I felt on a deeper level,” she says. “I kept on painting, letting my technique grow into the direction where it felt most natural.”

Media of choice: She currently uses oil paint, but has experimented with charcoal, watercolor and acrylic paint in the early stages of her career.

Jenny Simon4

Work: Jenny’s abstract expressionist approach allows her to create contemporary pieces filled with vibrant colors, vivid emotion and an air of spirituality. Her paintings tend to take on dreamlike qualities that allow viewers to wrap themselves up in her work.

She typically creates two types of pieces: seascapes and textured canvases. The former feature deep blue waters with skies of deep black and purple. A few have orange intertwined with these darker colors, providing a contrast that captures Jenny’s love for the water at nighttime.

“Evenings are my favorite time of day, when the sun is low and reflects off the water and colors of the sky turn softer and seem to blend into each other more,” she says. “It is perfect harmony.”

Her textured paintings also reflect her love for the outdoors. They are created with layers of oil paint spread on canvas with palette knives. She often uses her hands to manipulate the paint as well, letting emotions flow through her fingers and into her artwork.

Jenny draws much of her inspiration through the nature she sees and touches while out hiking. “I am kind of fascinated by rocks, leaves and tree bark,” she says. “Over the years, I have been drawn more and more into imitating nature’s texture in my own way.”

She plans to attend The Signature Gallery’s holiday cocktail reception Dec. 4; stop by to view her work, which will be showcased during the month of December alongside the event’s other artists. (949-376-4244;




JoAnne Artman Gallery


Home base: Stallman is Stephen Stum and Jason Hallman, partners in life and art. Stephen hails from the Pacific Northwest and Jason is from Southern California; they now live and work on Whidbey Island, Wash.

Background: Jason is self-taught; Stephen studied art and industrial design at the University of Washington before combining fine art with 3-D design. “We both continue to teach each other as we grow and expand our creativity together,” Stephen says.

Media of choice: Artist canvas and acrylic paint

Coral reef_detail

Work: Stephen and Jason complete each piece of art simultaneously, feeding off of the other’s ideas and techniques. They say the key is knowing what the other is best at, which allows each of them to thrive creatively.

Their current series, “Canvas on Edge,” involves painting, cutting and sculpting canvas to give it a 3-D form. This technique allows Stephen and Jason to create movement through curvilinear lines that come alive through light, shadow and different colors depending on the angle of viewing.

Colors, particularly gradients, play a major role in their work. Living by the water, they often use hues of blue and green. Their shapes stem from the natural world as well, reminding viewers of organic cells and fractals.

Stephen and Jason say that being partners in life and art allows them to learn, grow and have fun together. “We’ve found that our styles and creative flow complement each other, creating more balance together than apart,” Jason explains.
Stallman’s pieces will be on display at JoAnne Artman Gallery through November as part of the “Modern Nature” exhibition with America Martin, Alberto Murillo and Annie Vought. (949-510-5481;



Orange County Creatives has begun hosting juried shows using, inviting local, national and international artists to apply. The best 15 to 20 are showcased in exhibitions that coincide with the First Thursdays Art Walk, where selected artists are awarded Best in Show and Honorable Mention. Work by local resident artists also continues to be featured.

“[Juried shows] allow us to keep things fresh without compromising our artists’ need to keep some continuity in the gallery,” says gallery co-founder Maggie Tockey. “Guests and collectors like knowing where to find the latest and greatest from their favorite artist, but they also want to see something new and different each time they enter.”

One juried show—“American Dream: Lost or Found?”—runs through Nov. 28; portions of proceeds benefit Laguna’s Friendship Shelter. December will bring another juried show, “Squared.” (978-473-9658;



Sawdust Art Festival’s annual Winter Fantasy will run Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 22 through Dec. 21. The festival grounds will be transformed into a winter wonderland, filled with original works of art created by 175 artists. Pick up some holiday gifts—artists will be selling jewelry, clothing, ceramics, paintings, photographs, sculptures and forged metals. In addition to the artwork, each of the four weekends will include live holiday entertainment and decorations, art classes and demonstrations, and even a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus. Get in the holiday spirit while celebrating the rich art community of Laguna Beach. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each weekend. (949-494-3030;




Artist Eye Laguna Gallery

San Diego-based Russian artist Larissa Gorikh will be featured during the month of November, bringing her culture to life through the use of bright reds and yellows on canvas. Her subjects tend to focus on life in the city, depicting energetic atmospheres and interactions with realism that’s reminiscent of prominent Russian art. (949-497-5898;

Cove Gallery

Stop by during First Thursdays Art Walk on Dec. 4 to view new originals by artists including Jacquelyn Blue, Lorraine E’drie, John C. Hall, K.L. Heagen, Bill Knauer, Barbara McDonald, Sheryl Sauer, Corrine Miller Schaff and more. (949-494-1878;

Forest & Ocean Gallery

Laguna College of Art & Design presents “The Art and Illustration of Sandy Dvore, A Hollywood Legend” through Dec. 15. For more than 40 years, Dvore has created iconic illustrations of top Hollywood celebrities for print ads, and TV and film promotions, along with well-known logos for Solo Cup and United Artists. The Emmy Award-winning artist will attend a reception Dec. 4 from 6-9 p.m. (949-371-3313;

JoAnne Artman Gallery

Celebrating its sixth year in Laguna, the JoAnne Artman Gallery will host a November showcase titled “Modern Nature” in collaboration with Laguna Art Museum’s Art & Nature initiative. Alberto Murillo, America Martin, Annie Vought and Stallman (the duo of Jason Hallman and Stephen Stum) are creating original pieces celebrating the natural world. In addition to interpreting nature on their canvases, this group of artists is also examining the role of nature in our urban society. All have very different styles that come together to create a unique exhibition. (949-510-5481;

Lu Martin Galleries

During the month of December, view a new collection of seascapes by Alfredo Gomez. The pastel colors and golden lighting used in Alfredo’s paintings will transport visitors to Laguna’s sunny beaches. (949-494-8074;

The Redfern Gallery

The gallery will host “The Golden Coast,” a show highlighting California’s brilliant sunlight and beautiful coastline. Unique historical plein-air paintings, with the diversity of color in West Coast landscapes, will stun visitors during the display from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15. (949-497-3356;

The Signature Gallery

Kick off the holidays early with The Signature Gallery’s Christmas show. Grab a dessert or cocktail while enjoying new collections by four artists—glass sculptor Jack Storms, oil painter Charles Pabst, urban cubist Joelle Blouin and abstract painter Jenny Simon. The artists will be available to answer visitors’ questions and autograph books. Meanwhile, the San Clemente-based rock, blues and folk-jam band Half Blonde will provide a live performance in the front part of the gallery. The event is planned Dec. 4 from 6-9 p.m. (949-376-4244;

Sue Greenwood Fine Art

Two Indian artists will share the gallery space starting Dec. 4. Siddharth Parasnis paints colorful architectural pieces that blur the line between realistic and abstract. Alongside him, Suhas Bhujbal will be showing a collection of his work that features people from a variety of cultures. Paintings from both artists will be on display until Jan. 15. (949-494-0669;

Townley Gallery

Through December, the gallery will feature works by Shane Townley alongside additional paintings from Paul Keohan, Mati Russo, Olga Loera, Kim Snyder, Carol Levin and Linnea Leeming. (949-715-1860;

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