Imaginarium: Celebrating Art and Each Other

Artists, left to right: Skipper Farley, Julie Friedrichsen, Kyla Mullen, Natalia Evans, Pat Harding, Karen L. Moran, Abigale Spector, Michele Harper, Jane Hoover, Kirsty Iredale. Not shown: Pearl Aday, Dina Lockwood, Lisa Ryan, Olivia Braide, Reema Rani Khetan, India Schmitt. Photo courtesy of Topanga Art Imaginarium.

On Saturday, August 26, the Topanga Art Imaginarium celebrated a collection of spirit and talent with an exhibit that filled the small space with the beautiful results of imaginative creations of artists working in acrylic and oils.  

Under the guidance of Natalia Evans, owner and director of the Imaginarium, the very atmosphere was alive with the rich visual feast of color on canvas and fellow artists, aficionados, friends and family, who came to cheer them on   

Evans, a gracious Madonna who grew up in Topanga, said, “This gathering is a celebration of work created here in the spring and summer sessions. It is the result of a wonderful group and we are joining together to have a good time and celebrate art and each other.”

Decking the walls were pieces created at the studio that varied with the individuality and eye of each artist. Some pieces were fanciful, presenting magical creatures, such as Skipper Farley’s fairytale goats with almost human expressions; Evans’ unicorn and bear family; Kyla Mullen’s dazzling lady with her streaming black hair; and Pat Harding’s fetching elephant.  

Karen Moran, daughter of Topanga’s pioneering artists Vera and Cyril Woods, carries on the family gift in her remarkable landscapes that make one want to step into the canvas. Abigale Spector’s mountain, seascape and horse were wild and free, while celebrated ceramist, Kirsty Iredale, proved a natural in this medium as well, creating an intriguing turtle and a truly mystical night tree aglow with moonlight.  

Perhaps the youngest artist, India Schmitt, captured a noble deer in front of a pagoda and a refreshing rendering of a young girl with a camera evoking an earlier time long before digital. Bravo!  

Pearl Aday presented a series of human hearts, which you could almost hear beating. Dina Lockwood’s gleaming mosaic woman was stunning and Mausi Muller succeeded in making waves come alive. Reema Rani Khetan’s delightful comic-style couple hugging, with the caption, “Our Beautiful Journey,” was heartwarming and artist and children’s book author, Jane Hoover, created a meeting of two impressive feathered birds intensely butting their heads together. Asked if it was war or love she offered a knowing smile and replied, “Love.”

Julie Friedrichsen mounted a group of handsome, almost royal roosters; Lisa Ryan rendered a portrait of a likeable gent; while a shining Buddha by Michele Harper graced the room.  

“Coming to the classes here is a social thing. We all get along and encourage each other. And laugh,” said Hoover.

The pieces displayed by each artist’s vision contributed to a group effort that clearly showed the humor, longing, strength, love and thoughtful observation of all the woman involved. It was a pleasure to be amongst them.

Classes are ongoing for adults and children. The exhibit runs through September 9. Call or text first for viewing times, most likely on Tuesday and Friday after 3:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. when classes are in session. Evans’studio schedule defers to that of Evans’ five-month-old son, at least for now..

Topanga Art Imaginarium is located at 120 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., #105, Topanga, CA 90290. For more information: (310) 962-3933;


Kathie Gibboney

It has been said that Kathie Gibboney invented the Unicorn, which she neither admits nor denies, as it might reveal her true age. Kathie is an essayist, reporter, and poet for MMN with her column, "My Corner of The Canyon." She lives happily in a now-empty nest in Topanga, CA with The Beleaguered Husband and a marmalade cat.

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