What’s Happening Now? Diving Into The Artist’s Mind

Toby Salkin’s 2016-2019 is artistic commentary on political times.

Did you know that Monet’s Water Lilies refers not to one painting but a series of 250 paintings that he did over his lifetime? He purposely purchased property and planted waterlilies in order to paint them, importing them from Egypt and South America. He explained his motivation for the work that ended up dominating 30 years of his art, simply: “One instant, one aspect of nature explains it all.”

Wouldn’t it have been interesting to see one of his first “Water Lilies” and perhaps talk to him about what he was doing, why, and how? 

Artists Caroline P.M. Jones, Idelle Okman Tyzbir and Toby Salkin are among the artists that are revealing new work at the Topanga Canyon Gallery in October. None of them claims to be the next Monet (but who’s to say?) but all three are working in new ways. 

“My new series, Landscapes of the Mind, will explore language and geomorphology of my dreams and present them within the precepts of ‘scholar stones’,” says Jones. “These stones are sometimes known as Suiseki (water stone), and it’s the name given to naturally formed stones that have the power and beauty to suggest a scene from nature. The sculptures will be made out of fired ceramics and polished stone, and based on otherworldly images I have created or seen in my dreams.” 

The first piece in Jones’ bold sculpture series is on display now at the Topanga Canyon Gallery.

“The last few years of turmoil have inspired me not to back off an honest view of the state of the world,” says Toby Salkin, whose work is usually vibrant and somewhat whimsical. “The title of my piece in this show is ‘2016-2019’. I hope it engenders thought, but more importantly, action.” Visitors to the gallery earlier in the month have been very engaged in this work, as well as admiring the new look and emotional nature of the piece.  

Idelle Okman Tyzbir, is presenting a piece entitled When the Hot Wind Blows. Those who have appreciated her work in the past will see a difference due to its light, ephemeral feel. Okman Tyzbir shared her vision, as well as details on how the piece is constructed. She was inspired by a quote from William Arthur Ward; “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” In describing the challenges of creating a light piece from metal that imagines hot wind, she described how many times she had to “adjust her sails” in order to do things differently. 

All of the work in “What’s Happening Now!” is new, and has not been shown previously. By stating that as the theme of the collection, the artists are offering viewers the opportunity to be conscious of this aspect of the creative process for each artist. It will also help inform viewers on what to look for from the artists in coming months. 

Make the trip to the gallery and see the work in person. It will be worth the journey.

“What’s Happening Now!” will run through Sunday, October 27. This show is a celebration of the art of creativity, and what happens when artists open their minds to change.


Topanga Canyon Gallery is an artist-owned mutual benefit corporation. It is located at 120 N Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga CA 90290. For more information: (310) 455-7909; TopangaCanyonGallery.com

October Gallery Hours: Wednesday 2 p.m.– 6 p.m.; Thursday 2–6 p.m.; Friday 12–8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.– 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.–3 p.m. 


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