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COC's new campus inspires artists

Santa Clarita Artists' Association cames to the college to paint the landscapes.

Posted: April 1, 2008 8:40 p.m.
Updated: June 2, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Artists Association held a "paint out" Monday morning on the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus.

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Most people go to college to be inspired, but instead of finding inspiration in the classroom, members of the Santa Clarita Artists' Association found it in the rolling hills, distant mountains and vast skies surrounding College of the Canyons' new Canyon Country campus.

"You're on top of the world here," said Newhall artist Laura Wambsgans, as she stood next to her canvas Monday on the edge of the school's amphitheater with her fellow artists. As the group's chairperson, Wambsgans is in charge of finding places in the area for the artists to paint.

Usually found in natural areas like Placerita Canyon Nature Center and Pico Canyon, this is the first time the group has brought their paints and brushes to a school campus.

"Every month we visit a different location," Wambsgans said. "We're looking for something intriguing - something that makes you just stop and go 'wow.'"

Wambsgans learned what the campus had to offer from founding dean Dena Maloney, who called her and invited the artists to come and paint. Maloney enjoys the serene view every day out her office window.

"I got to thinking about the beautiful vistas we have here at the campus, and with the amphitheater it's a really nice place to paint," Maloney said. "I think it's just a beautiful spot."

When Wambsgans came to the campus to check it out, she said she just stood there and gasped.

"It completely took my breath away," she said.

Around 10 artists were spread out across the amphitheater, quickly capturing the view before the sun's movement across the sky changed it completely.

Valencia artist Patty O'Hearn painted the nearby hillside and the distant purple mountains, while her husband, Robert Berole, had homed in on the structures on the hillside.

"If you look around at what people are painting, we're all pulling something different from this hillside - we're painting the same thing, but at the same time, none of us are painting the same thing," O'Hearn said.

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