The Dooners

Bonny Doon artists open their studios


Information in this article was relevant to the event in 2007. Sorry for any confusion. CM
Here’s the bad news: You’re gonna burn up some gas money and put a few extra miles on your car. The good news: It’s worth it. For those daring enough to make the trek out of comfy downtown Santa Cruz, and venture into Bonny Doon for Open Studios—the mountain version—the brief inconvenience of driving out of your comfort zone will turn up rewards of the artistic variety.

Up where the hills and redwood trees meet are 14 artists who would like to introduce you to their respective work and art studios, as well as convince you why Bonny Doon is an untapped Open Studios destination.

While other Santa Cruz-based studios likely had 100-plus visitors during last weekend’s Open Studios, Bonny Doon artist Linda Levy admits that her numbers were low—about 15 on one day, 35 on the other day. Why the small show of visitors? Well, it’s tough to get people up to the hills. And, “it’s a lot easier for people to stay in town where there are larger groups of people displaying,” Levy says.

So this year the Dooners (as they’re fondly called) created their own group—14 of them stepped forward, including Levy, who creates digital art, Levi Goldman, a sculpture artist, Larry Worley who will showcase his amazing baskets, Suzanne Elliott, a powerful oil painter, and the renowned artist Mattie Leeds who creates enormous and stunning pots. One drive to the woods results in a cornucopia of artistic samplings.

“There’s a great variety of work: We have glass artists, a bronze and steel sculptor, different painters, wood cuts, pastels, mixed media, basketry and ceramics,” Levy says.

Here’s a good starting point for when you arrive: Levy’s studio. There, she offers a two-for-one type of deal. Not only is her digital art on display; she’s also guest-hosting Worley, in a meeting of his old-world baskets and her new world digital paintings. The pairing is an interesting choice—vastly different mediums, both captivating.

For Levy, she is fully immersed in a medium that keeps a low profile—digital art—not graphic design, which is something entirely different. Digital art is basically painting or drawing, via the computer. During a typical demonstration, which Levy will be giving during Open Studios, she grabs a seat in front of her monitor, turns on a program called Painter, and using a simple instrument that looks like a pen, she ‘draws’ on a tablet, which transfers her images to the screen. It’s pretty cool stuff. Levy can choose any medium—charcoal, oil paint, watercolors, pastels and the like, and the pen acts as an extension of her hand, or as her paintbrush, pencil, or piece of charcoal. She can also pick any type of ‘paper’ to create her image on, and she can choose any color. Once completed and printed out on high-quality paper, the final product genuinely looks like it was crafted straight on the paper. It’s an impressive and mind-bending style of creating art.

“Using this program, you’re only limited by your imagination,” Levy says.

She will have about 20 to 30 pieces of her digital art on display at her Spanish home and studio up on the mountaintop. Prices range from $80 to $400. Each piece is one-of-a-kind: mostly portraits and landscapes.

Besides her creative ventures, Levy also currently works as chair of the Open Studios committee, where she manages a slew of responsibilities for the countywide art ‘gallery’ in October. Following this month’s Open Studios, Levy will enter her fourth and final term as the chair of the committee.

“There was, I believe, a public perception that you needed to know someone on the Open Studios committee to get in,” Levy says. “[People thought] there was a bias going on. To dispel that when I came on … we set a term limit for four years to rotate people through. I think it brings new life to the event and dispels any kind of perception of bias.”

Open Studios is running for one more weekend, Oct. 20-21. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Linda Levy and Larry F. Worley will have their studios open at 416 Westdale Dr., Santa Cruz. For more information, visit lindalevy.com .

An oil painter, instrumental in the Santa Cruz Oil Painters Society.














Retired three years ago, Worley’s wife was making baskets, which led him to try his hand at it as well. Things took off. He incorporates original style handles made out of natural materials. Recently, he’s been incorporating antlers into his work.










First time Open Studios participant. Goldman, a skilled sculpture artist is also hearing impaired. Many of his busts have hearing aids.












New to the area, Spray is a pro with fused glass.










He’s probably the most well known artist among the Bonny Doon mix. He’s shown his work internationally and earlier this year he had a solo exhibit at the Museum of Art & History.



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