Laguna Canyon Artists will hold an Open Studio sale this weekend. (Coastline Pilot / December 2, 2010)

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Remembering artist Chris Medina

A large gathering of Chris Medina's friends recently held a celebration of his life at the home of Bren and Terry Briano in Canyon Acres, after the 40-year-old unexpectedly died from heart failure on November 6.

Medina was a talented artist, poet, musician and lover of nature. He was born in New York City and lived in England during his childhood. He attended high school in Virginia and graduated with honors from NYU in English literature. He has lived in California for the past decade, the most recent years at his studio/residence in Laguna Canyon. His paintings and original comic books often featured animals, and sometimes included pleas to respect the Earth and one another.

He is survived by his parents, a brother and two sisters.

Graphic novelist to visit Hi De Ho

Phil Yen, known as the "Godfather of the modern American Graphic Novel," will sign copies of his new children's books, including the award-winning "Dinosaurs Across America," at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hi De Ho Comics, 350 Broadway, Laguna Beach.

Recommended as one of the most outstanding 25 graphic novels for kids by the School Library Journal, the book teaches U.S. history and geography.

Yeh will also sign copies of his new book, "Steve the Dog & the Winged Tiger," which tells the story of a couch potato dog who learns to explore the world outside of the TV set, video games and the Internet. The special 1,500 hard cover edition has limited availability.

Yeh is also the founder of Cartoonists Across America and the World, a group of artists whose mission is to promote literacy and the arts. He founded CAA in 1985 when his friend, Wally Amos, informed him of the growing illiteracy crisis in the United States. Yeh's band of artists has painted more than 1,800 colorful murals promoting reading and the arts in 49 states and 13 countries, including a mural for the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution on the Capitol mall with President Reagan and the Library of Congress with former First Lady Barbara Bush.

He was recently a special guest of the 40th San Diego ComiCon where he was presented with an Inkpot Award for his contributions to the field of the comic arts.

Yeh will join writer Michael Aushenker and artist Rafael Navarro, who will make an encore appearance, in costume, to sign "Gumby's Gang Starring Pokey."

Ceramic art and sculpture show

Dave Tarullo will show his Structural Integration Sculpture Series as well as a selection of items from his pottery and ceramic tile lines from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at The New School of Structural Integration, 1027 N. Coast Hwy. Ste. E in Laguna Beach.

The opening party is from 5 to 9 p.m. today, and will including drinks and appetizers, and a performance by a virtuoso guitar player.

For more information, visit

Sawdust classes help military families

In honor of the U.S. Military, the Sawdust Art Festival will host a special arts education day for military spouses of deployed troops at 10:30 a.m. Sunday in the new jewelry studio, located on the festival grounds.

Sawdust members thought it would be fitting to offer this unique event during the Winter Fantasy on the Sawdust grounds, according to marketing director Cynthia Fung.

Ten military spouses from Camp Pendleton will take a two-hour vocational jewelry class, led by Marla Burns, who will teach skills in jewelry-making, which require little expense in tools. The class is intended to provide a skill that will foster additional income, and also as a positive outlet while they wait for their spouses to return from their military services abroad, Burns said.

With the assistance of Sawdust artists and jewelers, Georgette Cerutti, Mike Heintz, David Nelson, and Sawdust Board Member, Sally Wilde, Burns will cover the jewelry-making skills of stamping, dapping, planishing and metal-smithing in both silver and copper. Students will create an original set of earrings and a pendant to take home.