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Artwalk's showcase event now in November

Manager says more than 50 artists have confirmed their attendance at the event, which will lead to a winner being named.

November 18, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Artist Chris Meredith was commissioned by Luanne Diehl to paint a scene from the Huntington Beach Pier.
Artist Chris Meredith was commissioned by Luanne Diehl… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

If Christopher Meredith wins the top prize at the Huntington Beach Downtown Artwalk's year-end showcase Thursday, he may make a gracious speech thanking his supporters.

Then, the next week, he may make another one over Thanksgiving dinner.

Meredith, a Fountain Valley resident, has been a visual artist for two decades. But if not for the urging of one patron — which is to say, his mother-in-law — he never would have created the image of the Huntington Beach Pier that will join other works from this year's artwalk at the Shorebreak Hotel.

"He's been doing a lot of artistic stuff, and he's very talented," the painting's owner, Luanne Diehl, said Friday in the living room of her Surf City home, where Meredith's "Sunset at the Huntington Beach Pier" hangs over the couch.

"He's been doing a lot of pencil work. And he started thinking that he wanted to do some paintings. He started with some oils, and I thought, 'You know, I'd love to have a picture of the pier,' and I figured he'd be the one."

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For eight months last year, Meredith worked on a 3-by-5-foot depiction of the pier at sunset, with a blazing red and orange sky and the lights of Ruby's restaurant glistening at the end. Since then, he's sold giclees and prints of the image at the art walk and elsewhere. And if enough of those fans stop by to vote Thursday, he may win the Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District's annual Favorite Artist of the Year prize.

Since 2011, the business improvement district has capped off each year by inviting all the art walk's participants to attend a celebration at the Shorebreak and bring their favorite piece to display. Visitors can vote at the event for their favorite artist, with the winner receiving a plaque.

The downtown group has been hosting the showcase in January, but manager Susan Welfringer said her team opted to move it to November to avoid working around the holidays and give the artists a break during the winter months. (The art walk, for the first time, will be dark from December through February.)

So far, Welfringer said, more than 50 artists have confirmed their attendance. Janessa Bookout's piece, made from a damaged surfboard blank and pieces of scrap foam, features a painted image of a "kelp goddess" underwater surrounded by seaweed. Fredy Dominguez will present his Italian clay sculpture "Forever Young," which shows a walking couple intertwined.

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