In 1984, I was 8 years old in Sydney Littenberg’s oil painting class at the Culver City Teen Center. We stunk up the poorly ventilated basement with elixirs of turpentine, linseed oil and the thick fragrance of the original Mr. Clean. The hairy, sweaty, grunting men aspiring to be Lou Ferrigno in the weight room next door to our classroom never complained.
In this day and age, the toxic fumes and proximity of half-naked testosterone engines to little children in a confined space would never fly, but in those days we reveled in the oddity of it all. To drown out the grunts, we turned up the volume on “Born in the USA” and “Dancing in the Dark” by Sydney’s favorite vocalist, Bruce Springsteen.
In between lessons in mixing, blending and brush stokes, Sydney would share stories about living in her artist loft in Downtown LA above Skid Row. The magical mystery of the oils, the connection with creation swirled with the carpentry of wooden stretcher bars that she made for income and stories of homeless people hiding in her fire escape.
On her last day, she walked me out to her car, held my shoulders and looked me in the eye and said, “Promise me you’ll keep painting. Don’t stop no matter what they may say.” I was eleven. I still miss her.
One thing that continues to ring true is the beauty of brush cleaning with Mr. Clean. I’ve tried the fancy stuff, I’ve tried dish soap and shampoo, but 35 years later, Mr. Clean is still the best for cleaning brushes.
Friday night. Building to myself. In my weakened state, Rod set me up to paint from the easy chair before he left for the evening. Trying to paint my friend’s grandpa. Ended up looking like someone I miss. If you see him, send him my way. 6’4” slender in a baseball cap instead of a fedora. Claire is behind me on her nighttime studio perch, giggling to the more upbeat Elton John lyrics on my best of playlist, but trying to sleep.
Oil on canvas
Andi Schoenbaum, 2019
Oil on canvas
Commission oil painting of perspective of American flag blowing in the wind for Mark Dominguez at Rahnama Law in Oxnard.
Mark is an Army Veteran, who joined the military at the age of 18. He was stationed in the Dominican Republic as reconnaissance infantry and served 17 months in Vietnam. His experiences there deeply cultivated his passion for patriotism and service. It also carved deep wounds with the loss of close friends to wartime casualties. He went on to serve 26 years in the Ventura County police force, most notably as an undercover narcotics officer. He enjoys fly fishing, sunsets at Rincon and live performances. This painting is to commemorate his life of duty.
Next Show: January 12 – February 23, 2019
Beatrice Wood Center for The Arts
Reception: Saturday, January 12, 2-5pm
Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
8585 Ojai Santa Paula Road, Ojai CA
About the exhibit
Art Without Limits (AWoL) is pleased to announce “Dance Into the New Year!” on display from January 12 – February 23, 2019 at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, located at 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road, Ojai, CA 93024.
Hours of Operation: Friday-Sunday (11:00am-5:00pm) / Monday-Thursday (CLOSED)
Join us for another exhibition celebrating the work created by many artists affiliated with Art Without Limits. Be sure to come out for the Opening Reception on Friday, January 12, 2019 from 2:00-5:00pm.
Exhibiting and Performing Artists will include Derrick Curtis (dance), Elite Henenson (photography), Sol Hill (metagraphs), Yulia Maluta (dance), Tom Pazderka (painting), and Andi Schoenbaum (abstract painting).
In conjunction with the exhibition, a Ballroom Dance Workshop, hosted by Yulia Maluta, is scheduled for Friday, January 26, 2019 from 2:00-5:00pm. The workshop consists of three 40-minute sessions, geared toward beginners to advanced ballroom dancers, and is open to anyone 16 years-of-age or older. Participants will learn a range of dances including the Swing, Foxtrot, and the Argentine Tango. Cost of the workshop is $30 and pre-registration is required at www.beatricewood.com/workshops/ballroom_dancing.
To learn more about the exhibition, be sure to check out www.awolsb.org/exhibitions.
Image: Andi Schoenbaum, “Almost Weightless” 48″x36″ Oil & Oil Pastel on Canvas, 2019