Tim Scoggins has never created a stick figure.
Able to draw even before uttering his first word, Scoggins spent his childhood sketching school friends — accurate two-dimensional portrayals of all that surrounded him.
It was this "God-given talent," as he calls it, which was noticed Sunday at Art-A-Fair's Jury Day at the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach. Scoggins was one of 23 artists added to the art festival's current line-up, which features exhibitors not only from across California, but the world.
In its 47th year, Art-A-Fair is a summer-long showcase of two- and three-dimensional art in all mediums, including oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, drawings, photography, digital art, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, glass and wood. Three original works are required to apply for each medium.
Scoggins submitted a series of portraits of Native Americans — sepia-toned 24-by-24 inch mixed media on ash wood panels.
"I came across some old tintype photos from the late 1800s one day while on the Web, and I was struck by their power," said Scoggins, 51, who began stockpiling the most captivating finds in a folder. "I started sketching the ones I really liked, slightly changing their jewelry or feathers, but keeping their faces exactly as they were, because for me, that was really the emotional contact."
Before the festival launches on June 28, Scoggins also plans to complete a 36-by-48 inch painting of the Beatles.
The Murrieta artist commented that he would have been more of a "nervous wreck" if he'd been aware, going in, that a laundry list of contenders was vying for a limited number of spaces.
It was at Art-A-Fair that Orange-based wildlife painter Carol Heiman-Greene debuted nearly 17 years ago. In the years since, she has been afforded the opportunity to learn from artists and interact with visitors who are brought together by a shared passion.
"Art-A-Fair is a venue for artists of all media, levels and experiences, so we showcase work by well-established, plus upcoming, names," she said. "That was the case when I first started. They took a chance on me."
Returning this year not only as an exhibitor but also a judge, Heiman-Greene was captivated by hand-made etchings, old-school illustrations and abstract paintings highlighted by mother of pearl.
"The quality of art work is incredibly important to me, as it is to the show," she said. "I expect a lot from myself in my own work, so I expect that from work that is being put forward as an application to the show."
The eligibility of entries was determined by their quality, originality and presentation. Anonymity was a top priority during the judging process. To ensure that, artists dropped off their materials outside; and in place of their names, an identification number was affixed to each piece.
Art-A-Fair's jury consisted of seven professional fine artists and craftspeople. Two external jurors, or substitutes, were included in the panel in case the judges recognized artists from their signatures or realized that they lack experience in a particular field.
"We were on the look-out for quality that would coincide with what Art-A-Fair is known for — a high level that other artists are at," said Wayne Tarshis, 74, from Tustin.
The oil painter, known for still life creations with a wine theme, has participated in Art-A-Fair for three years and deemed it "a great experience to, as a judge, see the work that others are producing."
According to him, the judges held up scorecards numbered one through 10 after evaluating the artwork, which was mounted on easels. The cards faced backward so that staff could tally the numbers, but the judges could not see each others' rankings.
"Those who were selected were elated and showed a real sense of pride," said Mary Gulino, Art-A-Fair's vice president of marketing. "Those who didn't make it seemed shocked and bewildered as to why they didn't get accepted. It is always the most emotional part of the day."
Laura Seeley's pieces caught the attention of attendees, who were surprised to learn that her mixed media on wood and jewelry submissions hadn't made the cut, she said.
However, the owner of Dana Point-based Laura Seeley Studio and Best Friends Art Gallery expressed joy at being selected in the acrylics category. A writer and illustrator of children's books, Seeley has long turned to art as a means of therapy and communication.
"The pure joy of making people smile with my art keeps me coming back to it," she said. "A smile is contagious. It's great when I look at a person's face and catch them smiling and pointing at my art. It's a way to communicate without even using words."
"As artists, we talk to people a lot — they come through, we get to know them, they learn about our work and creative process, and sometimes take a piece back with them," she said. "It continues to be exciting, but it's extra special when someone makes the decision to put our work in their home."