Art studios, homes and gardens are back on tour in La Jolla and Pacific Beach

If talking to artists, seeing their studios, and touring their homes and gardens sounds like the trifecta of a great day out, you probably don’t want to miss the San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour.

This year’s tour, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, will include two locations in La Jolla and three in Pacific Beach, featuring more than 30 professional artists.

Several artists, each with a different preferred medium, will be at each site on the free self-guided tour.

“We chose to have five locations instead of six…so everyone could easily get there and not feel rushed,” said artist Dot Renshaw, co-organizer of the tour with the artist Leah Higgins. “We want everyone to be able to talk to the artists and have fun.”

Although the tour – the second after last year’s inauguration – is free, donation boxes will be set up at each location to benefit the National Cheering Foundationwhich aims to help women free themselves from heart disease, mental illness, cancer, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases.

The exhibited works will be available for purchase. Categories include Realism, Abstract, Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic, Photography, Mixed Media, Plein Air, Pastels, Jewelry, Textile Arts, Ceramics, Wood, calabashes, sculpture, stained glass, glass art, metal sculpture, mosaics and metal garden art. Sizes range from small to monumental.

“All participants are accomplished, award-winning artists, and this is an invitational art show,” Renshaw said. “We really do our homework to make sure everyone here is delivering quality work.”

“People are looking for more art and color in their lives,” Higgins said, “and this is a great place to find both.”


The home of artist Dottie Stanley and her husband, Dave, is part of La Jolla Corona Estates. Each of the homes was built with stunning views and unique architecture, Stanley said.

“My house has a Spanish flair, with the arched doorways, Spanish tile roof and wrought iron railings,” she said. “The house is located on a small hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, parts of the bay and the city of San Diego. Views can be seen from most rooms in the house.

Stanley has been painting for over 50 years, particularly flowers, still lifes, seascapes and landscapes. The house is filled with art, as the Stanleys collect the works of many local artists, including the award-winning works of Dottie.

Statues of mythical characters adorn the garden.

“There are windows and art everywhere; it’s like walking into an art museum,” Renshaw said.

Artist Jane Fletcher’s Techbuilt home was built in La Jolla in 1970; Fletcher has lived in the area since 1971. The house was renovated in the late 1990s to include the art studio where she paints and works with wood and glass.

From the 1960s through the 1990s, TechBuilt built more than 10,000 high-end homes in La Jolla, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and other areas.

Bespoke front entry doors and a sculpted four-panel screen in the entryway welcome guests to Fletcher’s. Its hand-carved doors and glassware may look familiar – they are found in many homes in the area. His paintings can be seen in homes and businesses around the world.

Its 400 square foot entrance doubles as gallery space to reach the 300 square foot studio.

Renshaw said guests will walk through Fletcher’s house to reach the backyard, passing multi-panel carved screens, etched glass and dozens of paintings for sale along the way.

Pacific Beach

The three Pacific Beach homes on the tour include that of Renshaw and her husband, Zack, who bought their 1920s home over 40 years ago because of his love of Moorish architecture.

Renshaw added a 20-foot-tall art studio, which has a window overlooking a garden filled with huge staghorn ferns, fruit trees and flowers. She consulted Don Adams, a well-known Del Mar architect, to expand the house from 1,050 square feet to 2,500 and match the original style.

She also added a custom 21-step spiral staircase inspired by the one in the movie “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” and left a gap between floors to allow for ocean views.

Renshaw paints coastal art and often chooses places that others might miss, such as small trails and campsites.

Higgins was born and raised in the Pacific Beach home purchased by her father in 1947. The home, built in 1926 and designed by famed architect Irving Gill, was famed horticulturist Kate Sessions’ first custom home.

Higgins swapped houses with her mother as an adult and moved back into the house in 1982 with her husband, Patrick. Its independent studio and its renovated land are the strong points of the property. Her art specializes in houses, landscapes and portraits, but she enjoys a wide variety of subjects.

“We’ve spent years paying homage to Kate Sessions, maintaining the property ‘the Kate way’ – not too primitive, but keeping the nooks and crannies and the free-form style that she had,” said Higgins.

The 2-acre property contains several plants and trees from Sessions’ original garden, such as podocarpus, jacarandas, Torrey pines, rock pines, eucalyptus, palms, cedars and cypresses, as well as plants succulents, jades and a cactus garden.

PB’s third house is described as a “no-frills 1940s beach house”, although around 40 huge paintings are displayed on the fences and in the backyard, where the artists usually work. The outdoor studio is described as “vivid in color”.

It is the home of artists Eliza Principe, who uses oil paints in vivid colors and shapes, and Martin Cervantez, a retired army artist and photographer who paints very colorful but precisely constructed abstracts. .

“This stop is sure to have plenty of color and a variety of styles to enjoy,” Principe said.

“People are looking for more art and color in their lives, and this is a great place to find both.”

-Lea Higgins

“People love that our event is small enough to be enjoyable but big enough to have a wide range of studios, gardens and performers,” Higgins said. “Our community is so rich in talented people and it’s so fun to meet everyone. We look forward to doing it again this year. »

For a full list of participating artists, including biographies and samples of their work, visit the tour’s website,

Visitors can find tour locations on the website beginning Thursday, September 1. The locations will be within a 3-mile radius of each other, and organizers say street parking shouldn’t be a problem. The studios can be visited in any order. Dogs are not allowed. ◆

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