Art Festival poster winner found inspiration on Catalina
As far back as she can remember, Deanna Clausen has loved to create art. She has early memories of falling asleep at the kitchen table with her face pressed on a coloring book like a flat pillow.
Clausen, who spent her teen and early adult years, living on Catalina Island recently became this year’s Catalina Art Festival poster contest winner. The painting, entitled “Midnight Stroll” could be described as a mythical scene on Catalina, with bison walking over a hill in the moonlight of a vivid blue world.
It was a painting she did in 2019. It sold within a couple of months and now resides in Texas with its owner. Due to its quick sale and the interest people took when they saw prints or photos of the original acrylic painting, led Clausen to take a shot in the poster contest.
“It got so much attention that when it came time for the contest, I thought I might as well put it in,” Clausen.
The painting was chosen, and it was her first win with an entry into the poster contest, which she said she is very happy about. Clausen first moved to Catalina as a teenager to help care for her grandmother. Her family history goes back to the late 1800s on Catalina, she said. And her great-grandfather was an artist and an original member of the Catalina Art Association.
She essentially considers herself a self-taught artist, but definitely had some encouragement along the way. She remembered having Ms. Rockwell for art at Avalon School and her encouragement was a springboard to get Clausen to pour more of herself into art.
“She just inspired me beyond words,” Clausen said.
Clausen met her husband Richard on Catalina and after they married, job opportunities took them off the island, as they relocated overtown. But in 2010, necessity became the mother of inspiration, when her husband was in a sever car accident, which derailed his ability to work. Looking for new ways to bring in income, Deanna turned toward her art.
She first found a market for hand-painted greeting cards, which can be found at The Steamer Trunk store in Avalon. She also began creating original paintings on wide-brimmed hat, trucker caps, ornaments, or anything else she found to personalize an item.
“Anything I can paint on, I will paint on,” Clausen said.
As for her canvas paintings, she said she has had an affinity for mythical things ever since she was a child. She liked things like dragons and fairies. While she doesn’t paint a lot of mythical creatures, aside from some mermaids, she does think that’s where her choice of colors come from.
Many of her works use a lot of blues and purples. There are other bison pictures, with the bison on a stroll with the ocean and a ship in the background under a dark blue and purple sky.
“I think it’s just built into the way I paint,” Clausen said.
In recent years, her husband has begun making jewelry from woven metal, often with pieces ranging from coins, to stones and even abalone shell pieces. He might also use beeds. Between the two of them, they have created an Etsy store and are nearing completion of their own website. The company is called Combing the Sand.
While they don’t live on Catalina Island right now, they are frequent visitors and Deanna will certainly be at the Art Festival on the weekend of April 15-17. She will be there with a collection of art, much of which still has an island connection. Beside the bison, there might be the Casino mermaid or even some garibaldi fish.
“Catalina is just in my heart,” Clausen said.
Until then you can find them on Facebook and Instagram at @combingthesand. On Etsy, search for CombingTheSand to find the Etsy store. Or find them at the festival in April.