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SEPT. 21, 2012


Encinitas artist learns to trust his instincts By Jared Whitlock

ENCINITAS — From a young age, resident Greg Brown, 69, showed artistic promise. But he hasn’t always been able to devote major time to his own creative endeavors. Since retiring, though, he’s honed his craft and let the intuitive part of his mind take the wheel. For years, Brown was an architect by trade, designing local buildings and homes, even parks and town halls in Iran while he was in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s. He found architecture to be fulfilling.Yet it required constant attention to detail and analytical examination, not exactly the most right-brain friendly work. The antidote? Unleash his spontaneous side. “By nature, I’m a cerebral person,” Brown said.“I tend to think too much. I’m trying to tap into more of the unconscious, the whimsical.” To do this, Brown has been experimenting with a kind of printmaking called cyanotypes, which entails placing photosensitive chemicals onto watercolor paper and exposing it to sunlight. The result: stark blue and white images, many of which have an eerie quality. “Unlike painting, I can quickly pick and choose which

photos I like,” Brown said. “There’s no pressure to commit to one thing.” As well as a newfound passion for cyanotypes, Brown can paint everything from traditional oil portraits to impressionistic takes on nature. His artistic skills go back to elementary school, where he developed a knack for drawing. “That became my way to excel,” Brown said. “I was not good at sports because I had polio at the age of 4. Although I could participate, I could not excel.” His sixth-grade teacher spotted his talent and told him he should go to art school. His parents insisted on a more practical path, which Brown said he doesn’t regret. “Architecture takes a synergy of quite a few talents,” Brown said. “I was happy doing that. But I later decided to really see what I’m capable of as an artist.” Right now, his attention is focused on perfecting cyanotypes. Possibly his most striking foray into cyanotypes is a complex work titled “SamsaraImpermanence.” The work features shape-shifting bubbles juxtaposed with a Gustave Dore illustration depicting a scene from Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”

After years of left-brain thinking as an architect, Greg Brown said he wants to “tap into more of the unconscious, the whimsical” in his artwork. Photo by Jared Whitlock

Perhaps Brown’s most striking work, “Samsara-Impermanence” may have been a way to cope with loss. Photo copyright and used with the permission of Gregory M. Brown.

“The organic shape of the bubbles and the similar shape of the bodies in the illustration fascinated me,” Brown said. “I’m making a visual comparison between the flimsiness of human life and the flimsiness of the bubbles

looked at from a perspective of hundreds of thousands of years.” The work, along with another of Brown’s, won an honorable mention award at the Del Mar Fair. Brown’s work has also been displayed

at the Del Mar Art Center and the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. “ S a m s a r a Impermanence” also has personal meaning. Brown said it may have been his way of dealing with tragedy. “I lost my wife 11 years ago and I’ve never really been able to express it in my art,” Brown said. “This may have been something I unconsciously came up with reflecting on it. That seems like a possibility.” “We were married almost 25 years, she was a wonderful woman,” Brown added. “She was a great mother and we raised one son together.”

Cyanotypes also allow him to manipulate light and shadows, a major component of nearly all his work. But his interest in shadowplay hasn’t always materialized on a painting or print. About a decade ago, he put on several sound and light shows at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, where he is an active member. The show involved coordinated light bouncing off of shallow water and onto a projection screen, and all the while, live and recorded music played. He dreamed up the idea about four decades prior. “I thought of it while I was back in architecture school,” Brown said. “In college, your mind is excited about a lot of different things.” It appears as though Brown’s mind is as excited as ever, and he keeps pushing himself in new directions. “It takes an awful lot to find your way as an artist, and I’m still on the path. I feel I’ve achieved some things, but it’s not just a question of just suddenly discovering your genius. There’s a lot of hard work. I’m happy to be where I’m at, though.” For more information on Brown’s work, contact the Del Mar Art Center.

Beans to have their day at fourth annual Lima Bean Faire By Lillian Cox

ENCINITAS — “A day without beans just isn’t a day because you get fiber and protein in every bite,” advises Carolyn Cope, an awardwinning lima bean chef and connoisseur. “Beans have little or no flavor, so what you do with it is important.” Cope will be returning

this year for The Battle of the Beans, a highlight of the fourth annual Lima Bean Faire presented by the San Dieguito Heritage Museum from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 29. She has been a top prize winner every year since the competition began in 2009. “The first year I was going to make fudge,” Cope

*($1,500 will be given in increments of $250 off the first 6 months rent. Applies to move into Assisted Living Only. By September 30, 2012)

said. “I cooked, pulverized and blended the lima beans and chocolate but it never hardened. I decided to add sour cream, and whipped it into a fluffy dip which I served with vanilla wafers, pretzels, marshmallows and grapes.” Cope says she got a lot of ribbing from friends as she was preparing the dish. The laughing stopped when she returned home with three, crisp $50 bills in prize money for each category she won. In 2010, she decided to capitalize on her previous success and set out to make a fondue dip blending lima beans, Ghirardelli dark chocolate, Toll House chocolate chips, Eagle Brand condensed milk, butter and Mexican vanilla. The dip was served with graham crackers. Last year Cope made

Mexican Cherry Bombs with individually-selected lima beans she soaked for three days in tequila. Afterwards she boiled the beans until they were al dente, skewered them on a decorative toothpick with a small piece of Maraschino cherry and dipped the toothpick mixture into chocolate before serving. “This year I went off my usual path and decided to make an appetizer, instead of dessert, and not use chocolate,” Cope hinted. She explained that she’s remaining secretive until the competition except to say that the recipe will involve at least two types of beans: lima and kidney. This year for the first time the lima bean competition is open to other beans — garbanzo, pinto, green, mung, kidney, white, navy, great northern, black, black-eyed peas, adzuki, lentils, soy, broad, mesquite and haricot. Cope knows something

about beans, being raised in Encinitas where lima beans were dry-farmed in the pioneer days. “My mom made lima beans with brine,” she said. “I also enjoyed refried beans at the home of a wonderful Mexican neighbor.” To celebrate Encinitas’ agricultural history, the Battle of the Beans will offer many delicious dishes to be savored. Tickets cost $5 for three, and $15 for unlimited, tastings. The pro-am competition features the Encinitas Café and Garcia's Mexican Cuisine representing the professional division. Cope is hoping to prevail in the amateur events again. She’ll be competing with Evelyn Weidner, Jean Bruns, Charlie Pease and others. Judging takes place at 2:30 p.m. and includes three categories: 1) soup/entrée, 2) salad/appetizer, and 3) anything else. A People’s Choice award will also be presented. Winners receive a cash prize of $50 for their respective category along with a bean-shaped trophy crafted by artist Danny Salzhandler. Festivities feature live bluegrass music by the Tail Draggers, a bake sale and kids games. Raffle prizes include an overnight stay and dinner at Harrah's Rincon, an overnight stay and dinner at Pala Casino Spa Resort, restaurant gift certificates and plants from Weidner's Gardens. Executive director Will Neblett explained that money raised from the event will be used for operating funds for the museum. “Everyone should come out and experience the

Carolyn Cope, award-winning lima bean chef and connoisseur, is returning to compete in The Battle of the Beans at the Fourth Annual Lima Faire at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas. Photo by Lillian Cox

delectable lima bean dishes,” he added. “Some people don’t have fond memories of lima beans mostly because they were overcooked. They will be surprised and delighted by the recipes presented and I guarantee they will be fans of lima beans afterwards.” The San Dieguito Heritage Museum is located at 450 Quail Gardens Drive, north of the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. For more information and tickets, call (760) 632-9711 or visit

The Coast News, Sept. 21, 2012  
The Coast News, Sept. 21, 2012  

The edition of The Coast News for the week of Sept. 21, 2012.