"Imagination is greater than knowledge."--Albert Einstein

Local artist Lynn Larson''s process painting workshops come with a warning. "You will never be the same," she says. An exciting idea for some, but a scary thought for others.

Committing to the workshop "takes a great deal of courage," the artist admits. But she promises that at the end, participants will "walk out the door dancing and smiling."

What exactly is "process painting"? Quite simply, Larson says, it''s the process of painting and experiencing paint. As well, it''s standing up for a long time, confronting a blank piece of paper, and speaking to no one. It''s letting go of expectations, picking up the brush and painting.

What can participants expect during the workshop? "You''ll enter into a realm of yourself that you didn''t know about, maybe. Or it''ll be a validation of things that you really did know and maybe have never had an opportunity to work through," says Larson.

Though some might be quick to brand process painting as a form of art therapy, Larson stresses that this is not the case. "It''s not a prescription--it''s a place to enter into wholeness," she says.

Larson sees process painting as a way to reconnect people with their creativity. Too often, she says, creativity is viewed as something only a gifted few possess, something separate from everyday life. In her view, everyone is creative; people just need the opportunity to tap into it.

A well-known artist and an experienced teacher, Larson previously shied away from presenting art workshops because she felt they hindered, not helped, participants'' artistic growth. But after she took her first two-day workshop of this kind several months ago in San Francisco, Larson fell in love with the non-instructional nature of process painting. "It''s not teaching, it''s just simply sharing. I don''t want to teach a thing," she says. The artist now believes that it''s possible to bring the joys of painting and self-discovery to people who are professional artists, who haven''t held a paintbrush since kindergarten, or who are somewhere in-between.

During the workshop, participants are required to focus only on themselves, not observe others and never comment (positively or negatively) on another''s work. Facilitators make no suggestions, give no advice. These guidelines create an atmosphere where people can work without fear of criticism.

Participants often worry about the end result, of what they''ll take home to show family and friends. Part of the process is working through feelings of pressure to produce an attractive painting. If anything, the workshop is not product-oriented, says Larson, and it''s not the place to create a painting to hang in the living room.

"There are no pretty paintings that come out of this," she warns. However, she says, the paintings are often beautiful, unusual and very authentic.

Although the workshops Larson offers are for two days, those of five, seven, or 12 days are ideal, since they offer more time for in-depth work. Those offered in March are only "hors d''oeuvres," she says, and adds that she hopes to host longer workshops in the future. Presently, Larson''s workshops are for women, but if interest is strong, she plans to open them to men in the future.

So, for those who take the plunge and enroll, what will they gain from the experience of process painting?

Larson smiles. "Themselves. It can be only that." cw

Process painting weekend workshops are scheduled for March 20-21 and March 27-28. To register, or for more information, call 831-659-0206.

Art Events

Alvarado Gallery The Traveler in the Country: Pleasant Views Within. Opening Reception. Paintings of abandoned barns in the Midwest and farm scenes of the Monterey area. At the Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza, Monterey. 646-3858. Reception: 3/19, 5:30pm. Through: 5/3.

Carl Cherry Center for the Arts Beauty at the Heart of Things. Call for Entries. The Carl Cherry Center seeks photographic entries--"up to four slides in black and white or color related to the articulation of beauty in everyday objects"--for a show that opens 4/3. Call for more info. 624-7491.

Fireside Lobby Henry Gilpin. Opening Reception. Silver gelatin prints by noted photographer Henry Gilpin. At the Highlands Inn, Highway 1, Carmel. 624-3801. Reception: 3/19, 6pm. Through: 6/15.

First Murphy House Monterey Peninsula People. Opening Reception. Photographs and biographies of people who live in the area by John McCleary. Mission Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. Reception: 3/20, 1pm. Through: 5/16.

Gallery Americana

Demonstration by painter Ken Auster on Friday, 2pm; opening reception on Saturday, 4pm. Lincoln Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 625-1511.

Gray''s Art Gallery Women & Children At Work--Ghana. Opening Reception. Photographic essay by Karin Cotterman 1104 Broadway Ave., Suite K, Seaside. 899-1069. Reception: 3/20, 4pm. Through: 4/3.

Hartnell College Seminar Gallery Art of Sound. Opening Reception. Three hundred-fifty miniature drawings by Hartnell student Elizabeth Harney. 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. 755-6791. Reception: 3/22, 6pm. Through: 3/26.

Morgan''s Coffee and Tea Opening receptions. Painted works in wood by David Jones. Reception: 3/18, 6pm. Photographs from John McCleary''s trip trhough Afghanistan. Reception: 3/21, 1pm. 498 Washington St., Monterey. 373-1479. Through: 3/31.

PG Museum of Natural History Mysterious Manatees. Lecture. Photographs and text "intended to improve our understanding of these animals." Lecture by Galen RathBun, "How Sea Cows Got Their Name." 165 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove. 648-3116. Reception: 3/21, 2pm. Through: 4/18.

Phillips Gallery A Major American Exhibition. Exhibition and demonstration by Harold Hitchcock, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Call for invitation to event. Lincoln Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 626-1126. Reception: 3/20, 5-8pm. Through: 3/20.

Art Listings

Carl Cherry Center Thinking Out Loud. Exhibit. Artwork in many media by Monterey County high school students. The show is presented in conjunction with the "1999 Monterey County High School Poetry Awards," which has an awards ceremony on 3/20 at the Monterey Public Library, Guadalupe Street and 4th Avenue, Carmel. 624-7491. Through: 3/28.

Carmel Art Association A Curious Collection. Exhibit. New works by sculptor Kathleen Crocetti. The exhibit represents a year-long series in which the artist investigates, "what will be emerging from these cocoons?" Also, paintings and drawings by Frank Ashley; abstract landscapes by Heidi Hybl; watercolors by William F. Stone, Jr; oil paintings on paper by Susan Reith. Dolores Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 4/6.

Carmel Valley Manor Exhibit. Works by members of the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the Embroiderers'' Guild of America. 8545 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley. 626-4806. Through: 3/30.

Center for Photographic Art Duane Michals: Now Becoming Then. Exhibit. Narrative series of photographs telling visual, otherworldly, stories. At the Sunset Center, San Carlos Street and 8th Avenue, Carmel. 625-5181. Through: 4/30.

Galeria Tonantzin The Breast of Times. Exhibit. Works in clay by five women artists exploring "a subject that [is] on the minds of most individuals in our culture." 115 Third St., San Juan Bautista. 623-ARTE. Through: 4/11.

Grove Homescapes Exhibit. Mono-prints by Lesley Ann Spowart and Gary Snider; acrylic paintings by Anita Benson; black-and-white photographs by Jay Schneider. 472 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 656-0864. Through: 3/31.

Marjorie Evans Gallery Separate Visions. Exhibit. Photographs by the Independent Photographers Group. At the Sunset Center, San Carlos Street and 8th Avenue, Carmel. 373-3009. Through: 3/31.

Monterey College of Law Exhibit. Handmade papers, monotypes and etchings by Paula Walzer. 404 W. Franklin St., Monterey. 373-3301.

Monterey Museum of Art: Civic Center Exhibit. Gerald Wasserman''s "Caff‚ Scenes;" Works on paper from the Frost/Hanna Collection. C.S. Price: "Landscape, Image and Spirit." 559 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 5/9.

MPC Gallery Fusion: Integration of Digital and Three-dimensional Art. Exhibit. Works by students of Jason Challas at Monterey Peninsula College. 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 333-0501. Through: 4/2.

National Steinbeck Center Cross-eyed: Two Siblings/Distinct Memories. Exhibit. Artworks and writing by John and Leah Harper that "relate humorous and touching stories about their memories growing up in a large family." One Main St., Salinas. 796-3833.

Pacific Grove Art Center Exhibits. "Out of the Earth," photographs by David E. Stroup; "My Life," paintings by Marian Whitney; "Print Work," etchings and lithographs by Diana Jacobs; humorous sculpture by Mary Gould. 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 4/2.

Pajaro Valley Gallery Black & White and Everything in Between. Exhibit. Works by Lynda Watson and Jane Gregorius. 37 Sudden St., Watsonville. 722-3062. Through: 3/20.

Santa Catalina School The World of Lady M. Paintings by Karen Nagano inspired by Japanese court culture and literature. 1500 Mark Thomas Dr., Monterey. 655-9350. Through: 4/18.

Seaside City Hall Annual Youth Art Show. Exhibit. Photographic works, paintings, graphics, sculptures and crafts are shown by Monterey County junior high and high school students. 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside. 899-6336. Through: 3/27.

Tillie Gort''s Restaurant Through the Looking Glass. Exhibit. Black-and-white portraiture by Rocio Brice¤o "examines images of an adult world in the eyes of children." 111 Central Ave., Pacific Grove. 373-0335. Through: 3/28.

Valley Art Gallery Annual Juried Show. Exhibit. Members of the Salinas Valley Art Association show works in many media. 218 Main St., Salinas. 422-4162. Through: 3/27.

Venture Art Gallery Exhibit. Paintings by Barbara Reding. 260 Alvarado Mall, at the Doubletree Hotel, Monterey. 372-6279. Through: 3/31.

Vest Pocket Gallery Watercolors. Exhibit. Works by Chuck Scardina. 551 Gibson Ave., Pacific Grove. 657-5200. Through: 3/31.

A Woman''s Wellspring Exhibit. Black-and-white photography of the female nude by Jenny Ruley. 575 Calle Principal, Monterey. 649-2320. Through: 3/30.

Zantman Art Galleries Recent Works. Exhibit. Still life paintings by Dorothy Fitzgerald Mission Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 624-8314. Through: 4/8.

Theater Opening

Cinderella Friday and Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 2pm. Musical. Notre Dame High School''s drama club presents the lively Rodgers and Hammerstein''s musical production of Cinderella, the tale of an unwanted girl kept as a virtual slave by her evil stepmother and stepsisters until she''s magically rescued by a prince''s love and a lost slipper. Notre Dame High School Theater, 455 Palma Dr., Salinas. 751-1850. $7/general; $5/children; $5/seniors. Through: 3/28.

Theater Closing

Once Upon a Mattress Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, Sunday at 2pm. Musical Comedy. The fractured fairy-tale musical that made Carol Burnett a Broadway star, Once Upon A Mattress is a modern song-and-dance retelling of the classic story of a princess who had to prove her royal lineage by feeling a single pea hidden under a stack of mattresses. Now you can do that sort of genealogical tracing by computer. Terry Barto directs and choregraphs the show, which is recommended for the entire family. Monterey Peninsula Theater Main Stage, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 646-4213. $15/general; $7/children; $11/seniors. Through: 3/21.

Smash Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 5pm. Comedy. Conrad Selvig directs a great local cast in this Jeffrey Hatcher adaptation of George Bernard Shaw''s novel, An Unsocial Socialist. Clever word play and love triangles are intertwined with serious debate about societal change and the British caste system in the Victorian age. The story centers on a young millionaire socialist who leaves his bride at the altar and infiltrates a girls'' school in order to indoctrinate the future wives of Britain''s political leaders with the teachings of Marx and Engels. Smash is also the debut of the Carl Cherry Center''s new facelift. Cast includes Ron Cohen, Peter Eberhardt, John Farmanesh, Roo Hornady, Michael Lojkovic, Deirdre McCauley and Michael Robbins. Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Guadalupe Street and 4th Avenue, Carmel. 646-9478. $14/general; $12/children; $12/seniors. Through: 3/21.

Translations Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Drama. The York School drama department presents a drama set in Northern Ireland by Brian Friel, Irish playwright best known in this country for his Dancing at Lughnasa. Translations is set in Donegal in 1833, and tells the story of the British Army''s attempt to stem the tide of Irish independence by forcibly replacing Gaelic with English in the territory they were occupying. Friel couches his political message within a fictional love story between a British soldier and an Irish village girl. Call for reservations, leaving your name, the number of people in your group and your phone number; you will only be called back if seats are unavailable. York School Theater, 9501 York Rd., Monterey. 372-7338, ext. 138. Free. Through: 3/20.

Now Playing

A Cup of Tea Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Melodrama. The Troupers of the Gold Coast present A Cup of Tea, a 19th-century farce about an erstwhile poet who composes sonnets to his lady-love. His heartfelt odes, unfortunately, fall into the hands of his intended''s husband, with predictably tragi-comic results. This is the Troupers'' 541st production since 1937 in the historic First Theater, one of Monterey''s most treasured 19th-century buildings. All shows are suitable for the entire family, and are followed by an olio revue. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. 375-4916. $10/general; $5/children; $8/seniors. Through: 3/27.

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. Drama. Pac Rep takes on this powerful Tennessee Williams, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of a red-hot family feud in a Mississippi Delta town. Stephen Moorer plays Brick, a once-great high school athlete paralyzed by drink and his own failed sense of self. Julie Hughett is his wife Maggie, a bombshell crushed by her husband''s refusal to share her bed. Len Perry takes center stage as Big Daddy, the all-powerful family patriarch whose imminent demise sets in motion a bitter quarrel for his money and his love. Directed by John Rousseau. Saturday ticket prices are $20/general; $15/students and seniors. Other days, $18/general; $12/students and seniors. Golden Bough Theater, Monte Verde Street between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. 622-0700. Through: 4/11.

Fractured Fairy Tales Sunday at 1pm. Comedy. Ramie Wikdahl directs a new improv troupe called the Portable Theatre, which presents their own brand of fractured fairy tales--wacky retellings of popular fairy tales--an hour before each MPC Main Stage show on Sunday afternoons. The goal is to develop an interactive theater experience that draws the audience into the storytelling. Eventually, the players hope to take their fairy tales on the road as an SRO/Studio Theater travelling production. Monterey Peninsula College Main Stage, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 646-4085. Free. Through: 4/21.

How I Learned To Drive Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm. Drama. Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for drama, this memory play is told through the eyes of Li''l Bit, now in her 30s, as she recalls the sexual affair she had with her Uncle Peck over a seven-year period, when she was 11 to 18 years old. Alternately funny and devastatingly brutal, this Paula Vogel play explores the limits of familial sexual behavior. Can sex between an adult uncle and his teenage niece be "consensual?" Can a child realize the emotional impact she may suffer years later? From the opening scenes of sexual exploration in a car seat, Vogel lets the audience know this won''t be a night of easy entertainment. Kathy Deskin-Jacobs directs Stephen Moorer and Caryne Shea in the lead roles. The Circle Theater in the Golden Bough, Monte Verde Street between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. 622-0700. $18/general; $15/children; $15/seniors. Through: 4/17.

On The Air Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm, Sunday at 8pm. Musical Revue. Angelo DiGirolamo revives this feel-good, song-and-dance trip down nostalgia lane, presented as this year''s major fundraiser for the Wharf Theater. It''s a true musical revue, featuring the great old songs of Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, George and Ira Gershwin, and their like. The show is billed as a way to relive the grand old days of radio (if you''re old enough to remember them) or to introduce that genre to your youngsters and grand-youngsters. All ages, of course, are welcome. Directed by Gina Welch-Hagen. Wharf Theater, Fisherman''s Wharf, Monterey. 649-2332/372-1373. $15/general; $8/children; Through: 3/28.

Toad of Toad Hall Saturday at 2 and 4pm, Sunday at 1 and 3pm. Children. Thomas Burks revives his role as Mr. Toad in the Unicorn Family Fantasy Theatre production of the children''s classic by Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows. Carey Crockett has adapted the tale and woven it into a wonderful children''s play complete with puppets and props, which the Unicorn folks have put on several times, to the delight of local youngsters and their parents. Advance tickets are available through the theater and at Spanish Bay Galleries, Bookmark in Pacific Grove and Carmel Video in the Mid-Valley Shopping Center. The Hoffman Playhouse, 320 Hoffman Ave., Monterey. 649-0259. $5/general; $5/children; $5/seniors. Through: 4/24.

Two Dozen Red Roses Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 7pm. Comedy. A love quadrangle is the setting for this modern romantic farce by Kenneth Horne. The confusion is set in motion when roses are delivered to the wrong woman''s house. The plot thickens, subplots emerge, lovers are entangled and mayhem ensues until the inevitable resolution. Directed by Richard Munyon. The Hoffman Playhouse, 320 Hoffman Ave., Monterey. 649-0259. $15/general; $15/children; $15/seniors. Through: 4/24.

Waiting in the Wings Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm. Comedy. The Staff Players present Noel Coward''s comedy about a retirement home for British actresses "of a certain vintage." Waiting in the Wings is typical Coward fare: clever, funny, fast-paced and revealing of the human condition. Nick Hovick directs a cast of 17, including Marcia Hovick, Janice O''Brien, Loel Shuler, Susan Keenan and Neva Hahns. Indoor Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita streets, Carmel. 624-1531. $12/general; $9/children; $9/seniors. Through: 3/28.


Carmel Performing Arts Festival The Carmel Performing Arts Festival is accepting project proposals from performers for inclusion in this year''s festival, scheduled Oct. 1-Oct. 17. Song, dance, theater, spoken word, performance art--have your proposal in by March 29. Call the festival office at 644-8383 for application.

Sherlock''s Last Case Monday and Tuesday, 6:30 to 8:30pm. Mystery thriller. Four men ages 40-60, one woman aged 25-30 and one woman aged 50-70 are needed for Unicorn Theater''s upcoming production of Sherlock''s Last Case, a tongue-in-cheek thriller wherein Holmes receives a death threat from the son of his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty. English playwright Charles Marowitz won awards for his humorous take on the classic Holmes story. Directed by Derek Niegemann and Sonny Jenkins. Hoffman Playhouse, 320 Hoffman Ave., Monterey. 649-0259. Through: 3/24.

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