Best Local OC Artists

I grew up with art. My mom is an artist with an amazing sense of balance. I followed in her footsteps taking the medium to the next level with graphic design. I started as a storyboard artist for the Food Concept and Product Development group for Disney’s California Adventure. As a shared cast member of the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney Imagineering, I made my Disney dream come true. I graduated from college with an Associates of Arts degree in Advertising Graphic Design and began my career outside of Disney. My knowledge has taken me in many different areas from promotional products, automotive marketing, direct mail advertising, restaurant product development, to medical device marketing.

Just like me, every artist has a unique story and journey. Their art, using a variety of mediums like oil or acrylic paints, charcoals, pastels, pencils, and even using a computer, laptop, or tablet, convey a thought with each stroke. Combining the strokes puts the story together with color and imagery. If you have ever been to an art museum or art show and wondered why people will stand or sit in front of a piece of art and just stare, they are following the flowing strokes and lines to understand what the artist is conveying, focusing on details, experiencing the colors, etc. Sometimes, your mind will transport you into the painting as if you are there – aroma of flowers, wind rustling through blades of grass, or the sound of the waves as they crash on a sandy beach. Experience it yourself with these local Orange County Artists.

Courtesy of Patricia Matranga
Patricia Matranga was born in 1956 and raised in the Midwest. She has always had an appreciation of nature. In 1991, after a long career in the computer industry, she decided to stay at home and care for her two young sons and take over the computer aspects of her husband’s business. Patricia also took this time to experiment and explore her creative side. Her love of nature, everyday life, and environment inspired and flourished in her paintings and began painting full time in 2013. Some of her works are done “Alla Prima” (all in one session) while others may take weeks to complete. She prefers oils but has worked in a variety of mediums. Her influences come from Joaquin Sorrolla, William Wendt, and John Singer Sargent as well as current prominent artists. She had her first solo gallery show this year in Laguna.

Courtesy of Nancy Egan
Nancy Egan has art running through her veins. Her father, a Yale fine arts graduate, taught and inspired her through her formative years. She pursued a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management. She applied her education designing and manufacturing computers. This scientific art evolved into contemporary fine art. Nancy has worked full time as a professional oil painter for the last fifteen years. Her influences come from Leonardo DiVinci, John Singer Sargent, and local artist like Ken Auster, Michael Obermeyer, and Elizabeth Tolley. Her works have sold both nationally and internationally.

Courtesy of Emilee Reed
Emilee Reed spent 30 years with one of the most creative companies of them all, The Walt Disney Co. And just like Disney, Emilee is drawn to the excitement, surprise, and wonder of watercolor. She does a detailed study of her subject and then plans each step of the painting to capture all of the special nuances. Her work has also been published in “The Art Lover’s Cookbook” and “International Contemporary Masters IV” and is available at the Laguna Beach Watercolor Gallery in the Art Center. Her influences come from Don Hendricks, former Fullerton resident artist and instructor at Fullerton College, and Birgit O’Connor.

Courtesy of Joshua Serafin
Joshua Serafin grew up in Huntington Beach and is a leader in the beach culture art movement. In 1999, his Sunset Resolution, a photographic diary of a year of sunsets, made him a household name. With the natural beauty of the coastline, ocean depths, and the combination of the two evoke joy and peace through each of his paintings. As he has grown as an artist, so has his art. Serafin moved from canvas to panel boards to glass where he uses the ancient art of reverse technique painting while using oil paints and various mediums to change the texture and appearance of the paint. His influences come from Mark Rothko, Vincent Van Gogh, Gustave Klimt, and Ken Auster.

Courtesy of Susan Leonhard
Susan Leonhard comes from an artistic family so creative art is in her genes. She is self-taught and began oil painting at the age of 10. She is fascinated with the beauty of water. She began her Underwater & Beyond series in 2014. This series of painting has been the most challenging and most rewarding for her. She was inspired while on a trip to Kauai – how to translate the beauty of water and peacefulness of the underwater to canvas. Susan’s paintings have been featured in publications such as, “The Art Lover’s Cookbook”, “Gladys” magazine, and “The Creative Way”. Her influences come from Richard Schmit, Leonard Wren, and Ken Auster.