By Julianne Homokay – Special to The Alpine Mountaineer
Since 2005, The Lake House in Cedar Glen has been a purveyor of creative, unique and classy home décor items with aesthetics that aim to recreate the feel of the quintessential 1930s mountain lake house. And now for her 14th summer season, the store’s owner, Robin Lyles, has brought back the popular First Friday art event series.
When asked if she is trying anything different with the format this year, Lyles joked, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Which means that guests can expect the same quality and variety of art on display, accompanied by wine, cheese and the sumptuous appetizers Lyles often makes from the gourmet food products she sells at the store.
This year, the series kicked off on June 30 to capitalize on Fourth of July crowds. By all evidence, customers are excited this event is back as the store was packed by 5 p.m.
Painter Linda Brown and gourd artisan Julia Aubrey were this season’s first featured artists. Brown herself has become a part of the tradition: “I was her first First Friday artist, and I’ve been her first artist ever since.” Brown works with oils and paints sublime landscapes that play with diffuse light. Her paintings are quite popular with Lyles’ clientele. “Sales are pretty good!” Brown said. “I sold my 100th painting a few years ago and have lost track since then,” she laughed.
According to her biographical statement, Aubrey’s “passion is carving gourds, but she doesn’t limit herself to carving.” She will accent a carved gourd with acrylic paint, ink dyes, pyrography and natural and man-made embellishments, which results in truly unique and vibrant pieces.
In fact, two newcomers to First Fridays purchased one of Aubrey’s gourds not 30 minutes into the event on June 30. Jan and Peter live in Palm Desert but “we come up about once a year.We love it here.” They expect to be back at future First Fridays.
First Fridays are fun and classy evenings that complement the slate of summer events here on the mountain, surely, but they are also events the community can feel good about attending. About six years ago, Lyles began choosing charities to allot 10 percent of each evening’s returns to. Last season she raised over $3,600. This season, Rim of the World Historical Society, Blue Jay Jazz Foundation, Rim of the World Educational Foundation, Lake Arrowhead Rotary, Mountain Community Hospital Foundation and Rebuilding Together will benefit from Lyles’ efforts.
If you would like to “join us for wine, hors d’oeuvres, friendship & fine art,” the series will continue on the first Friday of every month through December, 4 to 7 p.m., and will feature many painters, a glass artisan and a wood artisan.
For a full schedule of upcoming artists, visit www.LakeHouseCollection.com. The Lake House is located at 29866 Hook Creek Road, Cedar Glen. Call them at (909) 337-7676.