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Local artist presents his “Ocean Odyssey” beginning March 11

Dana Point artist John Hall opens his show “An Ocean Odyssey” at Casa Romantica March 11. Courtesy photo
Dana Point artist John Hall opens his show “An Ocean Odyssey” at San Clemente’s historic Casa Romantica Tuesday, March 11. Courtesy photo

By Andrea Papagianis

Local artist John Hall has painted the ocean since his days as a U.S. Naval Aviator.

Now, the more than 40-year Dana Point resident opens his first-solo showcase at San Clemente’s historic Casa Romantica on Tuesday, March 11, highlighting his relationship with the world’s vast liquid spaces and the journey he’s embarked on capturing his life-long experiences.

“All my life I have either been on the water or very near the water,” Hall said. “The water has always appeared in my paintings in some way or another, and I have built this show’s theme around the ocean and my experiences with it.”

Painting by John Hall
Painting by John Hall

Showcasing 30 works, both long established and newly commissioned, Hall’s Casa show will focus on contemporary designs, like waves crashing at the shore, which he transformed into abstract and graphic works of art. In one piece, titled “Marine Mosaic,” Hall has stepped outside of his traditional painting realm and into the world of graphic presentation, utilizing different shapes, colors and designs to depict the ocean in a patterned way. And it’s all a part of his journey he said.

Hall was an art major at Redondo Union High School and studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles prior to entering UCLA’s business program as a scholarship recipient in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Before finding home in Dana Point, Hall lived throughout the county in 17 different locales when he and wife Barbara married. He was 24, she 22. Barbara was a Los Angeles native, and John, a recent graduate, was about to enter naval flight school when their parents arranged a meeting. After one UCLA dance and another six, or eight, dates the pair was engaged, and the rest, as John says, is history.

Hall spent a few years as an active duty pilot in the Pacific before the couple, and their only child, settled in Pacific Palisades. He would return to school to receive an MBA, leading him on an aerospace career path and bringing the young family to Dana Point.

“You get used to moving around, but once you find a spot like Dana Point you stay,” Hall said of his home of 42 years.

Throughout his schooling and professional career, Hall kept his interests routed in art. He became active in the Niguel Art Association, later the Dana Point Fine Arts Association, and since 1998, he has been a part owner—with 14 other artists—of the Cove Gallery in Laguna Beach. Hall has also shown at past performances of the Dana Point Symphony. From his wandering early days to his established roots in south Orange County’s art community, Hall said it’s all part of the process.

“Art is an open end journey, and you never get there, no matter where there is, because you are always on the journey,” Hall said. “There is no absolute perfection in art because there is always something new when you turn around.”

Hall’s “An Ocean Odyssey” runs through Sunday, April 13 and opens with a free reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on March 11.

The Casa Romantic gallery, located at 415 Avenida Granada, will then be open Tuesday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost of admission is free to members after the reception. Non-member admission is $5. Find out about other upcoming programs by visiting,

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