Being born in London;

growing up in Africa as Ghana, Nigeria and the Congo got their respective independence; and moving to Santa Monica in 1991 to raise her children have all played a significant role in Peta Orbach’s art.

Her subjects depict a celebration of life through landscapes, people, animals and flowers.

She shows them in paintings with acrylics, charcoal drawings and prints, as well as a unique brown bag canvas with pastels.

Orbach also finds that art, music, and theater are more

significant than they have been given space for in schools.

So, she joined Inside Out Community Arts, a Venice organization that provides interaction for at-risk and underserved Los

Angeles middle school students.

“I think it’s important that kids spend more time doing art, music [and theater] than they do, to find who they are,” Orbach says. “It’s finding a confidence, finding their voice.”

Ultimately, the artist believes she found her voice and confidence in this career path.

“It’s what I’m here to do,”

Orbach says. “If I were in a society where painting was magic (not in physical form) that would work, too.

The 56-year-old artist tries to make her art work simple and free and will paint a piece several times to make it so. Through tiny brush strokes, Orbach finds a Zen-quality to her pieces.

“I really admire the brush stroke that is perfect, the idea of just very few brush strokes conveying what you want,” she says.

Orbach begins her process with a sketchbook. She sketches everything from family to the street, such as people and animals on Venice beach. Sometimes those sketches are later transformed into paintings on canvas or pastels on brown bags.

Then in a show, such as one she has opening in February,

Orbach focuses on producing a body of work, placing it in order and getting feedback and thoughts.

“Sometimes I start with an idea, and it just runs for a while,” she adds.

Orbach’s current mixed media Works in Progress will be at the Topanga Canyon Gallery in Topanga from Wednesday,

February 6th, through Sunday, March 2nd.