ArtQuest alum Angie Crabtree carves out a career painting diamonds

Santa Rosa High alum Angie Crabtree has carved out a career painting diamonds.|

Does anybody peer into kaleidoscopes any more?

“I’ve always been into them,” says Angie Crabtree, who as a kid was fascinated by the facets of a kaleidoscopic image, then by the way color and light and geometry play in crystals, and geodes, and mandalas.

Crabtree studied visual fine arts in the ArtQuest program at Santa Rosa High and went on to Santa Rosa Junior College, Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academie, the Art Institute of Chicago and San Francisco Art Institute. After several years of teaching, she challenged herself to become a professional artist.

Now she’s 29 and she’s doing it. By painting diamonds.

Crabtree has created a place for herself in the art world by having diamonds macro-photographed, then using the photo as the model for an oil painting of the cut stone. To some of the facets she applies a glazing that reflects light, like the ring on a bride’s finger does.

There are people who own diamonds and will commission Crabtree to capture their beauty and brilliance on a canvas. She’s also drawing increased attention from retailers and wholesalers of diamonds.

In June, organizers of a huge, international jewelry industry show in Las Vegas hired the Sonoma County native to put on a live painting demonstration. She also spoke on how generally anti-traditional millennials are warming to diamonds.

Crabtree has done much research into the creation, mining and marketing of diamonds. Why she painstakingly paints oils of them is simple.

“They’re just pretty.”

The diamond girl has no doubt she’d be working in some other field were it not for what she learned at Santa Rosa High.

“I talk about ArtQuest all the time,” she said. “There’s a San Francisco art school that’s a really big deal, and ArtQuest is so much better.”


THE CARRILLO ADOBE, whose ruins near Montgomery Village mark the birthplace of Santa Rosa, is indeed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

A state commission voted unanimously Friday to recommend that the adobe be added to the U.S. government’s official list of places worth preserving.

Barring a dramatic development, though, the construction of apartments or condos on most of the approximately 15 acres next to the adobe will commence as soon as this fall.

The Carrillo Adobe will be protected whether or not that project happens. Our great question remains:

What will we do with this homely, hallowed, historic place?


PEACE AND PIE: This year, the Japanese-Americans and others who commemorate America’s dropping of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, are branching out.

A broadened Nuclear Remembrance Day gathering at Petaluma’s Putnam Plaza will honor also victims and survivors of the 2011 Fukushima power plant disaster and advocate a nuclear-free world.

Organizers of the ?11 a.m. to 3 p.m. event Saturday prepare for a Geiger counter demo, shakuhachi flute performance and origami master Henry Kaku’s making of a great crane with a sheet of paper 6 feet square.

And there will be pie tasting. Why?

Because co-organizer Lina Hoshino co-founded the Petaluma Pie Co. that’s right there on Putnam Plaza.

A better answer: Why not?

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and

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