"I don't like the term 'functional art,' " James Ewan says. "These are really paintings mounted on an umbrella. Each one is unique. The art is the function."
Ewan, a Los Angeles architect-turned-artist whose shades on sticks have been popping up in restaurants and at the Museum of Contemporary Art since 1985, paints with geometric precision in bold colors outlined with gold, copper and bronze, giving the appearance of stained glass.
Ranging in size from 7 to 13 feet, the square or octagonal canvases top poles of teak, alder, oak or mahogany. These striking sun screens, which also can be outfitted with painted storage covers, cost $5,000 and up. Still, they're in demand.
For information on umbrella art, contact James Ewan at (310) 276-1379.