2021 Plein Air Paintout Artists
Jim Bensman is a Bay Area contemporary oil painter of urban and rural landscapes. Growing up in rural Ohio he spent much of his childhood exploring the neighboring fields and farms. His interest in art began in his early 20’s as a soldier deployed to Panama.
Fascinated by the Panamanian culture Jim spent much of his time exploring the urban decay that formed out of the recent conflict. Jim began sketching as a way to record his surroundings and remember a moment in time.
After the military Jim attended The Ohio State University in the Landscape Architecture program and continued to explore his art through night and weekend classes. Now living in Albany with his wife and 2 kids, Jim continues to explore the urban and rural landscapes around him, captivated by transitional and commonplace areas. His strong compositional paintings, much like his early sketches of Panama, are a way of capturing a moment in time and understanding the beauty in the mundane. He often explores a subject by developing many sketches and paintings.
Brooke is a full-time, award-winning artist at 32, working out of Capitol Hill Seattle WA. Her paintings focus on innovation, aesthetics, perception and place. With a background in plein air (on site) landscape painting, she has developed an affinity for color, dynamic composition, and the beauty of the every day. By analytically breaking up a scene into blocks of color and putting them back together, an engaging process is created with looking and responding, but is also hopefully enjoyable for the audience to get lost in.
Brooke earned her BFA from the University of Oregon in 2010, taking her easel outdoors for the first time in 2009.
Tanvi is a licensed architect practicing residential design, and is enjoying her creative journey as a watercolor artist.
Self-taught, she takes every opportunity to learn by watching videos, reading books, and attending workshops. The immediacy and discomfort of plein-air appeals to her, and she finds the conversations that come up with passers-by serendipitous and enchanting. Reading, hiking, experimental cooking, and writing short stories are some of her other passions. Her two young children constantly encourage her, but aren’t her best critics as they love everything she paints.
Philippe Gandiol, an award winning Northern California painter, was born and raised in France and moved to California in his early 20’s. He has painted with oils for over 30 years. He pursued an independent program of study taking classes in France, San Francisco and Sacramento and with several renowned West Coast painters. Philippe likes to paint a variety of subjects like landscapes, cityscapes, still life and figures “en plein air” or in the studio. He works as much as possible from life, believing that only in life can he find the full range of light and color he wants in his paintings and the spirit and mood of his subject matter. He is actively involved with the California artist community, art events and fundraisers. He also participated in juried art festivals in Easton, Sonoma, Carmel, Napa and Los Gatos to name a few.
MARY JO KELLY
I studied Art at the University of Toledo and studied Photography at Bowling Green State University, in Ohio. Moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico after my college graduation, I admired and hoped to meet Georgia O’Keeffe. I wrote her several letters but never did hear back from her.
My next adventure in life will be working as an artist. Getting back to my artistic career is what I long for. I love Plein Air Painting and love to compete in Paint-Offs. The Wild Rivers Plein Air-Paint Off is held very near where I live in Cerro, NM. I won the Emerging Artist award in 2019 for my painting “Sunrise Over the Rio Grande”. I was accepted among 40 artists to compete in Alameda, California in 2021.
KRISTIAN TAYLOR MATTHEWS
In 2005, he began attending The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he concentrated his efforts on painting the human figure. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and suddenly finding himself without a model to paint, he decided to give plein air painting a shot. Since then, he has created the vast majority of his art outdoors.
Kristian loves to capture the effects of light with paint. He is drawn to dramatic lighting and enjoys finding the beauty in everyday scenes.
When I set out to create a painting, my goal is always the same: to create the most beautiful image possible given the possibilities of the scene that lies before me. That generally requires some manipulation of the scene, but I try to stay true to what I see while focusing on capturing the essentials that give the scene or subject its essence. For me this means editing out what is not important and enhancing what is, while not getting carried away with details. It also means to embrace the nature of oil paint by not overly blending and by creating textural variety.
My art expresses my personal reflections on the experience of being in nature. I choose to depict the power and beauty of nature through my work in a loose and spontaneous style. Watercolor painting and the luminous effects it produces is fascinating to me. Plein Air painting offers the opportunity to engage with nature and spend time outside, noticing and incorporating elements that are essential to representing the scene and its unique beauty. This process is both challenging and thrilling.
I began making art while living in the Bay Area and later graduating from Dominican University with an art degree. I’ve spent many years in arts education, teaching students of all grade levels.
Plein air painting is my passion. There is an immersion that happens by standing in the scene- the light, the air, the sounds and the scene itself envelope me. It is immediate and I can intimately react to what I see and to what I know to be true. Often there is a grandness of scale that is a bit overwhelming; I tend to parcel it down to what portion of the scene speaks to the enormity of it. I look for the story of what makes this place unique, and so often it is about the light. Northern California light is magnificent year round. And too, California is often about transition, a theme in my work. I’m at some point in the continuum of change and feel compelled to honor this fleeing moment. Towns are revitalized, Vintage character gets replaced, orchards are leveled for high density housing. Painting allows me to preserve the character of this moment in time.
My goal in painting is not so much to reproduce exactly what’s before me but to paint what is the result of looking at it, and getting its essence. I’m attempting to capture the truth of the moment and in painting it, I honor it. I respect its totality, and I aim to paint its essence.
My passion is painting ‘en plein air’ (in the open air). Changing light and weather dictate the necessity to capture the essence of a scene quickly all the while being mindful of memorizing every nuance of it. I focus on strong design and value contrasts in my shapes. I strive to tell a story - to convey what moves me and led me to pick this subject and paint it in this way.
I feel a close connection to the beauty I see all around me. Painting allows me to express the joy it gives me. When I am painting on location, an indelible image is burned into my memory that I get to savor forever after. I find the endeavor to be thrilling. I enjoy the challenge of communicating this magic to others.
I find the competition at Plein Air Events is with myself, to see how far and fast I can stretch to produce a small body of work in a limited time, After each event, I know I have grown in my abilities by pushing myself.
I grew up in a large family that loved to draw and color, with some taking art as a career. My formal art training started when I took Art in college then earned a Masters degree from Punjab university where I taught painting and art history for next seven years and later three at a girls college. It was during my teaching years that I explored myself as an artist with better understanding of seeing and omitting. I enjoy the process of painting in several mediums like oil, water and pastels etc. Like the preferred medium my choice of subject matter also has a wide range. I guess I rather be a Jack of all trades than to be a master.
Before I start a painting, I ask myself what has driven me to paint this particular subject. Is it the distant blue hills, is it the water running through some sunlit trees, or could it be the soft enveloping valley fog? Usually, it’s an emotional connection I get from the above scenes as they present themselves to me. It’s this emotion filling my entire being that inspires me to pick up a brush to translate that feeling onto canvas.
I paint a variety of subjects from landscapes and figurative to still life objects, with landscapes being my primary focus. Studying how the light affects the land at different times of the day and different weather conditions gives me plenty of subject matter. I paint while outdoors, take photographs of the scene, and take the value sketches home to do a larger version in the studio.
I am drawn to plein air in response to beauty and it’s allure. The focus creates a form of embrace with the subject matter, which I find soothing. Stemming from a childhood interest in the natural world, I now view nature from the lens of conservation as well as renewal.
The practice poses many obstacles to overcome so I set out to learn the methods of the 19th century.
The work is necessarily small, completed “alla prima," all in one sitting. I learned to commit to a composition and make a painting quickly while staying fluid, comparing values, shapes, line quality and drawing for accuracy.
As a result of practice, my skills of observation are sharpened.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Cathy received her Masters of Fine Art in painting from the Academy of Art University in 2015, graduating with honors.
K. ANDREA GARMAN
What I celebrate in my artwork is my love of nature. I treasure the memories of my adventures enjoying the natural wonders of our world. Finding the beauty and light, for example, in patterns in the rocks, texture of the moss, and reflections in water, guides my depiction. As also a plein air artist, I have great pleasure painting on location when traveling to fuel my creativity. Painting outdoors comes with a number of unique challenges, but also its own rewards. I welcome the staggering amount of visual material available to me as I wander the globe which is a special kind of abundance. How satisfying it can be to be looking, seeing, feeling, and creating. I like to think my love of painting in the outdoors is a symbiotic relationship with nature.
My artwork leans into an abstract perspective with strong, bold colors to represent the vibrance and creativity of nature. My inspiration often comes from bodies of water. I also find myself painting affirmations and statements of women empowerment. "Finding the joy" is a personal mantra for me and I strive to apply it within my art as well.
Art by Carole
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Mike Hill is a representational oil painter who specializes in urban and plein air landscapes. Most paintings are started in the field and finished in his studio. Mike holds a master’s degree in business administration and runs a successful business in San Diego. Mike has also trained extensively under Pat Kelly and Jeff Yeomans in San Diego. He has won numerous awards for his plein air paintings.
After retiring in 2008, I have devoted my full energy into my passion...a full-time painter. I'm fascinated with the boom and bust cycle of the urban scene. I try to capture the roma of old neighborhoods and once placid rural areas before they are changed and gone forever. After moving to California I felt compelled to do more plein air paintings because fo the vibrant color and variety of subject matter.
I search deep into my memories for inspiration and in recent years I've become increasingly interested in figurative image in my work and discovered that my painting have a more powerful connection with the viewer.
Ultimately I paint because I love the journey each of my paintings takes me on, and no matter where I stare, I'm always surprised at where I end.
After acquiring a BFA in graphic design with a minor in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Chuck Kovacic art directed numerous advertising campaigns for a variety of print and media clients and detailed urban revitalization programs for communities participating in the “Main Street” program for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Chuck has hosted videotaped interviews with numerous distinguished fellow artists.
In 2016 he was honored to be the recipient of the CAC’s “William and Julia Bracken Wendt Award.” In 2018, he received the CAC “Special Achievement Award.” He regularly exhibits at the Old Mill in San Marino, Hillside Gallery in Claremont, CA, Hudson Fine Art in Hudson, OH and the annual Gold Medal show. He has been a guest artist of the Kaiping Museum of Art in China, as well as in Provence, Switzerland and Scotland and has participated in events throughout California and Ohio.
I follow in the classic traditions of the 19th-century romantic landscape painters, inspired by the Hudson River School, Early California painters, and American and California Impressionists. My work is best described as tonal-colorist, Craftsman style. With heavy emphasis on plein-air (outdoor) painting, I seek to capture the many moods of the atmospheric landscape, from picturesque to sublime, always with a warm sense of place. A professional fine artist in San Francisco for over 30 years, Mark first painted outdoors as a teenager in Columbus, Ohio. After a time in engineering, he moved to California to complete his art education, eventually earning a BFA, an MFA, and taking numerous plein-air workshops. He has pursued his loves of outdoor and studio painting ever since
I have been creating: icons, illustrations, package designs, paintings and murals for over 25 years. I received my MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and returned years later when asked to teach illustration in their undergraduate and graduate departments. I worked in-house for Yahoo for 12 years as their Senior Creative Manager responsible for Illustration and Icon Design worldwide and more recently I worked 3 years as a Design Manager at Amazon, focusing on their K-12 Educational products.
Throughout, I have continued to pursue my passion for painting and have been accepted into various Artist in Residence programs. Notably, I was selected into the A.I.R program with the National Park Service for John Day Fossil Beds, and I was a finalist for Death Valley and Lassen (twice.)
For me, nature motivates creativity. I paint realistic images in a slightly abstract way to engender curiosity and interest. By capturing a brief moment in a larger action, my paintings produce a moment of anticipation for the viewer: “What’s going to happen next?
JULIA MUNGER SEELOS
Julia has participated in the west’s most prestigious events.
Her paintings have been selected for numerous national exhibitions with the American Impressionist Society, California Art Club, Triton Art Museum, Steinbeck Museum, Wilding Museum, Epperson Gallery and LPAPA shows. Julia was awarded First Place for oils in the Santa Cruz Statewide Landscape Show by juror, Jean Stern and Best of Show in the 2010 LPAPA Best of Plein Air Exhibition earning an invitation to the Laguna Plein Air Festival.
Julia had paintings selected for the California Art Club’s show at the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum, “Magnificent Migrations” and two pieces in “Outdoor Treasures” at the Firehouse Arts Center, LPAPA’s “Unexpected Places”.
BONNIE JOY SEDLAK
I am a self-taught painter who uses bright hues of transparent watercolor to express a wide range of subjects. My studio paintings include land/sea/urban ‘scapes, animals, figurative/portraits and florals. My plein air sketches feature the California coast, historic barns, lighthouses, missions and I paint Yosemite in the spring and autumn every year.
Although drawing and painting were my passion since childhood, I only found time to paint occasionally while earning my M.A and Ph.D. in biology. I started painting full time about ten years ago after retiring from my careers. I spent twenty years as a scientist and college educator and another twenty in biotechnology business development. Now I spend almost every day exploring and enjoying the wonders of watercolor. Each new painting is both a challenge and a reward.
I am in awe of the way light reveals our environment - the infinite variations that occur from sunrise to sunset and with changes in the weather and seasons. My goal is to capture something special about each scene or object I am viewing – beauty, essence, a feeling, or a mood.
My preference is to paint en plein air and I often refine paintings in my studio. I have studied or taken workshops with a number of professional artists including Ray Mendieta, Paul Kratter, Camille Predzwodek, Ned Mueller, Ray Roberts, Peter Adams, Thomas Kitts, Alexander Zimin, Thomas Schaller, Cooley Whisson, Terry Muira and Will Maller.
Painting to me is a way to express emotion through paint, much like a musician expresses emotion through music.
Painting and drawing most of my life I now paint mostly in oils as I love the feel and texture it can create. I enjoy painting en plein air and in the studio, it is all exciting to me regardless of painting a crashing wave or a portrait.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Hong Kong and Yorkshire, England. I am an American/British dual citizen, but consider California my home.
My inspiration comes from great masters such as John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla and Anders Zorn as well as contemporary artists Randall Sexton, Huihan Lui, Kevin Courter, Ruo Li, Kevin Macpherson, Brian Blood, Laurie Kersey and Don Demers.
I have been painting for many decades because I realized long ago that art is something I must do even during the most difficult or busy times. Over the past several years I have been concentrating on painting the natural beauty of the California countryside. I find that when I get outside and spend time deeply looking, which is a requirement for good painting, the landscape becomes a part of who I am and this brings me peace. Watercolor is my medium of choice, although I do sometimes use other media. I love the sense of light and transparency inherent in watercolor and how the pigments interact and flow together. I try to work with these qualities to help depict my emotional response to a place. My paintings often contain hard edged or architectural elements, but this is always tempered by nature’s random and tenacious energy. I am active in the plein air groups of the Los Gatos Art Association and the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. I am currently represented by Gallery 24 in Los Gatos, CA.
Deepali Kapatkar is an impressionist painter and works primarily in oils and pastels. She paints both ‘en plein air’ and in studio from photographs that she takes during her travels. She likes to tell ‘colorful’ stories of everyday life through her paintings and photographs. Although Deepali has a formal degree in Architecture and Interior Design, she was a stay at home mom raising her two children for a number of years. But her fascination with the play of light on shapes, tactile beauty of different textures, and vibrancy of color translated seamlessly in the pursuit of her career as an Architect and Interior Designer during her two year sojourn in India in 2008 - 2010 when she returned to work briefly. Although it was very daunting to paint ‘en plein air’ and finish a painting ‘alla prima’, she quickly learned to enjoy it and became passionate about it.
Deepali is an award winning artist and has been juried into various shows across the Bay Area and the Nation. Her artwork can be found in private collections both in the US and her native India.
Sarah Lam grew up in an older tree lined neighborhood, where it was commonplace to see homes dating back to the Victorian era. Growing up in a house built in the 1940’s, surrounded by historic homes that were handcrafted and uniquely designed, sparked Sarah’s admiration of vintage architecture. Many hours spent outdoors hiking and horseback riding, fostered an appreciation for the natural world. These two interests combined, a love of the outdoors and an affinity for vintage architecture, are integral to her art.
Sarah Lam graduated with honors from the University of California Davis, where she studied fine art under professors David Hollowell and Wayne Thiebaud. Through a University sponsored class, Sarah met John Natsoulas, a gallery owner who would become her mentor in the art world. Impressed by her work, Natsoulas sponsored her first solo show in 2004 at his John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, California, where she continues to regularly exhibit her work. Additionally, Sarah participates in plein air events throughout Northern California and Central Oregon where she has won many awards for her landscapes.
Award-winning artist, Marie Massey, has been painting professionally for 20 years and teaching the "Painting in Layers" method to adults working in oil and acrylic for 8 years. Marie is an avid plein air painter and does 5 to 7 plein air painting events annually.
Marie's paintings have been juried into more than 130 National and Regional shows where they have won many awards including Best of Show, People's Choice,1st, 2nd and 3rd place as well as many Honorable Mentions, merchant and purchase awards. Marie's work sells well and is in private, corporate and government collections. Marie is grateful to be represented by select galleries across the USA including Reflections Elegante Gallery in Willow Glen, Ca., The San Francisco Women Artists Gallery, 620 Fine Art Gallery in Pacific Grove, Ca, Art of Santa Cruz in Capitola, Ca Deselms Fine Art in Cheyenne, WY, ACEP Gallery in Estes Park, Co and Independence Gallery in Loveland, Co
Steven is an emerging painter from the California Bay Area who's inspired by the natural beauty of his home state. He began painting as a teenager with master painters Brigitte Curt and Jim Smyth, and continued his education at Cornell University in New York and the Lorenzo de Medici Institute in Florence. He particularly loves spending time in the hills around San Francisco Bay and down on the Monterey Coast, drawn by the incredible color vibrations and qualities of light in these places. He has been recognized by Southwest Art Magazine as one of their "21 Under 31" artists to follow and published in Plein Air Magazine among other honors. His work is on display at Studio Seven Gallery in Pleasanton.
Artist Jan Norsetter is an award-winning oil painter known for vibrant landscape paintings en plein air and evocatively detailed studies in still life.
Norsetter sets up her easel in the open air, working outdoors surrounded by a world that imbues her paintings with a sense of place.
In the past decade Norsetter has exhibited in more than 40 juried, collaborative, or solo art shows. Commissions include the Tribune Building Artist of Record, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, a series of paintings scheduled for completion in 2020.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including top honors at the Theodore Robinson Plein Air Competition in 2013, 2014 & 2016, First Place and Best in Show at the Wisconsin State Rosemaling Exhibit in 2014 & 2017 and First Place in the National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition at the Vesterheim Museum, Decorah, Iowa, in 2009. Norsetter earned her Vesterheim Gold Medal in Rosemaling in 2018.
Norsetter holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fine arts and art education.
Radhika Srinivas is an Award winning Watercolor Artist, who lives and works in the Philadelphia area as a full time professional artist. Her source of inspiration comes from her various travels around the world, Chester County, Pennsylvania and everyday urban street life. She enjoys painting en Plein Air as well as works out of her studio in Devon, Pennsylvania. She is a signature member and the President of the Philadelphia Watercolor Society, a signature member of the Pennsylvania watercolor Society, associate member of the American Watercolor society, The American Impressionist Society and the National Watercolor Society.
Painting moments in my world as I see them in a series of different ideas and subjects. I am primarily a plein air painter and love the transparency of watercolor. Drawing with a strong focus on perspective is fundamental in all my paintings. Searching for a scene I often create a title first.
I moved to San Francisco from Australia in1980 after an 18 month trip across Europe and the USA.
I worked as a freelance illustrator drawing pen and ink hotels for The Karen Brown Travel Guides from 1983 to 2000 while raising my 3 kids and for 35 years I have worked as an architectural renderer sketching and painting watercolors for the real estate industry.
My painting career began in 2011 and in 2013 I took my first plein air workshop and was hooked.
I have held exhibitions in Sydney, Australia, at Nielsen Framers and The Holton Studio Gallery in Berkeley and I love participating in plein air events as well as painting weekly outdoors.
I believe that the mark of a good artist is to be able to capture the different facets of life in his painting, the mode, ambiance, etc. In a sense, not just illustrating or recording what he sees but expressing what he feels. As a plain-air artist (outdoor painting), watercolor was the perfect medium of choice: handy, quick to dry, yet delivers a truly magnificent work of art.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Richie N. Vios hails from an artistic family. He graduated with a bachelor's architecture degree and became faculty member, teaching architectural design and presentation. In 2004 his family decided to leave the Philippines in hopes of a better future in America. Richie returned to the Philippines by himself to share, develop, and construct many of the things he had learned from America. During the next five years there, in his spare time he refined and honed down a unique mastery of watercolor painting evident in all of his art to this day.
Xueling Zou, is an award-winning, Chinese American self-taught, artist living in California, from a Beijing artist family. She creates visual stories in oil and watercolor using composition, color, lines and form inspired by nature, literature, and different cultures. Her original artworks are nationally exhibited and internationally collected.
Drawing on influences of great masters from history to the present, with simplicity of brushstroke, her contemporary impressionist portraits, figure paintings, plein air landscapes of California, express the humanity and beauty in special moments - the stories of our life.