2023 Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout Artists
“Going with the flow” is what inspires Geoff. He loves the process of inserting himself into an environment or scene with the goal of capturing its elusive essence. Succeeding relies both on being sensitive to the place, its beauty, challenges, distractions and light as well as allowing himself to be a filter. The mystery of not knowing the expressive outcome and allowing for discovery along the way makes en plein air Geoff’s preferred art making process.
Geoff Allen is an award-winning Plein Air artist, who most recently received First Place award at the 2023 LPAPA 19th Annual Best of Plein Air, Third Place award at the Borrego Art Institute Plein Air Festival, The Award of Excellence at 2022 Laguna Plein Air Invitational and Best of Show at the “Waterworks” exhibition Laguna Plein Air Painters Association Gallery.
He is an award winning watercolor artist. He has been active in participating competitive plein air paint outs and juried shows in Northern California. His passion has been painting street scenes, landscapes, boats and harbors and county fairs, capturing the light, atmosphere ane essence of the place. As he loves life, most of his works people and nature are incorporated. Being an Architect, he rarely obscure building elements that he thinks has aesthetic value, and believes that a successful painting always tell story. Rolando is a signature member of California Watercolor Association.
I am a plein air painter in the San Francisco Bay Area working in gouache, exploring light and architecture and encouraging the viewer to celebrate the beauty in the environments that they inhabit every day.
My paintings bring up precious memories for the people who see them. Any place I pick-- a bar, a cafe, a library, or a park-- someone has proposed there, or spent time with their kids there, or their favorite funny story happened there. One of my clients described my work as having ‘built-in sentimentality.’ My physical presence, realtime painting, and experience in scenic art for theater allows me to give a sense of life to the architecture that is my subject. My artistic practice stems from a desire to explore the human experience around me through belongings, environments, and homes.
Recording beauty of the landscape is my joy and brings me close to the essence of living things. Further style definition comes with inward probing. I’m delighted to be having that conversation within myself and with others.
Susan grew up drawing, painting, and sculpting with her artist father and sisters and studied Art and Spanish at Muhlenberg College in the 1980s. After teaching elementary school for 29 years, she began painting in earnest in the spring of 2017. Susan is a member of the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Association, Los Gatos Art Association, and the California Watercolor Association. For Susan, painting is a way to practice mindfulness, draw attention to social and environmental issues, and to share her experience and love of nature with others. Her work ranges from simple line drawings and still life and animal studies to landscapes and abstract creations. She can be found outdoors doing plein air and urban sketching, as well as in the studio. Her work is shown at Gallery 24 in Los Gatos, California.
I enjoy the entirety of plein air painting, from selecting the subject to the fleeting light to the sudden breezes that threaten to topple one's easel. I'm inspired by both land and sea, nature and the built environment. As someone who didn't grow up in California, I'm especially struck by the primacy of water to the lived experience in the Bay - it is both abundant and scarce all at once.
I am drawn to the pattern of light touching and defining a form, whether a landscape or figure. By using the alla prima method, I hope to portray the subject at hand, while possibly preserving a scene, landscape, person or way of life that may soon be lost to the passage of time.
I love art and hiking in nature. Most of my paintings are painted on location or inspired by experiences while hiking in the woods or walking on the coast. Not everyone has access or have physical capability to visit these places. My goal is to share through my paintings the feeling of peace and freedom I get when I am out there, whether the mountains or at the edge of the ocean. My hope is for you to feel transported to that magical place you have fond memories of, or to that place you wish you could be there.
A wiser person than I once described art as the intermediary between the physical and the spiritual. I share in that opinion. The creative act is the linchpin of my personal spiritual quest. While I have experimented from time to time with other techniques and styles, I always return to the same subject matter.
I feel the highest sense of creative tension when I paint a form, any form, the greatest charge. There is nothing as interesting as the attempt to capture a likeness, both physical and emotional, to know the world, if only a little bit, for even a little while. I find nothing so exhilarating and satisfying as success in capture, and nothing as frustrating as the failure.
This struggle could be thought analogous to the perpetual striving to know the true self.
Perhaps in knowing the other, oh so little, it is possible learn to know the self just a little bit more.
My inspiration is the natural world and the imprint that people have made on it. I’m particularly interested in the cultural heritage of the Bay Area, it's maritime history and abundant parks and wetlands; my paintings explore the mystery and untold stories that inhabit these places. The act of interpreting and listening to a particular place while painting on location is a thrilling and humbling experience. My hope is to engage the viewer’s imagination and inspire curiosity and appreciation for the unique beauty that surrounds us.
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. I strive to emotionally connect people to the natural environment through my work. Painting outdoors and spending time deeply looking helps ground me to the bounteous and tenacious energy of the landscape. Most recently I have been experimenting with abstraction and using a variety of media to express what I see.
After almost three decades of working in commercial art I returned to my roots; drawing and painting for the pure love of it. I'm continually awed by the beauty of everything around me, from light and dark to color and textures in organic and man-made structures. I have an insatiable thirst to interpret what I see and cannot work hard enough to capture all of it. My materials vary from graphite pencil to pastel, and wet mediums from watercolor to acrylic and oils.
The pieces here are artwork begun on-site (en Plein Air) and studio work. The challenges of working out of doors often dictate finishing workin my studio. Those include unpredictable weather, changing sunlight and potential for the subject to get up and wander off. Most of the pieces are subjects in California, from Napa Valley to Santa Inez, and Santa Monica to Oceanside. I do custom commissions and teach art workshops for all ages, from Kindergarteners to Octogenarians. We work live, in person and on ZOOM.
I am fascinated with the boom and bust cycle of the urban scene. I try to capture the romance of old neighborhoods and once placid rural areas before they are changed and gone forever. After moving to California I have felt compelled to do plein air paintings because of the vibrant color and variety of subject matter.
I believe that my works are a result of my process. I spend a lot of time planning and sketching before the final execution. I use a variety of media: watercolor, gouache, acrylic and oil, whichever I feel will fit the mood of the piece.
Ultimately I paint because I love the journey each of my paintings takes me on, and no matter where I start, I am always surprised at where I end.
Helen Kang is an environmentalist who has devoted her career to protecting the health of communities in areas with the most pollution and few environmental amenities. Her practice in watercolor and oil media enables her to immerse herself in nature and experience its beauty and mysteries, through which she regains strength for the work she does. Painting the areas close to the activists with whom she has collaborated restores her optimism in the resilience of people and places. Over the last year, she's learned tremendously from the artists who are part of East Bay Painters who continue to share their wisdom and enthusiasm with generosity.
I consider my art as a quest for meaning and connection to life and the world both externally through plein air painting in the surround environment that I travel through and internally bringing out what some call the landscapes of the mind where the imagination raises the questions of why.
A native of San Francisco, Raffi Kondy paints landscape and urban watercolors primarily "en plein air". He enjoys the immediacy of painting on location and strives to capture the drama and energy of his subject matter through the exploration of light and atmosphere.
Through his involvement with the Bay Area plein air group, The Sunday Afternoon Watercolor Society, and through workshops with various artists, Raffi continues to learn and master the challenges of this most demanding art form.
Raffi is an award winning, signature member of the California Watercolor Association. He holds a BA in Art History from Oberlin College and an MBA in Finance from the University of San Francisco.
Chuck F Kovacic
A visit to Alameda is an opportunity to paint its unique Victorian architecture, streetscape and shipping lanes all while being hosted by the friendliest people! I look forward to being a part of it all!
My paintings are the truest representation of what I want to express and what I believe to be the best representation of what I consider beautiful. They present my skill sets in all facets to the highest degree and what I want you to have the ability to access.
I enjoy discovering new vistas, setting up my easel, and creating a piece on the spot. I believe there is no better way to capture the essence of a scene than by standing before it and studying carefully. A native of Sonoma County who finds the area ever-inspiring, I always find inspiration every time I explore.
Since beginning participation in events in 2010, I have won the Carmel Art Festival in 2017, Sonoma Plein Air’s grand prize award in 2013, the Valona Paint Out best of show award twice, and 3 awards in the San Clemente Festival.
Although I paint in the studio and from life my favorite painting is done outdoors. Plein air painters’ subject matter is the physical world, observed directly. We start with what we see, not a concept. What I see can suggest a concept and I reserve the right to manipulate and edit what I see. I paint “from life”, a landscape, cityscape or the figure. I choose something that I find visually interesting or challenging to translate onto a flat surface.
But why that subject? The subject has to evoke an emotion in me, or my observation of the subject must make me realize something worth sharing if I’m going to commit to document and interpret it. How the paint is applied, moved around, layered, and altered is a mesmerizing process. I manipulate paint in order to communicate something I’ve seen and felt, at the same time explaining “so what?” to the viewer. The "so what" is what makes them linger.
Sometimes the idea for a painting spontaneously presents itself as in plein aire painting. I am inspired by the quiet meandering of a river, the vastness of a desert gorge or the way afternoon sun lights the curve of an arch. Sometimes my paintings are inspired by many impressions and feelings of a place. I use technique to express relationships and create a sense of atmosphere, time and space.
I start with a small sketch, first in pencil and paper to work out composition, values and important relationships. Then I move to an acrylic sketch on canvas. I paint in layers: first two layers of underpainting in acrylic, using colors complementary to the final, true colors in oil. I use an "open stroke" throughout so that previous layers shine through and I go through my sketch lines which has the effect of integrating my subjects into the setting while also providing the opportunity for lost and found edges.
Being able to take the mundane and transform it into something special is my main driving force when painting from life. I'm inspired by my everyday surroundings as they are revealed by the light, and I strive to share with the world what it is I find interesting about what I choose to paint. My detail is kept to a minimum so as to not call attention to specific place, but rather to evoke a certain feeling or mood. My ultimate goal when creating art is to end up with something that I find to be interesting, and fortunately I find that often when I find something interesting, many others do as well.
Steven A McDonald
My inspiration comes from the sublime and dynamic beauty of nature. I try to capture the sense of times and places in my paintings, not by mimicking what I see but by exploring the innate qualities that define a scene. I let the process of feeling and recognizing what is happening off and on the canvas lead me. Perhaps the painting will tell me it needs a stroke of violet, or an edge to be blurred. I want my lights to glow and my shadows to fade. It is attending to these things that keeps my work alive and expressive.
A long-time plein-air and studio painter of tonal yet colorful landscapes in oil, I follow the classic traditions of the California and American Impressionists, working in the Craftsman style to capture the mood and atmosphere of the landscape. A Renaissance man with five college degrees spanning engineering, business and art, including a BFA and MFA, I participate in numerous plein-air competitions and shows throughout California and nationally, represented by various galleries throughout the years. I teach classes and workshops through public & private venues, with memberships in many arts organizations.
A back injury and then the Covid-19 shutdown led me to study with a classical realism program devoted to accurate drawing of the figure (see Figure and Cast Drawings) which has changed the trajectory of my landscape painting. The goal of achieving a light impression through careful handling of values and treatment of edges has affected my painting, primarily the watercolors. An example has been my inclination to work more into the light. See House on the Park, 417 61st Street, and Nicasio Church. Other lighting situations have benefitted as well. I have always felt that accuracy in drawing helped me convey the true life of my subjects. But without a better understanding of values I was at a loss to convert my instinct into painting. And the meticulous classical methods of rendering have given me a new-found appreciation of the dedication and time required.
Erica Norelius is an award-winning artist located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Erica's work has been featured in a wide range of publications--she's graced the covers of Cornell's literary magazine Epoch, been a finalist multiple times in the International Artist Magazine, and was one of 21 emerging artists under the age of 31 in Southwest Art. Among her most prestigious awards was receiving second honors at the Portrait Society of America's International Competition in 2015.
In 2007, Erica received her degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Since that time, much of Erica's work has reflected the urban scenes of that City. I'm interested in light and shadow within the scene; to me they are reflections of the natural spiritual energies and the constant tug-of-war which takes place.
I usually work in the short sessions carefully planning my compositions and designs in advance, so I would not have to paint over some areas and could have a fresh surface of brushstrokes. Once I commit to a certain design I attack the blank canvas trying to get as much as possible in the first session. I believe that the first stage is the most decisive. I find the process of painting very exhausting physically, but despite all the challenges it is the most rewarding and joyous occupation.
Always a thrill to load up my gear and head out for a day of plein air painting. My goals are simple. Find something new and interesting. Capture the moment, don't try to do too much. Pretty much finish the painting. Do several pantings if time and conditions allow. If I can stick to these priorities good things will come.
A native Californian and a Design graduate of The University of California at Davis,
I work in a painterly realistic style.
Inspired by many artists, I combine my background in watercolor with the pastel medium to capture the nuance of light and place, and interpret impressions of the man-made and nature-made worlds. Plein Air is my favored way to capture the life I see around me and breathe in the world.
I worked in both The Graphic Design and Fine Art realm before devoting much of my energy
I have embraced the challenging rich life of a full-time artist, competing in Plein Air Events, Judging Shows and Exhibiting more widely.
I teach both Pastel and Watercolor classes in the Sacramento Area, Mendocino and Paris.
Quintessential California - Pence Gallery Nov. 2021
Pastel Society West Coast:
99 Voices in Pastel- August
Ist Street Collective, Winters CA
Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino
From San Jose, CA and paints Plein Air in Northern California. She grew up near Cincinnati, Ohio and majored in art at DePauw University in Indiana. She apprenticed for New York City artists Jack Beal and Jane Freilicher in 1978 which instilled a foundation in figure, landscape, still life, and art history. She moved to San Jose in 1980, had a career in high tech while raising a family. She returned to painting in 2012 and began winning awards in 2016. In 2017 she won, the Frank Bette Award, followed by Best of Show in 2018 at the FBPAPO. In 2020, Plein Air Magazine named her one of "11 Emerging Plein Air Painters to Start Collecting Now" and recently was juried in as an Artist Member of the California Art Club.
Represented by :
Colibri Art , Morgan Hill
Gallery 24, Los Gatos
Piper J Gallery, Truckee
A NARRATIVE PAINTER With A Twist. Painting Plein Air my world as I see it. My light filled vibrant watercolors flow from transparent washes to bold colors. I focus on a wide variety of subjects looking for shadow shapes, interesting light, colors and textures. My interest is in finding outdoors stories to tell with complex perspectives capturing dialogues between objects in the landscape, seascape and urban settings. Accurate drawing is an important foundation in my watercolors. I am a dedicated watercolor painter.
I began my career with sculpture, finishing commissions and public projects in bronze, and transitioned into painting around 2006. Painting represented a new challenge; I fell in love with Plein Air painting and the challenges of color and light. I love to paint the beautiful California coastline, and I use color and value to make the still life glow. I find the light both on city streets and on cliffs and waves enchanting.
A strong element of my work speaks as a witness to daily living. Any given day may be made up of a series of mundane moments and routine, but they are peppered with fleeting, unique interactions between friends or strangers. I strive to capture these moments. The more I seek them out, and ultimately paint them, the more detail I end up seeing as I walk through town. Both public access to my studio space and painting plein-air in my neighborhood provides me with many one-on-one interactions with people that I would not have otherwise experienced. Through individual conversations, I am piecing together a sense that when someone sees a painting of their street, their bus stop or favorite view, they feel a certain validation in the daily choices and routes they take. Together we are paying homage to this place we have chosen as our home.
Mandar is an award-winning artist who is inspired by the magic of nature. He loves painting landscapes in a vibrant and energetic style using soft pastels. After spending 12 years in New York, he moved to California in 2014 and has been inspired by the beauty of the West Coast ever since. He enjoys painting Alameda and the SF Bay landscapes in all their glory and feels the region's natural beauty offers a lot of inspiration to let lose his creative spirit.
Mandar recognizes the important role art plays in creating physical, emotional and spiritual healing and strives to share the experience with people in all walks of life.
Mandar's art was featured in three recent publications, Alameda Sun newspaper, Alameda Magazine and Alameda Architectural Preservation Society's Quarterly publication. He was also the winner for the People's Choice award at the 2017 Plein Air Paint Out event in Alameda that was participated by forty accomplished artists from all over the country.
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.
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.
My entire life I have been enraptured by the beauty of nature. Three years ago, I discovered I could channel that love through plein air painting. I have filled sketchbook after sketchbook and completed piece after piece, since then. Being able to take in nature's beauty and put it back out through a painting for the enjoyment of all is one of life's greatest pleasures, and I am honored to be able to participate.
I began painting as a form of therapy while recovering from a kidney transplant. I began with painting flowers and other botanicals. I am an avid hiker, and began painting on hikes. My boyfriend and I custom built and perfected several paint boxes that can fit in our backpacks, and for lighter treks, even our fanny packs. It is such a delight to embark on an adventure and return with a painting documenting it. We are enthusiastic travelers and have traveled thousands of miles in search of scenes to paint. I look forward to continuing my painting journey!
Douglas P Woodman
I am in awe of the way light reveals the nature of 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, Matt Smith, Peter Adams, Thomas Kitts, Alexander Zimin, Thomas Schaller, Cooley Whisson, Terry Muira, Will Maller and John Cosby.
I enjoy creating portraits, figures, and landscapes in which I
can find a certain beauty in a special characteristic or mood
from my daily life. I have traveled to a lot of countries in the world and I try to hold on to a child-like curiosity and use a well-trained eye to see the beauty, the characteristic qualities of beauty that I am after. As an impressionist artist, I love to use oil to create a poetic interpretation of beautiful light and color with strong design and bold brushstrokes.
It is not my goal to merely depict the scene I see, but rather use my artistic eye to express my inner response towards what I see.
When I paint from life, I will capture what I initially see in the subject, interpret it, and communicate the vision of it. The visual vocabulary has a lot to do with how I see and capture nature's colors influenced by the light and atmosphere. When I am back at the studio I try to remember what attracted me at the moment and I combine both studies from life and photos.