California Art


California Plein Air Events, Quick Draw

En plein air  is a French expression which means "in the open air", and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

Painting from life is a pursuit unlike any other painting technique. It challenges artists to concentrate every sensory nerve on the information in front them. They absorb it all, from sight to sound, from temperature to atmosphere, and then channel those feelings from head to hand, re-creating their impression in paints on paper or canvas.

Do you love looking at beautiful paintings that capture just how you were feeling when you visited a beautiful place in California? Sometimes a painting touches you in an unexpected way, and emotions flow forth, bringing into your mind some memory of a time & place. Plein air painting is quite special because it departs the stuffy indoor studio and takes painting out into the arena of life where the sun influences the ever-changing colors of the day, and clouds never stop to pose. Plein air painting offers artists unique challenges and takes away many of the control mechanisms that allow the painter to work for hours on details that remain consistent throughout the duration of an indoor studio session. Plein artists are the "wild bunch" of the painting world who dare to challenge the paradigm.

Plein air events in California are great fun when you catch them, either by accident or intention. There seems to be less plein art repeat, annual events currently, but the plein air art movement is quite healthy and there is no lack of plein air artists or art groups to watch or join. Like plein air painting, the list we've compiled is ever changing. Do contact the planners where information is provided before going to these events.

Balboa Island Just Plein Fun in August. Brush Off on Marine Ave., Balboa Island, CA

Debra Huse Gallery
229 Marine Ave
Balboa Island, Ca 92662

Six days of plein air art on the Island includes a free passport visitors can obtain at the Debra Huse Gallery. Get the actual signatures of famous plein air artists as you weave around Balboa Island admiring the scenery - and the art. Invitational event includes artists: Kirsten Anderson, Gavin Brooks, Kay Flierl, Dan Graziano, Darrell Hill, Debra Huse, Sally Jordan, Greg LaRock, Terry Masters, Larry Moore, Scott Prior, Frank Serrano and Jim Wodark.

Los Olivos Quick Draw & Art Festival August
10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Arts Are Alive in Los Olivos!
With across the board collaboration, the 24th Annual Quick Draw has expanded into a new all-day festival, and the whole town is opening up with art, music, demonstrations, food, and special activities!

So Much To See And Do!
Starting at 11 a.m., twenty-two artists pit their talent against the clock in a fast-paced race to complete their masterpiece in one hour's time. Followed by a lively auction, this is the opportunity to purchase your favorite piece almost right off the easel!

Festival Artist Booths:
10 am - 4 p.m.
Farmer's Market:
8 am-Noon
10 am - 1:30 p.m.
Gary Foshees
Lavinia Campbell Park
10 am-1:30 p.m.
Birth of Cypress
Saarloos Park
2 - 4 p.m.
The Grasshoppers
Saarloos Park
2:30 - 4 p.m.
Birth of Cypress
Lavinia Campbell Park
2:30 - 4 p.m.
Gary Foshees
Corner House Coffee
4 - 6 p.m.
Teresa McNeil MacLean
Montanaro Farm

Stay the day and explore more than 60 booths displaying the original work of local artists and artisans' located throughout the town; free art activities for children, demonstrations, live music, silent auction, and delicious food.

In the afternoon the beautiful Montanaro Farm opens to the public with a special gallery featuring additional artwork from the Quick Draw artists, and will close the day with a delightful reception.

The funds generated from this event will be used by non-profit organizations to keep art alive in Los Olivos. The Quick Draw & Art Festival is sponsored by the Los Olivos Gallery Organization, the Los Olivos Business Organization, the Wildling Art Museum, the Artists Guild of the Santa Ynez Valley, Gallery Los Olivos, and the Los Olivos Rotary.

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art Plein Air Festival

1010 Broad Street (on the west end of the Mission Plaza)
San Luis Obispo, California 93401
Admission is free

Week-long festival of plein air events. 50 of the nation's top plein air artists paint out, music, poetry, movies, collectors' party quick draw, free exhibition, expert lecture. The nation's top plein air artists are selected to venture outdoors to paint the unspoiled landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes of San Luis Obispo County - one of the most picturesque areas on the California Central Coast. Come discover the talent and techniques behind this exciting art phenomenon called plein air. Watch over the shoulder of a world-class artist while a painting comes to life before your eyes. Wander the lovely back roads and find artists capturing a scenic vista on canvas.

Stockton - The Allure of Water, On Location with the Plein Air Painters of America Oct

America 23rd Exhibition & Sale
The Haggin Museum, Stockton, California
Opening Weekend October 14-16, 2011

Victory Park
1201 N. Pershing Ave.
Stockton, CA 95203
(209) 940-6300

Outdoor Painting Demo/Auction on Saturday, October 15, and Artist Demonstrations on Sunday, October 16. More than 100 paintings focus on w ater, our most precious resource for beauty, enjoyment and survival. Six Guest Artists will be joining PAPA members: Bill Anton, Kathleen Dunphy, Andy Evansen, Jerry Fritzler, Michael Lynch, Jim Morgan and Randall Sexton.
Gala Opening Reception at The Haggin Museum
Friday, October 14, 2011, 6:30-9 p.m.
Outdoor Painting Demonstration & Auction in Downtown Stockton
Saturday, October 15, 2011, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Artist Demonstrations inside The Haggin Museum
Sunday, October 16, 2011, 1:30-3 p.m.

Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational October

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

Each year the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association and Laguna Art Museum team up for the always-exciting Annual Plein Air Invitational. The top 50 plein air artists are invited to participate in this special fundraiser which is a week-long celebration of painting the Laguna Beach landscape.

In recognition of Laguna Beach's renowned landscape and marine environment, the 13th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational endeavors to support the important role plein air painters play in depicting and creating awareness about endangered landscapes in a time of climate change and other environmental threats. This year's Invitational has adopted "Sea, Sage, and Sustainability" as its theme. With the importance of these environmental issues in mind, we will be providing our members and guests an enhanced ability for to further appreciate our magnificent landscapes and seascapes during their visit.

Annual Carmel Art Festival is May
Devendorf Park & Mission Street, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

The Festival once again includes the Plein Air and Sculpture-in-the-Park events, as well as a Quick Draw by the winning artists, and Kids Art Day.

Plein Air Exhibits

En Plein Air: Alameda and Beyond Aug. 8 - Oct. 1, 2011
Location: Frank Bette Center for the Arts

Julia has been invited to show works done during the previous plein air events in Alameda and newer painting created at other California sites. She will have five paintings on display.

Plein Air Workshops

August 8 - 12, 2011
Camille Przewodek - Petaluma, California

Contact Camille Przewodek
Phone: (707) 762-4125

August 28 - September 2, 2011
Jennifer McChristian - Plein Air Painting in Big Sur (Esalen Retreat)

Jennifer McChristian will be teaching the time-honored joy of plein air painting in this exciting and re-invigorating environment. One of the few workshops which comes with organic food, misty ocean air, natural hot springs overlooking the Pacific and Esalen trained massage therapists. The aim is to learn to interpret nature in terms of paint, using light and color to create form. Color relationships, design /composition, simplifying, and the benefits of painting outdoors are discussed, as well as how to design and build a painting that carries an emotional impact. Students focus on values, shapes, edges, and color as they relate to painting. There are brief demonstrations each day and one-on-one advice in the field.

For more information please contact Jennifer at (213) 453-2818 or

September 9 - 11, 2011
Kim VanDerHoek - Plein Air Painting Workshop in Laguna Beach

This plein air workshop will focus on using a step-by-step process in order to create a successful landscape painting. Topics covered will be; how to create a strong composition, having a focal point, creating depth, brushwork (with an emphasis on how to hold your brush), paint application, time management while painting on location and color mixing. Painting demonstrations by Kim will be included. Class size is limited so that each individual will receive plenty of personal instruction. Each day workshop participants will paint on location and at the end of the day there will be a constructive group critique of our work.
Fee: $300

To enroll contact Kim at or call (949) 510-6921.

September 16 - 18, 2011
Kathleen Dunphy - Fall in the Foothills
Murphys, CA - $350 per person
For more info contact Kathleen at or (209) 728-9825

September 19 - 23, 2011
Michael Situ - 5 Days Plein Air Workshop

Time: 9:30am - 4:30p.m.
Cost: $ 600
Location: Laguna Beach and Balboa Island, California

October 16 - 18, 2011
Kathleen Elsey - Paint the Autumn Color of Sonoma

Have fun plein air painting while touring beautiful Sonoma Valley during the most colorful and celebrated season of the year. In this workshop you'll learn to see the landscape in a different way and translate what is before your eyes into shapes and colors on canvas.

Location: Sonoma, California
Time: 9am - 3p.m.
Tuition: $350
Phone: (805) 452-7717

Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association
to 3p.m. San Juan Bautista Paint in San Juan and turn in framed artwork by 4p.m., for exhibit at Gallery Tonantzin, 115 Third Street, SJB. Aug 6-28.
9am Seaside Beach Workshop: Julia Munger Seelos: Eucalyptus Trees
Meet at the Monterey Coastal Trail across from Cunningham Road, off of Del Monte, Monterey
1p.m. Seaside Beach Park by Monterey Best Western Beach Resort, 2600 Sand Dunes Drive, Monterey
9am Stillwater Cove Pebble Beach. Prior signup required by June 15.
9am Mission Ranch Workshop: Rolf Lygren: Gestural Drawing with Watercolor
Mission Ranch, Carmel
1p.m. Mission Ranch Paintout with costumed models
Mission Ranch, Carmel
9am Elkhorn Slough
1p.m. Pietra Santa Winery Hollister,
9am Moss Landing After paintout, lunch at Whole Enchilada Restaurant
1p.m. Toro County Park Highway 68. Golden leaves on the Sycamores

Past Plein Air Events

June 24 - 26, 2011 Temecula Street Painting Festival
Held in Conjunction with the Temecula Street Painting Festival
Spend three glorious days painting on the streets of historic and picturesque Old Town Temecula. You'll be
part of the festivities planned for the Street Painting Festival and Artists and will be provided coffee, juice,
water and pastries for breakfast, lunch certificates on Saturday & a reception on Sunday. There is a $500
purchase award for the "Best of Show" plus a $200 first place and a $100 Artists' Choice Award. The "Best
of Show " work will become a part of the City of Temecula's permanent collection and the Best of Show
Artist will receive a one-man show in the Merc Art Gallery at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.

Sonoma Plein Air - May

Sonoma Plein Air Foundation
19201 Sonoma Highway
Number 321
Sonoma, CA 95476

Benicia Plein Air

Borrego Springs Plein Art Invitational March 2011
The Borrego Art Institute has a full week planned for artists and plenty of activities for the public at its fifth annual (2011) to be held Sunday through next Saturday. All paintings - plus those the artists bring with them - will be for sale at the end of each day at the Borrego Art Institute gallery at 587 Palm Canyon Drive.

The invitational's major public events include the Circle of Art - an all-day arts and crafts festival at Christmas Circle that coincides with the village's weekly farmers market on Fridays.

Los Gatos Plein Air June

Los Gatos Plein Air is a fine art exhibition and sale that will be held in Los Gatos on Saturday, June 4, 2011. This juried event brings nationally recognized Plein Air artists to Los Gatos to paint "en plein air", which refers to the 19th century style of painting "in the open air" on location. Los Gatos Plein Air 2011! Artists Paint on Location June 1st through 3rd.

Plein Air Day Presented by California State Indian Museum at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park May 14, 2011

Northern California Artists come together to spend the day painting the beautiful landscape and historic buildings in the park surrounding the Museum. The community at large is invited to stroll through the outdoor grounds to watch and appreciate the experience as talented artists create their individual works of art amid the historic setting.

The event takes place outdoors on grounds of Sutter's Fort State Historic Park.

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park
2701 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95816

Cost for entrance to the Museum:
Adults (18+) $3
Youths (Ages 6-17) $2
Children five and under are Free

Info Phone: (916) 324-0971

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