Pictured is plein air in Pescadero, part of the San Mateo County coast. The plein air fever is everywhere you look in California.
Photography is so literal, while artistic painting allows the imagination to transform the annoyances that make for a less than perfect picture-that's the beauty of plein air style. Plein air fever is not new in California. There were several plein air (painting outside in the natural conditions) movements that helped turned cities into art communities. Laguna Beach is one of the most prominent cities that plein air artists helped launch with their attraction to its scenery and climate around the turn of the 20th century. Carmel art was said to help grow that city into an arts community, as well. A visit to Carmel galleries provides ample examples of plein air style at work.
With a little training or by signing up for a class from a community college, an artist, etc., you can travel and create along the way, provided you take some canvas and paints with you. As you do travel throughout California, you discover that tourists and travelers are spellbound by those who stand and paint the scenery. We've spoken with many and they say that everyone comes up to them and asks questions. It is not the sort activity you do if you are a private, shy personality. However, when you go in a group (Ventura has a plein air club that goes on outings weekly) you have more opportunity to create in the club atmosphere.
If you think you can't paint, you may be surprised how the outdoors inspires and brings out the artist in you. Plein air events exist in nearly every city so we try to keep some on our calendar of events.