Show Preview | Laguna Beach Plein Air

On the Web, October 3-11

Michael Situ, Heisler Park, oil, 9 x 12.

Michael Situ, Heisler Park, oil, 9 x 12.

This story was featured in the October 2020 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2020 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

EACH FALL, the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational brings together top plein-air artists from around the country for a lively week of paint-outs in the Southern California town. Like many art events these days, however, this year’s invitational—taking place from Saturday, October 3, through Sunday, October 11—is going entirely virtual, with the potential of reaching a much larger audience than usual. For the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, which organizes the invitational, that’s a plus. “Art heals the soul,” says executive director Rosemary Swimm. “And right now, we are in need of so much good to come our way.”

So, with the safety of both artists and patrons in mind, the 22nd annual event features a full roster of activities taking place via online streaming. Artworks created during the event are displayed in an online sale and auction. “We are virtually inspired—that’s our tagline this year,” says Swimm.

While some of the 25 invited artists are participating locally, including Californians Jim McVicker, Michael Obermeyer, and Anthony Salvo, many others are painting from their homes in other parts of the country. But no matter where they’re stationed, all of the artists will be painting Laguna’s seascapes, beach culture, town life, and other luminous scenes. Rather than working from life, however, each artist paints from a collection of photographs taken by professional photographer Mitch Ridder. Shortly before the Quick Draw begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 4, for example, the artists receive digital photos of scenic Treasure Island Beach. The artists must choose one image from which to create a painting in two hours. When the competition ends, the artists submit photos of their completed pieces, and each fresh piece goes up for sale in a 24-hour online silent auction starting at 5 p.m.

The week culminates in a ticketed, all-virtual Collectors’ Gala on Saturday evening, October 10. Live video coverage includes formal presentations of individual artworks, including each artist’s three best paintings completed during the week, one of which garners the coveted Best of Show prize. Those pieces, including award winners, can be purchased during the Gala before becoming available to the public on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in an online auction.

Bay Area artist and first-time participant Barbara Tapp anticipates an engaging, interactive Gala similar to the one she experienced as a participant in LPAPA’s virtual Waterworks show in July, where she won Best of Show. Tapp plans to visit Laguna Beach during the invitational to immerse herself in its coastal vibes while painting from the photographic options available. “I look forward to finding my story within them,” adds the watercolorist.

Artist Don Demers, who returns to the event after a hiatus, plans to channel Southern California’s sunshine on the opposite side of the country, “artistically translocating as I paint sunny Laguna from my studio in Maine,” he says. “I’m delighted to be involved again. This event has become one of the foremost plein-air events in the country, and it’s important that it continues without interruption.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
949.376.3635
www.lpapa.org

This story was featured in the October 2020 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2020 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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