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Jun 9, 2012

The Californian Impressionists, Then and Now...

Painting during the Carmel
Art Festival last month
I am off to Los Gatos Plein Air tomorrow. 

It is another plein air competition down in California, just below San Jose. Los Gatos is  a lovely town and it was once a community of fruit orchards. But because it is adjacent to Silicon Valley the streets are now filled with Teslas, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, BMWs and late-model Mercedes 500 class cars. All of which can make a guy pay close attention when he is parallel parking a 1993 Jeep. (Ha!) But old town Los Gatos is still a nice little community. I could live there easily because it has kept its Northern California small town ambiance and it has fantastic weather for the outdoor painter. Plus, Los Gatos Plein Air is a growing event. One of the few which are expanding right now. They've recently hooked up with the Montalvo Art Center up the road, an internationally renowned arts institution. All good, eh?

So hey, if you happen to be in the Bay Area on Saturday, June 16th, and looking for something to do come down to Los Gatos to see some great contemporary California plein air work. The exhibit and sale will be out in the old town area. Just look for the crowds milling about. And there will be crowds.  There is also a gala soiree the night before but that event requires a paid ticket. Check the LGPA website for details if you want to attend the Friday gala. Or get first-dibs on a painting. But buy your tickets soon as they normally sell out in advance. I'd love to see you.

Now, here is another suggestion for
anyone living in the Pacific Northwest...

On June 17th the Portland Art Museum will open a show of signature Californian Impressionist work from the Irvine Museum. (It was my honor to be involved with getting this exhibition to Portland.) 

William Wendt | "When Fields Lie Fallow"
There has never been an exhibition like this in my home town – at least not since Childe Hassam or William Wendt used to come up from SoCal to paint – so I am thrilled to see it arrive. If you are a local plein air painter you mustn't miss this show! This is your West-coast heritage. And if you are just a person interested in Impressionism then you too must not miss this show. I've seen most of the work that will be displayed in other institutions around the country and this show will be phenomenal. There will be much more work than the few I show here.

The exhibit will run from June 16th to September 16th.

William Ritschel | "Boats Returning Home" 

In addition to the exhibit, Mr. Jean Stern, the Executive Director of the Irvine Museum, will be presenting a fun and informative lecture on the history of California Impressionism to the public at 2:00 pm, in the museum, on June 17th.  This will be a great talk and an opportunity to learn about how this regional form of impressionism developed and why it remains so important to what is happening in landscape painting today.

Contact the Portland Art Museum for details: 503 226-2811.

I'll likely miss Mr. Stern's museum talk myself as Brenda Boylan and I will be still driving home from Los Gatos, but he has graciously offered to deliver a second lecture to the Portland University Club the following evening. Since I am the club's 2012 Artist-in-Residence I look forward to introducing him to the group.

And of course, hearing his lecture . . .

Keep painting if you paint – and keep looking if you don't...



And finally, if you are interested my upcoming August 'Essential Plein Air Techniques' workshop, click hereWe have only three spots left on a first-come, first serve basis, so don't delay if you want to join the fun! Learn to paint en plein air with a knowledgeable and respectful teacher. This class will be limited to 12 participants to guarantee quality one-on-one time with the instructor.

UPDATE: Because sign-ups this year have been so quick I may offer a second workshop the following week if there is enough interest. That will be decided after the first week closes.

3 reader comments:

Scott Ruthven said...

Wow, I love that piece by Ritschel! I will have to look up his other works. Thanks for sharing Thomas!

Sergio Lopez said...

Oh that's awesome, I will have to stop by the museum when I go up there this year. I love the Irvine Museum; it's a must-see every time I go down to SoCal

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Sergio, do call me when you are in Portland. It would be fun to do a walk-though with you.