Above: “Shannon Road” by John Crawford. Click to view larger.
After a hiatus in 2018, the Los Gatos Plein Air Art Show returns for its tenth year with twenty-seven acclaimed fine artists painting local landmarks, architecture, and landscapes “in the open air” in and around the town of Los Gatos.
As defined by www.artistsnetwork.com, “Plein air painting is about leaving the four walls of your studio behind and experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape. The practice goes back for centuries but was truly made into an art form by the French Impressionists. Their desire to paint light and its changing, ephemeral qualities, coupled with the creation of transportable paint tubes and the box easel—the precursor to the plein air easels of today—allowed artists the freedom to paint ‘en plein air,’ which is the French expression for ‘in the open air.’”
The Plein Air art show began in 2008 as a small community event held on the boardwalk in the Los Gatos Old Town Center. As the event grew and gained national recognition in the plein air community, it was relocated to its current location in Town Plaza.
“The Morning Rotary’s charter is to support the arts and youth. The plein air show has helped us raise over $400,000 for our 501©3 charitable foundation,” shares Rotarian Carol Waitte, who has been involved with the plain air show since its inception. “This complicated event is a labor of love and takes the involvement of all of our members. We also get amazing volunteer support from the Art Docents of Los Gatos and the Sea Scouts, who assist with set-up and tear-down.”
Many of the painters are Bay Area locals while others are coming from as far away as Oregon, New Mexico, New York, and Georgia. To be considered, each artist must submit an application and photos of their work. Those chosen to participate are selected by a juried committee while about ten highly respected plein air artists are invited to attend. Los Gatos artist David Stonesifer, Donald Neff from San Jose, and Will Maller from Los Altos are among those who have participated every year. The committee also strives to include new artists each year as well as to have a well-rounded representation of painting styles in oil, pastel, and watercolor. All of the artists from out of the area are hosted by Morning Rotary members in their homes.
The painters will spend June 19th through the 22nd creating al fresco works that will be showcased and available for sale at the Plein Art Festival held on Sunday, June 23rd from 10am-5pm in Los Gatos Towne Plaza.
“Creating plein air works can be challenging,” Carol shares. “The artists often work in the heat and wind, which can be uncomfortable and stressful. Yet they continually produce absolutely gorgeous work.”
The painters will be scattered about the streets, parks, pathways, and shopping centers, capturing the unique beauty of the town in oil, watercolor, and pastel. Passersby are encouraged to stop and observe; the artists will also be available to discuss their work during the Preview and Silent Auction Saturday, June 22nd from 5pm to 7pm as well as during the Festival on Sunday.
Daryl Hosick of Santa Cruz, is one of this year’s participating artists. Daryl conveys the essence of plein air art in his work and in these words, “I strongly believe that art should create an emotional response – that is that the purpose of art is to transfer an emotion from the artist to the viewer. The emotion that I attempt to transfer is the feeling of excitement, wonder, and amazement that comes from closely observing nature – physically being in the natural environment and taking in all that is going on.“
The Plein Air event is presented by the Los Gatos Morning Rotary and raises funds benefitting local youth art, science, and music education in addition to leadership training and scholarships. A portion of all sales go to the Morning Rotary Charitable Foundation. Numerous local sponsors are also instrumental in bringing this free art event to the public.
The Preview & Silent Auction event takes place at 100 North Santa Cruz Avenue Saturday June 22nd from 5pm to 7pm. This is the first opportunity to view and purchase the newly completed paintings. The artists will display their favorite pieces, with each being available to bid on in a silent auction. Awards for Artist’s Choice and People’s Choice paintings will be chosen that evening, with the winners receiving $750. Auction attendees will enjoy live acoustic music by Johnny Neri and wines served by Testerossa Winery.
On Sunday, June 23rd, the festivities continue in the Town Plaza with live music by Johnny Neri and Jamnesia2 and wine tasting from Black Ridge Vineyards, Left Bend Winery, Muns Vineyard, Perrucci Family Vineyard, Radonich Family Vineyard, and Testerossa Winery. A special craft brew tasting will be offered by Hapa’s Brewing Company. The artists will display all of the works created during the week, which will be available for purchase. Renowned artist and judge, Randy Sexton, will choose the paintings to award “Best of Show.” 2016’s winner, Greg LaRock, will be also painting in this year’s event. The Best of Show winner receives $1,000, while second and third place winners are awarded $750 and $500n respectively.
Free and open to the public, this acclaimed art show begins next Wednesday, June 19th as the artists create their works and culminates with the day-long event in Town Plaza on Sunday, June 23rd.