The 30 paintings will be framed and available for sale with funds going to the Morgan Hill Open Studios event planned for Nov. 6 & 7

Plein Air event features work from 15 artists.


By Staff Report

Let the creativity commence. About 15 award-winning Bay Area artists will find themselves demonstrating their painting talents in the inaugural Morgan Hill Plein Air Paint Out contest

The event will take place all day Saturday, Oct. 9, and is hosted by Colibri Gallery. The public is invited to watch the artists at work at two locations. The artists will have two hours starting at 10 a.m. to find a subject or landscape put in on canvas at the Clos LaChance Vineyard on Watsonville Road. After a lunch break, the artists will have two hours starting at 1 p.m. to paint a plein air picture in downtown Morgan Hill.

“They have free reign to paint anything they want to,” said Ellie Herman, the framing manager at Colibri.

When she was finding Bay Area artists to display their work at the gallery, she noticed a number of them had been in plein air contests. That inspired the idea of bringing a similar contest to Morgan Hill.

“I thought it would be really great for the community to come and see the artists paint in their hometown and capture the beauty of everything we have here,” Herman said. “We live in such a beautiful place that I think the artists will be well inspired.”

Plein air (a French term pronounced “plain air”)  is the act of painting pictures outdoors. Developed in France in the 19th century, the method of creating a work of art in nature rather than in a studio enabled the artist to better capture changing details such as the weather and light in their works.

The development in the early 1800s of tube paint, portable canvases and field easels enabled artists to paint in natural light and changed the art world with the evolution of Impressionism. Among the artists who developed the concept are Van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir.

At an evening reception for two hours starting at 6 p.m. Oct. 9, the 30 landscape paintings made that day will be shown to the public. A juror will pick the first, second, and third place winners who will receive cash prizes at the awards ceremony. The reception will include guitar music by Paul Renslow and refreshments catered by Ladera Grill.

The paintings will be framed and available for sale, with 30 percent of the sale donated to the Morgan Hill Open Studios event taking place the weekend of Nov. 6 and 7, featuring five local artists. Sponsors of the Plein Air Paint Out are Ladera Grill, Bubbles & Brew, Clos LaChance Winery, Craft Roots, Lawson’s Bakery, live+love+leal, and StarHomeCare.

Robert Airoldi