Laguna Plein Air Invitational Day 1

(sorry for the centered format, I'm not sure why it's posting like this...)

I've been home now for nearly a month and a half from painting The Laguna Plein Air Invitational, and it has taken me some time to digest it all. It was a challenging event for me mentally, because of the lack of sleep from the rolling and rewinding conversations in my mind on the "what, where, and when" I was going to paint. I finally did get that sleep, long after my return home and still alive to tell you about it. There was so much that went on to share with you, too much for just one post, that I've decided to post each day as it was held. a few pics for each day I went out to paint. This post has three short days, but first, I'll begin with some history...

Laguna Beach and its' neighboring coastal towns is a beautiful area for a plein air artist to paint, offering a fast tempo of energy, clear sunshine and a varying scenic coastline. It is about 1 hour south of Los Angeles so it is definitely in the heart of Southern California, and perhaps, I'd say it has a culture all it's own. What also is attractive for artists is the plein air history dating back a century. Noted artists George Garnder Symens, Franz Bischoff, Marion Wachton, William Wendt, Edgar Payne, and many, many more artists were instrumental in bringing impressionism to California.  The Laguna Plein Air Invitational was formed about 17 years ago by the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association to continue the spirit of California's plein air movement. The Laguna Plein Air Invitational is one the foremost events in the plein air community today.

I flew out on Thursday and found my way around a bit with Jennifer Diehl. Here is Friday's short and sweet warm up at Huntington Beach by the famous Huntington Beach Pier.

"Daywatch" 8x10" Pastel  ┬ęBrenda Boylan (sold)

The event began on Saturday morning where all 35 artists had to gather at the Festival of the Arts for canvas stamping, a quick orientation, and a nice breakfast buffet. 

LPAPA Invitational artists and Organizers.  Too many to mention.

Then all the artists took a private trolley ride to Heisler Park to create our 2-hour Quick Draw piece. Quick draws are really challenging because a location has to be decided without fuss and easel set up so that the painting can be completed in a certain time. We started at 11:00 and ended by 1:00 pm. 

"Laguna Overlook" 9x12" Pastel

Laguna Overview, 9x12" Pastel ┬ęBrenda Boylan  (available)

Silent auction

After painting the quick draw piece, the artists had to quickly frame and hang their art at the Laguna Festival of the Arts for a silent auction and a small lunch.  Afterwards, we were off to paint whatever we wished for the bulk of the week. I began working on an urban scene that late afternoon which ended up being pretty ambitious. I first started out by drawing in a loose composition with a pastel pencil, and then blocking in the underpainting with a pastel stick and then washed it with Gamsol on a sponge brush. Here you can see I had an orange and blue underpainting, but I ended up changing the blue to a dark orange to make the underpainting all warm and consistent in hue.

This piece measures 16x16", sanded paper dry mounted on conservation board.

That night, if I remember correctly, I went to my generous host's home to shower up and plan my next day. I will post more on Sunday about the next few days of the event. Thanks for hanging with me!

~ Brenda

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