The Plein Air Scene

by Sarah Beserra


Scene on the Strait 2000: Fourth Annual Paint Out, Show and Competition


Twenty-two top plein air painters from around the Bay Area will participate in the Fourth Annual Scene on the Strait at the Martinez Regional Shoreline the weekend of August 12 and 13, 2000. The painters will set up their easels from 11 am until 5 pm on Saturday, and from 11 am until 4 pm on Sunday, on the shores of the Carquinez Strait and in the historic town of Martinez. Simultaneously with the paint out, there will be a show and sale of some 200 paintings of Bay Area scenes painted in the weeks before the show. (left: Randall Sexton, The Bridge and Beyond, oil on linen, 18 x 14 inches)

The largest art show of its kind in Northern California, last year's Scene attracted several thousand art lovers. A special feature has been added to this year's event. Senior Curator of the Oakland Museum, Harvey Jones, will judge and award prizes to the top six paintings. A Best of Show Award and five Awards of Excellence will be presented to the winning artists. The Best of Show painting will appear on next year's limited edition poster. The prize winning paintings will be auctioned off in a special section of the show.

Among the artists represented are selected members of two Bay Area plein air painting groups - the Outsiders and the BayWood Artists. Also represented are members of the Glover Group, former students of Pam Glover, and numerous unaffiliated painters from Sacramento to San Jose. This year's poster artist is San Francisco painter Randall Sexton who recently completed a show at the Pence Gallery.

A gourmet food booth and bar, mariachi music, a Monarch Butterfly House and a native plant sale will round out the celebration. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Carquinez Regional Environmental Center. CREEC works with at-risk teens to improve the environment along the Strait. For information contact: Sarah Beserra: (707) 645-7361 or E-mail:

The paintings shown at Scene on the Strait will be exhibited at the Arts Benicia Center Gallery, 991 Tyler St., Ste. 114 (PO Box 157) 94510, 707-747-0131, August 19-September 10, 2000.


Marin/Scapes a Triumph

by Susan Senefeld Johnson


Susan Senefeld Johnson is a plein air painting collector, world traveler, teacher and self-described Francophile. She recently returned from a two-year residence in Paris where she completed her Masters thesis on the films of Pagnol. She resides with her husband near Auburn, California.


Marin/Scapes, set in the bucolic Jean Escalle Winery in Larkspur, July 1-4, 2000, was the location of an extraordinary gathering of Marin landscape paintings by 58 regional artists working in all media. Director Mary Welch attributed the "startling success" of this Twelfth Annual Exhibit to the exceptional talent and participation of this year's artists. Fresh art was hung daily, giving collector's the widest possible selection. (left: Jerrold Turner, Spring Grass - Genazzi Ranch, oil on panel, 10 x 14 inches)

From the sweeping landscapes of Ralph Borge, whose After Rain in Marin, a composition of earth and trees in moist emerald lushness, to the direct, fresh style of Rat Island by J. Thomas Soltesz, this show featured a pleasing diversity of styles. Martha Borge's Spring Came to Chimney Rock captured the Marin coast perfectly. The luminosity of Big Rock Ridge, a crisp yet soft landscape by Steve Emery, celebrated the spirituality of Marin. Zenaida Mott captivated the viewer with an oasis of calm in Hideaway Harbor.

Randall Sexton's spontaneous work invited viewers into the atmospheric, Morning Fog Over Tennessee Valley. Ken Auster's large oil, Business and Pleasure, depicted a sparkling blue haze of boats and the San Francisco waterfront. The warm, coppery tonalist paintings of John McCormick triumphed in his exquisite Spanish Site. Santa Barbara artist Meredith Brooks Abbott's, Stand of Eucalyptus, Standing Cows, seized the essence of a serene Marin field. A foggy, Rodeo Beach from Headlands, by daughter Whitney Abbott, promised an incandescent vanilla-hued horizon.

The Bay Area's Outsiders dazzled onlookers. Jerrold Turner painted his signature geometric cattle before a rich ultramarine background. They seemed to glow at dusk in Fattenin up- Kehoe Ranch. Ray Jackson's arresting tropical turquoise and peach, Pt. Reyes, echoed the vibrant heat and sunlight seen in Coastal Sunset, by Nikki Basch Davis. Judy Molyneux's, Duxburry Reef Light Effect, unfolded joyfully in yellow, orange and red. Barns, Hill and Cows presented the opulent textures and infinite palette of Bill Rushton.

A successfully evolving artist is Connie Kirk, whose pleasing geometric forms, luxurious color and touchable textures were beautifully presented in Pt Reyes Station Mary Lou Correia showed the inviting Pierce Ranch Point Reyes, a splash of fall colors with the ranch nestled in gold and rose hills.

Marin/Scapes 2000 was remarkable in its scope, quality and success.

© Sarah Beserra, 2000

Read more of The Plein Air Scene by Sarah Beserra in Resource Library Magazine

Sarah Beserra is Editor and Publisher of The Plein Air Scene - a monthly newsletter on plein air painting in Northern California. You may contact Sarah at or (707) 645-7361

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