Monday, January 20, 2014

Plein Air Laguna Beach

Have you ever been to a place so beautiful that you barely believed that it was real? I felt that way on my first visit to California. It was winter in New York, which could have had something to do with it. Miles and miles of ocean is edged with picture perfect beaches and bougainvillea covered cliffs. Inland is the varied beauty of mountains, farms and desert. The amazingly beautiful landscape is worth the visit. I am especially fond of Laguna Beach. The Arts and Artist are given pride of place there through representation at numerous galleries and frequent varied shows and workshops. The Laguna Art Museum and yearly Festival of Arts attract visitors from all over the world. 
On our first visit to Laguna Beach we met artist and teacher Michael Obermeyer.  We've been painting with him every visit since and were recently able to get away again for a few days of plein air painting. 
Our first day of painting was at Heisler Park just north of Laguna's Main Beach and the Art Museum. Mike let us use his Jullian Easels and set out our California plein air color palette. A squirt of Ultramarine Blue, Viridian Green, Alizarin, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red Light, Cad. Yellow Light and Titanium White paint were the tools we used to interpret this glorious scenery.
Mike encouraged us to block in the darker shapes first with big brushes. I sketched in the cliffs and thought I'd catch some of the clouds, but which ones? The sky and the light kept changing.
We were painting from a great vantage point just off the main path at the top of the bluffs. Numerous passersby wandered over to check out what we were doing and ask questions. A few wanted to pose for pictures with us. Little did they know. We weren't real California artists, but visitors from New York. Ha!
L'artiste Hugh.
Glorying in my first day of California plein air painting. 
The bright afternoon light also brought out the photographers.  
We were just starting to pack up our brushes when we noticed that a photo shoot was going on behind us.  
We introduced ourselves to Vaiva of Vaiva Models
Vaiva asked if we'd allow a model to pose with our paintings.
Why not? Only in California.
We haven't seen our paintings in the pages of Vogue... yet.
 Heisler Park by Hugh Gallagher 9" x 12"
Heisler Park by Gail Gallagher 9" x 12"
Painting with Michael Obermeyer at Heisler Park:
The makings of a perfect day.

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