A Week in San Clemente

From June 19th through the 26th I participated in the 9th Annual Paint San Clemente event in Southern California. There were a lot of artists participating in the event, since there was no jury, only a pretty steep entry fee. The prize money was enticing though, so it was worth the trip down to SoCal.

Day One:

Quick Draw

There were probably a good 40 artists painting from 2 models in the front lawn of the San Clemente Art Center where the Quick Draw took place. It started off as a cloudy hazy afternoon and by the time the bell was rung, it was a warm sunny day. I took a shot of the painting midway through.

I used the leaves in the foliage around here to create interesting negative shapes around her, and also lead to the focal point. Here is the finished painting:

I received an Honorable Mention award for the painting. I believe I was the only one who got an award for a portrait painting.

Day 2:

No painting that day. I went to the Getty Center to check out the Jean-Leon Gerome exhibition. No photos were allowed, as in any exhibition on loan, so here are some shots of the other things in the museum.

Day 3:

Day 3 started out with a trip to the Huntington Library and Gardens. It was quite the amazing place! The gardens were a delight to explore, and the art collection was fantastic! I took a lot of photos there, and I plan on using a lot of them in future works of art.

The portrait gallery full of Gainsborough’s was breathtaking! I could have just sat in that one room for hours!

Being charged with inspiration, I went out to the first plein air painting of the week. I went up Highway 1, by the Ole Hanson Beach Club. The sun was setting, and I was painting almost directly into the light. I had to wear sunglasses to paint this one. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have of it right now:

Day 3:

I went to the Irvine Museum on Tuesday. It was recommended to me by Alfredo Tofanelli that I check it out maximum inspiration. He was very very right! Amazing early California Impressionists filled this gallery, which was the size of a decent gallery. Looking at how they paint makes me realize how much I need to go to get to their level, because I’m sooooo far away still… The way they vary the hues while keeping the values the same is dazzling. You can’t see it with these meager jpegs. You have to look at them in person…

Beautiful cloud studies by Paul Grimm, an artist I had never seen before…

Elmer Wachtel

One of my favorite paintings there… A must-see-in-person…

Being extremely inspired I went and painted 2 new paintings out there:

I also went back and finished the painting from the day before. I wasn’t satisfied with the refinement of the piece, plus there were some parts that needed detail, like the buildings on the left.

Day 4:

I painted in Malibu Canyon isntead of San Clemente. This wasn’t for the official paint-out, more for the experience of painting out there. There was no place really to park and get any reference of the canyon, so I had to find a trail which was not quite as spectacular. I practiced simplicity in this piece. It took about the same amount of time to do as the first one in after the Irvine Museum visit, even though there are a lot less strokes. I think the color relationships in the foreground like the shadow is the most successful part of this piece.

Day 5:

I ended up starting really late this day. I went to the Pasadena Museum of California Art to check out the California Art Club Gold Medal Show. A lot of very strong work there, even though the overall quality was varied. If you go to their site you can check out the art on display.

This was a rush job. The composition is weak and the trees are too unresolved, but there are some decent things going on the piece. There’s a good sense of atmosphere going on, at least.

Day 6:

I painted a couple of pieces that day. I painted a hotel on the beach which I forgot to get a picture of, but is on display at the San Clemente Art Association Gallery. In between the two paintings, I checked out the Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa. He has a lot of good frames for very cheap. Go to kingofframe.com if you want to see what he offers. I went back to San Clemente and went up to the hills to capture this scene. I feel like I could have exaggerated the planes a bit more to get a better sense of distance.

Day 7:

I barely got my 2 pieces turned in on time, couldn’t have done it without Al and Carole! After we got our pieces turned in we went out to Dan McCaw’s studio. Dan was gracious enough to spend the whole afternoon showing his work and talking to us about his philosophies on art and creativity, as well as his own lifelong-struggle to find his own voice. His work must be experienced in-person to get the full effect.

Here he is showing off his sketchbooks. They are amazing!

He even treated us to lunch across the street! What a guy! A few members of our party went away with a piece or two from the studio that they purchased. Very cool, very inspiring but in a much different way than the museums were… I felt very fortunate to experience the company of an artist at his level in a casual way and not at a lecture hall. Check his blog out at http://danmccaw.wordpress.com.

We went over to the CAC Gold Medal show because they hadn’t seen it yet. Once we got back to San Clemente, the pieces were done being judged and so were up for display. Pretty solid work overall. Al and Carole both did some awesome pieces. I walked away with the 4th and 2nd place award for the pieces I don’t have good pictures of(figures, right? 4th place was the beach scene). We went out for drinks and delicious dessert afterwards, a perfect way to cap off a great week had by all….

About Sergio Lopez

North Bay Area based Fine Artist Sergio Lopez. Oil paintings, gouache paintings, plein air paintings, and charcoal drawings. http://www.themainloop.com

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  1. blarghkle says:

    I love Gerome! I must go there sometime…:) Thanks for this brain-improving moment, and may your artistic endeavors flourish.

  2. Great stuff Sergio! Your dedication is really inspiring. Wow – that was probably the most grown-up thing I ever said to you :)

  3. I just stumbled onto your blog and I’m not really sure how, but I am stunned… absolutely amazed at how much you were able to cram in to your trip out here. I don’t know where you are from but you really traveled!! You were able to visit some wonderful places and see fabulous art and people.

    AND your art that is posted is great. Loved your figure piece. Wish I could have seen the others that you have hanging there. Congrats on a busy and productive and, it seems, very enjoyable week!

  4. sick paintings man! i like the shape design of the first portrait.

    Thanks for showing us the photos too! interesting stuff.

  5. fionkell says:

    Always great to see your landscape paintings, Sergio. And so prolific! Looks and sounds like it was a fun trip.

  6. Saw this on FB. McCaw is the man. Wish I was there for that. Congrats on the placements in the shows.

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