Mendocino Open Paint Out 2013 Recap

It’s literally the night I got home from Mendocino after painting. I am about to go to bed and wake up to start painting in Sonoma in the morning. I want to do this quick recap before I spend the whole week painting my butt off with no time to write this before I finish the event in Sonoma.

Since it was an “open paintout,” artists came in to town to start painting anytime during the week they wanted to. I started painting on Thursday, which seemed a little late compared to everyone else. Since I had to bring in my paintings the next day at 5:00 for judging, I really didn’t give myself time to hit my stride. The 3 paintings I did were all I was able to do in that time.

Done at Van Damme State Park. The only time I had sunshine during the event.
“Standing on Glass” 9×12 in. oil on linen board.
The next morning I started this painting at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, right next to where I was staying. It’s called Glass Beach because the glass bottles that used to litter the beach were sculpted into “gems” by the ocean waves.
“Whispers of Sunshine” 16×20 in. oil on linen board.
This painting was done over 2 days. I started it at 6pm Thursday night, and finished it at 3pm the next day. The one nice thing about painting on gray days is that the light is constant, so as long as both days are gray, you can start a painting at whatever time you want and finish whenever as well.
We were only allowed to pick one painting for judging. This was the Best Of Show award winner by artist Macario Pascual. His work was new to me but he is a fine painter and really nice guy. I went back and forth between choosing whether I should have went with “Standing On Glass” or “Whispers of Sunshine.” I went with Whispers of Sunshine, but based on the feedback I should have probably gone with Standing on Glass. I still feel like Whisper of Sunshine is a better painting than Standing on Glass, but I could just be suffering from “artist’s blindness.” What do you think? Which one should I have went with?
This was my 9×12″ quick draw. I spent the whole two hours on it. Some said it was ambitious to paint something like this for a quick draw, but with the cropping the way it is, I really didn’t have to spend that much time on the complex parts.

After the quick draw, there was time to kill before the reception. I went exploring so I went to the Point Cabrillo Light Station park. There is plenty to see along the cliffs here. Here was a pretty quick study.

I only had this format for a painting, but I think I found an interesting crop for this scene. Interesting thing happened to me on my way back to the parking lot. I was stopped by a couple of park rangers who asked me, “gone fishing?” Fishing?? No… I was painting, and I told them so. Apparently, from where they stood, my setup resembled some sort of fishing apparatus. They had to come by and make sure I wasn’t pulling any shenanigans.

The next morning was time for me to head back home. I was going to go down the 1 and stop at some places that I wanted to paint. One of them was the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve. It was a gloriously sunny day today, the type that makes you want to paint way better than on a gray day. The colors of the coast really come alive.

It took me a little while to fine Bowling Ball Beach (located in Schooner Gulch State Park) but the journey was worth it. The entire beach has really interesting sheer cliffs, but the namesake comes from the boulders that have been shaped over the years to resemble bowling balls. I was drawn to paint this location because of the great colors of the warm shadows in the cliffs.

My last painting was done in a really remote beach on the very northern part of Salt Point State Park. Salt Point is one of my favorite places in Sonoma County. It’s so rugged and unique. I almost finished this painting before the fog finally crept back in and killed the light. At this point I feel good about starting Sonoma.

I think the event is fairly well-run for a first time event. There were over seventy participants! The event ran very well for the amount of people who participated. The quality of painter was a bit uneven as to be expect in a non-juried show. There were some sales but mostly under $500. The prizes were modest but fun. Not sure why Mendocino doesn’t attract more collectors of plein air, but I am sure it’s because the Mendocino Art Center is really the only art venue in town, and plein air paintings aren’t their only focus. I hope that next year they can attract more serious patrons. I would give the event another shot, but I will make sure to start earlier. Hoping for less gray skies.

Additional photos and videos can be found at my Instagram account.

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http://themainloop.blogspot.com/2013/09/mendocino-open-paint-out-2013-recap.html

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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