Sergio Lopez - North SF Bay Area Fine Artist

Upcoming Shows and Events

•Spoke Art: April 7, 2016. "The 5th Annual Moleskine Show." San Francisco, CA.

•Bakersfield Museum of Art: April 9th, 2016. "Kern County Plein Air." Bakersfield, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: May 1st, 2016. "The Golden Hour." Duncans Mills, CA.

•Abend Gallery: May 13th, 2016. "Contemporary Figuration." Denver, CO.

•Paso Arts Fest: May 26th, 2016. "Signature Exhibition." Paso Robles, CA.

•Los Gatos: June 18th, 2016. "Los Gatos Plein Air." Los Gatos, CA.

Sonoma Plein Air: September 10th, 2016 "Sonoma Plein Air." Sonoma, CA.

•Modern Eden Gallery: September 17th, 2016. Beautiful Bizzare Invitational Show. San Francisco, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: October 2nd, 2016. "A Splendid Journey: 40th Anniversary Show." Duncans Mills, CA.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Plein Air Convention Recap: Part 3

Day 4

Marketing Bootcamp: Day 3

For the conclusion of the marketing bootcamp, Eric Rhoads talked about how to generate leads, the importance of consistent advertising, and lead capturing strategies such as offering free information in exchange for customers' info. You know his strategies work, because it dawned on me by the end of the presentation that he was using all of these strategies on us the attendees... and they were working! Even I was like, "man, I gotta get some more of this good stuff!" Even though it came off as pretty sales-y at the end of it, it wasn't too offensive to me. One can either grumble about it, or use it as a learning opportunity by looking at the "Matrix" of it and analyzing what he was able to do and adapting it to your strategy. I'm considering getting the other Bootcamp DVDs, so that's as good an endorsement as any.

After a cool demo by kick-ass painter and friend Thomas Kitts (who uses Pthalo Blue as well as anyone you'll see out there) about painting solvent-free, the "indoor" portion of the convention concluded and we all went out to Point Lobos to paint.

Point Lobos

The sun was quickly getting covered by fog, so time was of the essence when it came to getting any sort of sunlight to work with. The problem with going to such a beautiful place is that you think an even better view around the corner. I ended up with going with such a complicated view on such a small canvas that I struggled with this. It started ok, went to hell, then I rescued it as much as I can. I still don't think it's that great, but I got enough compliments from passerby's to keep it. I may use it as a color study for something larger. We'll see.

A study of a cave near Hidden Beach in Point Lobos. 6x8 inches.

A lot of people commented on the bravery of the choice in subject matter. I just paint what I find interesting, then find a way to compose it in an interesting way.

The sun was gone. No more painting tonight. Now that we didn't have to wake up early, it was time to let loose! We took over the Crown And Anchor as we tended to do, and it was fun to watch all of your favorite plein air painters let loose... Kevin Macpherson.

There were plenty of others, and plenty more shenanigans. Just go next year if you want to know.

Day 5

Monterey Fisherman's Wharf

The last "official" day of painting... I saw about a hundred painters set up around the wharf. I set up across from the Wharf's General Store and painted this one. I decided to keep it vignetted, as the brushwork in the initial block-in was appealing enough. I used a plastic putty knife as a straight-edge to do the architecture, a tip learned from Joseph McGurl. This was also a rare instance of using Phtalo Blue on my palette. Can be a fun color, but man is it overpowering.
After finishing that painting, I went and checked out what else was going on with the other artists. Eric Rhoads, Jonny Luczycki and a few other artists set up to paint a couple of street kids. They were fun to draw on account of their well-worn digs, and probably even a pretty good-looking couple underneath the grime... It was a lot of fun to draw in the ol' sketchbook, and I'm going to make the effort to do it more often.
Lori Putnam finishing up a sweet painting of the pier.
I concluded the event by having dinner with friends and getting together at the bonfire at Carmel Beach. It was nice to see so many painter friends without the pressure to sell paintings like a plein air paintout normally would have. If you're into the whole plein air scene, and make friends easily, I recommend checking out.

Bonus: Mountainsong Gallery

On Saturday I hung out in Carmel for another day to check out some painters at Mountainsong Gallery. They invited some of the stars of the Palette & Chisel Academy in Chicago. Here is a start of a painting by William Schneider. I found the drybrush block-in pretty interesting.

Clayton Beck

Very solid draftsmanship and surefire brushwork is seen in this painting by Clayton Beck. I was glad to watch him for a little while.
Clayton's amazing painting and beautiful model.
Clayton's palette.
Clayton's brushes.

Mary Qian

It was a treat to watch Mary Qian paint. It's very different from how most people I've seen paint. She seems to prefer to dab on paint with short strokes, and builds up a texture to her work. I think she puts the paint on paper plates to get some of the oil out of the painting. The less oil, the easier to build up, and I think she is trying to get more layers into an alla prima painting.

The result, coupled with her skills, makes for a very interesting painting.

A word about conventions, the "Plein Air Movement", and integrity.

Right around, during, and especially after the convention, I saw a little bit of backlash on Facebook about the convention, and especially about the branding of "plein air." This blog post was shared a lot in particular. I followed a lot of the discussion but never put my 2 cents in about it until now. There is definitely a certain track you can follow if you choose to. There is a "mainstream" (as mainstream as such a small industry can be) component to what I do. You know, the magazines, the organizations, the large art suppliers sponsoring certain painters, etc. It gets a lot of attention because they spend a lot of marketing time and money to put themselves in front of our eyes all the time. To me it seems that this industry has been around for way longer than people care to remember. It does seem a little bit "pay-to-play" sometimes, because we are led to believe that the only real way to make it as an artist is by getting our paintings into magazines, or winning gold medals, or having a signature line of brushes, or whatever. In reality, that's putting the cart before the horse. Those should be the rewards and not the goal. That much I agree with.

However, this idea that painting outdoors should be this solitary pursuit completely devoid of a motive beyond the activity of painting in the moment is a little too over-romanticized and short-sighted. It is one way to live as an artist, and certainly a noble one, but far from the only way. As professional artists, we all have to find a way to make it. Why is one version considered more valid than another? I don't see what these companies do as tainting the "movement," whatever it's supposed to be. To me, calling it a movement is for people who want to be part of a larger collective. If people don't want to be a part of it, that's fine, but there's no reason to look down on those who do. I think what the Plein Air Magazine, California Art Club, and others do is by-and-large extremely positive. The sales-y part of it is pretty easy to avoid if you're a smart person, and shouldn't discount all the good parts of it. For those of us trying to make a career of this painting business, we need all the help we can get, and this is one of the most visible avenues we can pursue. To take the most visible route doesn't necessarily mean trading your integrity, as long as you stay true to your artistic vision.

I welcome your thoughts!

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