Joining and participating in art clubs is a great way of adding a social element to the lives of painters like myself whose work is inherently a solitary activity. I not only get to enjoy socializing with great people with interests like my own, but I also get to learn from their work and their experiences in our field of art making. Art Clubs also provide a way for artists to get their work known to art collectors, who often peruse club websites to learn of public events and read about the artists.
In 1999, the Oil Painters Alliance formed in Santa Cruz, with myself as a founding member. In 2001, it was renamed the Santa Cruz Oil Painters (SCOP) with an influx of great painters. It’s grown to 25 or so artists, which is the most we can reasonably gather for our annual holiday parties. (We all had a wonderful holiday party in an Aptos restaurant this past December.) We have just one business meeting each year at the beginning of each year. But the main business of the group is having weekly plein air painting sessions. A few members volunteer to build a list of sites for these Tuesday sessions, and get the information out to the members. Any members can show up, and even during much of the covid times we kept this up, while respecting social distancing on site. We have critique gatherings, often monthly, where each artist can share her/his recent work and receive critical review from the group in a very supportive atmosphere. All fun.
I am also a signature member of the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association (MBPAPA), and spent time on its Board, serving as the exhibition coordinator. Their annual meeting, with some 40-50 local artists in attendance, was held this past month. This organization also has planned plein air outings, and further arranges public exhibitions open to the member artists, using various local venues.
These are both excellent organizations, with many talented persons creating amazing art. Click the names of the groups here to reach their websites, or find them on social media. Each has lists of shows and lists of their artist members. I encourage all of you to find where they exhibit and visit to appreciate their art. And if you can, support these artists by purchasing their art.
The California Art Club, is a group with headquarters in Pasadena. This venerable organization of artists has been around for over 100 years, dating back to around 1909. The Northern California Chapter of this group, of which I am a member, is showing (as of this writing) a juried selection of member work right here in Santa Cruz. The show is titled “California Dreaming.” My 36″x48″ Grand Coast painting at Bean Hollow park is showcased at the entry to the show, as you can see to the right. The show has already begun, but the official opening is this Friday, February 3, 6-8pm. The Gallery is Curated by the Sea in downtown Santa Cruz, located next to the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History on Front Street. I’ll be there and hope to see you also.
(Gallery hours: Thursday through Saturday noon – 4 pm, Sunday through Wednesday by appointment.)