Carmel is once again becoming an outdoor art studio. After a two-year COVID-induced hiatus, the legendary Carmel Art Festival will paint the city Friday through Sunday. At a time when many people are still hesitant to gather indoors, it is appropriate to hold an outdoor festival, during which 60 sworn artists from all over the country will paint all over the peninsula, while passers-by will witness landscapes and seascapes unfolding on the canvas.
The term “en plein air” is a French expression meaning “en plein air”, which refers to the practice of painting in the open air with the artist’s subject in view. Working with natural light, saturated colors and, at times, changing landscapes as they paint, plein air artists must deal with changing conditions of light, temperature, weather and subject matter. Thus, the piece is usually completed in one session.
Sponsored by the Carmel Gallery Alliance, the 27th Carmel Art Festival invites outdoor artists to paint through Friday, ultimately submitting two finished paintings by 3 p.m. Friday, competing for first, second and third place. These winners will take part in an award-winning “quick draw” competition on Sunday, where they will have two hours to complete a painting, in the open air. These paintings will be sold at silent auction.
“It’s a great honor to be invited to participate with all these other outdoor artists, local and out of town,” said local artist Delia Bradford, from the legendary Bradford family of artists, who has participated several times in the festival. . “It’s so fun to see everyone’s interpretation of a landscape that I paint all the time. There can be pressure to produce two plein air paintings within a set time frame, but I just put all the energy and excitement of the festival into my paintings.
Bradford, owner of Delia Art Gallery in Carmel, already has a few favorite spots in mind, where the setting inspires his work and the conditions tend to be forgiving when painting outdoors.
“It’s a roll of the dice to see what the weather will be like when we go to paint,” she said. “It could be sunny or foggy or windy or mild. It’s a good way to make sure we’re really painting outdoors. If an artist submits a sunny painting and it’s been foggy for two days, it’s suspicious.
Sometimes, rather than battling the breezes along the coast, Bradford sets up her easel inland, where she usually finds sunlight and calm air. While she plans to paint in acrylics, other artists may choose pastels, oils, watercolors; whatever suits their skills, subject and aesthetic.
The art of events
The center of the Carmel Art Festival is Devendorf Park, located on Ocean Avenue between Junipero and Mission streets. All paintings produced during the festival will be exhibited in an open-air gallery, adjacent to the sculpture garden in the park, which will feature demonstrations of sculptures in progress and complete works from Carmel Galleries, including Stephen Whyte Sculpture Studio and Gallery, Dawson Cole Fine Art, Bennett Sculpture Carmel, Classic Art Gallery, Gallery Sur and New Master’s Gallery.
Founded in 1974 by Bill and the late Jennifer Hill, the New Master’s Gallery represents both established artists and new artists destined to become masters. It was Jennifer Hill who came up with the idea for an outdoor arts festival, which she started in 1993. Hill, who also served as president of the Carmel Business Association, which later became the House of Commerce in Carmel, believed that an art festival would be good for artists, art galleries and the broader art community by marrying competition and collaboration.
After Hill passed away in 2006, the late festival president Tammi Tharp, who lost her battle with cancer in December, established the Jennifer Hill Prize. In conferring the award, Tharp usually selected a calm painting, the images of which depicted something soothing, serene, perhaps a path to the sea, the energy of which was a characteristic of Hill. In Tharp’s absence, this year’s Jennifer Hill Award will be presented by one of this year’s judges, Bill Hill.
At the helm of the art festival is President Hella Rothwell, a local real estate agency, who has actually been involved in its administration since 2000. This year she partnered with Vice President Ellen Wilson-Whyte, Coordinator principal of the program for the Panetta Institute. , whose husband is the famous local sculptor Stephen Whyte.
“I started my relationship with local art by creating websites for many Carmel art galleries,” Rothwell said. “The more I worked with them, the more I got exposed and really looked at the art, developing a deep appreciation for the work. Once the Carmel Art Festival wanted a website, I got even more involved in this volunteer effort , which has been so rewarding.
In addition to Hill, the judges include Patricia Terwilliger from Jones & Terwilliger, Sanya Micovic from Classic Art Gallery and Tony Vanderploeg from Gallerie Amsterdam.
“It’s the first time I’ve been a judge,” said Vanderploeg, 92, owner of Gallery Amsterdam for 26 years. “It won’t be difficult as I will judge based on how I react to the board when I see it. I’ve learned that what most people like and dislike is based on their initial response. The festival is something Carmel really needs because we have very talented artists painting beautiful works that should be showcased.
Each artist-juror participating in the festival will submit two exhibition paintings to be judged at Devendorf Park, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday, while judges will have just two hours, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., to complete their difficult is tasked with determining, from a diversity of mediums, subjects, perspectives and techniques, the first, second and third place winners, who will receive $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. In addition, the judges will select three “honorable mentions”, painters whose work deserves recognition, to whom they will award $500 each.
“I am so excited to be invited to participate in the Carmel Art Festival this year as a judge for the outdoor competition,” said Patricia Terwilliger. “After the last two years of living in a more isolated world, there seems to be a renaissance in the appreciation of art and the way it speaks to us on so many levels. It’s always so exciting to see the treasures that are created as the jury artists search for these special areas to capture the magic of this beautiful coastal region.
This year, participating artists were invited to create a third painting of the Carmel shopping district, on a 6 x 6-inch canvas provided by framer Randy Higbee, of his eponymous art and framing company Costa Mesa, with a frame for each. Higbee will be in attendance at Devendorf Park to judge the miniature submissions and award $100 each to their top three favorites.
Carmel Mayor Dave Potter, who will also be walking around the outdoor painting exhibit during judging, will award a $500 Mayor’s Choice Prize to the painting that tells him about Carmel.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be back with the Carmel Art Festival after its hiatus,” said Potter, whose mother was an established multimedia artist. “We are a community of artists; we are known for our art, so an event like this that celebrates nature and the diversity of art is wonderful and most appropriate. It means a lot to me as it represents both my heritage and my home.
Participating artists will vote among the submissions to present an Artist’s Choice Award of $500. And the People’s Choice Award will not only confer a $1,000 prize, but also the respect and approval of the public.
After judging is complete on Friday, the festival will officially open at 5:30 p.m., beginning with the awards ceremony and the first opportunity for the community to purchase paintings, as well as the poster for the 2022 event, depicting “Twilight Showers,” by 2019 People’s Choice Award-winning artist Sally Jordan, whose work is represented by the Classic Art Gallery. Whenever artists sell a painting, they are free to replace it with another painting, which must have been completed during the weekend of the festival, which will continue, with live music, until Sunday afternoon . On Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon, the “Quick Draw” contest takes place, where the winners of the festival contest will have three hours to complete one more painting. The winner will receive a prize of $500.
As in the past, the Carmel Art Festival will donate funds to the Youth Arts Collective which for over 20 years has provided studio space and instruction, exhibition opportunities and scholarships to over 800 young artists from the peninsula.
“A non-profit public event,” said Rothwell, “The Carmel Art Festival was created to educate, inspire and immerse people of all ages in the experience of the visual arts. We are delighted to be able to continue presenting this wonderful outdoor art weekend.