Capitola Plein Air Invitational attracts artists to paint the city – Santa Cruz Sentinel

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CAPITOLA — The Capitola Arts and Culture Commission hosted its seventh annual Plein Air Invitational, which welcomes artists from around the world to paint scenes at Capitola, Nisene Marks State Park and Pleasure Point. The plein air painting competition offers artists a week to create several pieces from different points of view, be it the forest, the sea, the village and all the streets and alleys in between.

“Plein air essentially means you paint outside, on location, and capture the moment – ​​the feel and color of the scene,” said Laurie Hill, event chair for the Plein Air Invitational. “What’s amazing to me is that you get to see Capitola through the eyes of 30 different artists.”

Durre Waseem paints Saturday at Capitola Village. Credit: Aric Sleeper / Santa Cruz Sentinel

The approximately 30 performers congregated in the village of Capitola and along the beach on Saturday to give the public a chance to see the performers in action, like Capitola resident Stephanie Gelman, who is not just a participant, but also the founder of the event.

“I play classical music and love classical arts, so when I joined the Arts and Culture Committee, I pitched to them the idea of ​​an outdoor event at Capitola,” said Gelman. “Now, as many artists come every year, we have to know each other, so there is a great camaraderie between us. We boost each other. »

Having multiple days to create a handful of paintings allows artists to choose many places to paint, and it’s a godsend when the weather isn’t cooperating, according to local artist Maggie Renner Hellmann who was painting an interpretation of the Capitola Hotel. Venetian on Saturday.

“I painted near Shadowbrook the first day, and that was the day the gusts just kept coming through,” said Renner Hellmann. “I was ducked under an umbrella and had to use tarps. The sun was shining but it was also raining. That’s why it’s essential that we have a week to paint.

Maggie Renner Hellmann shows off her painting at the 7th Annual Plein Air Invitational.  Credit: Aric Sleeper / Santa Cruz Sentinel
Maggie Renner Hellmann shows off her painting at the 7th Annual Plein Air Invitational. Credit: Aric Sleeper / Santa Cruz Sentinel

While many artists preferred the shoreline on Saturday, some were drawn to paint the busy sidewalks of Capitola Village, like last year’s first-place winner and professional artist and lecturer Chad Hunter of Manteca.

“I painted at Nisene Marks for two days and only saw two people,” Hunter said. “I was isolated so chose this location as there is a lot of foot traffic.”

Hunter’s sentiments were echoed by last year’s runner-up and Corona resident Durre Waseem, who painted the interior of a restaurant from an exterior perspective.

“It’s a pleasure to paint here in this quaint and charming seaside town, and the people here are so nice,” Waseem said. “I love painting people. I think they represent the community more than just a nature scene.

Participants came from California, the United States and around the world. Ukrainian refugee and visual artist Natalia Aandewiel has found refuge with friends in Santa Cruz County after fleeing Ukraine seven months ago. Having the ability to paint the ocean helps Aandewiel find solace while his country is at war.

“I love painting the oceans,” Aandeweil said. “It’s the only thing and the only place where I feel calm and where I can forget everything. It’s very therapeutic.

Stephanie Gelman paints the beach and Captila Wharf on Saturday.  Credit: Aric Sleeper / Santa Cruz Sentinel
Stephanie Gelman paints the beach and Capitola Wharf on Saturday. Credit: Aric Sleeper / Santa Cruz Sentinel

Local artist Lupe Santos was painting on the beach near Esplanade Park. He chose the location because it offered the perfect balance of scenery, wildlife, and surfers. Santos said he hopes more people will discover his work through the contest.

“Competition allows you to do better and improves your skills,” Santos said. “You need to be here too so people can know about your work.”

The Plein Air Invitational award winners will be announced Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Jade Street Community Center in Capitola. All works by artists from the week-long event will also be on display and for sale.

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