Ventura Land Trust Hosts Plein Air Painting Workshop | Arts & Entertainment

Posted on June 23, 2022
| 5:39 p.m.

Harmon Canyon Preserve will offer inspiration for new and experienced artists

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‘Three Hills,’ a plein-air painting by Debra Holladay (Debra Holladay)

Ventura Land Trust will present a Plein Air Painting Workshop, 8 a.m. Saturday, July 9 at Harmon Canyon Preserve. California artists Debra Holladay, Laura Wambsgans and Marian Fortunati will offer instruction for beginner and experienced artists on how to capture Harmon Canyon’s natural landscape through composition, form, color, and paint handling.

Participants will receive instruction as a group and one-on-one; and group discussion will allow painters to learn from one another. Ventura Land Trust staff will join the workshop to share elements of Harmon Canyon Preserve’s natural and cultural history.

Painting en plein air, the French expression for “in the open air,” is the act of leaving the walls of a studio and painting in the outdoors. Artists explore how to paint form and light, with its changing, ephemeral qualities, with portable paints and easel.

“Plein air painting allows me to focus and interact in real time to understand and learn about a place,” said Holladay, the workshop leader. “Experiencing the light, color, sound, smell, temperature and touch magnifies and records my experience through paint.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of working en plein air is seeing things you’ve never noticed before, like the color of dry grass or a fleeting neon edge where light bends or reflects.

“I hope to share that aspect of seeing and how to translate it into paint with participants of the workshop, in addition to a basic approach to transforming a blank canvas into a painting.”

The workshop is $20 for Ventura Land Trust members; $30 for non-members. To register and view a list of suggested painting supplies, visit https://www.venturalandtrust.org/pleinair.

Holladay works both in the studio and in the field. Her paintings capture fleeting moments of the American experience. Her passion for art and sense of wanderlust for the natural world have led to a series of plein air-painting adventures to Lake Ediza in the Eastern Sierras, California Gold Rush country, Yosemite Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, and the California Coast.

Holladay earned her BFA from the University of Central Oklahoma followed by six years of study at the Art Students League of New York. She is an artist member of the California Art Club, a co-founder of Studio2310, and a founding member of the PAC6 Painters.

Her work is frequently included in juried museum and themed gallery exhibitions and invitational shows. Visit https://www.debraholladay.net/.

Wambsgans began landscape oil painting 16 years ago after working as the managing director of a major recording studio and then as a sculptor for two decades. Studying with Scott Christensen and other landscape painters and painting daily, Wambsgans strives to capture the effect of light on the land, though color and paint quality.

Wambsgans’ work has been exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions, including the Riverside Museum, Bakersfield Museum, Lancaster Museum, Ventura Museum and the Huntington Library.

In 2006, she spearheaded Chasing Open Spaces, an environmental project painting the open spaces of the Santa Clarita Valley. Exhibits generated by this project were instrumental in preserving Elsmere Canyon in Santa Clarita. Laura is a member of the California Art Club and a founding member of PAC6 Painters.

An award-winning artist, Fortunati considers herself  “one lucky artist” because art has enabled her to experience more of the beauty in our world (and because her name, Fortunati, means “lucky” in Italian).

She is a contemporary California impressionist who uses oil paints to create experiments with texture and color. Her outdoor sketches often serve as references for larger studio work, but are also mementos of places and adventures. She had a lengthy career as a teacher and a principal in Los Angeles.

Fortunati has established a foundation in the Impressionist tradition of seeing and painting shapes of light and color through instruction by artists Ray Roberts, Frank Gardner, Matt Smith, Daniel Pinkham, and master landscape and undersea artist David C. Gallup.

Fortunati’s work is found in collections throughout the U.S., Europe, China and Australia. She is an artist member of the California Art Club, and a founding member of PAC6 Painters; she retains affiliations with the American Impressionist Society, and Oil Painters of America. For more, visit https://www.marianfortunati.com/.

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