SOCALPAPA - CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF PLEIN AIR PAINTING
Compiled by: Jim Ellsberry, President SocalPapa
Painting outdoors in natural light – or “en plein air” - enjoys worldwide popularity. There are annual competitions, large informative gatherings, and many organizations dedicated to promoting the practice of plein air painting. SOCALPAPA is one of these organizations, celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year.
SOCALPAPA started as an off-shoot of a plein air painting class taught by artist Jeff Horn at Irvine Valley College. Jeff’s small group gained attention not only for their outdoor presence but also for the fine art they produced. Their work began to appear in places like Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, and the Upper Newport Back Bay. Soon the group went from a few to many, and was formally organized under its first President and founder Margaret Jamison.
Now, 20 years later, SOCALPAPA continues to promote plein air painting throughout Southern California. Its robust membership is active in arts education and community outreach. Partnerships with local businesses and institutions have now grown to include the Newport Bay Conservancy. The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center at the Back Bay, in association with OC Parks, graciously provides a meeting space for SocalPapa, plus the center sponsors an annual exhibit and juried show for its members.
Many members of the small group that started two decades ago have received national recognition for their work and their support of the arts. Jeff and Margaret are still active painters today. And the organization they formed continues to encourage others to grow as artists, and to document, respect and care for the open spaces of Southern California.