Feature in Santa Cruz Sentinel

CAPITOLA>> More than 30 professional artists will participate this weekend in “The Magic of Capitola en Plein Air,”

Art lovers Marla and Brad, visiting from Gulfport, Florida, meet Santa Cruz artist Maggie Renner Hellman as she paints en plein air.  Photo by Ron Holman.

Art lovers Marla and Brad, visiting from Gulfport, Florida, meet Santa Cruz artist Maggie Renner Hellman as she paints en plein air. Photo by Ron Holman.

giving art lovers a up-close look at this increasing popular outdoor painting technique and offering a juried competition with a top prize of $1,500.

The City of Capitola Art & Cultural Commission is hosting this first community event Saturday and Sunday. It’s free to the public and is expected to become an annual tradition in the seaside village of 10,000.

There will be live music, a chance for all attendees to make art and for artists to sell their works without paying a commission.

Amateur artists must register by Wednesday. The top prize for amateurs is $100.

Maggie Renner Hellmann, an artist who has lived in Santa Cruz for 25 years and has won awards for plein air painting in San Juan Batista and Estes Park, Colorado, said she is looking forward to the event.

“This is in my backyard,” she said. “It will be fun.”

Hellman decided at age 11 to be an artist and later studied in Florence, Italy, with her husband.

Her style is “partly impressionism, partly expressionism, mainly it’s capturing the energy,” she said. “I love nature.”

Participating artists will set up easels outdoors throughout Capitola at locations such as New Brighton Beach, Depot Hill, the Esplanade and the Jewel Box. The public is invited to view those artists in action from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Some artists may get an early start on Friday.

From noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, people are welcome to view more than a hundred paintings on display at Esplanade Park. All of the professional entries will be framed for judging.

Curator Susan Hillhouse Leask will speak on “A History of Plein Air and How I Judge a Painting in the Open Air” at 2 p.m. and announce the winner at 3 p.m.

Teaching artists from Mariposa’s Art, a program of The Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County, will be on hand in a pop-up tent to provide everything needed to make art. Visitors are welcome to collaborate.

For the tech-minded, there will be a public art smartphone scavenger hunt.

In case of rain, Sunday activities will be at the Capitola Community Center, 4400 Jade St. Details. Information: Capitolapleinair.com or 831-475-7300 ext. 206.


Award-winning reporter covering Santa Cruz business, housing, healthcare and Capitola Reach the author at jgumz@santacruzsentinel.com or follow Jondi on Twitter: @jondigumz.


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