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Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational

Each year Laguna Beach turns into an outdoor painting studio with the west coast's most prestigious plein air art event, the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational.

Painting on a cliffside

Seeking light and it's play in the world is the driving force for many artists, especially the plein air painter. "Plein Air" is a French term that is loosely translated as, "outdoors." The French Impressionists were the first to bring popularization to landscape painting, with distinctive natural color that was convincing in its effect of natural light upon the work. Laguna Beach itself has a long history that is deeply rooted in plein air art. Artists flocked to Laguna Beach in the early 1900s attracted to the intense light, beauty of the diverse coastline, and mild climate. Many proclaimed "the light was perfect" in Laguna Beach.  Distinguished plein air painters such as Edgar Payne, began making Laguna Beach a mainstay in their work.

Laguna Art Association c. 1918
"Laguna Beach," by Anna Hills c. 1915

Fast forward to modern times and Laguna Beach is still a haven for the plein air artist. The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), a local nonprofit art organization established in 1996, is dedicated to preserving Laguna's rich artistic legacy and the plein air painting tradition. Each year they hold a 9-day invitational showcase of the nation's top plein air landscape painters. The week-long festivities including public paint-outs, painting demonstrations and educational events. Culminating with the highly anticipated Collectors' Soirée Gala where attendees get the first look at the original art created throughout the week.

painting the plein air surf

In it's 20th year, the 2018 Plein Air Invitational promises to be one of the most highly anticipated art events in Laguna Beach. With 50 artists descending on town, new events, including a Nocturnal Paint Out, expect to see art around every corner of Laguna Beach.