The Plein Air Scene

by Sarah Beserra


Desert Plein Air


Fifty plein air painters from as far away as Maryland converged on the tiny desert town of La Quinta last week to paint for six consecutive days at Desert Plein Air, to compete for prizes and to exhibit and sell their work.

Sponsored by the City of La Quinta, the Hyatt, La Quinta and Merv Griffin Resorts, as well as the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, the week-long series of events included a Quick Draw Competition, the Grand Unveiling at the Hyatt Hall of Champions in Palm Desert and the two-day Umbrella Show. A portion of the artists' proceeds benefited the La Quinta Foundation. (left: Camille Przewodek, "Desert Sky," oil)

Easels lined the Hyatt Grand Ballroom on Friday night as art patrons viewed still-wet paintings, talked with the artists and nibbled gourmet fare. Best of Show award went to watercolorist Mary Deloyht-Arendt, a member of the Plein Air Painters of America. Overall awards of excellence went to: Jim Lamb, Washington, and Sam Caglayan and John Cosby of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. The Quick Draw Award of Excellence was awarded to Jim Lamb and William Scott Jennings of Sedona. This year's poster artist Michael Obermeyer of Laguna will be succeeded next year by John Cosby.

Participating painter Karl Dempwolf, Sherman Oaks, gave a lecture on the life and work of Early California Impressionist William Wendt. Participating Northern California painters included: Nikki Basch Davis, Lafayette, Art Hughes, Santa Rosa, Camille Przewodek, Sebastopol, Charles Waldman, Sonora, and Tom Zephyrs, Healdsburg.

The whirlwind schedule terminated for the artists at the Umbrella Show, where they each exhibited the new work as well as other recent paintings. Booths were set up amidst the colorful gardens and fountains of the historic La Quinta Resort and Spa, built in 1920, once a playground for the Hollywood set. Subject matter included paintings of the desert and mountains, views of produce fields in the Coachella Valley, the Joshua Tree National Monument, The Living Desert and the whitewashed adobe architecture which is a signature of the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area.

The La Quinta Arts Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to providing education, art and cultural opportunities for children, youth and adults. Proceeds enable the Foundation to render quality visual arts programming to students and to fund scholarships to individuals pursuing higher education in the arts. For information about next year's show, call: (760) 564-1244.

© Sarah Beserra, 2000


Read more of The Plein Air Scene by Sarah Beserra in the Resource Library

Sarah Beserra is Editor and Publisher of The Plein Air Scene - a monthly newsletter on plein air painting in Northern California. You may contact Sarah at or (707) 645-7361


rev. 12/27/10

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