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Art in the Pines ~ Plein Air Competition

Art in the Pines is a yearly plein air painting competition which takes place in the Torrey Pines State Reserve, here in San Diego County.  A jury selects artists who are allowed access to the park to paint for a full month (April) and then submit their best painting for competition in early May. The park is particularly beautiful this time of year and has lots of blooming wildflowers.

Torrey Wildflowers

Torrey Pines, is one of my favorite places in San Diego and I have visited it probably a hundred times either hiking, jogging, swimming or surf fishing on the shore, so the subject matter is something I know very well.  I was fortunate enough to be juried in as a competing artist this year and will be completing several paintings over the next few weeks, so that I might have a good one when it comes time to submit the work for the competition. I went out to the park yesterday, with my camera, my easel and painting supplies.  I chose the area of the park called the “Guy Fleming Trail.”  The trail is about a 2/3 mile loop that wanders through the chaparral and Torrey Pine forest…

Torrey Pine Forest Panorama

skirts by the sheer cliffs which drop down to the State beach below…

View from Cliff Top

…wanders through some spectacular rock formations…

Torrey Sandstone

and loops back to the starting point.

I had hiked the trail the day before, scoping out areas that would make good compositions for a painting and decided on a scene that depicted yucca trees on a steep slope, catching the light from the setting sun. This is an unusual view of the park and one that I think may catch the eye and inspire the judges, who probably see lots of the same-old-same-old.

IMG_0333

So I set up my easel on the trail, out of the way of the hikers (many of whom shared words of encouragement about the painting as they walked by), and went to work.  I had pre-toned the canvas the night before so I wouldn’t have to waste that time when I was ready to paint.

Easel Start

…and here is a little video I took and a picture of the completed painting.  I like this one quite a bit. So far, it’s a good start for the competition. I hope to get in at least four or five more paintings to choose from.  I hope you like it!

Evening Yuccas

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