En Plein Air 5

An exhibit featuring the work of the Half Moon Bay Plein Air Painters, including this take on a Montara horse ranch by Paula Terk, is now on display at the Coastal Arts League Gallery. Art contributed by Paula Terk

On Wednesdays you can find the Half Moon Bay Plein Air Painters focused intently on their work, capturing their natural surroundings, “en plein air,” or out-of-doors.

The group, organized by Eric Greenhut, meets in different locations across the coast from Pacifica to Pescadero. They paint on location for three hours in a variety of different mediums and then critique each other's work.

“There’s a real joy of painting on location,” said local artist Barbara Greensweig. “Art feeds our souls and to be able to do that, to be able to work in such beautiful surroundings, is amazing. It’s a really friendly group of people who are very supportive of one another.”

“En Plein Air 5,” an exhibit showcasing their work, is open now at the Coastal Arts League Museum and Gallery, 300 Main St., Half Moon Bay. Sixty works in watercolor, pastel, gouache and pencil by 16 artists will be on display.

The group has been around for 10 years and this is the fifth show by members of the group.

Margit Aarons, Lilly Brady, Gail Dennis, Greehut, Greensweig, Sue Hatfield, Valerie Kruger, Vickie Kurpinsky, Sue MacInnes, Frankie Meyer, Denis Shaw, Amy Smiley, Patricia SotoMinder, Paula Terk, Greta Waterman and Anni Weston are loyal members of the Half Moon Bay Plein Air Painters and will be sharing their landscape and nature paintings with the Coastside.

“There’s so much to learn just from being there on location, in nature,” Greensweig said. “It’s easier to see different colors and shadows. It’s a challenge, too, because nature is constantly changing.”

Greensweig has been a professional artist for 40 years and has been living on the Coastside for nine of those years. She works primarily in oil and her art reflects a blend of realism and impressionism.

“I love color and use a lot of very bright colors in my work,” Greensweig said.

Terk, another local, will also be showing her work in “En Plein Air 5.” Terk has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and in her pre-retirement life worked as a graphic designer and then art director for a Silicon Valley technology company.

“After retirement I took workshops that influenced my sense of composition, use of color and simplification of shapes,” Terk said. “I love plein-air painting because it combines painting with being outdoors.”

Terk works in more abstract compositions and is very influenced by painter Richard Diebenkorn and also by the colors created by the California Society of Six in the early 1920s.

“I think ‘Plein Air 5’ will give visitors an opportunity to see familiar environments interpreted by the 16 participating artists,” Terk said.

The Coastal Arts League show is free to the public and open Thursdays through Mondays from noon to 5 p.m. “En Plein Air 5” will be open until Sept. 13.

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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