The Mt. Washington Plein-Air Painters is a group of artists inspired to paint landscapes outdoors, under changing light, weather, and seasonal variations. Our exhibition will feature four of the plein-air painters who have painted Northeast LA for over two decades. Exhibit runs: August 10 through September 8, 2013
Diane Behrens is a Los Angeles based artist whose work is influenced by her years of growing up and studying in Europe and Africa. She only paints from live subjects, therefore the shifting effects of light and color are what create the final form. She has exhibited across the country, and her work is represented on television and in film.
Things change, we all change, but in my efforts to create a window on the world through painting, light and color remain constants and will always remain my focus as my world evolves around me. I’ve never tried nor wanted to compete with the camera to record what I see — although it is a very useful tool — rather, I try to portray the essence of a scene through the play of light, shadow, color and shape, recognizable, representational, but always my personal interpretation. That I am able to participate in the centuries-old tradition of painting in oils to record what surrounds me is humbling, tremendously rewarding, exciting, challenging and frustrating, all at once. I’ve gained influences from many sources — artists throughout history as well as the painters I encounter and work with in my own on-going development. To all, I am more grateful than I can express for all I have learned and to be considered a member of the arts community.
Richard Willson is a plein air and landscape painter in Los Angeles, California. A co-founder of the Mount Washington Plein Air Painters, his work seeks to create empathetic observation of the interaction of the natural and built environments. The geographic focus of his work is the communities of Northeast Los Angeles.
Willson’s art is influenced by the urgency of global environmental challenges. He sees plein air painting as a way of understanding and appreciating nature and human activity, leading to the view that ‘observation is environmentalism’. Plein air painting places the artist in a context of changing light, weather, seasonal variations, and plant cycles. It also provides opportunity to observe human/nature interactions and interventions. In Willson’s case, a bridge, road, or building is often seen in relation to natural settings.
Willson’s paintings are a parallel effort to his research and teaching activities in environmental sustainability and transportation planning as a professor and chair in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Cal Poly Pomona. Willson holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from UCLA and has studied art at Otis Parsons Institute in Los Angeles.