Alameda’s Color Harmonies: Frank Bette Center’s 17th Annual Plein Air Paintout

Nandini Sharma -- Artists from all over the country took part in the Frank Bette Center for the Arts’ 17th Annual Plein Air Paintout.

Alameda’s Color Harmonies: Frank Bette Center’s 17th Annual Plein Air Paintout

On Saturday, August 6, Alameda’s Frank Bette Center for the Arts held the final exhibit and sale for their 17th Annual Plein Air Paintout. It was hosted at the South Shore Center and featured live painting demonstrations in different mediums by artists, a live band, and invited the public to purchase the paintings that were created between August 2 and 5.

This year, the artists were invited from all over the country to participate in the Plein Air Paintout. The Frank Bette Center invited the artists to paint Alameda homes, nature, shops, streets, as well as different skylines and parts of the area. The paintout also held different events throughout the week that included a Quick Draw (in the Webster Street area), an off-Island Day, and a silent auction for mini artworks by the Plein Air artists.

Saturday’s event, beginning at 10 a.m., included exhibits from the artists, opening their artworks for public purchase. The first program included a watercolor painting demonstration by Suzi Long. She created a lagoon-side landscape with green and blue hues within an hour and 15 minutes in front of an audience, while explaining her work and answering questions. As she showed how she made her painting lively by mixing colors, the audience also took multiple pictures and notes of her artwork. She later described that she loved this event as she “absorbed being back in Alameda,” and these demonstrations helped her “lose [her]self in [the artwork].” Similarly, there were also oil painting and pastel demonstrations later in the day by artists Marie Massey and Mandar Wagholikar, respectively.

The President of the Frank Bette Center, Margaret Fago, mentioned that she was very excited for the Paintout event, especially after the pandemic. She stated that there was a large turnout for the exhibition, instead of what is usually expected at the center itself. Fago also described how the sales changed after the awards and the juror decisions, since most paintings were purchased after the divisions were announced. The paintings by the Plein Air artists will be available for purchase at the Frank Bette Center until October.

According to artist Stephen Weinberger, this event also allowed artists to evolve within their skills and scope. Since the program also hosted multiple artists for the week, providing housing for those traveling to attend — there were many avenues for them to mingle together and grow as an artist. He also mentioned that even though the Quick Draw events created an intense artistic environment, he loved working with it since the quality of the architecture, homes, and styles of the Alameda city inspired his work.

Before the awards ceremony, the juror, Philippe Gandiol, congratulated the artists for their work, and highlighted how “what [they] do as painters is let the picture come through [them], and put it out on the canvas,” explaining the importance of art and its storytelling. The awards were announced by Fago, followed by a live performance by the 360 Band. The Plein Air Paintout was an event that highlighted the beauty of Alameda city through art, and it celebrated the joys of immersing oneself in art.

The award winners for the Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout were:

2022 Best of Show Award: Lana Rak for Alameda Sky
- $1,000 cash, sponsored by Falkner Trust
- Featured artwork award in, sponsored by Plein Air Magazine

Frank Bette Award: David Smith for Dockside
- $500 cash, sponsored by Chevron
- Featured artwork award in, sponsored by Plein Air Magazine

Frank Bette Award Honorable Mention: Randall Stauss for Three Musketeers
- $200 cash, sponsored by Friends of Frank

Frank Bette Award of Merit: Boon Pang for Yacht Club
- $100 cash, sponsored by Friends of Frank

Alameda Award: Steven McDonald for Evening Glory
- $500 cash, sponsored by Radium

Alameda Award Honorable Mention: Barbara Tapp for Oak Shadows
- $200 cash, sponsored by Friends of Frank

Alameda Award of Merit: Laura Xu for Silent Seninels
- $100 cash, sponsored by Trabbocco Kitchen and Cocktails

Island Award: Lynn Mehta for Ferry Building
- $500 cash, sponsored by Nancy & Steve Brandt

Island Award Honorable Mention: Paul Feinberg for "V" Tug
- $200 cash, in memory of Pat Colburn

Island Award of Merit: Marie Massey for Cottage Garden
- $100 cash, sponsored by Friends of Frank

PAPo Award: Barbara Tapp for Alameda Golden Coast
- $400 cash, sponsored by Radium, Andiamo, and Jan Mason
- $135 Gift Certificate for RayMar Art, and a 1-year subscription to Plein Air Magazine

Quick Draw Artists’ Choice Award: Christian Matthews for Shopping for Flowers
- $400 cash, sponsored by Friends of Frank, Radium

En Plein Air Pro Award: Karen Fiene for Masonic Hall
- A backpack, tripod, easel top, empty watercolor palette for plein air, and a collapsible water container

Jack Richeson Award: Jim Benson for Bay Farm Bridge
- A set of seize brushes, contained of studio soap, 12 shiva oil sticks, 12 tubes of Shiva oil paints

For more information on the Paintout, visit

Nandini Sharma   Spectators perused South Shore Center examining the art pieces created for the Plein Air Paintout.

Nandini Sharma is an Alameda Sun intern. To reach Sharma, contact