Outdoor Painting Exhibit Reviewed

Courtesy photo    Carolyn Lord’s watercolor painted at Alameda Point is among the works on display at this year’s Plein Aire Paint Out exhibit at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts.

In homes all over the Bay Area, the morning of Aug. 3 may have begun in an ordinary way with dad making pancakes in animal shapes and mom sleeping in. But, if their day happened to take them to South Shore Shopping Center — perhaps seeking back-to-school specials — the day took an extraordinary turn. 

That Saturday, the public discovered the Center Court zig-zagged with panels which were covered with paintings produced over the week of July 28 by a bevy of Plein Air painters whose specialty is painting in the out of doors. They paint the land- and city-scapes they see in real time and real (i.e. changing) light. All the paintings were of sites seen in or from Alameda, including both familiar sweeping vistas and intimate portraits of the Island’s idiosyncrasies.

The crowd was a cross-section of America, including all ethnicities and persuasions united in their curiosity and appreciation. Straw hats against the sun prevailed. An elderly man slowed parking lot traffic as he shuffled resolutely toward the Center Court. 

“I’m here for the art,” he said. “It’s like an outdoor gallery.”

The public can continue to view these paintings as they are installed at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts (FBCA) at 1601 Paru St. An opening reception was held last Friday. The show will hang until Sept. 28. FBCA is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more, call 523-6957 or see www.frankbettecenter.org.