Plein Air Event on Tap

Fred Fago &nbsp&nbsp Stephen McDonald won the 2018 PAPO best in show honors with “Dan’s Produce.”

Plein Air Event on Tap

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts’ (FBCA) 14th annual Plein Air Paint Out (PAPO) is currently underway through this Saturday, Aug. 3. Some 40 juried artists will paint homes, streets, shorelines and all over town.

“En plein air” refers to the act of painting outside in natural light. This style of painting was made popular by mid-19th-century artists in France. These include notable artists: Claude Monet, Édouard Manet and Pierre Auguste-Renoir. Like these artists, those participating in PAPO paint in two-dimensional formats using oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel or gouache paint.

Frank Bette, the man behind the art center, enjoyed spending his free time painting en plein air and had an affinity for landscapes while living in the yellow building on 1601 Paru St. that became FBCA. This tradition continues through PAPO. Artists come to paint in Alameda from all over the United States and from as far away as Germany and Italy.

“In 2005 when we first started the PAPO there weren’t any other paintouts in the Bay Area — the closest one was the Carmel Paintout,” said Genie Scott, co-chair of PAPO. “We decided to put FBCA and Alameda on the National Plein Air Paintout map.” 

This year people can watch plein air artists in action during the Quick Draw competition, taking place today, Thursday, Aug. 1, from Webster Street west to Spirit Alley. Paintings from the Quick Draw will be on exhibit and sold at Rock Wall Wine Company from 5 to 7:30 p.m. 

Then, this Saturday, Aug. 3, the series of events ends with an outdoor exhibit and sale at South Shore Center featuring 200 pieces of artwork painted on display through the week. Winners of the PAPO competition will also receive awards at the closing. Family events, painting demonstrations and music will complement viewing the art. 

All the works then go on display Friday, Aug. 9, through Sept. 28 at FBCA, 1601 Paru St. 


Jessica Mei is an Alameda Sun intern.