“California, The Golden State”
Community Art Project (CAP) presents a special juried exhibit of works by Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) artists.
Exhibition run: June 10, – September 30, 2017

By M. “Charlie” Ferrazzi

“California, The Golden Stateˮ a collaboration of Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) and Community Art Project (CAP). Water, rocks and cliffs of the California shoreline, rolling hills and towering trees of inland areas, and even some of the architecture to be found within the state borders, can be seen in this juried exhibit of 60 works by 27 Signature and Artist Members of LPAPA.

While enjoying the exhibit, I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Bradbury-Bennett. (She pointed out that there was no relationship to either of the famous people that could be linked to her last name.) I had admired her piece “Santa Isabel Preserve West”. Working in shapes and colours, applying thin layers that contained rich colour, the boulders in the field had a solid feel of strength and weight. The sunlight was strong yet not harsh; just a feeling of a very warm sunny day.

Bradbury-Bennett told me that she had been painting since her teens but had gone into electronics materials engineering when it became time to earn a living. Now being retired she has been able to get back into her painting full time. “Like being in heaven,” is how she described it. She is a San Diego County resident and a member of the San Diego Plein Air Painters group. She has been the organizer for the last 5 years for this 10 year old group. Her work is mostly done on site, to be able to really feel what she is painting. Her enthusiasm and love of painting comes through when you talk to her.

Another piece that caught my eye was “Route 66” by Max Rendon, a 16” x 16” piece of sunshine. An old filling station done in brilliant yellow made bright from the sun and with a deep to light sky in a strong blue palette, the work of Maynard Dixon comes to my mind. It makes you want to spend time enjoying it.

Talking with Kirsten Anderson, she revealed that she prefers to use mostly pure colour on her palette, giving the works richness. Boats, sunshine, and coastal areas are her preferred subjects. She enjoys working on site doing her studies for larger pieces she may do later in studio. She can paint the same scene over and over and not have it come out the same. She always finds something different to focus on.

Painting in paint-outs is something she excels at. Anderson commented, “Painting is work, but enjoyable work. I enjoy the problem solving as I go along, finding myself more focused. I have won a number of awards at paint outs. At the end, my brain may be fried, but I have accomplished creating something.”

Awards were presented to the top three artists. First Place went to Tom Swimm for “Point Lobos Grandeur”: the largest of the pieces at 48” x 60” which shows some of the beautiful coastal cliffs and arches in the Point Lobos coastal zone. Swimm has strong definition between his lights and shadows, yet there are also subtle changes going on that add depth and perspective to the scene.

Second Place went to Fernando Micheli for “Batequitos Lagoon Evening”. Coastal wetlands in the Carlsbad area, the scene has dramatic shadowing in the foreground that contrasts with the still brilliant sunlight in the distance. A quiet and calming scene to enjoy.

Third Place was given to Kirsten Anderson for “Eucalyptus Glow”. Her style is rough and loose with direct and deliberate strokes. She allows some of the lower layers to show through giving the feel of a colourist’s style of working. There is a glow that seems to come from within the stand of majestic eucalyptus trees.

The public is invited to come enjoy and explore the beauty of California and see why it has the nickname “The Golden State”.

CAP's mission is to increase the visibility and appreciation of Art and serve as a catalyst for Art Education. Visit www.caplaguna.org for information about ongoing or upcoming exhibits, to be on our e-mail list or to become a member and supporter of CAP. CAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit funded by the member supporters, the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.



Community Art Project provides ongoing exhibitions in The CAP Gallery, located in the Wells Fargo Building, 260 Ocean Avenue, 2nd floor. The Festival of Arts displays art on the 3rd floor, making this iconic rotunda gallery space worthy of a visit and browse. Hours are 9-6 Monday through Friday, and 9 - 4 Saturdays. Admission is free.

The CAP Gallery's focus is to exhibit artists with a cohesive body of high quality work who may not have a level of recognition or gallery representation. Juried solo, small group and retrospective exhibits are the formats presented. For retrospective exhibits, we are looking for at least a 20-year body of work by an artist. Since the space is so large, we can accommodate two solo exhibitions simultaneously.

Exhibit receptions are on Saturdays, 11am - 1pm, honoring artists, their work, and allowing Art Lovers to also meet the Artist. During the course of the exhibit we also have a gallery talk featuring the artists and/or the curator, or a painting exhibition.