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Celebrating the Central Valley

A group of 19 Davis artists will showcase three to four paintings each in an upcoming exhibit entitled Plein Air: Celebrating the Central Valley at the Davis Art Center Tsao Gallery, January 6-February 4, 2011. The exhibit—filled with images of scenes in and surrounding Yolo County—demonstrates each artist’s instincts while painting outdoors, immersed in nature. The 2nd Friday ArtAbout reception will be held January 14, 7-9 pm at the Davis Art Center Tsao Gallery, 1919 F Street in Davis.

The show, curated by Betty Berteaux, features the work of Beth Winfield, Nancy Hilden, Mary King, Harriet Blodgett, Dana Richards, Fumie Reid, Naomi Bautista, Joanne Jensen, Irene Osuga, Anne Ragsdale, Janice Long, Mary Wilbur, Carol Bernard, Mary Ann Nortier, Ets Kanenaga, Marie-Therese Brown, Barbara Slemmons, Shirley Curtis and Betty Berteaux.

An equal mix of watercolors, oils and acrylics will be displayed, ranging in size from 8” x 10” to 16” x 20”. Drawings done as preparation for the completed paintings and some artist sketchbooks will also be featured.

“We have been going out to paint weekly since June 2010,” said curator Betty Berteaux, who taught a Plein Air class in Spring 2010 at the Davis Art Center. Berteaux currently teaches Drawing Strategies at the Davis Art Center.

“As a teacher, I had been doing so many didactic paintings. I wanted to get back outside and do what I love the most, and invited others to join me.”

The group set easels up at places like Putah Creek Riparian Reserve, Clarksburg, Elkhorn Regional Park, Tremont Cemetery, Jepson Prairie, North Pond in Davis, UC Davis Arboretum, Lake Solano, Berryessa Dam, Downtown Davis, Somerset Farms in Winters, among other locations.

 According to many artists, the Central Valley is particularly appealing to those who paint in plein air due to its unique lighting and crisp, clear horizon lines unmarred by rigid cityscapes.

“In the Central Valley, you have great views of the sky,” Berteaux said. “Plus, the landscape is so varied with rivers, ponds, agricultural land and mountainous areas that are not too far away. The Blue Mountains have a completely different vegetative pattern than the delta scenery in Clarksburg, for instance.”

The project also worked to preserve these environments while promoting the arts: Participating artists paid an entry fee of $5 per field trip, and the funds were donated to Yolo Audubon Society, Yolo Basin Foundation and Friends of Art at the Yolo County Fair, which raises money for high school art programs.

For more information on this exhibit, call the Davis Art Center (530) 756-4100, or visit www.davisartcenter.org.

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