Making it ‘Plein’

Posted on August 27, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma Plein Air Festival art show comes to Sonoma Plaza on September 11 and not one of the 33 featured artists has even picked up a brush yet. But no worries.  The art is out there, waiting to be put to canvas.

For the annual event, professional artists from across the country will arrive in Sonoma County in early September for a week of painting outdoors, “en plein air.” You’ll see them at their easels in vineyards, scenic vistas and parks — any landscape that might engage their imagination. 

I’m invigorated by the immediacy and spontaneity of sights I see,” painter Keith Wicks told The Sun’s Jackie Lee. “It’s all instrumental in keeping the muse alive, viewing landscapes in different moods and colors.”

Wicks founded the nonprofit Sonoma Plein Air Foundation, which produces the event, to raise money for school art programs.

The public is invited to watch the artists paint and purchase paintings at a Quick Draw event on September 7 and at the Art Show and Sale on September 11, both on the Sonoma Plaza. Forty percent of each painting’s purchase price is a tax-deductible donation to support youth art education in Sonoma Valley.  

Keith Wicks, well-known local artist & one of the founders of the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation, shares his paintings with an attendee at the annual Sonoma Plein Air Festival Art Show & Sale on the Sonoma Plaza.

During the Sonoma Plaza Farmer’s Market on Sept. 7, artists have a set amount of time to complete a Plaza scene. Finished paintings will be brought to the southeast quadrant of the Plaza, near West Napa and First Street West, at 6:30 p.m.and will go on sale until 7 p.m.

The big outdoor show and sale takes place on the Sonoma Plaza, along with artist’s demonstrations, live music and free, fun art activities for all ages. The paintings from the week are on display and available for purchase.

The events will follow the latest guidelines for outdoor events provided by the City and County of Sonoma with regards to wearing masks and social distancing.

The Sonoma Plein Air Foundation is a 501(c) 3 organization that has raised over $1.6 million dollars since 2002, and is the primary non-profit to support art education in Sonoma Valley public schools, as well as hands-on youth programs at Art Escape, the Sonoma Community Center, the Arts Guild of Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.


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