Painting beaches en plein air
Poppy Balser, “Keji Seaside Trail,” 2018, watercolor, 15 x 22 in., Collection the artist, Studio, from plein air sketches

For much of history, the beach has roused fear and anxiety in people’s hearts. Synonymous with shipwrecks and natural disasters, the coastal landscape was considered a wild and dangerous place. It wasn’t until about the mid-18th century that our European ancestors began to see the beach as a welcoming place of relaxation and recreation. Looking to escape the grime and pollution of industrial urban centers, wealthy Europeans embraced the fresh air and restorative powers of the beach. Once considered treacherous and threatening, the coast became a place of leisure, where one could become happily immersed in nature. It’s no wonder then that beaches and coastlines have been — and continue to be — such popular painting subjects, especially for those who work en plein air.

Inspired by a range of coastal landscapes, from rocky cliffs to salt marshes and sandy white beaches, the artists featured here have tapped into the feelings of mystery and calm — and even a lingering sense of danger — that we experience wherever land meets sea.

#1 Dune Path by Julie Riker

Painting beaches en plein air
Julie Riker, “Dune Path,” 2016, oil, 12 x 16 in., Collection the artist, Plein Air

#2 Keji Seaside Trail by Poppy Balser

Painting beaches en plein air
Poppy Balser, “Keji Seaside Trail,” 2018, watercolor, 15 x 22 in., Collection the artist, Studio, from plein air sketches

#3 Face the Day by Anne Blair Brown

Painting beaches en plein air
Anne Blair Brown, “Face the Day,” 2017, oil, 12 x 12 in., Private collection, Plein air

#4 Sunburst, San Clemente by Rick J. Delanty

Painting beaches en plein air
Rick J Delanty, “Sunburst, San Clemente” 2017, acrylic, 24 x 24 in., Collection the artist, Studio

#5 Sonoma Coast Morning by Larry DeGraff

Painting beaches en plein air
Larry DeGraff, “Sonoma Coast Morning,” 2014, oil, 8 x 10 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

#6 Above Laguna by Jeffrey Markowsky

Painting beaches en plein air
Jeffrey Markowsky, “Above Laguna,” 2017, oil, 16 x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

#7 Sun Spots by Susan Lynn

Painting beaches en plein air
Susan Lynn, “Sun Spots,” 2017, watercolor, 12 x 9 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

Join hundreds of other plein air artists in April 2019 as we gather to paint in San Francisco during the 8th Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo!


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