When you are a painter, it’s a good life. And the best way to celebrate one’s birthday is a no-brainer. Here’s how Richard Gallego did it. 

The birthday boy, Rich Gallego, at the easel

Gallego knows many great spots in which to paint in Southern California, and he plans a paint-out among friends each year on January 19, his birthday. Last year it was held in the San Andreas Gorge, in the high desert north of Los Angeles. The year before it was in the Tehachapi Mountains. This year 15 people joined him to paint at El Matador State Beach in Malibu, California. “The place is amazing because of the huge and plentiful monoliths and sea caves scattered along the beach,” says Gallego.

Rob Impellizeri was among the well-wishing painter friends at Gallego’s birthday celebration.

“Path to the Pacific,” by Richard Gallego, 2015, oil on linen, 11 x 14 in.

“Malibu Glitter,” by Richard Gallego, 2015, oil on linen, 8 x 12 in.

“This was the sixth year,” Gallego continues. “It started with just a few close friends, but it has grown every year since. I put it on Facebook this year, and it kind of blew up. It was a great way to share a mutual passion and meet people who were only ‘Facebook friends’ previously.”

Carolyn Jorgensen Potter joined in the festivities at El Matador Beach.

“Tidal Erosion,” by Richard Gallego, 2015, oil on linen, 11 x 14 in.

Gallego’s celebration has gained momentum, and it’s not surprising why. Even non-painters were charmed by the idea. “Lots of strangers visiting the beach called me by name, wishing me ‘Happy Birthday’ because the other painters would tell them why we were all there when asked. It was just a great excuse to bring like-minded folks out to paint without competition or judging — just lots of fun and sharing of ideas regarding plein air and art in general.”


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