Painting en plein air
Mendocino Open Paint Out – Pictured Ellen Howard. Photo by Cindy Lee Hoover

The Mendocino Art Center (MAC) hosted five prestigious featured artists and 62 participating artists, visiting from Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, and Oregon as well as from throughout California, as part of the sixth annual Mendocino Open Paint Out (MOPO), a plein air festival, September 17–23. The event presented the public with free opportunities to view artists paint en plein air, attend featured artist-hosted demonstrations, shop “wet paint” sales, with new watermedia, oil, and pastel paintings hung each day, and watch the Quick Draw Competition and cast a vote for the winning piece.

Painting en plein air
Best of Show – Ryan Jensen. Photo by Larry R. Wagner

During the week, the artists painted 419 works of art, including 46 paintings created in a two-hour Quick Draw Competition. A MOPO celebratory reception was held on Saturday, September 22, to present 29 awards valued at more than $9,000 in cash and prizes. The paintings were juried by the featured artists — MOPO co-founder John Hewitt, Wendy Brayton, Ellen Howard, Suzi Marquess Long, and Will Maller.

Ryan Jensen from Blue Lake, CA, received the Southwest Art magazine “Best in Show” award for his oil “Angry Boat” (above).

Painting en plein air
Overall Consistency – Paul Rickard. Photo by Larry R. Wagner

Paul Rickard from Arcata, CA, was awarded the Plein Air Magazine Overall Consistency Award for his watercolors, and the Featured Artist Award was presented to Alison Leigh Menke from Maryland, for her oil painting “Rhythm of the Cove.”

Painting en plein air
Featured Artwork Award – Alison Leigh Menke. Photo by Larry R. Wagner

Awards in the oil category were presented to Gilbert Roux (first place, Clearlake Oaks, CA), Carol Tarzier (second place, Oakland, CA), Catherine Fasciato (third place, Concord, CA), and Sibyl Johnson (honorable mention, Carmel, CA).

Watermedia awards were given to Jamie Morgan (first place, Oakland, CA), Jody Bryan (second place, Bayside, CA), Cleo Vilett (third place, Oakland, CA), and Vince Walsh (honorable mention, Tracy, CA).

Painting en plein air
Mendocino Open Paint Out – Pictured Kevin Milligan. Photo by Russ Christoff

Pastel awards were bestowed on Linda Roemisch (first place, Nevada City, CA), Deepali Kapatkar (second place, Los Altos, CA), and Jacquelyn Cisper (third place, Fort Bragg, CA).

Themed awards were presented to Walt Padgett (Grants Pass, OR), Best Waterscene; Mark Monsarrat (San Francisco, CA), Best Architecture; Kevin Milligan (Carmel, CA), Best Garden; Susan P. Perin (Sun Valley, ID), Best Harbor Scene; Channing Rudd (Hidden Valley Lakes, CA), Best Transportation; Kathy Carl (Fort Bragg, CA), Best Non-Traditional; and Evan Hobart (Fort Bragg, CA), Best Albion River Bridge Scene.

Painting en plein air
Mendocino Open Paint Out – Pictured Mark Monsarrat. Photo by Russ Christoff

An Early Bird Award for the best painting hung by the end of the second day of the event was awarded to Carol Tarzier (Oakland, CA).

Featured Artist Judge’s Choice Awards were presented to Gary Baugh (Chico, CA) by John Hewitt, to Chella Gonsalves (Modesto, CA) by Wendy Brayton, to Curtis Green (San Pedro, CA) by Ellen Howard, to Andrew Daniel (Arcata, CA) by Suzi Marquess Long, and to Catherine Randall (Mendocino, CA) by Suzi Marquess Long.

The People’s Choice Award was received by Erin Dertner (Mendocino, CA), and the Quick Draw Viewer’s Choice Award went to Ryan Jensen (Blue Lake, CA). Both awards were voted on by the public.

Painting en plein air
Mendocino Open Paint Out – Pictured Ryan Jensen. Photo by Cindy Lee Hoover

The award-winning pieces may be viewed at

The Mendocino Coast, located along a beautiful expanse of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California, is a spectacular setting for a plein air festival. Artists claim that the quality of light is unlike anywhere else in the world. From the rugged surrounding landscape, to the bay and beaches, to the quaint Victorian architecture and water towers of the town of Mendocino, the artists find abundant creative inspiration. The seventh annual Mendocino Open Paint Out is scheduled for September 16–22, 2019.

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