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40th Annual National Watercolor Exhibition Comes to the Presidio


Presidio of San Francisco (March 17, 2009) — The work of first-place winner, Danville artist Yong Paik will be showcased along with nearly 100 stunning portraits, landscapes and other works in Water+Color: California Watercolor Association’s 40th Annual National Exhibition, which opens Wednesday, March 18 at the Presidio Officers’ Club. The free exhibit runs through May 24.

“We’re very excited to welcome the California Watercolor Association back to the Presidio. Their last exhibit was a huge hit with our audience,” says Jeff Weik, public programs manager for the Presidio Trust. “It’s great fun. Not only does the public get the chance to see some truly fantastic works of art, but they have the opportunity to interact with the artists in our Friday, Artists in the Gallery sessions and to help select the People’s Choice Award winner by voting for their favorite pieces.”

“The People’s Choice Award is a real crowd favorite,” says Marilyn Miller a vice-president of the California Watercolor Association and co-director of the 40th National Exhibition. “We find people really look at the paintings when they’re given the chance to vote. They come back and look at the paintings again, they go back and discuss, debate and argue about them with their family and friends.”

The Watercolor Association received more than 600 entries from as far away as France. One hundred were selected for the exhibition, which is being held at the Presidio for the second time.

“The exhibition represents some of the best in water media that’s out there today,” says Miller. “And we’re delighted to bring it back to the Presidio. The Presidio has given us an opportunity to expand our community outreach program that introduces children and adults to the joy of watercolor. And the layout and lighting in the gallery is perfect for displaying art.”

“Anyone can enter,” Miller continued. “You don’t need any formal training. We have people from all walks of life and all levels of ability. Some are people who just love to paint, others are professionals, teachers, students, graphic designers and others paint this fabulous piece and it’s the last one they ever do.”

This year’s exhibition also includes two plein air “paint outs.” Simply put plein air is outdoor painting, but it has also been referred to as “guerilla painting” since it requires a certain level of skill and commitment to haul one’s equipment to a scenic spot and brave the elements to paint. Still many artists prefer it to studio painting.

“It’s painting what you see without the filter of a camera,” explains Miller. “Subtle nuances of color are more readily apparent and there is an added dimension in the subject, giving the work more depth and richness. Because the light can change suddenly, there is also a sense of urgency for the artist. They’re forced to stay in the moment and not overwork or over think the painting.”

The paint outs also offer the public a unique opportunity to see art as it’s being created. Each artist will have three hours to create their painting, after which a juror will select the winners.

This year’s plein air paint outs will be held Saturday, April 4 and Saturday, May 2 from 10 am to 3 pm.

Mixing water with pigments and painting on special paper is a deceptively simple formula for a rich and diverse art form that dates back to the Renaissance in Europe and even further in China. Out of this long tradition has grown a wide variety of styles, many of which are on display in the exhibition.

Water+Color: California Watercolor Association’s 40th Annual National Exhibition runs from March 18 through May 24 at the Presidio Officers’ Club Exhibition Hall, 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is free.

The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District.”

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