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41st Annual National Watercolor Exhibition Returns to the Presidio


Presidio of San Francisco (July 13, 2010) — Oakland artist Karen Frey has won First Place in the California Watercolor Association’s 2010 national competition. Frey’s winning painting, BART will be showcased along with nearly 100 stunning portraits, landscapes and other works in Water+Color: California Watercolor Association 41st Annual National Exhibition. The free exhibit opens Wednesday, July 14 at the Officers’ Club and runs through September 19.

Over 800 entries were received for this year’s competition, some from as far away as India. 100 were selected by the Watercolor Association to be displayed in the exhibit. Last year’s exhibition drew more than 10,000 visitors to the Officers’ Club.

“We attract people from all walks of life,” says says Christine Dougherty, a vice-president of the California Watercolor Association and co-chair of the 41st National Exhibition. “All are people who just love to paint, many are artists, teachers, students, graphic designers and architects, coming from a broad spectrum of sources and styles.”

This year’s exhibition again includes two plein air “paint outs.” Plein air is the act of painting outdoors€”an artist packing up his or her easels, brushes and other equipment, trekking out to a scenic spot and braving the elements to paint. It is a test of skill and fortitude sometimes referred to as “guerilla painting.” Many artists prefer it to studio painting.

“It’s painting what you see without the filter of a camera,” explains Dougherty. “Subtle nuances of color are more readily apparent and there is an added dimension in the subject, allowing the work more depth and richness. Because the light can change suddenly, there is an exciting sense of urgency for the artist. They’re forced to stay in the moment to paint what is seen and felt in the fleeting present, regardless of the weather conditions.”

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

This year’s plein air “paint outs” will be held Sunday, July 25 and Sunday, August 29 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 41st Annual National Exhibition runs from July 14 through September 19 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 administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio’s status as a National Historic Landmark District.”

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