Capturing the Beauty of the Gaviota Coast

By Jane Kelley

Painting up on the Bill Wallace Trail

For the past seven years, Gaviota Coast Conservancy has celebrated the splendor of the Gaviota Coast with an art show fundraiser at the Bacara Resort featuring paintings of the Gaviota Coast by members of SCAPE (Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment).  SCAPE’s mission is “to promote camaraderie and artistic growth for their members while helping to raise money for non-profit environmental organizations through a variety of events.”

Many of the painters go on location, “en plein air,” which is French for outdoors.  They hike in with their easels and paints or pastels in tow.  They face an array of challenges including animals, bugs, onlookers, and environmental conditions such as wind, rain showers, heat, and cold.  The artists are truly in the moment, interpreting light, shadow, and atmosphere in rendering the landscape. 

Each week there are scheduled “paint-outs”

Each week there are scheduled “paint-outs,” opportunities for artists to meet with others in a chosen location for collaboration and company. Jane Hurd, Filiberto Lomeli, and Jerry Martin organize the paint-outs, and often in early Spring, you will see painters in various locations on the Gaviota Coast. 

Filiberto Lomeli says that painting outdoors is always an adventure of unforeseen events or missed opportunities.  The clouds can be perfect when you first set out to paint, but by the time you get to the clouds in your painting, they are gone.  He was once painting out on the coast and curious cows surrounded a few artists as they painted.  They are very large cows and can be quite intimidating!

Cows Surrounding Painters on the Coast

On one of the “paint-outs,” the Tautrim family at Orella Ranch invited us to paint on their property, high above the ocean with panoramic views of the Gaviota Coast.  They rigged up a truck and trailer to seat all of us for the wild ride up the winding road to the top of the hill.  It felt like a hayride!  We got there and dispersed, each finding a view that captured our senses.  Under the shade of a giant oak tree, I found my perch, overlooking Refugio State Beach.  The sound of the freeway below was muffled by a welcomed cool breeze and I could only see the cove below.  It’s easy to concentrate when you are out in nature, taking it all in.

Getting a Wild Ride to the Top of Orella Ranch with All Our Painting Gear
The Wild Ride Continues…
View of Refugio State Beach from Orella Ranch

There are so many beautiful vistas on the Gaviota Coast, from the Bill Wallace Trail to the Devereux Slough, and all the way to Jalama Beach.  Hopefully, we will be able to see the paintings by these adventurous artists when we can again get a date and venue for the art show, “Visions of the Gaviota Coast”.  In the meantime, check on the SCAPE website for future shows and information on how to become a SCAPE artist yourself. 

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