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Laguna Beach

The Second Annual “LPAPA Squared Show” is on display at the Laguna Plein Air Painter Association’s Gallery

Story and Photos by MARRIE STONE

Laguna Plein Air Painter Association’s (LPAPA) current gallery exhibition showcases the power of small art. The 2nd annual “LPAPA Squared” show includes 273 paintings, each one 8” x 8” square, and every one wholly unique. From pastoral landscapes and seascapes to still life scenes and portraiture, the subject matters are as diverse as the artists. 

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The LPAPA Squared Show is currently on display at their Gallery

The works are on display at the LPAPA Gallery through January 3, 2022 and available for viewing and purchase online through their virtual gallery. “The show was inspired by our goal to help support our artists last year,” said Toni Kellenberg, president of LPAPA. Last year’s show was exhibited exclusively online. “We’re delighted to be able to hang so many lovely paintings in our new gallery this year.”

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Kelley Mogilka’s “Opalescence” won 3rd place in the Artist Member category

The all-member juried show gave LPAPA an opportunity to showcase the talents of their Signature Members (an elite group of artists who have been selected by a jury of renowned authorities in the field), Artist Members (emerging plein air artists) and students. The show provided a platform for newer artists and students to participate in a gallery exhibition, which is a rare opportunity.

Awards were presented in three separate categories for Signature, Artist and Student Member levels. Prizes included first, second and third place, as well as an honorable mention. “Although we have several students that are Artist Members, only two Student Members submitted this year. As a result, two larger Honorable Mention Awards were given to both,” said Kellenberg.

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Durre Waseem’s “After They Left” took an Honorable Mention in the Signature Artist category

“Breaking the show into those three categories eliminated the competition between the up-and-coming students and the more established professionals,” said Rosemary Swimm, LPAPA’s executive director. “It was so awesome to see the number of student entries, along with the Artist Members and Signature Members. The range of talent for this show is inspiring. The different subject matters as well as mediums makes for a unique and awe-inspiring exhibition.”

“We had 273 paintings submitted by 126 artists,” said Kellenberg. “So being one of the three jurors for the show was a challenging but rewarding experience.” The gallery was able to accommodate 138 paintings, which currently hang in their three spacious rooms. 

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Kathleen B. Hudson’s piece, “Haze on the Horizon, Laguna Beach” took 2nd Place in the Signature Artist category

“The number of artists and the number of entries were fantastic,” said Swimm. “As a juror, having to review over 270 images was daunting. It was a time-consuming process. As a juror, I devoted a good deal of time to studying the entries to make the best possible judgment.”

The juried exhibition only required that artists submit 8” x 8” framed paintings. There were no limitations on subject matter, and the work could be completed in plein air (outdoors and on location) or in the studio. “I love the variety of subject matters, the different color palettes, mediums and styles,” said Kellenberg.

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Rita Pacheco’s “The Lido at Night” took 1st Place in the Signature Member category

“This is the first gallery show for a number of the artists, which is a very validating experience,” said Kellenberg. “It’s also a great opportunity for a collector to add a small work of art to their collection or start a collection.” 

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Yun Wei’s “Beauty of Seashells” took 1st Place in the Artist Member category

Signature Member Artist Anthony Salvo took third place for his gouache painting, “L.L. Bean’s Village View.” The gouache method uses opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance. This ancient method has been used for at least 12 centuries. 

“I first painted the scene as a plein air piece for the LPAPA Invitational in October,” said Salvo. “It sold at the Annual Gala. I had some photo references and decided to paint the same setting in a gouache medium for the LPAPA Squared exhibition.”

The title of the painting has an interesting backstory. “I originally painted this view from my good friend Lawrence Lee’s terrace,” said Salvo. “He lives in a beautiful home on the hill above Downtown Laguna. He has the cutest dog, a beagle named Bean. So, the title is “L.L. Bean’s Village View, Laguna.” 

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Anthony Salvo’s “L.L. Bean’s Village View, Laguna” took 3rd Place in the Signature Member category

Every painting in the exhibition has its own story and history. Many scenes will look familiar to Laguna residents, such as beach coves and ocean views, as well as several pieces that capture our beautiful greenbelts and canyons. There are also a handful of iconic buildings around Southern California, including the Lido Theater, the historic casino on Catalina Island and a few cottages at Crystal Cove. Some melancholic interiors and intimate portraits round out the exhibition.

The show will be on display at the LPAPA Gallery through Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. The gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (open to 9 p.m. on First Thursdays). The gallery will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It will be open until 12 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

To view the interactive art catalog showcasing the artwork on display at the gallery, click here.

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The “LPAPA Squared Show” showcases 273 paintings by 126 artists, of which 138 are on display at the gallery


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