“We like to say we’re painting it forward,” says Timothy Kitz, a longtime member of the plein air painting club known as Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore. For Tim and all of the group’s members, their objective is simple: “We’re painting to preserve the environment and we’re having a lot of fun doing it.” On Saturday, July 13, 2019, the Allied Artists will debut their newest exhibition of 72 paintings, On Location in the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore, at the Santa Paula Art Museum with a reception from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Admission to the premiere party is $10.00 for museum members and $15.00 for non-members. All of the artworks in the exhibition will be for sale. A percentage of artwork sales will be donated towards conservation of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore was founded in the early 1990s to support the hard-fought conservation of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area established in 1978. The SMMNRA encompasses over 156,000 acres that stretch east to west from Griffith Park in Los Angeles County to Point Mugu State Park in Ventura County. With 46 miles of beaches, 500 miles of trails, and a vast array of native flora and fauna and culturally significant sites, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is one of the largest urban national parklands in the United States. It’s an oasis in the center of urban and suburban Los Angeles. “There’s no other place like this on Earth,” says Kitz. “There are beaches, mountains, and canyons. It’s perfect for painting.”
The group meets up to paint at a different site within the recreation area on the second Saturday of each month. The works that the artists produce during these paint outs are exhibited quarterly at various locations with a percentage of sales benefitting local and national conservation organizations. In addition to finding joy in painting outdoors, the artists love to paint alongside each other. “Art can be a lonely process,” according to Allied Artists president Robert Scopinich, “but this is a great way to paint with friends.”
The November 2018 Woolsey Fire was a stunning reminder of what can be lost within the SMMNRA. Like many local residents, several of the club’s artist members lost their homes to the wildfire. “There were places we’ve painted that just don’t exist anymore,” says artist Annie Hoffman. Many of the group’s usual painting spots were closed for months. But as the area gradually recovers from the devastation wrought by the fire, so too does the group’s dedication to their mission to preserve this precious parkland for future generations.
On Location in the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore will be on view at the Santa Paula Art Museum from July 13, 2019 through November 3, 2019. The Allied Artists will host several talks and painting demonstrations during the run of the show with dates to be announced soon.
Featured artists include Jacqueline Blue, Liz Blum, Maria Harmony Gratia Bruchmann, Pamela D’Ambrosio, Susan Flanigan, Marian Fortunati, Barbara Freund, Carole Garland, Emily Goldfield, Donna Jean Goldstein, Helen Groenekamp, Diane C. Hines, Annie Hoffman, Russell Hunziker, Kathy Jonokuchi, Virginia Kamhi, Katherine Kean, Timothy Kitz, Pamela LeGrand, Katherine MacQueen, Diane Manson, Linda Melber, Jean Myers, Patricia O'Hearn, Vickie Pellouchoud, Marnie Piuze, Elena Roche, Olive Schroder, Robert Scopinich, Julie Boyd Smith, Bonnie Taylor, Laura Wambsgans, Sharon Weaver, and Joan Horsfall Young.
HEADER IMAGE: “Splendor in the Sky (Topanga Canyon)” by Elena Roche, oil, 18 x 24 inches. Available for purchase.