15 students each.
"This program was funded through a $10,000 grant awarded to us
from the American Express Company and was born out of our Plein Air
Day painting class, which was so successful we've developed this
four-week program," said Festival marketing director Sharbie Higuchi.
The concept was designed to educate the young artists about the
fundamentals of plein air painting.
It's a hands-on approach instructed by Mark Kerckhoff, Festival
exhibitor and winner of the 2000 Laguna Beach Plein Air painting
The first week the children were given an overview of the art, its
history in relation to Laguna Beach and they also got to see examples
of plein air Festival exhibitors.
With a demonstration by Kerckhoff, the children had the
opportunity to begin their own creations by starting their initial
drawings and working on the painting process.
"I am learning primary colors. We're using acrylics because it
"I also learned that plein air revolted against line drawing and
nothing had to be perfect," said James Beckham, 12.
Kerckhoff went from student to student to check on their progress
and offer encouragement and expertise. Some of the kids were painting
pictures mostly of the trees, while other's viewpoints positioned
them in front of crashing waves.
"I am teaching the kids to learn to start painting outdoors on
location. They're learning by doing it."
It gives them exposure to nature and colors and teaches them about
art, exposing the students to the tradition of landscape painting
that they won't see anywhere else.
"I am learning colors and with shallow water you use kind of a
green. You don't worry about where you start or about the detail --
just get the paint on there and its good," said Travis Barrett,
Kerckhoff explained that he's trying to keep the students from
performing, that it's stress free and not a competition.
"I'm also teaching them how to see, think subconsciously and allow
the painting to happen," he said.
He said he just wanted them to cover the canvas.
"The great painting is a non-thinking process, think about