Advertisement

Association has strategic plan

June 18, 2010

Laguna Beach possesses an extraordinary cultural and social heritage, far greater than would be expected of a small town. The genesis of this heritage can be attributed to Laguna's physical beauty — its captivating landscape and light — that has attracted artists and unconventional thinkers since the earliest days of European settlement.

This attraction has animated landscape painters (both plein air and studio artists) who, as descendents of the 19th century French Impressionists, have portrayed our surroundings to acclaim and affection. Their works reside in art collections around the world. One example is the current exhibition, "Saving Paradise," at the Irvine Museum.

Given this history, if one had to choose just one attribute of Laguna's heritage to describe the essence of the community, landscape painting would arguably rise to the top.

Advertisement

Landscape art, adorning the walls of our homes and museums, reminds us of the natural environment that we sometimes forget in the distractions of daily life. Viewing a landscape portrait — painted plein air or in studio — uplifts, soothes and inspires us; or, when considered in the context of environmental destruction, enrages and motivates us to action.

Landscape painting is a pictorial record of both our history and of those who have worked passionately to protect Laguna's natural and built environment. It provides a vignette of the importance of ecosystems, the need to protect against inappropriate and unsustainable development, prevent and remediate water and air quality degradation, and stop the overuse of natural resources. As Jacques Cousteau once said, "People protect what they love." Landscape art allows us to better appreciate the object of our affections.

Rather than solely considering landscape art as an expression of a lost, idyllic nature, today's landscape painters should visually define the galvanizing actions to reverse environmental abuse and to forge a sustainable future. A study of art history shows that creative works reveal both obvious and hidden elements of a culture and that the greatest art is often produced when a society is under siege. It would not be unreasonable to posit that our environment is under siege and that we need to reconsider our cultural values, priorities and practices. Landscape painting is one means to do this.

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles
|
|
|