Tag Archives: art exhibition

Stockton Art League National Juried Show

I’m very excited that one of my paintings, The Lighthousekeeper’s House, has been accepted into the 57th Stockton Art League National Juried Show. As a special treat, the show will hang at the Haggin Museum in Stockton. The Haggin is one of Northern California’s hidden treasures, and I’m honored to have a piece shown there. The show runs from July 5 to September 2, 2012.  The opening reception is July 5, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  I hope you can join me there.

The Lighthousekeeper's House by Stephanie Benedict
The Lighthousekeeper’s House ©2011 Stephanie Benedict. Oil on canvas, 400 mm by 1000 mm

The Lighthousekeeper’s House is one of a series of works I’m doing at California’s endangered State Parks.  This one is Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse State Park, in Mendocino. I will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this painting to keep California state parks open.

The Haggin Museum is located at 1201 N. Pershing Ave. Stockton. Their phone number is (209) 940-6300.  The museum is typically open in the afternoons until 5:00, and first and third Thursdays until 9:00. Admission is $8. For directions, and to see the show online (after July 5), please visit the Haggin Museum’s website.


Redemption Value

You’d never think of plastic bottles as the basis for an art exhibition, would you? Water bottles, bleach bottles, soda bottles—all those bottles you know you ought to put into the recycling (and perhaps you do). Well, think again.

Redemption Garden: a Lakeside Artists Open Studio Collaboration, now on view at the SMUD Gallery in Sacramento, is a fascinating and surprising flower garden made of old plastic bottles, painted and then split open and recombined to make flowers. Lots of flowers. About 2,000 flowers. The Open Studio “planted” their flowers on panels grouped by color, and the result is a rainbow effect from red and orange to purple.

Redemption Garden by Open Studio Artists at Lakeside
Redemption Garden panels at the SMUD Gallery in Sacramento. Photographed by permission, by Stephanie Benedict

And it’s surprisingly delightful. I say “surprisingly” because plastic is not my favorite medium—but this exhibition really is a treat. The garden panels are hung in series for the viewer to stroll by, but I wanted to immerse myself in the colors. The panels are not monochromes, but very sophisticated and subtle shadings of color, accented with complements or analogous colors.

And the SMUD Gallery’s open, airy space is the perfect venue for this collaborative art exhibition. It’s actually the lobby of the SMUD customer service center, a venue used for display of public art.

The artists are members of a group called Open Studio: “a community of artists of all types and ages who create together,” as they say on their blog. The work was originally part of an Easter display at a local church, and has been enhanced and enlarged for the new space. At the opening reception, they were encouraging visitors to make their own flowers. While yours truly did not, it was fun to watch others try.

Raw Materials for the Redemption Garden
Painted plastic bottles to turn into flowers. Photo by Stephanie Benedict
An example flower made from painted plastic bottles
An example flower made from old plastic bottles. Photo by Stephanie Benedict

Redemption Garden: a Lakeside Artists Open Studio Collaboration runs through July 31, 2012, at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, 6301 S Street, Sacramento. Gallery hours are Monday–F, 8:00–5:00. The SMUD Art Gallery is a partnership between SMUD and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

I may never look at a plastic bottle the same way again! What about you?

Edgar Payne: the Scenic Journey. Worth the trip

If you have a chance to see Edgar Payne: the Scenic Journey, I recommend it.

I’m not sure how many people outside of the painting community—and the representational, “traditional” painting community at that—know who Edgar Payne was.  Payne was an early 20th Century California Impressionist painter. He also wrote a book called “Composition of Outdoor Painting,” which today’s plein air painters often cite as one of the most important books available on painting.

The exhibit ran at the Crocker Art Musem in Sacramento in early 2012.  It’s at the Pasadena Museum of California Art through October 13, 2012,  and then to the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa (December 2, 2012 to March 24, 2013).  Apparently it is the largest collection of Payne’s work to be exhibited ever, and the show is amazing.  I saw it three times, in part because I will never have another chance to see these works in person again, ever. And partly because, well, the paintings are amazing.

The only word for this show is–wow!  This show is one of the most vital and energetic I’ve ever seen.  By “energetic,” I mean the energy Payne put into his paintings.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that, for the energy of the works, the painter Payne most reminds me of is Vincent Van Gogh. Not the style or subject matter, but the life force that comes through the paintings.

For a painter, to be able to walk up to these paintings and look at the brushstrokes is priceless.  Lots of juicy paint, applied with small brushes in the early paintings, larger brushes in the later ones.  I could imagine how much paint was on Payne’s brush to get the paint strokes left on the canvas. I finally understood the command my instructors have hammered me with—“use more paint!”  Thank you, Mr. Payne.

My personal favorites were the seascapes and the boats.  Painting moving water is a challenge. A) the water is moving, b) the light is moving, and c) water is colorless—so what color do you paint it? Here we get to see how Payne did waves crashing onto rocks, water flowing back off the rocks as the waves retreated, reflections of boats on waves.  Waves breaking onto shore in the moonlight, or cresting by the bow of a boat under sail. Subtle broken color brushstrokes to show the movement of the water. (Compare them to the lake scenes, for example, which are more about reflections than waves.  Still broken color, but the strokes are all horizontal or vertical, to capture the still water’s reflections.)  They’re fabulous.

And for a painter like me, actually seeing the works teaches me more about Payne’s theory of composition than reading his book does.  I’ve tried several times to read the book.  Let’s just say he was a better painter than writer.

No mere art review can do this show justice.  I heard someone from the Crocker say that this show had been one of their most popular openings (since they reopened in October 2010, I think). Deservedly so! If you can get to it–go see it!

Have you seen Edgar Payne: the Scenic Journey?  What did you think?