Local artist Virginia Kamhi’s “Churning Sea” depicting a cliffside view off Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and “Hilltop Sentinel” featuring a gnarled and weathered old oak tree represent two of the many breathtaking natural landscapes on display at the Allied Artists 10th Annual King Gillette Ranch Visitor Center Art Show on Sunday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“As an artist, I desire to paint the poetry, imaginative power and rhythms of the natural wonders that surround me,” says Virginia, an 8-year member of Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains, a nonprofit organization founded over 20 years ago to paint and preserve the unique natural beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
“I believe that when I paint plein air I am absorbing sensory images that are incorporated into my work. The warmth or chill of the air, the scents, the sights and sounds, the taste of salt in the air, etc., all become a part of my paintings,” Virginia says.
Fellow member, Los Angeles-based artist Ruth Askren paints wilderness terrain focusing on natural spaces around the L.A. basin where people go to get outside and away from the city.
“Wide open and frequently free to the public, these natural spaces have been here since we first walked the Earth but were often seen as wasteland. I hope to underscore the intrinsic value of these local ecological zones as they resonate with human history. They are their own reasons for being, and I enjoy painting about that,” says Ruth, an Allied Artist member since 2021. “The practice of painting while standing at the outdoor scene of your subject is a unique and compelling way to paint. Being part of this group gives me a friendly bunch of people to do that work with and to show together with,” she adds.
Allied Artists members enjoy participating in free monthly paint-outs held the second Saturday of each month, which provides a unique opportunity for any painter to enjoy a sense of camaraderie with like-minded people and spend time in nature. Held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the paint-outs feature a painting demonstration and friendly critique and are open to any artist, media and skill level.
“I love the artists that are drawn to it because of its mission and camaraderie,” notes Allied Artists President Barbara Freund. “We support rather than compete with each other. Each recognizes that we express things differently through our styles and that paintings resonate with different viewers.”
The Allied Artists’ annual art exhibit and sale features the works of many local artists displaying original representational oil, acrylic, watercolor and pastel landscape and seascape paintings of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and national, state, regional, county and local parks and natural recreation areas in Southern California. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Western National Park Association, National Park Service, National Wildlife Fund and Save LA Cougars, among other organizations supported by the artists.
“Being a part of Allied Artists enables me to paint the natural beauty around us and to share it with others through our exhibits, and then help to protect it through our donations to various environmental groups. It really is a circle of love,” says Donna Jean Goldstein, Porter Ranch resident and Allied Artist member, along with her husband, Joe Goldstein. “Exhibiting at King Gillette Ranch gives us the opportunity to help contribute to the National Park Service,” she adds.
The dedicated group of award-winning artists invites the public to experience their depictions of nature’s beauty and to perhaps take a piece home to support the cause.
“I think it is important for art viewers to know how much they inspire artists,” notes Barbara. “For me, experiencing that moment in time when my painting resonates with them, speaking that language of shared experiences, evoking a memory, reminding them of what we hold dear, is profoundly inspirational.”
Nature lovers of all ages are sure to be inspired by the beautiful artwork on display at the exhibit on April 16.
“Allied Artists are devoted to preserving the natural beauty that surrounds us here where we are fortunate to live,” says Virginia. “This natural beauty feeds me and nurtures my artistic soul.”
Visit Allied-Artists.com for more information.