Artists bring the outdoors indoors in San Luis Obispo exhibit

Local plein air group’s work will be on display at the Embassy Suites for almost a year

Special to The TribuneApril 12, 2013 

‘Montana de Oro Inlet’ is by Dotty Hawthorne.


San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s annual Plein Air Festival is going on hiatus this year, but the museum is collaborating with a local group of outdoor painters for a yearlong exhibit of landscapes, cityscapes and seascapes at Embassy Suites.

San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment, or SLOPE, is a group of professional artists celebrating 20 years on the Central Coast and has chosen the SLO Land Conservancy as the show’s beneficiary. The SLOMA Art About Town exhibit features oils, pastels and acrylics from 11 of SLOPE’s 14 members.

“We’re all motivated to preserve what we have here on the Central Coast,” said Dotty Hawthorne, SLOPE’s president this year.

Beyond preserving beauty on canvas, members also work with environmental groups and contribute funds to preserve local land for open space, wildlife, recreation, ranching and farming. Keeping ecology in mind is key.

SLOPE events are often one-day affairs, so this is a chance to enjoy the paintings and return again.

SLOPE members have met during the past year for “paint-outs” in the Los Padres Forest from the Carrizo Plain to Big Sur to get ready for a show and sale to benefit Los Padres ForestWatch from 1 to 5 p.m. May 18 at Tiber Canyon Ranch, 280 W. Ormonde Road, San Luis Obispo. Los Padres ForestWatch is a nonprofit organization focused on protecting the forest that spans five counties.

Paint-outs are generally overnight outings where artists might spend three hours painting outdoors and then take their canvas home to finish using a few photos for reference. Three hours is about the time it takes for the lighting to change, Hawthorne said.

“We’re standing in similar areas and come up with totally different paintings,” she said.

A third celebration during the anniversary year is set for September when members show at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. The reception will be Sept. 8.

And don’t miss the reception from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Embassy Suites to meet Hawthorne and other SLOPE members, such as founder Libby Tolley.

The paintings shown through the lobby and first floor hallways represent the variety of work done by the artists who either apply or are invited to become SLOPE members.

Others displaying at the hotel are Nancy Becker, Marcia Burtt, Ken Christensen, Bruce Everett, Larry Kappen, Roxanne Kucera Sachs, Denise Schryver, Rosanne Seitz and Laurel Sherrie.

If you go …

What: San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment reception

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Show runs through Feb. 16, 2014

Where: Embassy Suites, 333 Madonna Rd., San Luis Obispo

Contact: San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, 543-8562

• • •

What: SLOPE show and sale to benefit Los Padres ForestWatch

When: 1 to 5 p.m. May 18

Where: Tiber Canyon Ranch, 280 W. Ormonde Rd., San Luis Obispo

Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at

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