Painters get on Hearst Castle grounds this year, not near them

Tribune photo by David Middlecamp

Many of the 25 outdoor artists invited to paint on two Hearst Castle terraces this week thought they were, in the words of Rick Delanty of San Clemente, “in plein-air paradise.” Actually, they were taking part in the second annual Friends of Hearst Castle Plein Air Invitational paint-in.

“This exotic place is so unusual, the setting gets you into a different mindset,” Delanty explained. “There are so many subjects all in one place … almost too many ideas here, whether you paint landscapes, architecture or vistas.”

It was the first time artists have been allowed to paint on the historic grounds of the state park itself and the first time artists from Northern and Southern California had joined their Central Coast peers.

At last year’s invitational, artists from the Central Coast set up away from but overlooking the Castle.

Last year, “I felt like a voyeur,” said artist Jeanette Wolff of Cambria. “This year, I feel as if I’m really part of the Castle.”With gardens in full bloom, the scent of mock-orange and jasmine blossoms in the air and the Castle’s studies in contrasts, some artists seemed a bit distracted at first by the embarrassment of riches.

By 3 p.m. Wednesday, Libby Tolley of Los Osos said firmly, almost to herself, “I’m having a wonderful time, but I need to get something done!” She’d just laid down her lines for one of the Castle’s towers, and was in catch-up mode after soaking up the sun-drenched ambiance of the setting.

Paintings created in this week’s Plein Air Invitational will be shown and sold at Friends of Hearst Castle’s June 5 wine-and-food fundraiser, “Twilight on the Terrace.”

Money raised from selling the paintings goes to support Friends’ ArtReach program, in which professional artists mentor YMCA youth during other “paint-in” events, which have so far been held at the Castle Visitor Center. The fundraiser will be at the Castle itself.

Paintings by the mentored youngsters also will be on display.


Artists participating only in “Twilight” include: Jim Edkins, David Gallup, Roxanne Kucera-Sachs, Ted Slavin, Libby Tolley, Silvio Silvestri, Michael Situ, Chris Van Winkle, Juan Pena, Nancy Becker and Denise Shriver.

Guests will select a People’s Choice winner from the artworks; the winner will receive an award-artwork created by silver and pewter artist Randy Stromsoe.

Then some of the paintings will go on exhibit for three weeks at the Allied Arts gallery in the Old Grammar School, 1350 Main St., Cambria.

Funds raised there will benefit Friends’ ArtReach program for at-risk youth and Allied Arts’ scholarships given to college-bound students.

Tickets cost $150 for Friends members and $175 for nonmembers, and can be reserved at www.friends ofhearstcastle.org or by calling 927-2138.