coastal generator. "I'm not surprised there are some negative
feelings about it, but I think it's something beautiful."
Artists are often enamored of the clean lines and infinite stream
of pipelines at AES and find artistic inspiration in what many local
residents see as blight, said Darlene DeAngelo of the Huntington
Beach Art Center, the curator of a show on outdoor art at the museum.
Titled the Plein Air Painting Festival (o7plein airf7 is French
for "in the outdoors"), the seven-day exhibition celebrates 30
artists who captured outdoor scenes of Huntington Beach.
As in other plein-air festivals throughout California, artists are
required to have completed their works in the outdoors, in front of
Some artists brought their canvases to the corner of Main Street
and Pacific Coast Highway to capture the bustling summer crowds of
downtown, while others erected their easels on bluffs overlooking the
Bolsa Chica wetlands and gazed upon the disappearing oil fields,
slowly being removed through a massive project to reconnect the
wetlands with the ocean.
"I like its openness and semi-abstract nature of gritted earth
surfaces," said retired Boeing engineer and artist Thom Wright, who
spends his free time studying art at Cal State Long Beach and
creating paintings on the Seapoint Avenue bluff.
"The stark geometry of the drilling and the pumpers and the pipes
appeals to me," he said.
The plein-air concept originated in France during the 1870s as
part of the Impressionist movement. Many artists moved outside of the
confines of their studios to capture the natural landscape.
The movement eventually took hold in California, and plein air has
emerged as a leading genre for artists, with annual festivals in
Laguna Beach, San Clemente and San Luis Obispo.
While working outside has its benefits, it's not always easy to
contend with the elements, Wright said.
"There are constantly changing light conditions, and when you're
working with watercolor, the paper has to be shaded from the sun," he
said. "It's pushing the limits of control, and you never really have