Artist-Led Plein Air Workshop

Join artists Debra HolladayLaura Wambsgans, and Marian Fortunati for a plein air painting workshop at Harmon Canyon Preserve. Holladay, Wambsgans, and Fortunati will offer one-on-one instruction for beginner and experienced artists on how to capture the natural landscape through composition, form, color, and paint handling. Participants will receive individual instruction and enjoy group discussion, so that painters can learn from one another.

Painting en plein air, the French expression for "in the open air," is the act of leaving the walls of a studio and painting in the outdoors. Artists explore how to paint form and light, with its changing, ephemeral qualities, with portable paints and easel.

Materials needed:

-Portable easel (required, find a suggested easel here)
-Folding chair (optional)
-Paint brushes: An assortment of sizes and shapes (long handle bristle or synthetic for acrylic paint: #2 Flat, #4 Flat, #8 --Flat, #10 Flat,  #2 Round, #4 Round, #8 round, plus rigger brush for painting thin lines, branches, grasses, etc.)
-Canvas Panels: hardboard or on cardboard (student grade, medium texture). Suggested size 12x16 or 16x20in
-Wood or disposable palette (find a suggested palette here)
-Heavy body acrylic paint (tube) or oil paint
-For acrylic painters: cup for water + water to wash brushes
-For oil painters: odorless mineral spirits (OMS) or Gamsol and leakproof brush washer/container to hold it
-Roll of paper towels
-2-3 pairs of vinyl, latex, or nitrile gloves (optional)
-Trash Bag (carry in/carry out)
-Water and snacks

Palette/colors needed:  

-Cadmium or Permanent Red
-Alizarin Crimson or Alizarin Crimson Hue Permanent or Quinocridone Magenta
-Cadmium Yellow or Permanent Yellow
-Yellow Ochre 
-Permanent Blue or Ultramarine Blue
-Permanent Green Deep/Dark or Viridian (green)
-Large tube of Titanium White or Permalba White  

Additional colors that may be useful but not required:

-Cadmium Green Pale, Permanent Green Light, or Sap Green
-Cerulean Blue
-Cobalt Blue
-Cadmium Orange or Permanent Orange
-Dioxazine Purple or Dioxazine Violet
-Raw Sienna 
-Transparent Red Oxide or Burnt Sienna

Purchase tickets below at Ventura Land Trust member or non-member pricing.


Not sure if you're a member? Contact Development Coordinator Heather Burton.

Artist Biographies

Debra Holladay

A lifelong painter and native Californian, Debra’s art career began at age two with a tube of red lipstick and her cooperative dog, followed by a crayon wall mural unsuccessfully hidden behind a chest of drawers. Working both in the studio and in the field, Debra’s paintings capture fleeting moments of the American experience which, on closer inspection, reward the viewer with small details often overlooked by the casual observer. Her passion for art and sense of wanderlust for the natural world have culminated in a series of plein air painting adventures which include a pack trip to Lake Ediza in the Eastern Sierras and trips to Canyon de Chelly, California’s gold rush country, Yosemite Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, and the California coast. Debra earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Central Oklahoma followed by six years of study at the Art Students League of New York. Debra’s high-collectible work is frequently included in juried museum and themed gallery exhibitions and invitational shows. Debra is an Artist member of the California Art Club, a co-founder of Studio2310, and a founding member of the PAC6 Painters.

Laura Wambsgans

Native Californian Laura Wambsgans began landscape oil painting sixteen years ago, after working as the managing director of a major recording studio and then as a sculptor for two decades. Studying intensely with Scott Christensen and other well-respected landscape painters and painting daily, Wambsgans strives to capture the effect of light on the land, though color and paint quality. Wambsgans’ work has been exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions, including the Riverside Museum, Bakersfield Museum, Lancaster Museum, Ventura Museum and the Huntington Library and participated in many national plein air events, since 1986.  In 2006, Laura spearheaded “Chasing Open Spaces,” an environmental project painting the open spaces of the Santa Clarita Valley. Exhibits generated by this project were instrumental in preserving Elsmere Canyon in Santa Clarita. Laura has been an active member of the California Art Club since 2002 and is a founding member of the PAC6 Painters.

Marian Fortunati

Award-winning artist Marian Fortunati considers herself “one lucky artist” because art has enabled her to experience more of the beauty in our world (and because her name, Fortunati, means "lucky" in Italian). Fortunati is a contemporary California impressionist who uses oil paints to create interesting experiments with texture and color. Her outdoor sketches often serve as references for larger studio work, but are also special mementos of places and adventures. She is a Southern California native who enjoyed a lengthy career as a teacher and a principal in Los Angeles. After painting and studying art for many years during time off work, she now paints full-time. 

Fortunati has established a foundation in the Impressionist tradition of seeing and painting shapes of light and color through instruction by artists Ray Roberts, Frank Gardner, Matt Smith, Daniel Pinkham, and master landscape and undersea artist David C. Gallup. Fortunati's work is found in collections throughout the United States, Europe, China, and Australia. She is an Artist Member of the California Art Club and a founding member of PAC6 Painters; she retains affiliations with with the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, and various other art organizations.

July 09, 2022 at 8:00am - 11am
Harmon Canyon Preserve
Leslie Velez ·

Will you come?

$30.00 Non-Member Registration
$20.00 Member Registration


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