Traveling friends offer “Two Views” at Buenaventura Gallery
O'Farrell and Jones, San Francisco – 8x10 oil painting by Katherine McGuire
By Gazette Staff Writer — Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Marina Motel – 14x11 oil on board by Christine Apostolina Beirne.
Two plein-air painters’ friendship and their long-distance collaboration are yielding a joint exhibition at the gallery where it began.
Katherine McGuire and Christine Apostolina Beirne, who worked together at the Buenaventura Gallery a decade ago as office manager and marketing manager, respectively, will present “Ventura to San Francisco: Two Views” from Sept. 11-Oct. 6. Both artists will be at an opening reception 4-7 p.m. Sept. 15, as well as First Friday, Oct. 5 in the downtown Ventura gallery.
McGuire lived in Ventura for 15 years. She joined the Buenaventura Art Association in 1992 and besides managing the office, served on the board, volunteered at the gallery and exhibited her artwork until moving in 2005 to Woodside, in the Bay Area. She is an honorary lifetime member of BAA.
Beirne, who lives in Ojai, also has been involved in gallery operations for many years in many capacities and last month was elected board president.
Each has been studying and creating art since childhood and both hold bachelor of art degrees in studio art, McGuire from the University of New Mexico and Beirne from California State University, Channel Islands.
The two kept in close touch after McGuire’s move north and about 18 months ago began meeting for three- or four-day plein-air sessions at locations in both areas. “We’ve painted in Ventura, Ojai, Santa Paula, San Francisco, Woodside, Benecia, Sausalito, Half Moon Bay and other places,” McGuire said.
Both women work in oils now, though McGuire was a watercolorist exclusively until switching about four years ago. She paints “cityscapes, townscapes, ocean scenes and California culture.”
Beirne’s forte has been landscapes, “but for this show, I’m painting a lot of cityscapes,” she said, influenced by her longtime friend. “This show is ultimately about our time together, our friendship and our love of plein-air painting. We not only spent our time painting, but shared new tools, new ideas — we always learned something from each other.”
Blocking out time in advance for their meetings meant taking on whatever weather they got and McGuire said, “There were several days that we painted in thick fog.”
Beirne also recalled their Labor Day weekend session last year when McGuire came south during 100-degree weather that drove them to try Santa Barbara’s Hendry’s Beach, which was so packed with holiday revelers and their canine companions that they could not set up easels.
Creating art in the open and in view of the public has its joys and challenges, both said, citing the same day in San Francisco’s Alamo Square Park, across the street from the city’s famed “Painted Ladies,” a row of Victorian houses.
Said McGuire, “When we started painting it was pretty quiet, but as the day went on, tour bus after tour bus stopped at the park and we had people asking us which house was used on the TV show ‘Full House’ and could we take their photos in front of the houses, etc.”
For Beirne, “My most memorable time of that paint day was all of a sudden I heard Tony Bennett singing ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco.’ It was very loud. I thought, ‘Wow, someone has their stereo really loud.’ It got even louder. I looked up and there was a tour bus with its speakers blaring. I had completely forgotten (for a moment) what a tourist town San Francisco is.”
Examples of both artists’ works in oils can be found online at http://www.christinebeirne.com/ and http://www.katherinemcguire.com. McGuire said she also is previewing some paintings in the show on her blog at http://katherinemcguire.blogspot.com.
The results of their plein-air adventures will be on display starting Sept. 11 at the Buenaventura Gallery, 700 E. Santa Clara St., which is open noon-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, visit the nonprofit Buenaventura Art Association’s website at www.buenaventuragallery.org.