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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

Beachside Art: Advanced Visual Artists Attend Plein-Air Trip in Little Corona

Sophomore+Cara+Lin+holds+up+one+of+her+artworks+next+to+the+scene+she+painted.+An+experienced+plein-air+painter%2C+Lin+enjoyed+meeting+with+friends+and+seeing+her+art+improve+from+last+year.+%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99m+proud+of+my+art+having+changed%2C%E2%80%9D+Lin+said.+%E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s+good+that+it%E2%80%99s+different%3B+I+don%E2%80%99t+want+it+to+stay+the+same.%E2%80%9D
Catherine Li
Sophomore Cara Lin holds up one of her artworks next to the scene she painted. An experienced plein-air painter, Lin enjoyed meeting with friends and seeing her art improve from last year. “I’m proud of my art having changed,” Lin said. “It’s good that it’s different; I don’t want it to stay the same.”

Next to golden sands and blue waters, visual art students demonstrated their skill once again during their first field trip of the year on Oct. 1, showcasing their talent for observation and adaptability by completing plein-air illustrations next to the stunning seaside at the Little Corona Beach in Newport Beach.

Visual arts teacher, Kearci Thompson organized the event to encourage students to utilize their artistic skills outside of the classroom through plein-air, a method of outdoor painting. A total of fifteen students attended from various advanced art classes, including Advanced Portfolio Prep, Honors Modern and Contemporary Art and AP Art Studio. Following a successful debut trip last year, Thompson sought to recreate the event again with new students. 

“The field trip gets me to these spaces to paint with my students where otherwise, I’m grading and assessing,” Thompson said. “So to have a day like today where I’m able to just hang out together, get to know each other better, and enjoy where we live was really fun.”

Students practiced their observational skills within a constantly changing environment that prompted them to make quick decisions on the fly. The paintings featured subjects like seagulls, wild grass, rock formations and beachside houses — all rendered in different mediums and distinct styles. 

“I painted these rocks in the ocean and added a sailboat for fun,” AP Art Studio student, senior Sofia Szczedrin said. “I was trying new things and different techniques, sort of experimenting with the best way to make the lighting pop out while it changes.”

In addition to painting, students were able to explore the landscape nearby to connect with their surroundings. For Honors Modern and Contemporary Art student sophomore Cara Lin, being immersed in nature helped her channel more feeling and expression within her piece. 

“Going outside lets you see what you’re actually working on and the emotions that you want to express,” Lin said. “You don’t feel the same sort of intensity as opposed to looking at a photograph.”

For many students, the experience helped maintain prior bonds and establish new friendships. Participants were able to interact and comment on the work of students from outside their course, creating connections across different grades and classes.

“I learned a lot about my students from chatting with them,” Thompson said. “The bonding experience was really important to me. I hope that my students were able to make new friends, but also to learn difficult plein-air techniques, which are good skills for all artists to have.”

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About the Contributor
Catherine Li, Staff Writer
Catherine Li is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. If she’s not stressing over her art portfolio deadlines, you can find her reading up on dead roman guys and having a moment to Jeff Buckley’s music. This is her first year in Portola High and she looks forward to putting forth her best work into the Portola Pilot!
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