AVALON, Calif. – On Oct. 26, the Catalina Island Conservancy will once again sponsor Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show & Sale, featuring plein air paintings that capture the conservation of this Island we all love.
In a unique use of art for conservation’s sake, proceeds from the sales of the artworks benefit the Conservancy, including establishing a permanent collection of plein air art that documents the organization’s conservation efforts and progress in habitat restoration.
You may have already met or seen the 10 artists who will be featured in the show because each of them has visited the Island multiple times, creating artworks that provide a rare and beautiful portrait of the Conservancy’s protection and restoration of the Island. We would like to introduce you to these artists in a series of columns about them.
We will start by introducing you to four of the artists today, including Kenn Backhaus. He lives in Robesonia, PA, and is one of the veterans of Catalina: The Wild Side. His works have been featured in every show since 2011. His love of nature is the catalyst for his art, and his work has been featured in numerous art publications and books.
His works have been juried into many shows across the country and his paintings have been bestowed with many honors including the prestigious Best of Show, Collectors Choice and Artists Choices awards.
Bye Bitney is another veteran of Catalina: The Wild Side, having participated in the show in 2011 and 2013. He is contemporary artist and fourth generation Montanan. A largely self-taught painter, he began showing in major galleries at age 22. He says he feels fortunate to earn his living by doing something that is so much fun, and that the biggest challenge in painting is satisfying his own expectations
John Budicin has been a featured artist in the Wild Side show since 2011. Born in Italy, he moved to Southern California at age 11. After several years as a commercial artist and freelance illustrator, John decided to pursue his dream of becoming a plein air artist after his employer moved out of state.
John is a signature member of the Plein Air Painters of America and served as its president from 2005 to 2007. He says that Catalina keeps “drawing me back” to capture its beauty on canvas.
Joseph Paquet has been a featured artist in the show since 2011. He lives in St. Paul, MN, and he’s been featured in Washington Post Sunday Magazine, The Artist, American Artist and Plein Air Magazine.
His awards include both Artists’ Choice and Collectors’ Choice from the 2007 Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational as well as the 2008 Alden Bryan Memorial Prize from the Salmagundi Club of New York and the First Place in Landscape from the Richeson 75: Artist’s Choice Competition.
All these artists and more will be at Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show & Sale, which will take place on the mainland, at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in Balboa, to bring the beauty of the Island to a larger audience. With City National Bank serving as the presenting sponsor, the show and sale is from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. We also will have a VIP Reception and Sale from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. This will give guests an early opportunity to purchase selected works from the artists. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit our website or call 562-437-8555 ext. 239.
By Bob Reid
Bob Reid is the Catalina Island Conservancy’s chief development and communications officer. For more information, please visit our website.
The Catalina Island Conservancy was formed in 1972 and is one of California’s oldest land trusts. Its mission is to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation. The Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land, 62 miles of rugged shoreline and more than 80 miles of trails. It operates the Airport in the Sky, Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and two nature centers. Twenty miles from the mainland, the Island is home to more than 60 plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. - Watch Video
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