Oceanside Plein Air Festival

July 24–31, 2021

Paint Southern California in the open air in Oceanside, one of only 14 designated California Cultural Districts.

Oceanside is the ultimate discovery destination for visitors. It is the quintessential California beach town, home to wide, sandy, picture-perfect beaches, charming bungalow neighborhoods, a yesteryear pier and a boardwalk vibe – plus it has all the cool, new bells-and-whistles today’s travelers covet, interpreted through a unique lens that is 100 percent Oceanside. Our diverse and eclectic community stands apart on the Southern California coast, and it stands apart as a destination of true O’riginality.

For the artist, Oceanside offers gorgeous coastlines, charming cityscapes, peaceful lagoons, rolling hills with lush flora and fauna, and the historic Mission San Luis Rey, among other visual splendors to capture on canvas or media of your choosing. We take our art seriously and were recently designated one of 14 California Cultural Districts and that’s why we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome you here to the Oceanside Plein Air Festival.

En plein air (French for “outdoors”) or plein air painting is a painting completed in the field, on location, and “in the moment.” All skill levels are encouraged. Any artist may participate, and no membership required. For more information or to register for the event, click here for the event website

The public is welcome and encouraged to check out the events and watch the painting action in person. See below for the painting locations, festival events, and lodging specials. 

Suggested Locations

Oceanside-Plein-Air-Festival-Locations
Mark Fehlman, The Glistening Ocean. Oil on canvas, 16" x 20".

Festival Events

Oceanside-Plein-Air-Festival-Events
Danny Griego, Secured Parking, 2021. Oil on canvas, 6" x 8".

Lodging Specials

Oceanside-Plein-Air-Festival-Lodging
Shuang Li, Towards Mission Ave, Oceanside, 2020. Watercolor on paper, 15" x 22".

Plein Air Locations

We have curated a list of recommended painting locations from a variety of our local experts. We hope this inspires you to check them out for yourself. 

Festival Events

Festival schedule and program related events. For complete detailed information, please visit the offical Plein Air Festival website

  • Saturday, July 24

    11:00 am – 5:00 pm

    CHECK-IN AND CANVAS STAMPING

    All Plein Air Festival artists must check-in at OMA and have the surfaces on which they would like to create artwork stamped prior to beginning their artwork. Get here early so you have more time to paint!  At check-in, artists will receive a welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses.

  • Sunday, July 25

    9:00 am – 12:30 pm

    WORKSHOP: PAINTING AT THE HARBOR ($90) – SOLD OUT

    WITH PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL FEATURED ARTIST MARK FEHLMAN

    Bustling public areas such as downtown waterfronts can be brimming with subjects to paint—but you will need to narrow your selection to complete the perfect composition. Join Plein Air Festival featured artist Mark Fehlman for a half-day visit to Oceanside’s Harbor and learn how to find and compose subject matter in the midst of an active public setting. Using your smartphone, quick sketches, and small canvas studies, explore the process of isolating images and information to create the basis for a larger studio painting. Be prepared to learn new strategies that will make plein air painting enjoyable and essential to your painting process. 

    11:00 am – 5:00 pm

     

    CHECK-IN AND CANVAS STAMPING FOR PARTICIPANTS

    All Plein Air Festival artists must check-in at OMA and have the surfaces on which they would like to create artwork stamped prior to beginning their artwork. Get here early so you have more time to paint!  At check-in, artists will receive a welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses.

  • Monday, July 26

    9:00 am – 12:30 pm

    WORKSHOP: CAPTURING THE CHARACTER OF INDIGENOUS PLANTS IN PLEIN AIR PAINTING ($90)

    WITH PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL FEATURED ARTIST MARGARET LARLHAM

    In landscape painting, the inclusion of growing things—trees, shrubs, grasses—punctuate and invigorate the composition and immediately strengthens the particularities of place. Join Plein Air Festival featured artist Margaret Larlham for a half day of artistic reflection with a renewed focus on the diversity of indigenous plants and the limitless connections they draw for California plein air painters. Open to painters of all skill levels and media, learn about Larlham’s unique use of pastels and process, and be inspired to capture the character within even the most overlooked elements of the natural world. Non-festival participant fee is $90. (festival participants receive a 25% discount) Click to register.

    11:00 am – 5:00 pm

    CHECK-IN AND CANVAS STAMPING FOR PARTICIPANTS

    All Plein Air Festival artists must check-in at OMA and have the surfaces on which they would like to create artwork stamped prior to beginning their artwork. Get here early so you have more time to paint!  At check-in, artists will receive a welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses.

    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

    PAINT OUT: SUNSET AT EL CAMINO

    As part of the 2021 Plein Air Festival, artists will paint on acres of lush, natural ranchland and capture magnificent views at El Camino Country Club. This is a “just for fun” communal painting event and will not be judged. Participation is free with Plein Air Festival registration. The public is invited to watch artworks come to life from a safe social distance.

  • Tuesday, July 27

    11:00 am – 5:00 pm

    CHECK-IN AND CANVAS STAMPING FOR PARTICIPANTS

    All Plein Air Festival artists must check-in at OMA and have the surfaces on which they would like to create artwork stamped prior to beginning their artwork. Get here early so you have more time to paint!  At check-in, artists will receive a welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses.

    2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

    PAINT OUT: QUICK PAINT CHALLENGE AND ART SALE

    Open to all registered festival participants, this fun, high-energy event brings together both artists and spectators for a two-hour burst of creativity highlighting one of Oceanside’s most iconic outdoor locations, Mission San Luis Rey. With the task of completing a painting in a single sitting, Quick Paint artists are challenged to grab a brush, set up an easel, and paint en plein air for all to see. The finished creation may be purchased off the easel or in a sale at OMA through Friday, July 30.

  • Wednesday, July 28

    9:00 am – 12:30 pm

     

    WORKSHOP: EXPLORING WATERCOLORS AND LUMINOUS LANDSCAPES ($90) – SOLD OUT

    WITH PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL FEATURED ARTIST SHUANG LI

    Explore the versatility of painting with watercolors and create a dramatic composition infused with color and light. Join featured Plein Air Festival featured artist Shuang Li for a comprehensive look at her individual perspective and techniques for creating expressive, atmospheric landscapes designed to leave a lasting impression for the viewer. Open to seasoned watercolorists as well as painters new to the art form, this hands-on half-day workshop will provide you with the tools and mindset necessary to paint your desired summer scene with confidence.

    Beside the Oceanside Pier. Non-festival participant fee is $90. 

    11:00 am – 5:00 pm

     

    CHECK-IN AND CANVAS STAMPING FOR PARTICIPANTS

    All Plein Air Festival artists must check-in at OMA and have the surfaces on which they would like to create artwork stamped prior to beginning their artwork. Get here early so you have more time to paint!  At check-in, artists will receive a welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses.

    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

    PAINT OUT: SUNSET ON THE STRAND

    As part of the 2021 Plein Air Festival, artists will paint throughout Oceanside’s beaches and historic Roberts cottages. This is a “just for fun” communal painting event and will not be judged. Participation is free with Plein Air Festival registration. The public is invited to watch artworks come to life from a safe social distance.

  • Thursday, July 29

    9:00 am – 12:30 pm

    WORKSHOP: PAINTING URBAN LANDSCAPES – SOLD OUT

    WITH PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL FEATURED ARTIST DANNY GRIEGO

    Hidden alleyways, secluded buildings, and ordinary freeway bridges might not spark the imagination at first glance, but each has a story to tell. Join Plein Air Festival featured artist Danny Griego for a fresh look at urban architecture, exploring his techniques of capturing the complexities and grace of often-overlooked street scenes. This half-day workshop will focus on the importance of a good value plan and design, simplifying architecture and perspective, and conveying light and mood with brushwork and color. Workshop will be held at an iconic Oceanside location. Participants will receive specific details about the exact location via email.

    10:00 am – 12:00 pm

    PAINT OUT: FARMERS MARKET

    Part of the 2021 Plein Air Festival, artists will paint in the heart of downtown Oceanside and the bustling Farmers Market. Meet at the corner of Pier View Way and North Coast Highway. Look for the iconic fountain outside of the Oceanside Public Library. Participation is free with Plein Air Festival registration. The public is invited to watch artworks come to life from a safe social distance.

    11:00 am – 5:00 pm

    CHECK-IN AND CANVAS STAMPING FOR PARTICIPANTS

    All Plein Air Festival artists must check-in at OMA and have the surfaces on which they would like to create artwork stamped prior to beginning their artwork. Get here early so you have more time to paint!  At check-in, artists will receive a welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses.

    7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

    SMALLTALK: PLEIN AIR PAINTERS ROUNDUP, SOCAL EDITION

    WITH PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL FEATURED ARTISTS

    Join OMA’s exhibition manager, Katie Dolgov, and Plein Air Festival featured artists for a lively discussion about what’s current in plein air painting. Highlighting their collective ability to capture the spirit and innate beauty of the natural world, hear about each artist’s professional influences and individual approaches to their work, as well as thoughts on trends they see in the ever-evolving field of outdoor painting and the growing plein air community in the Southern California region. This program will be held at The Seabird Resort in downtown Oceanside. Non-festival participant fee is $25. (festival participants receive a 25% discount) Click to register. The program will also be available as a free live stream, click to register.

  • Friday, July 30

    7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

     

    LECTURE: PAINTING EN PLEIN AIR

    WITH PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL JUROR JEAN STERN

    For several centuries, artists have ventured outside the studio to capture the evanescent effect of natural light. Join Jean Stern, director emeritus of The Irvine Museum, for an exciting overview of the history and artistic legacy of painting en plein air, from its early beginnings in the 16th and 17th centuries to the growing cultural phenomenon that exists around the art form today. Taking an in-depth look at the challenges and important innovations that mark the evolution of outdoor painting, this comprehensive presentation will highlight celebrated plein air painters, from early mavericks to present-day masters, as well as the joyful experience of painting in the great outdoors. Non-festival participant fee is $10. (festival participants receive a 25% discount) Click to register

  • Saturday, July 31

    11:00 am – 7:00 pm

    PLEIN AIR ART MART

    Oceanside Museum of Art | 300 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

    Peruse a stunning showcase of original works of plein air art in a variety of media created over the course of OMA’s first ever Plein Air Festival. Taking place directly behind the museum, you can find the next gem for your collection at pricing accessible to any level of collector, or simply browse the hundreds of artistic interpretations of Southern California’s natural beauty and built environment created over the course of the preceding week. The sale will be open both before and after the Plein Air Festival Awards Celebration taking place just around the corner at OMA, making it an exciting way to start or end your day of celebrating art in the open air. No Reservation Needed and Admission is Free

     

    3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

    VIP PREVIEW – 2021 PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL JURIED EXHIBITION ($125)

    Oceanside Museum of Art | 300 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

    Be the first to experience the 2021 Plein Air Festival Exhibition and sip on champagne before the crowds. With exclusive access to the online auction including a Buy It Now feature, enjoy the opportunity to view and collect artworks from prominent plein air painters in a relaxed and stylish atmosphere. 

    Click Here To Register

     

    4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

    PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL AWARDS CELEBRATION (Free for Festival Registrants / $20 General)

    Oceanside Museum of Art | 300 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

    Swing by OMA to celebrate the culmination of our inaugural festival with fellow artists and art lovers. Mingle over refreshments, view and bid on paintings selected for the 2021 Plein Air Festival Juried Exhibition, and purchase your own original work of art at the Plein Air Art Mart. Join us as we recognize the outstanding paintings in various categories and award the winning prizes, including Best in Show judged by Jean Stern. As we put a stamp on a week of outstanding creativity, gather with old and new friends alike to raise a glass to Oceanside’s first ever Plein Air Festival.

    Click Here To Register

  • August 1–October 10

    JURIED EXHIBITION

    Roughly 40 artworks will be juried into an exhibition from submissions by participants in OMA’s inaugural Plein Air Festival , including artwork by featured artists Mark FehlmanDanny GriegoMargaret Larlham, and Shuang Li. This will be a rare opportunity to view and collect artworks from prominent plein air painters at pricing that is approachable for collectors at any level.

Painting with OMA Plein Air Paint In
Artist Matt Meinhardt participating in an Artist Alliance Plein Air Paint Out

Plein Air Photo Gallery - Tag @visitoceanside

Plein Air Festival Lodging

We’re so excited to have you join us in Oceanside for this signature annual event. We want planning your time with us to be as easy as possible so below we’ve put together the best lodging and hotel deals for the Plein Air Festival in Oceanside. If you want to explore a little bit more about we offer as a destination, then request to have an Oceanside Visitor Guide mailed out to you prior to your arrival.

Traveling with a Group?

The Plein Air Festival in Oceanside is a great experience for friends and family to get together and enjoy as a group.  Depending on the size of your group, Visit Oceanside may be able to assist you in finding the perfect location for your group to stay together. Contact our Group Travel Department for more information. 

Please refer to our O’side Travel Updates page for resources and up to date information on how to safely explore Oceanside. 

Host Hotel: Mission Pacific Hotel

201 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92054

  • Special: 10% off regular rate + 2 admission tickets to OMA
  • Minimum Stay Requirement: N/A
  • Distance to Museum: 1/2 mile
  • Stay Dates: 7/23-8/1
  • Rate Expires: Until supplies last

Host Hotel: The Seabird Resort

101 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92054

  • Special: 10% off regular rate + 2 admission tickets to OMA
  • Minimum Stay Requirement: N/A
  • Distance to Museum: 1/2 mile
  • Stay Dates: 7/23-8/1
  • Rate Expires: Until supplies last

Special: Club Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort

Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort

333 Myers Street, Oceanside, CA 92054

  • Special: 15% off regular rate
  • Minimum Stay Requirement: Varies
  • Booking Contact800-989-6901
  • Distance to Museum: 1/2 mile
  • Rate Expires: Until supplies last

Special: Comfort Suites Oceanside

Comfort Suites Oceanside

888 N. Coast Highway | (760) 722-8880

  • Special: 10% off regular rate
  • Minimum Stay Requirements: n/a
  • Distance to Museum:  1 mile
  • Hotel Contact: Justin Guiu, General Manager
  • Booking Code: LCOMM

Event Rate: Courtyard by Marriott

Courtyard by Marriott

3501 Seagate Way | (760) 966-1000

  • Event Rate: $189/Night + Tax
  • Minimum Stay Requirements: N/A
  • Rate Good For: 7/23 – 7/31
  • Distance to Museum:  5 miles
  • Promo Code: PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL Room Block
  • Book by: June 23, 2021

Easy access to the event via the Sprinter

Special: The Fin Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

133 S. Coast Highway | (760) 279-6300

  • Special: 10% off regular rate
  • Minimum Stay Requirements: N/A
  • Distance to Museum:  1/2 mile
  • Hotel Contact:760-279-6300
  • Visit Oceanside Promo Code: Visit Oceanside