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.

OMA Logo

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

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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 in order to participate in the competition. Get here early so you have more time to paint! Pick up your welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses at check-in.

  • Sunday, July 25

    9:00 am – 12:30 pm

    WORKSHOP: PAINTING AT THE HARBOR ($90)

    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. 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 in order to participate in the competition. Get here early so you have more time to paint! Pick up your welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses at check-in.

  • 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 in order to participate in the competition. Get here early so you have more time to paint! Pick up your welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses at check-in.

    6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

    PAINT OUT: SUNSET SONATAS ON THE STRAND FOR PARTICIPANTS

    Part of the 2021 Plein Air Festival, artists will paint throughout Oceanside’s beaches and historic Roberts cottages with live musical inspiration provided by local classical musicians. 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 in order to participate in the competition. Get here early so you have more time to paint! Pick up your welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses at check-in.

    2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

    PAINT OUT: QUICK PAINT CHALLENGE AND ART SALE

    Open to all Plein Air 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. 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, presented with the opportunity to show off their wide range of creative skills, including drawing, composition, color theory, and more under demanding, yet exciting time constraints. Smell the wet paint and watch in awe as art comes to life before your very eyes! Participation is free with Plein Air Festival registration. The public is invited to watch artworks come to life from a safe social distance.

  • Wednesday, July 28

    9:00 am – 12:30 pm

     

    WORKSHOP: EXPLORING WATERCOLORS AND LUMINOUS LANDSCAPES ($90)

    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.

    Workshop will be held at an iconic Oceanside location. Participants will receive more details about the exact location via email. 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 in order to participate in the competition. Get here early so you have more time to paint! Pick up your welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses at check-in.

    6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

    PAINT OUT: NOCTURNAL NOTES

    Part of the 2021 Plein Air Festival, artists will paint throughout Oceanside’s lively downtown scene with live musical inspiration provided by local jazz performers. 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

    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. Non-festival participant fee is $90. Click to register

    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 in order to participate in the competition. Get here early so you have more time to paint! Pick up your welcome packet including a full festival itinerary, tips for how to explore Oceanside, and information showcasing local businesses at check-in.

    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 artist talk is scheduled to be held at OMA. Pending changes due to health and safety mandates, it may be moved online if necessary. Non-festival participant fee is $25. (festival participants receive a 25% discount) 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 $25. (festival participants receive a 25% discount) Click to register

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

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