Plein Air Painting Festival held for the fourth year, artists paint landscapes around Kern County

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -

Artists will be capturing the feel of Kern County as they paint en plein air, in other words, in open air. It's part of the fourth annual Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival happening all this week.

15 artists from all over California have gathered here in Kern County for one week to paint in the largest county in California. Paul Kratter is an artist from San Francisco. He was an illustrator for 22 years and now he has traveled to kern county for the fourth time to take part in the Plein Air Painting Festival. "It's usually a very solo thing that you do," said Kratter.

He is just one of fifteen artists who are finding areas of Kern County -- setting up their work station and capturing the scenery. They'll pick a new place each day for five days. Today Kratter set up his easel and board at the Tejon Ranch entrance off of Highway 99 South. "I look at shapes, I love oak trees, eucalyptus trees, something that has character," said Kratter.

And like most artists he starts off his paintings the same way every time. "I got to do my sketch first to figure out the composition, does this work. And then I start my painting. So it's the best five minutes that I spend, not with a brush but with a ball point pen," said Kratter. Then he mixes his colors, picks up his brush and starts to paint. "Clouds are moving in and out and shadows, that's what I love about this piece is that shadows that are evolving in making this a really active looking piece. It's hard to capture but it's kind of like a sport," said Kratter.

Saturday artists will turn in three of their best paintings from the week to sell at an art gala. The gala will be held Saturday from 5:30 p-m to 8:30 at BMW of Bakersfield in the Southwest. Tickets for the art sale are $45. And a painting of Kratter's size could go for around $1,000. "There's just this social aspect that we don't always get at home so it's just fun," said Kratter. Half of the money for each painting will go to the artist and the other half goes to The Arts Council of Kern which provides art programs around the county.

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