“Plein Air” means “open air” and signifies outdoor painting that captures nature’s light. Plein Air painting became famous in France in the 19th century. The invention of paints in tubes enabled impressionist artists, such as Van Gogh and Monet, to paint outdoors, en plein air.

"Not until the late 1860s, with the work of Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro, the leaders of Impressionism, did painting en plein air become more popular. This change came about from 1881, when Monet, in his efforts to capture the true effects of light on the colour of landscape at any given moment, began to carry several canvases at once into the out-of-doors. On each he began a painting of the same subject at a different time of day; on subsequent days, he continued to work on each canvas in succession as the appropriate light appeared."

July 4 - August 4, 2019

MaryLou Correia


Reception: July 13, 3-6

Featured Artists Calendar

December 5 - January 5, 2019

Sharon Hind Smith

Reception: TBA

January 9 - February 2, 2020

Rolando Barrero

Reception: TBA

Benicia Plein Air Gallery

307 First Street

Benicia, CA. 94510

Phone number: 707-297-5903

October 3 - November 3, 2019

Judy Feins

Reception: TBA

November 7 -  December 1, 2019

JoAnn McMahon

Reception: TBA

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

June 6 - June 30, 2019

Susan Johnson

"Italian Ports"

Reception: June 8, 3-5

September 5 - September 29, 2019

Iris Sabre

Reception: TBA

Visitors since September 2017

February 6 - March 1, 2020 

Catherine Fasciato

Reception: TBA

August 8- September 1, 2019

Judith Kunzle

Reception: TBA

May 9 - June 2, 2019

Stephen Berry

"Our Redwoods"

Reception: May 11, 4-6

Group Exhibit

A year-round exhibit showcases all 13 of the gallery's artists, refreshed monthly.


March, 2020

Featured Artist: Joanne Gustilo

April, 2020

Featured Artist: Jill Landau

May, 2020

Featured Artist: Nancy Roberts

Stephen Berry: "Our Redwoods"

May 9 - June 2, 2019

Reception Saturday, May 11, 4 - 6 pm

Local watercolor painter Stephen Berry will be May’s featured artist at the Benicia Plein Air Gallery. Through his show “Our Redwoods”, he invites you to experience the redwood groves so precious to Northern California. Walk amongst the damp ferns, smell the iridescent green leaves of Bay trees, and remember what it is to be ancient.

“I like traveling out to the groves,” Stephen says, “like a pilgrimage of sorts, to stop whatever I’m doing for a day and recharge. Stepping on to the velvety forest floor, listening to birdsong or to the creak and sway of the boughs high above… Everything smells rich and verdant. It’s that kind of experience that makes painting there a joy.”

“Painting on site is a wonderful way to really see, to sink into the moment and pay attention,” Stephen notes. “My hope is that people viewing my paintings can experience some of that attentiveness too. Each location, and each day, is its own special thing.” With that mentality in mind, Steve has been traveling up and down the coast over the last 9 months, exploring old growth redwood forests. With paintings from locations as diverse as Muir Woods, Armstrong Redwood Reserve, Navarro State Park, and Hendy Woods “Our Redwoods” gives the trees, lighting, and mood of each location its due.

Greens have traditionally been looked down upon in art, as a color to be muted and with which to show restraint, but Stephen doesn’t hold back in these paintings. “These old growth woods, in the words of Frost ‘are lovely, dark, and deep’ but they’re also very alive and very, very green. With areas back lit by sun or cut through with shafts of light, the greens really pop against the shadows.” The goal is to have the paintings let you “peak into the woods through the wall”, and to let those greens glow!

Steve will be sitting at the gallery for the entire weekend of May 10th, 11th and 12th. Don’t miss a chance to visit with the artist and learn all about the paintings! You can find out more about Stephen, his blog, and his artwork at his website www.seamlessexpression.com.