A soft breeze blew through Mission Plaza Saturday morning as plein air artists painted landscapes of the plaza and onlookers watched at the sixth annual Plein Air Festival.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. the plein air artists were given two hours to complete an on-the-spot “quick-draw” of a scene in Mission Plaza where the community and visitors could watch. The paintings were then framed on the spot as the artists completed them.

“I’m a plein air painter and I’ve never been involved in any type of festival before so I thought I might as well, especially since my grandson attends Cal Poly,” said artist Grace Boothe of San Diego.

Jazz music could be heard throughout the plaza at the conclusion of the quick-draw as artists and their assistants moved their artwork to line both sides of the brick walkway that goes through the plaza for the parade of paintings.

Most artists stood beside their paintings as individuals, couples and families walked through and viewed the completed pieces of artwork.

Some art enthusiasts stopped to photograph specific pieces of artwork and discuss the piece with the artist. The hum of various conversations taking place at the same time could be heard throughout the plaza.

“I’m a painter and I enjoy this event because I like watching all the other painters to see their perspective of San Luis Obispo as well as all the different styles that the artists use,” said artist Carol Mortensen, 61, of San Luis Obispo.

At noon there was an auction in the Mission Plaza amphitheater, where the purchasers of the paintings were able to take their paintings home with them.

The Plein Air Festival exhibition and gala took place Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the San Luis Obispo Art Center for $50. Artists were able to display their favorite paintings from the week at the exhibition. Food was catered by Novo Restaurant and Lounge.

The festival was a week-long event at which artists were able to explore San Luis Obispo and paint scenes around the area in the traditional plein air fashion. Artists painted outdoors at the scene where their painting was set.

Paintings were displayed in the San Luis Obispo Art Gallery as they were completed but many were not available for purchase until the weekend.

“I was drawn to this festival because I love San Luis Obispo and was glad to be able to come here and paint,” said Boothe.

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