Beth Winfield Shares “Secret Gardens” at the Benicia Plein Air Gallery
Benicia Plein Air Gallery features “Secret Gardens,” an exhibition of garden landscapes by Beth Winfield that runs through August 28. An award-winning artist, Winfield likes to continually challenge herself by seeking out new and different subject matter for her paintings, including landscapes, still lifes, and figures. “My show is a collection of paintings of unusual gardens that most people don’t get to see,” she explains. She painted Lavender Harvest at the Soul Food Farm in Vacaville and Evening in a Hops Garden (shown below) at a farm along Highway 80. “Hops grows on vines suspended upwards on strings and as you walk through you feel as though you’re in a magical forest.” Winfield also enjoys painting gardens in New Mexico, the roses and succulents planted in front of an adobe house, or the potted flowers on the stairways. “I love spending time in the southwest, painting and exploring that landscape.”
Winfield feels drawn to painting outdoors, where the beauty of nature triggers memories of childhood summers spent outside.
Her landscapes are soft, painterly, and impressionistic, infused with light and atmosphere. “I love the fleeting light as it dances across the earth’s surface. Painting at different times of the day dynamically changes a scene. Then add to it varying weather and circumstances, and you’ve got thousands of opportunities to paint from.” Most of Beth’s works are painted plein air, in small sizes. “I like to finish my works in one session outdoors, otherwise, by reworking it later in the studio, I’m afraid I may lose that fresh quality of what I saw. Sometimes I will use a smaller study done outdoors as my reference to create a larger painting later.”
Winfield joined the Benicia Plein Air Gallery in 2019. She currently splits her residence between Davis and a second home in Santa Fe, where she spends three to four months per year. She grew up in Cincinnati and lived in Scottsdale and Memphis before moving to Davis with her family in 1997. “I first got to know the gallery by participating in one of their “paint-out” competitions. I loved the gallery and the town – its lush green spaces, quaint houses, and waterfront – all picturesque places to paint. I have enjoyed exploring the city, walking up and down First Street, meeting the friendly people here. Unfortunately, COVID has made it harder to connect with people.”
Winfield’s love and talent for art were obvious at an early age.
As a third grader she drew attention to her ability by spending her recess periods covering the chalkboards in her classroom with Picasso-like drawings. “I had always loved to draw but it was not until my mother took me to see an exhibition of Picasso’s work that I realized it was okay to paint outside the lines, for my work to be imperfect.”
She chose other studies in college, however, and eventually launched a career as an x-ray technologist. “College is a time of exploring and trying to figure out what you want to do. After I graduated, I was still searching. I incorporated my love of art into a practice of redecorating old Victorians and doing faux wall painting for clients.” She continued to dabble in art until being laid up by a horseback riding accident in the year 2000. “My husband brought me paints to use while I was recuperating. That rekindled my love of art and afterward I decided to paint full-time.”
For Winfield, working to improve her painting is a joyful journey.
Favorite and valued teachers include Scott Christensen and Suchitra Bhosle, among others. “Artists forever have something to learn. I’m a member of an art book club that gets together every other month.” Winfield also enjoys ceramics, needlepoint, knitting, photography, cooking and gardening, but her main love has always been painting with oil paints. “Basically, that’s all I ever think about,” she laughs.
Gallery visitors can meet the artist on Saturday, August 20, and on Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28, when she will be present at the gallery, located at 307 First Street. For more information about the artist and gallery events and hours, visit https://www.bethwinfield.com and http://www.beniciapleinair.com.