Watercolor artist Samantha McNally paints in the studio and outdoors, or “en plein air.” She began painting in oils in college, and then switched to acrylics for a time. “I participated in art shows where most of the people painted in watercolors and the effects were so beautiful I had to try it. I took a few classes in the ‘90s and have been painting in watercolor ever since,” she says.

McNally’s subjects range from portraits of people and animals to plein air landscapes and house portraits. She love’s painting outdoors, “because you can really get a feel for the subject in person rather than from a photograph.” From her website bio, McNally says she joins other plein air painters on location whenever she can. “The beauty of the Bay Area inspires me to paint en plain air, because it’s a challenge that is very satisfying. I paint with groups of artists because it’s very helpful to get critiques and helpful suggestions for our paintings,” she said.

Distant Diablo, 15" X 18", by Samantha McNally

Samantha McNally

Distant Diablo, 15” X 18”

Bookending the three art galleries in the 300 block of First Street, the Plein Air Gallery is adjacent to Gallery 621 and the HQ Gallery. It’s fun to visit all three and peruse different types and styles of art. McNally’s past exhibitions and awards are too numerous to list here, but can be found on her website, samanthamcnally.com/about. They include exhibits in galleries and other venues in Benicia and the greater Bay Area.

Companion alt photo text: , by Samantha McNally