The Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association (MBPAPA) was founded in 2005 by painters who live and work in the Monterey Bay area. The current membership lives predominantly in Central California, from the coast to the Sierra, but all are drawn artistically to the greater Monterey Bay area. Meeting twice a month for “paint outs” at scheduled locations around Monterey Bay, member artists bring a contemporary sensibility to the challenges of painting in the open air. Striving to capture timeless scenes transformed by fleeting qualities of atmosphere and light, we both celebrate and expand the rich heritage of California impressionists and post-impressionists who have been drawn to the Monterey region since the 1870s.


MBPAPA works to foster the understanding and appreciation of Plein Air painting and its place in the history and current culture of our communities. MBPAPA helps to distinguish local plein air artists as dedicated artists of the region.

An important purpose of the MBPAPA organization is the promotion and exhibition of Plein Air painting among art collectors and the general public. Such events help support the professional development of local plein air artists.

In addition, MBPAPA continues its commitment to:

  • Enhance and support the creative development as well as the artistic and professional skills of local plein air artists.
  • Provide education and inspiration to the general public of our communities.
  • Continue and enhance the recognition of the region’s rich and varied history as a center for creative expression.
  • Facilitate communication, camaraderie, and mutual support among local plein air artists.


To achieve these purposes, MBPAPA offers the following activities:

  • Hold 12 to 24 Plein Air Paint-outs a year.
  • Facilitate access to unique locations.
  • Hold exhibitions of plein air artwork.
  • Develop Public Relations campaigns.
  • Have general membership meetings.
  • Execute long term plans and organizational strategies for MBPAPA.
  • Host skill building workshops.
  • Hold monthly committee meetings and annual general meetings.
  • Produce a bi-monthly newsletter.
  • Provide educational opportunities for local plein air artists and the greater community.
  • Maintain a website with information about the organization’s contribution to plein air art in the community.

MBPAPA Definitions

Plein Air Art is that which is painted outside on location from direct observation of the landscape and environment. Plein air art refers to methods, techniques and results, but not style. It may include many styles and forms of artistic expression as long as it is substantially executed on location from direct observation.

MBPAPA's geographic Region of interest is the Monterey Bay and Monterey Bay Coast, the Monterey Peninsula, the Central California Coast from San Mateo County through the Big Sur Coast and adjacent inland areas, including the Salinas Valley, Carmel Valley, and the Santa Lucia Range. The region includes Monterey County and parts of Santa Cruz, San Benito and San Mateo Counties.

MBPAPA ByLaws HTML page.

MBPAPA Job Descriptions (PDF)

MBPAPA Job Descriptions (HTML)

MBPAPA Budget Breakdown by dollars and percentages.

Support MBPAPA

Our sponsors and patrons include:
Council for Art for Monterey County

Donald and Laura Newmark
Patricia Maher