Sedona Arts Center and local artist Alan Wolton are celebrating 60 years of artistic contributions. During this year’s Sedona Plein Air Festival, the Arts Center will honor Alan’s 60 years as a painter by showing select works from his impressive collection.

For Wolton, joining the Sedona Plein Air Festival is the perfect fit as an exhibiting artist. He will be presenting for sale rare works created during his early period as an artist in Sedona.

The public is invited to meet him at the festival’s opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. in Uptown. This will be the first chance to meet all the festival artists, including Wolton, who moved to Sedona in the early 1980s and immediately embarked on large-scale studies of Oak Creek Canyon, the Grand Canyon and the Sedona environment.

Wolton’s lifelong dedication to plein air painting is seen through his brilliant creations — always working outdoors as large as he could in various landscapes from his beginnings in England, to his explorations in South Africa, to his more recent paintings in the Sedona area and in Venice, Italy.

He has developed a rich, personal style of thick, creamy paint application contrasted with areas of subtle wash and delicate scumbling of paint. The Sedona Plein Air Festival is pleased to exhibit his work in this special anniversary year.

He was born in England in 1934 and launched his career as a professional artist at the age of 20. Most of his early years were spent working plein air. Oil paints, easel and often large canvases were carried into the wilds to render a conviction of truth. An expression of moving water was frequently the motivation for paintings. Rivers, rapids and the ocean have all been his companions.

Wolton likes to feel he can paint any subject. Although today he works largely in his Sedona studio, he definitely has his favorite models. Water lily themes and studies of the canals of Venice are, at the present time, the artist feels, right at his fingertips. A clean canvas begins with a very simple line drawing in paint. This is followed with vast areas of very thin transparent oil color. The works grow toward completion with powerful statements of loaded impastos and highlights.

“I have never specifically attempted to follow a trend,” he said. “The style of my work has come naturally. I choose to be a free spirit and paint with emotion.”

In addition to his plein air work, Wolton has worked on very large-scale canvases. He will be showing one of these works along with a select group of artists during the months of January and February in the Arts Center’s Fine Art Gallery.

Our community’s iconic creative event — Sedona Plein Air Festival — is a week-long celebration of extraordinary landscapes, world-renowned artists, unique workshops and wonderful free events from Saturday through Saturday,
Oct. 14 to 21.

Sedona Arts Center invites everyone along to get creative and experience over two dozen master painters in action — making their art on location in beautiful Sedona. Celebrate creativity with us and enjoy receptions, exhibitions, lectures and opportunities to collect your next masterpiece at Sedona Plein Air Festival. More info can be found at SedonaPleinAirFestival.org and SedonaArtsCenter.org.

Arts & Culture, written this week by Kelli Klymenko, artist, photographer and marketing director of the Sedona Arts Center, appears Fridays in The Scene.