Anza artist Sacha Hope shows off plein air paintings at The Merc

Anza resident and artist Sacha Hope proudly stands alongside a painting she made of the grounds of Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula for the Ralph Love Plein Air Competition, in which artists paint outdoors the scenes of the city or wine country that surround them. Alex Groves photo

It’s not hard to find Anza resident Sacha Hope in a gallery filled with people. Her vibrantly dyed hair is often a hue of orange-pink that’s as powerful the colors that can be found in her artwork.

“I am somewhere between a pop artist and a surrealist, so I like really loud, vibrant colors,” Hope said. “I don’t do natural. I feel like if you want something that’s unbelievably realistic, you’ll go buy an amazing photograph from one of my friends who’s a photographer.”

Hope showed off three of her pieces Friday evening, Nov. 3, in the Gallery at The Merc in Old Town Temecula as part of an art show that displayed entries in the 10th annual Ralph Love Plein Air Competition, which is dedicated to art that’s been painted outdoors.

Among them was a painting done of the grounds of Wilson Creek Winery around sunset. A fiery orange and yellow sky descends over green vines. In the corner is a bottle of almond Champagne that Hope said she enjoyed while painting the picture.

Another painting of indistinct dots of purples, blues, greens and yellows is meant to represent the different flowers that Hope saw while she was at the winery.

Her third painting is of a harvest moon over the Temecula Civic Center. Hope said she dragged her husband out with her late one night when everything in town had closed to paint the picture, which shows the black silhouette of the civic center against a glowing moon and dark blue sky.

Hope said that plein air painting is not something she usually does. She more often works indoors in a studio.

One of her recent projects was a series of paintings depicting gods and goddesses from different cultures.

“It was sort of a depiction of how all religions sort of base down to one thing: do the right thing,” Hope said. “I’ve done about 15 different gods and goddesses from all over the world for every single religion you could imagine.”

She paints bright, surrealist depictions of animals, trees and cars.

Hope said she started painting in the early to mid-90s, and at that time was just learning basics. Painting didn’t become her true passion until her son started school, she said, and she learned there were no art or music programs there.

“I was livid,” she said. “I was like, ‘how is that possible?’ So I started teaching art at their school for free as a volunteer and through that that made me paint over and over, constantly. For the last 10 years, it really has been building and building and building.”

Hope said what she especially liked about the plein air art competition in Temecula was the opportunity to explore something that was outside her comfort zone.

“This is pretty much new to me,” she said. “And I needed to push myself out of my box. I was like, ‘I have to try something else because that’s how you grow.’”

For more information about artist and Anza resident Sacha Hope, visit her website at www.sachahope.com.

Two of artist Sacha Hope’s paintings hang on the walls of the Gallery in The Merc in Old Town Temecula Friday, Nov. 3. The art was submitted as part of an outdoor painting competition. Alex Groves photo

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