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Support Local Artists at El Presidio SHP: Featuring Chris Potter

by Katie Sorensen

Local artwork has always been a vibrant component to the community of Santa Barbara.  Perhaps it is the natural beauty, architecture and lighting that inspires so many artists to paint.  In an effort to support local arts, we have created a new art wall in the Visitor Center at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park  called ‘Support Local Artists.’  Rotating exhibits will feature art that relates to the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, be it art featuring the historic sites we manage, or themes such as early Californian and the Asian American experience.  Proceeds of sales go to the artist directly with 10% of commissions supporting preservation efforts at the Presidio.  This month, ‘Support Local Artists’ features Goleta based artist Chris Potter.

Chris grew up in Santa Barbara and spent much of his leisure time outdoors, exploring the local beaches and bluffs and hiking in the mountains.  Left free to ramble in the wild, Chris was able to experience the beauty of the Santa Barbara coastline at a young age, observing the details of the natural world.  This ability to observe small details in the wild, led to an appreciation for nature.  He later went to college, deciding to pursue art and made a commitment to create art every day.  Graduating as a budding artist, Chris creates some of his most stunning works of art in nature.  Instead of painting from a photograph, he paints outdoors, setting up an easel and translating what he observes in the wild onto canvas.  Chris paints primarily with oil on canvas and oil on panel.  His work can be seen at various galleries around town including Distinctive Framing at 1333 State Street.  Currently on exhibit at SBTHP’s ‘Support Local Artists’ are paintings, “Presidio Chapel Two’s,” “Presidio Sun and Rain,” “de la Guerra,” and “Presidio Chapel Nocturne.”  His paintings range in size from 6” by 8” to larger 3’ by 6’ works of art.

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Currently Chris is teaching Plein Air painting classes that last two hours and takes place on Stearns wharf.   Classes are $40.00 and include easels, brushes and paint.  For an additional ten dollars, small panels are provided.  To reserve a class e-mail Chris at or visit his blog at

Katie Sorensen is the shop manager at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

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