Painting En Plein Air
April 17 – May 5, 2018
Reception Sat. April 21 5 – 7 pm
Plein air painting is about leaving the four walls of your studio behind and experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape. The practice goes back for centuries but was truly made into an art form by the French Impressionists. Their desire to paint light and its changing, ephemeral qualities, coupled with the creation of transportable paint tubes and the box easel—the precursor to the plein air easels of today—allowed artists the freedom to paint “en plein air,” which is the French expression for “in the open air.” The popularity of painting en plein air increased in the 1840s with the introduction of paints in tubes (like those for toothpaste). Previously, painters made their own paints by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil.
Sketches allow painters to improve the overall design of a painting and quickly capture color notes in the landscape. A plein air painter can also use photographs to help design a painting, though they usually come into play after the artist has left the outdoor painting site for the comforts of the studio. An artist often utilizes photographs to capture details—like the particular texture of grass or the shape of a river bend—but most painters stay away from using photographs for color and value indicators.
Eight of our members are sharing some of their “plein air” paintings in this show which is being held in conjunction with the annual La Veta Students Art Show. Artists in the show are Lynne Bower Andrews, Nancye Culbreath, Joseph Cawlfield, Rachel Dimond, Ann Gethen, Kathy Hill, Steven Kalaher-Taillebois, and Joseph Pfander. Here are a few of their paintings.