The French expression “en plein air” is translated “open air” but carries the idea of immersing oneself in the fullness of a natural setting. It was first applied to 19th century French Impressionist painters, whose practice was to carry easel and supplies from their indoor studios into gardens, parks, and the wider countryside. Today, artists engage in plein air painting in any outdoor venue, including cities and towns. Subjects include landscapes, storefronts, old barns, farm equipment, statues, flowers, gardens, and people.

Plein air painting has burst through the boundaries of Impressionism to include a variety of styles and artistic expressions. It is growing in popularity, becoming a movement among artists who view it as a way to relax, connect with other artists, and experience the inspirational beauty of the natural world. Painting en plein air can provide freshness and spontaneity to the imagination, vitality and renewal to the artist’s eye, and a sense of community to what can otherwise be a solitary pursuit or occupation.

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Curating an Inaugural Collection

The culminating result of this week of plein air events will be the creation of The Heart of the River Collection. Ours is a region surrounded by rivers and marshlands, fed by the tides, and subject to both the gentle and severe moods of nature.

“The extraordinary Heart of the River Art Collection will capture fleeting light and shadow, movement and energy, people and heart- the essence of life at the river. This living art collection, palpable in its sense and sensibilities, will showcase the connection each of us feels with the river.” Dorothy Fagan, Curator

Join us in this amazing plein air experience, whether as an artist, a patron, a student, or an appreciative spectator. We know you’ll be glad you did!