Plein Air Solomons
Beginning Tuesday, September 15, Plein Air once again returns to Solomons,Maryland. As we learned last year, Plein Air is simply painting outdoors rather than in a studio. The term comes from the French ‘en plein air’, meaning ‘in the open air’. The Impressionists were particularly interested in the influence of changing light and the effects of light on color when outdoors. Monet is a popular example of a plein air painter. Today plein air painting is flourishing as its’ own art form. Artists come together for “paint outs” and competitions to hone their skills. Landscape painters of all skill levels are finding that plein air painting is a rewarding and powerful experience. Plein Air festivals are happening all over the United States. One of the oldest andfinest is in Solomons, Maryland where the town is surrounded by e beautiful Patuxent River and the sunsets are spectacular.
The schedule for this year’s event is as follows:
Tuesday, Sept 15- Artists painting in Solomons
Wednesday- Artists painting throughout Calvert County
Thursday- Sunset Quick Draw
Friday – Artists turn in paintings
Saturday – 10 am – 1pm-Paint the Town for a Cause
Saturday – 6 – 9pm – Affaire of the Arts (Meet the artists)
The History of Plein Air Movement…American Artists Magazine: The term en plein air has long been associated with the act of painting directly from nature, alla prima. This style of painting is often traced back to its first followers in 17th and 18th century Rome, followed by the French Impressionists in the mid to late 19th century, and then to the California Impressionists in early 20th century America. From the start, the purpose of the plein air movement was to develop a deeper understanding of nature through close observation and study and to learn how to accurately represent the appearance of the landscape under the ever-changing elements of light, atmosphere, and weather. As painting en plein air grew from its European roots to an international movement, the genre of landscape painting began to be taken more seriously among those influential in the art world, and on-site sketches and studies were considered worthy of exhibition and sale, even if they were only preparatory for larger studio work. Suddenly, painting outdoors was considered a sophisticated activity, as collectors clamored for plein air paintings executed in exotic locales or faraway countries as a way to travel vicariously through the artist. The advent of portable plein air materials, such as paint tubes in 1841 and the retractable French easel shortly thereafter, further encouraged artists to join this exciting movement and fostered a tradition so far-reaching and enduring that four centuries after its inception, plein air painter around the world are still capturing timeless interpretations of the fields, hills, trees, and coastlines that define their native land.
Plein Air Painting Movements in America
Few of the American landscape-painting groups defined the plein air gene better than the first notable school of painters native to the United States, the Hudson River School. This group of early-19th century painters, founded and led by Thomas Cole (1801-1848), documented the nation’s changing identity as its uninhabited land slowly became settled. Established in the early 1800s, these artists imbued their landscape paintings with the same spiritual sentiments as their French temporaries, in an effort to show God’s ubiquitous presence in nature. Painting in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, the Hudson River school painters captured the enthralling light dancing over the Catskills and Adirondacks in upstate New York and also espoused the importance of connecting with nature and recording their observations on-site. Cole, Asher B. Durand (1796-1886), Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), and others then took those on-site studies and created grand studio painting filled with amazing light and lofty atmosphere that viewers were, and still are, instantly transported to a peaceful a paradise. From that first American plein sir-painting school in the early 1800’s to the California Impressionist movement in the early 1900s and well into the later 20th century, numerous other landscape-painting groups were established around the United States. By passing down the ideals set forth by original plein air painters, these artists created an enduring legacy for future generations of landscape painters. Today, many of those original art clubs and colonies are still flourishing, and in fact, a great number of contemporary landscape painters seem to be encouraging a return to the social, artistic, and spiritual values upon which the plein air movement was founded.