Cruising through downtown Durango on Tuesday, there’s a good chance you’ll see artists setting up their easels outside and painting what they see.
The paint-out is part of the first Plein Air Painters of the Four Corners Juried Exhibit and Sale, which kicks off Friday (Aug. 5) with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at Create Art and Tea, 1015 Main Ave.
Caprice Fox, owner of the gallery, said this is the first of what she hopes will become an annual event.
Because it’s a juried show, artists were required to submit pieces to be considered for the show. This year’s juror is artist Lyn Boyer, an award-winning plein air and studio oil painter. According to a news release from Create Art and Tea, “after returning from studying art at the Royal Melbourne Institute in Australia, Boyer began a 25-year career as an American illustrator and painter, garnering awards from the Oil Painters of America, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Plein Air Magazine, Southwest Art, the Society of Illustrators, the Art Directors Club, the Illustrators Workshops and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, among others.”
Fox said there were 49 entires and 20 artists for this year’s show.
“‘Plein air’ is a French term used by painters since the 19th century to describe painting done outside on location instead of in the studio,” the group says on its website. “The Impressionists believed in the merits of painting in plein air and its popularity quickly spread to the rest of Europe, America and Russia. Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper and Wolf Kahn are a few examples of 20th century painters whose work continued to be influenced by plein air practice and tradition.”
If you go
What: Plein Air Painters of the Four Corners Juried Exhibit and Sale.
When: Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday (Aug. 5). Show will be up through Aug. 31.
Where: Create Art and Tea, 1015 Main Ave.
More information: Visit www.createartandtea.com.
Longtime member of the Plein Air Painters of the Four Corners Maryellen Morrow, who has been with group for more than 20 years, said it has been around for the better part of 25 years and includes about 42 artists from around the Four Corners. The group attempts to meet often to paint and to give each other feedback.
“We try to schedule a paint-out once a month, sometimes twice a month, and in all different locations,” she said. “And we always have a critique afterwards.”
For Morrow, it’s the actual physical aspect of the medium that holds her interest. She said that bringing her equipment out into the field to spend the day painting – much like the painters long before her – is a tradition that should be continued.
“I’m in it because the experience of plein air painting is one of the most challenging things an artist can undertake. They’re dealing with the weather, all the elements, the wind, the bugs, the rain, the snow,” she said. “It also helps me because I like to paint abstract, so it also helps me see in the abstract. And I don’t always get an abstract version of what I’m looking at, but if I do, I feel it’s just really wonderful.”
And for Fox, whose gallery features art of all types, including painting, pottery and jewelry, and whose mission is “to represent and promote the Creative Spirit that lives in us all, to honor our connection to Inspiration and Creativity,” this show celebrates not only art, but our bigger world.
“Plein Air painting is a communication with our Mother Earth, and the show this month of August is honoring the beauty of our landscapes that surround us here in the Four Corners,” she said.