Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Painter Charles Marie Presents on “Plein Air”

BISBEE, AZ – On the weekend of September 7-9, the Bisbee Arts Commission is sponsoring the “Ninth Annual Bisbee Plein Air Painting Competition.” Would you like to know more about “plein air” painting?

Then join Charles Marie, Copper Queen Library Advisory Board member and winner of last year’s plein air competition, as he shares a little bit about plein air history and a great deal more about plein air technique on September 5 at 5:30 pm at the Copper Queen Library, 6 Main Street.

“En plein air” is a French expression which means "in the open air." It is used to describe the act of painting in the outside environment rather than indoors (such as in a studio). To capture the essence of a landscape or outdoor still life where the light is constantly changing, plein air painters need to work quickly, capturing on canvas both the mood and the light in what is known as the "plein air alla prima painting process."

Artists have long painted outdoors, but in the mid-1800s, working in natural light became particularly important to Impressionist painters, and the popularity of painting en plein air increased with the introduction in the 1870s of paints in tubes and the invention of the “pouchade box,” both of which increased painters’ mobility.

The “pochade box” – or “box easel” – is a compact, highly portable painting studio in a small box on telescoping legs, typically characterized by a hinged lid which functions as an easel and wet painting carrier, a palette which slides out to one side, and the lower portion of the box which contains paints, brushes, and other supplies. These ingenious, old-fashioned devices, used extensively by 18th and 19th century landscape painters, are still popular today, since they fold up to the size of a brief case and are easily carried and stored.

Sound interesting? Learn more – and watch a short demonstration, too – at this free lecture in the Library Meeting Room.

For further information, contact the library at 432-4232.