Painting “en plein air" is painting “in the open air." It’s not only painting outdoors; it’s experiencing the landscape.
Plein air painting became an art form when early French Impressionists wanted to capture and experience the ever-changing qualities natural light provided on landscapes.
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, through Saturday, Sept. 24, plein air painters from all over the Southeast will participate in a "Paint Out" and end the week with a public Porch Sale at Leiper's Creek Gallery. Many of the painters have painted here in past years and a few are local artists. The event is in celebration of the Leiper's Creek Gallery's 20th anniversary, which, like many celebrations, was delayed due to the coronavirus.
“These are the best of the best plein air artists,” said Lisa Fox, Leiper's Creek Gallery proprietor. “All activities are free to the public and all are welcome.”
Each day the artists will set up their easels at a different location in the countryside around Leiper’s Fork and spots around historic downtown Franklin. At each location, using their own unique style, and a variety of mediums including oil, watercolor and pastels, they’ll capture the landscape on canvas as it changes throughout the day.
“Artists love it here," Fox said. “They always want to come back. The president of PAP-SE (Plein-Air Painters of the Southeast), David Boyd said this is one of their most successful shows.”
On Friday, Sept. 23, from 4-8:30 p.m. the completed pieces will be displayed and for sale on the Gallery porch.
Out in the Lawn Chair Theater Fox will be hosting a party.
“It’ll be a party night, a chance to meet the artists and for (local) people to see their home from somebody else’s eyes,” Fox said.
There will be refreshments, wine, music by Reneau’s Band and special guest speaker, Peter Trippi, editor-in-chief of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine who will speak about collecting landscape art.
“My secret power is that I have come to love plein air painting as an outsider,” Trippi wrote in an email. “I don’t paint myself and have never studied the history of landscape art, so I bring to newly created works a relatively fresh view. I have especially enjoyed learning about the different traditions of outdoor painting active in different parts of America, past and present.”
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., artists will be painting around the village of Leiper’s Fork, providing another opportunity to meet the artists while they work, and possibly fall in love with a piece of art and the memory it evokes.
“One of the reasons people love to come here is the beautiful countryside,” Fox said. “There’s so much to concentrate on. That’s thanks to the Land Trust and people who have protected large tracts of land in our fast growing county.”
If a painter is spotted in the middle of a field, on the side of a creek or on Main Street in downtown Franklin, don’t be afraid to stop and watch the artist at work. If a piece hits the heart, it can be purchased on the spot, while the artist is still working on it, Fox said.