Plein Air, translating to ‘Open Air’ in French, refers to a genre of landscape painting that is done, exclusively or primarily, outdoors and on site. In mid-19th century France, this mode of art making became popularized with the advent of the Impressionist movement and Barbizon School, which produced such artists as Claude Monet, Edgar Dégas, Jean Millet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-August Renoir. As time progressed, Impressionist movements gained momentum in Russia and the United States as well. The Impressionist movement sought to replicate the illusory effects of light, color, and atmosphere, and proceeded to inform the Fauvist movement and, from therein, the advent of what is commonly referred to as ‘Modern Art.’ There remains a strong demographic of artists working in the mode of plein air today, particularly throughout California.
For the past seven years, the Plein Air Artists of Riverside (PAAR), one of RAM’s three artist-member groups, has held a nine-day ‘Paint Out’ marathon event. Artists travel along Riverside’s historic Mission Inn Avenue and surrounding areas to create several on-site works in oil paint, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor, executed in the traditional plein air style. This year’s Paint Out event was held from
February 18 – 26 and held ‘Gems of Riverside’ as its theme. This exhibition represents selected works created during the Paint Out event, as well as work from a companion ‘Quick Draw’ event, during which the artists created works on site at the Riverside Art Museum within a narrow time constraint of ninety minutes. Other sites visited during the Paint Out event included: the Fox Performing Arts Center, The California Citrus State Historic Park, La Sierra University, Oak Quarry Golf Club, and St. Andrew’s Church. The exhibition will be judged on the evening of the reception by artist and Laguna Beach gallery owner Michael Jacques, who will assign awards to the exhibited artworks.