My Alligator Alley by Ted Matz, 2016’s Plein Air Festival chair.
From March 10-13, award-winning plein air artists hailing from more than 20 different states will be headed to Palm Beach County for the third annual Plein Air Festival. Hosted by the Lighthouse ArtCenter in Tequesta, artists will paint in seven different locations over a four-day span. The community is encouraged to join the artists on location to watch as they capture the scene on canvas and paper.
Though plein air painting, “in the open air” in French, has long been a painting technique for artists, it grew to prominence in the mid-nineteenth century when new technologies made for easier access to place for artists. Metal paint tubes and the French easel box made it much easier for artists to break free from the studio and get outside. As artists strove to capture the intricacies of natural light, new techniques and movements like Impressionism began to take shape. From Monet’s water lilies of Giverny to the bucolic landscapes of the Hudson River School, en plein air has given artists direct connection to a sense of place, a technique that continues on today.
Lighthouse ArtCenter’s third annual Plein Air Festival will show how things have remained the same since those first strokes found canvas in the French countryside. In total, 50-juried artists will take part in the festival, each bringing their own unique technique and vision when depicting our local land and seascapes. As festival chairman and plein air artist himself, Ted Matz, sees it, “contemporary plein air painters are recording the past and the present for the future to see.”
This year’s artists represent a wide range of painting styles, from oil and watercolor to pastels. After three days of painting, during which each artist will create between three to five paintings each, awards, as chosen by renowned artist Jim McVicker, will be presented on Sunday, March 13 at Lighthouse ArtCenter. The award ceremony and artist receptions following each day’s painting sessions are not only a chance for the public to meet with the artists, but also an opportunity for guests to purchase their favorite piece.
- For more information, call 561-746-3101 or visit lighthousearts.org/plein-air-festival.
Artist at work at Jupiter’s Riverbend Park in 2015 for the second annual Plein Air Festival.
Events surrounding the third annual Plein Air Festival include:
Wednesday, March 9
Meet the Artists: The festival formally begins with a private reception for artist meet and greet at the Lighthouse ArtCenter galleries from 5-7 p.m.
Thursday, March 10
Artist Demonstrations: The public is invited to watch the creations in progress from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on location at Riverbend Park, Harbourside Place, Juno Beach Pier, Fish House Art Center (Stuart), and Zeus Park (Hobe Sound).
Following Thursday’s painting session, head to the ArtCenter galleries for an artist meet and greet recpetion and art sale from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Friday and Saturday, March 11-12
Artist Demonstrations: The public is invited to watch the creations in progress from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on location at Riverbend Park, Harbourside Place, Fish House Art Center (Stuart), Zeus Park (Hobe Sound), and Society of the Four Arts Garden.
Following Friday’s painting session, head to the ArtCenter galleries for a “Peek at the Day’s Painting,” and art sale from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Following Saturday’s painting session, interested buyers and art enthusiasts have the opportunity for a chance to purchase their favorite work, and consult with an art advisor, at the Collectors’ Cocktail Reception, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission costs $50, which includes a $50 art purchase certificate.
Kids Paint Out: On Saturday, from 1-3 p.m., kids are invited to try their hand at painting en plein air as the festival kicks off. Location: Harbourside Place Amphitheater; free for the public—click here to register [PDF].
An artist captures the scene at the Jupiter Inlet during the second annual Plein Air Festival in 2015.
Sunday, March 13
Quick Draw Contest: All artists are invited to register for this lightning-fast contest taking place in picturesque Dubois Park. Who has the fastest hand in the East? From 9 a.m.-12 p.m., find out during this “battle of the brushes!” Free to public; interested artists, entry fees cost $40 ($30 for ArtCenter members)—click here to register [PDF].
Awards Reception and Art Sale: Join the artists as the panel of judges decides the best of the plein air pieces from 4-6 p.m. This is also the chance for the general public to snap up a personal masterpiece. Kids’ Paint Out Awards will be handed out at 4 p.m.; Wet-Painting Award Presentation at 5 p.m.