Plein Air Exhibition Opening in Oro Valley, Jan. 31by Hot Off The Press (Release) on Jan. 30, 2013, under Press Releases
Jan. 23, 2013 – “Painting from life is a pursuit unlike any other painting technique. It challenges artists to concentrate every sensory nerve on the information in front of them,” the Plein Air Painters of America stated.
“They absorb it all, from sight to sound, from temperature to atmosphere, and then channel those feelings from head to hand, re-creating their impression in paints on paper or canvas.”
“En plein air” is a French expression which means “in the open air” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors.
In a showcase of this timeless art style, Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. will host the Plein Aire Exhibition, displaying the collective works of artists Jane Barton, Judy Nakari, Walter Porter and Lou Knight.
In the mid-19th century, working in natural light became increasingly important to many schools of art. Artists in the United States were attracted to the concept, and many traveled to France to study with the French Impressionists. Suddenly, locations with remarkable light were of particular interest to painters, including both the East and West coasts and the American Southwest where painting colonies formed.
Tucson is decidedly one of those places with remarkable light. Today, there are more than 500 registered plein air artists in the United States working en plein air to capture the light and colors particular to a location.
The Plein Aire Exhibition Opening Reception will take place Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., at the Ventana Gallery, 1910 E. Innovation Park Dr. Featuring complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, the free event will also present live music from Mark and Arlette Willis, FortheLuvvaMusic, performing jazz, blues, Broadway tunes, funk, R&B and soul on piano, harmonica and vocals.
The Plein Aire Exhibition runs through April, and the public may view or purchase art during the three-month exhibit.
For more than 20 years, Walter Porter worked as a successful commercial illustrator, painting for a list of clients that included America West Airlines, Arizona Highways Magazine, AT&T, IBM, Park Hyatt Hotels, U.S. West Communications and the U.S. State Department. Then, after two decades of painting exclusively in watercolor, Porter decided to learn the art of oil painting. Working on still lifes in the controlled environment of his studio, he began to adapt to this “new” medium. In 2004, he picked up a paint box and brushes and hiked into the mountains surrounding Tucson to paint landscapes. Since then, Porter has been painting primarily en plein air. To escape the intense heat of Southern Arizona, he spends part of the summer working on larger pieces in the studio as well as doing portraits, figurative and Western pieces. Porter was born in 1952 in Chicago. He attended Ripon College, The Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Arizona and currently lives with his wife and three children in the Tucson Mountains.
Lou Knight began painting in high school but decided to pursue a vocation as a geologist. He obtained a Ph.D. in geology and spent many years in mineral exploration, traveling throughout the Western United States, particularly Arizona, Nevada, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Washington. Exploration work typically took him to many remote areas, some very special, that were as yet unspoiled by the development in cities. A few of these special places have been preserved in his paintings. In 1994, Knight started painting again with watercolors but soon migrated to painting mostly with acrylics, and particularly with acrylics on watercolor paper. Frustration with painting en plein air in Arizona using acrylics provided an incentive to start oil painting. He has been a member of the Tucson Plein Air Painters Society (TPAPS) since 2010 and regularly paints at TPAPS paint outs. Several of the works displayed at the Ventana Gallery were developed at TPAPS paint outs. Knight’s works tend to emphasis rocks and water in keeping with his many years as a geologist. Since 1999, he has resided in Kirkland, Wash., where he continues to work part-time as a geologist while traveling and painting. In 2009, he started spending his winters in Green Valley, Ariz., where he concentrates on painting local landscapes, mountain biking and hiking.
Jane S. Barton
“Whether I’m at home or abroad, I see each new scene as a still life, a moment in time in a landscape – a tractor posing patiently in the sun or a pattern of light in a mountain sunset. I’m often drawn to a more intimate ‘bugs eye view’ of the world, a mosaic of color, light and form that tells the story of the greater view. I paint so that I can freeze the sight and continue to enjoy it long after the sun has set, the boat has sailed and the blooms have faded. And, of course, I want to share these moments of life – in whatever part of the world I happen to be – with others.”
After 25 years as a nationally recognized graphic designer, illustrator and portrait artist, Jane Barton made the transition from commercial to fine art. She has studied with some of the best artists in the country, and her paintings have been accepted in prestigious art shows from coast to coast. Many of her latest paintings draw on her love of traveling the globe and experiencing new cultures, scenery and ideas. She works both en plein air and in her Tucson studio.
About 15 years ago, Judy Nakari began painting en plein air during a trip to Spain with a group of painters, when she realized that she could combine travel with painting – two of her favorite things. Since then, she has broadened her experience, teaching watercolor workshops for five years near Lucca, Italy in Tuscany. She now teaches plein air painting in both oil and watercolor at The Drawing Studio in Tucson.
The Ventana Gallery is open to the public, by appointment, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on the first and third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, visitors should call the SAACA at (520) 797-3959. Advance notice of 48 hours is required.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Photos available
About the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for both the young and the old.
The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) grew out of the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council (GOVAC), an organization established in 1997 to provide artistic and cultural opportunities for residents of northwest Tucson. GOVAC eventually became one of the largest arts organizations in the region. In 2009, owing to its success, the group expanded its mission to include creation of relationships with business, governments, and communities throughout Southern Arizona that would encourage innovative, creative cultural expression in the arts for years to come.