New Work in Gallery

Now through October 
Sixth in Mindport’s Gallery:
~
  8th Annual Downtown
Bellingham 
Plein Air Paint Out & Exhibition (PAPO)
 ~
We paint from life in order
to learn how to
see.
If you can paint light, you
can paint
everything under the sun.

                                                           –Frank LaLumia, PAPA Signature Member

Thao Le
Painting
from
life is a pursuit unlike any other painting technique. It
challenges
artists to concentrate every sensory nerve on the information in
front them.
They absorb it all, from sight to sound, from temperature to
atmosphere, and
then channel those feelings from head to hand, re-creating the
vision in paints
on paper or canvas.
The
roots of
painting from life are found in 19th-century Europe. Englishman
John Constable
believed the artist should forget about formulas and trust his
own vision in
finding truth in nature. To find that truth, he
made sketches
outdoors, then elaborated on them in the studio.
Around
the
same time in France, in a small village outside Paris called
Barbizon, a group
of artists focused their attentions on peasant life and the
natural world
surrounding it. Like Constable, Francois Millet and Gustave
Courbet challenged
conventions of the day, choosing everyday subjects rather than
the traditional
cliches and presenting them in natural settings, the information
for which came
from sketches made in the field.
These
realists,
as they came to be called, laid the groundwork for the mid-19th
century
revolution in France that took painting from life to its logical
conclusion.
Lead by Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Edouard Degas, Auguste
Renoir, et. al. the
impressionists espoused the belief that you should
trust your
eyes. Using newly developed theories of how the eye physically
registers color,
they maintained that what you saw in nature was not form, but
rather light on
form. And light could be conveyed by color. To prove their
theories, they took
their paint tubes and easels outdoors, where they re-created the
world as
colors which suggested light. Rebuffed at first for what
appeared to be
unfinished paintings, the impressionist vision soon became a
standard for
truthfully conveying the outdoor experience.
Painting
en
plein air (in the open air) would forever change how we see the
world. Artists
in the United States were attracted to the concept, and many,
like Californian
Guy Rose, traveled to France to study with Monet. Suddenly,
places with
remarkable light were of particular interest to painters,
including the both
the East and West Coasts, and the American Southwest, where
painting colonies
formed. The goal of teachers and students alike was to capture
the light and
colors peculiar to the place.
Dave Nichols
Today,
painting
from life is a pursuit that continues to challenge the finest
artists
in the world, as well as the group from Studio UFO here in
Bellingham.  This is our
8th Annual Downtown
Bellingham Plein Air Paint Out & Exhibition (PAPO).  This year we have 24
artists that
participated.  The
Bellingham PAPO is
different in that it focuses on the downtown core and not a
natural or
wilderness setting.  It
is our mission to
raise awareness about plein air painting, to show the community
how many
artists are here in Bellingham and to show the artists’
interpretation of
downtown Bellingham.