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Weekly Plein Air painting group now open to students

The Plein Air Painters group held their weekly painting session at the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC) on Wednesday Aug. 23. Plein air is an artistic term for open-air painting often done in impressionistic style that depicts a rural setting, and was a favorite of artists like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Mary Cassatt.

The BFEC’s rustic serenity makes it the perfect locale for the plein air arts. The meadows, wildlife garden and ponds around the area are popular subjects for the group.

Sessions are casual, running with little direction from their leaders. Participants have free range over the BFEC’s 400-acre expanse, and can work in the medium of their choice for however long they please. While the group contains professionals, they welcome artists at all experience levels.

Though the group has been working at the BFEC since June, last Wednesday marked the first time the event was open to students. This particular event was poorly attended, with only one attendee.

Fetters believes that it may take two to three years to form a consistent group in the area. They have had as many as eight painters come to previous sessions.

“It’s like a flash mob that goes and paints,” said Wendy Fetters, a veteran plein air artist. “I’d even be happy to teach amateur artists who come by,” she added, just before offering to drive interested students down to the BFEC if necessary.

The group is an offshoot of the larger Columbus-based organization Central Ohio Plein Air (COPA), which contains well over a hundred members. Noelle Jordan, the group’s coordinator, brought it to Kenyon.

Jordan also arranged an exhibition of COPA works at the BFEC, many of which were painted on location. She and Fetters invite students to enjoy art and nature, and Fetter is optimistic about the future of the Plein Air painters at the college.

“Plein Air Wednesday nights at the [BFEC] are just beginning,” Fetters said.

The Plein Air Painting Group meets every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Brown Family Environmental Center.

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