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West Windsor Arts brings plein art painting to West Windsor with their summer show, By the Light of Day. Plein-air painting is, in its strictest sense, the practice of painting landscape pictures out-of-doors; more loosely, the achievement of an intense impression of the open air in a landscape painting. Since the 1800s painting en plein air has allowed artists to capture the emotional and sensory dimensions of a particular landscape at a particular moment in time. It expresses a spirit of spontaneity and truth to personal impulse within art. Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh was notably a fan of plein air painting, or the practice of painting in the great outdoors. Other impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir advocated plein air painting, and much of their work was done outdoors in the diffuse light of a large white umbrella. Decisions have to be made quickly, therefore painting reactions are more intuitive. The exhibition is on view at West Windsor Arts.  Our jurors include Lori Langsner, M.S., and Bob Barish.

Lori Langsner has had a rewarding career in arts education in the NYC Public Schools. After having received her BA in Art Education from Queens College, NY and a MS in Neurophysiological Learning Disabilities from Brooklyn College, she has continued her art studies at the Arts Students League in NY, the Princeton Arts Council and Mercer County Community College. She keeps her ties with the NYC Public Schools and is currently an Adjudicator for the Staten Island Borough Arts Festival. She is presently teaching “Art of Oil Painting” & “Plein Air: Capture the Moment” to adults at West Windsor Arts Council. Her prime focus is on “en plein air” paintings in oils. Her inspirations come from nature and her surroundings. The brilliant sunlight, gentle breezes, quiet sounds, and the fresh air all create a wonderful sense of inner peace. Most recently she has exhibited her paintings at Ficus Above Restaurant in Princeton, Princeton Arts Council, West Windsor Arts Council & Whole World Arts. 

Bob Barish has always been interested in art, with his earliest recollections  watching and participating with the Jon Gnagy TV show, “Learn to Draw”, in the mid 1950’s. That early interest has had a profound influence on his life. Upon graduation from The University of The Arts, Philadelphia, PA, and a corporate career as Art and Design Director in the Pharmaceutical Industry, he remains a committed artist. Bob is now a full time oil painter specializing in Plein Air scenes of the Delaware Valley and the rich history of the area. Plein Air painting  offers him an immersion into the sights, sounds and feelings of the subject. HIs primary goal is to convey the immediacy of ‘being there’ with a glimpse of an instant image experiencing what he has seen and portraying in paint. Bob is a board member of Artsbridge, the art association located in  Stockton, NJ, and has also served as Coordinator for the River Rats Plein Air Painting Group for the past 16 years, scheduling weekly paint outings at various locations in the Delaware Valley river towns and surrounding countryside.

Highlights of the many extraordinary works in the exhibition include the works by Mark Oldland. He is an autistic artist who strives to positively promote autistic individuals by providing a window of his perspective of the world through his work. In doing so, his artwork is meant to encourage inclusion and educate the public about living life as an autistic person. He says, “When I work in and around social norms I see and create more representational paintings and drawings (typically in plein air style), with elements of how I prefer to see and interpret the world still being evident. On this side of the spectrum my artwork contains the natural tension I feel when trying to ‘fit in’ with what is expected of me.” His oil on board entry, Big Possibilities, is striking with the use of blues and oranges–colors directly opposite to each other on the color wheel. The title comes from his statement of “overwhelmingly large possibilities we are capable of when we stop to observe our surroundings.” 

Mary Lou Thomas was a student of oil painting, off and on, for many years. In the last few years, she has increased her commitment to painting. She still paints with oils, but she has focused a lot of her recent work using acrylics. She has enjoyed the transition from oils to acrylics and looks forward to continuing this painting journey. Her acrylic on canvas entries, Kayak Daze expresses the true purpose of en Plein Air painting; being able to capture the precise moment for others to experience. 

Also included in the exhibition is Joelle Hofbauer. She has had the pleasure of exhibiting her artwork at numerous venues over the past seven years, such as the West Windsor Arts Council, Arts Council of Princeton, D & R Greenway, and with the Garden State Watercolor Society at Ellarslie. Her oil painting entry titled: In The Garden, is inspired by springtime, specifically of the garden of a friend. The peonies blossom confidently as the bright focus of the painting.

Exhibiting Artists: Bob Barish, Larry Chestnut, Emily Chiles, Huchen Courouleau, Magda Dodd, Carlo Fiorentini, Michael Graham, Marzena Haupa, Joelle Hofbauer, Margaret Kalvar-Bushnell, Snehal Kumbhar, Lori Langsner, Yun Li, Patrick Lieg, Christopher Mac Kinnon, Mary Manahan, Denise McDaniel, Mark Oldland, Neelam Padte, Rupa Sanbui, Aurelle Sprout, David Terrar, Mary Lou Thomas, Maria Vasquez, and Lei Yua.

About the West Windsor Arts Council: The West Windsor Arts Council’s mission is to provide high-quality cultural programming that brings people together and transforms the world around us by inspiring, educating, and promoting the arts and art appreciation for our diverse community. For information on the West Windsor Arts Council and West Windsor Arts Center, please visit www.westwindsorarts.org. West Windsor Arts Center is located at 952 Alexander Road, West Windsor, and is a five-minute walk from the Princeton Junction Train Station. Office and gallery hours: by appointment. Call 609.716.1931 or write info@westwindsorarts.org.

Featured images below: Mark Oldland, Mary Lou Thomas, Joelle Hofbauer