Artworks Features Plein Air Paintings in September

WHEELING — The Gallery Hop at Artworks Around Town on First Friday will usher in a celebration of the art of plein air painting. As a preliminary to Paint Historic Wheeling, taking place from Sept. 20-23, the early weeks of the month will feature plein air paintings by associate members of Artworks. The Studio Gallery will exhibit treasures painted by members in years past, and the North Gallery will celebrate a recent trip by member artists to France.

The Gallery Hop is a free reception open to the public and takes place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at Artworks.

Artists at Artworks have a long tradition of enjoying plain air painting. “En plain air” is French for “in the open air.” Even though the concept of capturing scenery in some form of medium is centuries old, the French Impressionists made it a popular art form in the mid-19th century. About that time, paints became available in tubes and the box easel was invented. Both these advances made it possible to leave the studio environment. Painting in the open afforded the artist a direct response to the scene in front of him. Light and its changing, ephemeral qualities were of particular interest to artists in the Impressionist movement.

In July, six artists from the Wheeling area spent a week painting the landscape along the Rhone River south of Lyon. Among their subjects were the winding narrow streets of old town, a castle, the Rhone River, vineyards and parks. Participating in this trip were Donna Hall, Sandra Hadsell, Bobbi Priebe, Pat Jacobson, Bob Sako and Janet Wang. They joined artists from France, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland. Some of the works from their “Journees de Peinture” will be exhibited in the North Gallery.

Paint Historic Wheeling begins on Sept. 20. Headquarters will be at Artworks Around Town. It is open to all artists and offers a unique opportunity to paint in the historic Centre Market area, Victorian Wheeling, the river front area or Oglebay Park. Two workshops are offered. Chris Leeper will conduct a watercolor workshop, and Brian Fencl will offer a workshop on urban drawing. Highlighting Sept. 21 will be a free lecture, open to the public, from a member of Friends of Wheeling on some aspect of Wheeling’s architectural past. There is a nominal fee for the weekend with an additional fee for the workshops.

For more information, go to the Paint Historic Wheeling website or contact Michael Turbanic at 304-280-7718, or email mturbanic@yahoo.com.

Artworks Around Town is a nonprofit charitable and educational gallery and art center, located in Historic Centre Market at 2200 Market St. Hours are 10 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Fridays, when it is open till 6 p.m. (Gallery Hops on First Fridays go till 8 p.m.)