Dozens of Painters Taking Art Outside

Painting “in the open air,” or “en plein air” as the French put it, seems popular with dozens of artists from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania who are participating in “Paint Historic Wheeling” this weekend.

Nearly 40 artists are expected to set up their paint boxes and easels throughout the city this weekend to capture Wheeling’s charming neighborhoods and historic areas on canvas.

The annual three-day event, previously held at Oglebay Park, was moved this year to the the Centre Market district and other areas of the city for a change of venue, according to Bill Rettig Jr. of Wheeling, an event organizer.

“We have people coming by on a continuing basis, and we’ve had great turnouts,” said Rettig, who was offering a workshop for nearly a dozen artists under a canopy just outside the Lower Market House.

“Wheeling having such great architecture and Victorian period stuff … it’s just wonderful to be able to paint it in watercolors, which is a quick medium to paint in and something you can accomplish in relatively a short time …” Rettig added. “The idea is that it is work that is done, it’s hung, it’s displayed and the public is able to see it on a three-day basis.”

The Historic Centre Market District, Victorian Old Town, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the waterfront are just a few locations where the artists are expected to set up their easels and painting supplies.

Liz Neumann of Wheeling was painting a “very charming” corner coffee shop just across Market Street from the Upper Market House on Friday and said she enjoys painting outside.

“I just love it because of being outside and seeing the real colors,” said Neumann, who paints outside frequently on her Ohio County farm.

Christopher Seubert, an adjunct instructor of painting and drawing from Stone Ridge, N.Y., stood at the northeast corner of the Upper Market House painting a streetscape. He said he was excited about being invited to Wheeling to present an “en plein air” workshop.

“I actually grew up in Dayton, Ohio, which isn’t that far away in a town very much like this, and we have an old section of town with all of these beautiful buildings and architecture,” said Seubert.

The public can watch the artists at work throughout the city and view completed works at exhibitions from 5-7 p.m. today and from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Artworks Around Town in Centre Market. The exhibits are free and open to the public. Both offer refreshments, including a buffet of Grecian delights on Saturday evening from the nearby Grecian Festival.