Thursday, November 5, 2009

Painted Sanctuary: Plein Air Landscapes of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

Tomorrow evening from 5-9 p.m., twenty-seven members of the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan will show nearly 80 paintings at the Park Trades Center in downtown Kalamazoo. The show, Painted Sanctuary, contains paintings completed during a seven-month period within nine preserves, sanctuaries or conservation easements protected by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Half of the money from the sale of paintings in the show will benefit the conservancy. Shown here is the 2010 calendar created by participating artists as a fund-raiser for the Land Conservancy.

Most paintings are traditional oil or pastel compositions. Some, however, break down the landscapes into their stark elements. One piece pairs an artist's journal entry with her minimalist watercolor interpretation of a beech tree at the Chipman Preserve in Comstock Township.

Richard Jordan, the founder of the plein air group, said painting in nature, not in a studio with a photograph, presents challenges but results in an inspired piece. He said many artists battled changing light conditions, or, in the case of his piece, Winter at Hidden Marsh, the cold.

"I don't think there's any competition to being there," he said. "There's a world of difference."

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