En plein air is a French expression meaning in open air. It’s also used to describe the act of painting outside, something painters have done dating back to the work of Monet.
Plein air festivals are popular all over B.C., with painters translating landscapes and seascapes from Gibsons to Vancouver Island and the Kootenays.
For whatever reason, the belt from Hope to Prince George is void of these artistic endeavours. But Ashcroft artist Pauline Ogilvie is about to change that with the community’s first En Plein Air Paint-Out event on May 22 and 23.
“I just thought maybe it was time the world got to know the rest of us,” Ogilvie said Wednesday.
Fortunately, she’s not alone in that thinking. Given this is an inaugural event, Ogilvie would have been content if five painters from the region attend.
As it turns out, there are upwards of 25 artists registered to immortalize Ashcroft’s big sky, gorges and clay cliffs into watercolour, acrylic and pastel portraits. A dozen are attending from outside the area, she said.
On the morning of May 22 the artists will venture outside and paint whatever catches his or her eye. Ogilvie said the artists are allowed to go where they want, even if it’s a back yard, with the homeowner’s permission of course.
“You can’t tell an artist where to paint,” she said.
The artists’ work will be displayed at Heritage Park on Railway Street in Ashcroft on the evening of May 23. Event publicist Esther Darlington MacDonald said there will be live music and food for people to enjoy while viewing and purchasing the art.
MacDonald said the community is abuzz about the en plein. Hotels and bed and breakfasts are booked and the event is already shaping up to be a success.
And everyone seems to be excited by the prospect of Ashcroft’s scenic beauty being captured on canvas, she said.
“We have these fantastic landscapes out here,” he said.
For more information on the event phone MacDonald at 250-453-9095.