North Idaho Plein Air Painters

Green Bay Lake Pend OreilleThe Idaho Plein Air Painters started when Connie Scherr, A long-time resident of Sandpoint, accomplished artist, and active member of the art community in Sandpoint, was at a Studio Tour meeting in May of 2013. She asked the artists attending the meeting if any of them were interested in painting en plein air.  That is how it all started. She got all their email addresses and inspired a group that has grown to include 18-20 artists. Last summer there were about six who met weekly to paint. Connie gets an email or call once a week, if not more, from another new artist who wants to join the group. She is thrilled and believes a lot of the artists here were hungry for this to happen. Connie says, “They inspire me to get out.  All our energy is catching, not to mention FUN.”

NIPAP Members (POAC Member Artists in Bold)
Connie Sherr, Kathy Gavin, Kathryn Weisberg, Diana Moses Botkin, Robert Bissett,
Carol Kovalchuk, Jenene Grende, Liliana Barbieri, Liz Adkinson, Karoli Carhart,
Kim Powers, Jerry Yates, Susan Conway Kean, Julie Reinbold, Daris Juddd,
Davon Chapman, Maria Trujillo, Marilyn Holte, Nan Cooper, Peggy Compton,
Rae Ann Fry, Sally Park, Sally Dennison, Susan Dalby, Sue Koller, Lori Moore, and Leona Fox.

History of Plein Air
Though painting outdoors dates back as far as ancient Rome, in the mid-19th century, working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon school and Impressionism. The viability and ease of painting outdoors was greatly enhanced by Windsor Newton’s introduction of paints in tubes. Previously, each painter made his/her own paints by griding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. Invention of the portable easel and pochade boxes made outdoor painting even more accessible. Highly portable easels, with telescopic legs and build-in paint box and palette, made treks into the forest and up into the hillsides possible.

French impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir advocated en plein air painting, and much of their work was done outdoors, in the diffuse light provided by a large white umbrella. In the second half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century in Russia, painters such as Vasily Polenov, Isaac Levitan, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin, and I. E. Grabar were known for painting en plein air. American Impressionists, too, such as those of the Old Lyme School, were avid painters en plein air. American impressionist painters noted for this style during this era included, Guy Rose, Robert William Wood, Mary DeNeale Morgan, John Gamble, Edgar Payne, and Arthur Hill Gilbert.

En Plein Air: in the open air
Origin: 1890-95; French: literally, full air
Pronounced: pleyn-air; French ple-ner

1. Pertaining to a manner or style of painting developed chiefly in France in the mid-19th century, characterized by the representation of the luminous effects of natural light and atmosphere as contrasted with the artificial light and absence of the sense of air or atmosphere associated with paintings produced in the studio.
2. designating a painting executed out of doors and representing a response to the scene or subject in front of the artist.