“It’s their use of shadows and highlights, the placement of light and colours that create the image rather than a painting of the thing itself.”
That is how Kirsten Rampersad, curator of En Plein Air, a group exhibition at Arnim’s Art Galleria, Tragarete Road, Port of Spain, described the work of the four artists in the show.
En plein air is a French term meaning “in the open air” and is the practice of painting outdoors. That is what artists Jackie Hinkson, Sundiata, Beverley Fitzwilliam Harries, and Paula Cooper did to produce the 45 pieces in the exhibition, which will run until November 27.
Rampersad said the impressionist works were “minimalistic but very impactful” as each artist brings their own style to the forefront through various media including mixed media, acrylic, and watercolour.
The various artists also shared their thoughts about their own pieces.
Hinkson said, “When I first started painting a little over 60 years ago, my preferred approach was to work from direct observation of the subject, be it landscape or still life. My passion for this modus operandi has grown over the decades, as having the daunting challenges that come with it. More than half a century later my range of media, subjects, scale of work and of methods of expression has grown far beyond my expectation.
"In spite of that I am still driven to produce work plein air, from direct observation, now mainly in the unforgiving medium of watercolour. The works in this exhibition were almost all produced during the covid lockdown period of the last year or two.”
Sundiata decided to focus on working in natural light as mush as possible in an attempt to capture the character and architectural features of structures. He challenged himself to concentrate on the use of light and to be expressive in his rendering of his subjects.
Harries liked plein air because of the light and the live viewing of the subject which, she said was a refreshing change from photographs with their predetermined views and unknown dark spaces.
Cooper said, “In my artwork I tried to capture the true essence of the landscapes and seascapes using the impressionistic style. It has allowed me to experience a sense of freedom and joy, as the world seems brighter when we create art and inspire others.”