Chautauqua County en Plein Air 2023

Just as the tail-end of summer began to edge ever-closer towards autumn, a coterie of artists gathered in the front hall of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute: canvases stamped with RTPI’s owl logo, maps in hand; brushes at the ready.

Over the course of a few days in mid-September, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute hosted their second annual Plein Air Festival. Local artists and those from far afield alike scoured Chautauqua County’s hills and dales (and many ponds!) in order to capture the beauty of the outdoors. Chautauqua County en Plein Air features artwork from eighteen artists that was created at The Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Downtown Jamestown Riverwalk, Johnson Estate Winery, the Audubon Community Nature Center, and various locations preserved by the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.

En plein air or plein-air painting was developed in the 1800s as a way of removing the artist from the studio and placing them within the physical landscape they were painting. Landscape portraitists could now more easily capture the natural light and translate the minute changes in weather onto the canvas, in ways that simply weren’t possible when painting from inside a studio. Artists who famously created works en plein air were Claude Monet (1840-1926), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), and Georges Seurat (1859-1891). Following in their footsteps, today’s artists created works that reflect careful observation, artistic interpretation, and a sensitivity to the beauty that the natural world has to offer.

Artists featured in this exhibition include:

Debra Greenwald, Fairview, PA

Donald Michalak, Dunkirk, NY

Sara Baker Michalak, Dunkirk, NY

Joe Rice, Jamestown, NY

Judson Brown, West Valley, NY

Catherine Lawton, Buffalo, NY

Diane Sypniewski, Depew, NY

Leslie Calimeri, Jamestown, NY

Susan Simmons, Jamestown, NY

Thomas Annear, Fredonia, NY

Carol McDonald, Tionesta, PA

Jackie Damore, Jamestown, NY

Susan Guiterrez, Jamestown, NY

Katherine Kepner, Jamestown, NY

Robin Zefers Clark, Little Valley, NY

Renee Little, Oklahoma City, OK

Joseph Grice, Jamestown, NY

Melissa Meyers, Bemus Point, NY