On a bright and sunny Thursday morning spent at Brown Park, Connie Martin of Bellefontaine sat with her French easel and sketched a house that she admired from across the street, enjoying the nearby busy flow of traffic along Sandusky Avenue.
For Martin and other artists participating in the Logan County Art League’s Plein Aire Painting Opportunity that day, the chance to get outdoors and practice their favored art forms provided refreshment and also a safe activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has been an enjoyable morning in pleasant temperatures,” fellow artist Annie King said while sketching First Christian Church, 215 E. Sandusky Ave. “I have mostly been at home during the last several months, but this has been nice just to be out in public again in a space where we can safely spread out.”
“It’s fun and relaxing sitting here in the center of everything, hearing the traffic and hustle and bustle of activity,” said fellow Art League member Martin, who helped to plan the event. “It’s nice to hear the chatter and the movement; it’s inspiring.”
The French term, Plein Aire Painting, is the art of painting outdoors that contrasts with studio painting or academic rules that might create a predetermined look.
Considering the difficulty of hosting its traditional events this year, including its Not So Bad Art by Good People contest, the Logan County Art League is looking at hosting additional Plein Aire Painting Opportunities this fall, potentially at a site in downtown Bellefontaine next month and at another outdoor venue in October, Martin said.
The art events out in nature can offer artist mentorship opportunities as well, with Martin relating that King has provided her with much inspiration and assistance in the last three years as she has pursued art in earnest after retiring as a teacher.
“Annie has been a wonderful teacher to me, and I appreciate all of her guidance over the last several years,” she said.
In addition, the pandemic times have provided Martin with the chance to grow as an artist as well.
“Usually, I prefer doing portraits or pictures with people in them, but I’ve been trying to stretch myself a bit and have been trying more landscapes with buildings, like with this house I’m drawing today.”
For more information about the upcoming activities, contact Martin at cjmartin1508.