Plein air artists capture the great outdoors at the Gallery at 48 Natoma

Spring is here. And while we absolutely need more rain, Mother Nature is moving forward nonetheless. The Sandhill Cranes flew over Folsom Lake last week, the mockingbirds and robins are in full song and the neighborhood raccoons are out seeking mates.

There is magic in the air this time of year. And who better to capture that moment than a plein air artist?

“En plein air” is French for “in the open air.” For centuries, artists prepared their own paints, grinding their own pigments and mixing them with fixative agents. This kept them confined to studios and other indoor spaces. In the late 19th century, they began to experiment with portable paints in tubes. Pastel crayons were in use centuries earlier and these came with the artists as they ventured out to discover new methods of expression.

California Impressionism is one of my favorite art forms. Those of you who are world travelers know that the light here is unique. Colors are sharper here. The landscapes beg immortality. We have it all: oceans, lakes, valleys, mountains and deserts.

The Crocker Art Museum collection contains works by some of the early California impressionists. Inspired artists continue to paint the Golden State’s treasures.

The Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom will open a special exhibit Friday called Classic Landscapes. Featuring the work of Tatyana Fogarty and Reif Erickson, this is an opportunity for the public to see California Impressionist plein air painting as it exists today.

Fogarty’s favorite time to paint is “the Golden Hour” before sunset. The long rays of the setting sun highlight colors and cast long shadows. She is a local artist whose specialty is oil painting.

“Painting landscapes fulfills my desire to escape the entrapments of daily life and immerse myself in the world of nature’s beauty and openness,” Fogarty said.

She is a member of the El Dorado Hills Arts Association, the California Art Club, the American Impressionist Society and the Oil Painters of America.

Visitors to the gallery will readily recognize many of the iconic California landscapes featured in Erickson’s work. The award-winning artist focuses on views of the Sierras, Yosemite and Sacramento Valley. However, there are also “ordinary” places that “transcend the mundane.”

“I strive to capture a sense of place, and a moment in time and season,” Erickson said. “I minimize the amount of pastel that is necessary, letting much of the paper show through to lend atmosphere to my work, as if I am painting the air and light between me and the subject, and not just rendering an object in space.”

He is a member of the California Art Club of Pasadena and is a past president of the Pastel Society of the West Coast. The PSWC honored him in 1991 as a Distinguished Pastellist.

Give yourself at least a half hour (or more) in this little gallery. You won’t be disappointed. High quality exhibits are the watchword at The Gallery at 48 Natoma.

Come to the opening reception at the gallery on Friday, March 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. Enjoy the free refreshments, wine and live harp music by Judy Phillips. It’s a great evening out.

Classic Landscapes opens March 14 and runs through May 8. Folsom’s free art gallery is located at 48 Natoma St. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening hours on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected].

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Posted by on Mar 9 2014.
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