Saturday, July 26, 2014

August 2 Regional Painters' Meet and Greet

Lake County Art League to Host
En Plein Air Regional Event on August 2
at Fox River Forest Preserve

          The Lake County Art League (LCAL) will take its turn hosting a plein air event for painters from Lake, McHenry and Cook counties on Saturday, August 2, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Fox River Forest Preserve, 28500 W. Roberts Road, Port Barrington.
            For the first time, the plein air session will stretch from sunrise to sundown, beginning at 7:00 am with a three-hour painting session and ending with a final evening session from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.
          ‘“Painting’ in artistic terms is actually painting, drawing, photography or any other visual art that captures the moment,” said Chris Tanner, LCAL Board Director who is in charge of the outing.  “The seven hours between sunrise and sunset sessions will be a time for sharing and conversation in and around the forest preserve’s large open pavilion, where there is ample parking.  Individual artists are expected to come and go all day and original art will be for sale, including much of what is painted that day.”
            En plein air is a French expression which means "in the open air," and is particularly used to describe a centuries-old practice of painting outdoors. Artists forsake the comforts of a studio, working even in the wind and the snow, for the excitement of painting from the living landscape, creating an image in the moment, explained Tanner.
            Everyone, it seems, has different reasons for painting plein air. “I limit my painting entirely to plein air,” says Tanner, a watercolorist. “It offers little time for planning technique and composition, and instead becomes focused on your emotional reaction to what’s in front of you. It’s very challenging that way.”
            Karyl Shields, a McHenry County artist, said she finds that the “true value of painting plein air is in the experience, and the painting is its visual remembrance.  We can share this work with other people who are in love with being outdoors. It is the networking and sharing that brings value to what we do, along with the beauty of the painting. If people buy a painting, well, that’s just icing on our cake! So, I feel any venue that brings people to our work, especially the one-day events where we can talk with them, is rewarding.”
            This year’s event is a special time at a special location. For most artists, the sunrise and sunset sessions will be their first opportunity to work in the unique light that photographers call the "golden hour," the period at the very beginning and end of the day when daylight is both redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky.  “Whatever the time, this bend in the Fox River is known for its natural beauty among a peaceful collection of undeveloped islands. There is plenty to paint at the water’s edge and in an oak savannah on the east bluff of the river, and the marina is a hive of activity,” Tanner emphasized.
           Dee Abbate, another McHenry County artist, is drawn here again and again. “The views had from the trail connecting the forest preserve, marina and boat launch are superb,” she says. “The Marina's benches and shade trees add to our comfort while we are painting the water, boats, and people on the docks.  Hardwoods and prairie plants line all of the trails, the river shore is busy with fisher folk, bicyclists cruise by and families walking their dogs stop to chat.  We've seen cormorants, swans, geese, and ducks on the river, and there is a great blue heron rookery at the north end of the preserve.  The Fox River Preserve is a plein air painter's paradise.”
              Just beyond the forest preserve marina is a path into a small peninsula to the Fox River. Here artists looking along the length of the river will be able capture the sun setting on the very last moments of the day.
            Plein air artists from Lake, McHenry and the northern reaches of Cook County collect once a year in this regional venue to promote the arts, to network and to share their adventures and successes. The event is widely publicized, and is free and open to the public so that other artists and would-be artists can learn about plein air and about plein air groups near them. A list of regional groups will be provided on August 2, along with contact information and meeting times.
            The Lake County Art League Plein Air Group is typical, said Tanner.   “It has met from 9:00 a.m. to noon every few Saturdays at interesting places since 2006. This group holds sessions year-round, taking advantage of Chicago’s magnificent interior spaces in the winter. Membership in the Art League is not necessary. This is just an e-mail list of about 165 people who show up when they can to work on their craft, with 3 to 30 people attending any one session,” he explained.  “No instruction is provided, and there are no dues, no officers, and no need to commit. Whenever possible, sessions conclude with a group sharing where artists identify a success and a frustration of the morning.”
            Some groups, such as the Plein Air Painters of Chicago, have a professional web site; the Plein Air Painters of Illinois have a blog; and there is a popular McHenry County group that does not have a web site, a blog, or even a name, Tanner said.
            The Fox River Forest Preserve is located in the southwest corner of Lake County in Port Barrington, with an entrance at 28500 W Roberts Rd. Immediately after enter the forest preserve turn right into the pavilion parking lot. The forest preserve charges no entrance fee for access to the pavilion. The entrance is opened at 6:30 a.m., which is more than half an hour past the actual sunrise.
          For more information regarding this event, contact Tanner at 847-367-5308 or

         The Lake County Art League has approximately 110 members.  Yearly dues are $20 for full-time students, $30 for individuals and $35 for families, with membership open to artists and non-artists alike who are committed to furthering interest in the arts.  For more information and to see artwork by its members, visit the League’s website at

            Coming from Lake County:   From the SH 176 exit off US 12 in Wauconda, drive 2.5 miles west to W. Roberts Rd. , which is the first light past Culver's in Island Lake. The Fox River Forest Preserve is 2.4 miles south on Roberts Rd. on the west side of the street.
            Coming from McHenry County:   From the SH 176 intersection with US 14, near a Crystal Lake McDonald's, drive 6 miles east to W. Roberts Rd. in Island Lake and proceed as above.

            Coming from Cook County:  Take US12 or SH59 to Wauconda and proceed as above.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Call for Artists!

2014 Art Show Prospectus

Trails, Paths, and Waterways - an Artist’s Perspective

Presented by PAPI Group & McHenry County Conservation Department

Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake, Il

February 2nd - March 29th, 2014

Artist reception: Sunday, February 9th, 2014, 1-3pm

Submission Deadline: Online Entries Only: Sunday, January 5th, 2014
Please read submission guides carefully.

Image files: Attach to your email in jpg format. Please use a smaller file size.
Title your image files.
Entry Form: (Copy and paste the form below into the body of your e-mail submission.)
Full Name:
Cell Phone:
Artwork: Title, Medium, Size (including frame), Price
Send artwork image files with completed entry form (copied and pasted in your email) to:

E-mail notification of accepted works will be sent by midnight, January 12, 2014
Prior to submitting, please note the work drop off time below.

Accepted Work Drop Off Information
Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake, IL
Drop-off: Saturday, February 1st, 10am-noon, please contact if you need other arrangements
Pick-up: Sunday, March 30, 1-3pm, please contact if you need other arrangements

Hanging  Fees:
There is a $15 fee for this show collected at drop off. Postcards will be emailed to participating artists. They may be printed and distributed. We ask that artists commit work that is accepted so that we have a successful show. In the past, artists have contributed percentage of their sales to McHenry County Conservation District.

This show is open to all artists 18 years and older. All studio or plein air paintings, drawings, photographs, or prints are acceptable. Works must represent McHenry County Conservation trails, paths, or waterways.

Artist Guidelines
2-D work must be wired to hang [no saw tooth hangers] and a label affixed to the back with the artist’s name, title of work, medium and sale price. Artwork must be professionally presented. Please provide any special hanging requirements. The hanging committee reserves the right to reject any artwork that is deemed unsuitable including but not exclusive of work not ready to hang, unprofessional presentation, concern for condition of the piece or space availability.

Although MCCD will make every reasonable effort to protect your work while it is in our possession, we are not legally responsible for it. No shipments will be received. Work must remain hanging throughout the duration of show. 

We look forward to including all our local artist friends! Enter early. For additional information contact:
Karyl Shields @ 815-861-6297, Dee Abbate @ 815-451-7107, Julie Janzen @ 815-356-9925.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Carol Foster 2013 Plein air

I have always loved animals and nature. Painting "en plein air"  brings  calm and unity to my being. I moved to Barrington, IL almost two decades ago and was enthralled with the beauty that enveloped me.  When I began taking art lessons I was introduced to  an "en plein air" workshop.  Each attempt  to capture the landscape before me brings new adventure, while constantly challenging my impressionistic style. Sometimes the paint flows freely from my palette to canvas;  reflecting some of the beauty that surrounds us daily. Visit my web site

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tom Linden 2013 Plein air work

Tom Linden grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois and now resides in Rockford, Illinois. In addition to his artwork, Tom teaches art classes through Rock Valley College. Painting the landscape en plein air allows Tom to explore the effects of light and weather while yielding to his love of the outdoors. Tom utilizes plein air studies to create his studio works. Tom’s creative use of colors, patterns and textures come together to capture details that make his paintings come alive.

See more of Tom's work at:


Monday, May 27, 2013

Edge of the Rock Plein Air Event, June 5-15th, Beloit, WI
Follow this link to all types of art events including a plein air competition with $4000 worth of prize money! They are also offering workshops in oil and watercolor.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Doug Braithwaite Plein Air Workshop Coming!

Hello painters! Renown painter Doug Braithwaite is coming to the fox valley. Jeff Kennedy is hosting this plein air painter. Check out his work. It is impressive!
Deadline to register is May 24th, 2013
For more information or to have this flyer emailed to you contact Jeff Kennedy at

Friday, May 3, 2013

2013 MCCD Coral Woods Finalists

Congrats to Julie Janzen (1st), Marge Schupner (2nd), and Kathy Clouse (3rd) for being the finalists at Coral Woods Paint Out today. Beautiful weather and a huge public turnout. Good painting and good times! Check out more photos on Facebook at Plein air Painters of Illinois.