White Rock painters group goes 'en plein air'

White Rock painters group goes ‘en plein air’

WHITE ROCK — Every Tuesday morning, a group of painters finds a new public space where they can unpack their easels, canvases, pencils and paints and make like the impressionists did: en plein air.

The group is comprised of members of the South Surrey White Rock Art Society (SSWRAS), which includes a variety of painters from career artists to weekend hobbyists.

Leading the pack is SSWRAS plein air coordinator Sheryl Walker, who organizes the summer-long weekly meet ups.

"’Plein air‘ painting is not the same as studio painting," Walker said at the Semiahmoo Fish Game Club, one of the group’s outdoor painting sites.

"Plein air is a French expression that started from the impressionists, who started to paint outdoors to see nature as it is. The goal in plein air painting is that (you) usually paint for two, three hours… as much as you can do because the light changes and what you’re trying to do is capture the light on things; that’s what gives the form and the colour and the substance

to every scene, so as the light changes, you’ve got to capture it really fast."

After arriving at 9:30 a.m. at the chosen site, the painters scatter into different areas of the park to paint their nature-inspired

pieces, explained Walker.

"There’s no workshop, there’s no lessons," she said, adding that most of the artists in the group have done art professionally in the past. "It’s strictly ‘Do your own thing.’"

All of the artists have different styles, which keeps the group unique.

"Some paint in oils and others paint watercolors, some other people just come and take photos and sketches and prepare to work at home in their studio," said Walker, noting that the aim is not to be the best painter but to learn how to paint nature.

"Most of the time you don’t come home with painting that’s wonderful; it’s learning about nature whether consciously or subconsciously."

The plein air painters group is made up of mostly retirees, said Walker, so the criteria for finding the perfect venue in which to paint each week are simple: walking is easy, and there’s a bathroom.

The group has enjoyed their pop-up "studio" time in places like the Glades Park and Art Knapps Plantland – and other spots where pastoral nature scenery is front and centre.

The SSWRAS plein air painters group meets every Tuesday in a new location at 9:30 a.m. For more information or to get involved, contact Sheryl Walker at Sheryljwalker@shaw.ca.