What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Cary artists bring canvases, easels outside to paint 'en plein air'

Posted May 8
Updated May 10

Artists attempted to paint the scenes that were right in front of them - like this acrylic painting of the Page-Walker, a historic building and muesum in downtown Cary.

— With portable easels, paints and canvases in tow, more than 30 local artists filled various nooks and crannies in downtown Cary on Saturday to paint outside "en plein air."

"En plein air," a French expression, means "open air" or "in full air." The saying is often used to describe the experience of painting outdoors. While elements of rain, wind or heavy sun make this act more difficult than painting indoors, the idea is that painting en plein air allows an artist to better connect with their surroundings as they work. It's also quite the adventure.

With the clearest and bluest of skies and warm, not hot, temperatures, the weather couldn't have been more perfect for this year's En Plein Air "Paint Out," an event that is becoming quite the tradition in Cary. This year, artists painted streetscapes, landscapes, buildings, trees, flowers, trails and even the one or two of the outdoor sculptures that call downtown Cary home.

New and returning artists began checking in at the Cary Arts Center as early as 7:30 a.m. on painting day, where event staff stamped the backs of their blank canvases before sending them off. Artists were required to turn in their finished masterpieces, with the stamp on the back, by 6 p.m. on the same day in order for their work to qualify for the show.

The finished paintings will be displayed in various Cary businesses for one month before they come together again on June 10 to be displayed at a gala and silent auction that will celebrate the participating artists and give the public the opportunity to bid on the creations. More than 300 guests attended last year's gala to enjoy snacks, wine and jazz music while bidding on 43 en plein air originals. More than $8,000 of artwork was sold at the 2015 event.

This year's gala will be held on June 10 at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Avenue, at 6 p.m.


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