Fred Fochtman juried the Ohio Plein Air Society’s show focusing on prairies, on view now through February 22 at the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, Ohio. Did you know prairies grew in Ohio? 

They do. In fact, there are many. Particularly in the case of Ohio, “prairie” means open grassland, usually caused by burnoffs. 

“Morning Light at the Prairie,” by Doreen St. John; Plein air

“Morning Light at the Prairie,” by Doreen St. John; Studio

The theme for the show emerged from a conversation among museum officials and the plein air group. Robin Roberts, an officer with the Ohio Plein Air Society, says that by focusing on a specific element of the Ohio landscape, artists have something around which to rally. “It could force some people out of their comfort zone a little bit,” he adds. “Open landscapes are a bit of a stretch for me, for example.”

“Wind Swept,” by Sharon Weaver, oil, 8 x 10 in; Plein air

Every member who submitted an appropriate painting could be in the show, and members could have more than one featured. Painters were encouraged to turn in paintings in pairs — one plein air piece, and one studio piece informed by the plein air study. 


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