Mary Erickson demonstrating for the Light Chasers

The Light Chasers is a plein air painting group that serves four counties on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The group has almost 400 members now, and this year they are planning a lot of enjoyable activities for their artists.

Mary Erickson with her demonstration painting

Terry Mason, director of the Light Chasers, reports on a number of exciting outdoor painting workshops, demonstrations, and paint-outs for members of the group. “We pulled together senior artists to help make all of us better,” she says. “Hodges Soileau, Katie Dobson Cundiff, Mary Erickson, Bill Farnsworth, Joe Palmerio, and Val Sandell volunteered to do free field demos and critiques for the group as our first mentorship effort this year.

“These painters did a six-week series of demos and field critiques. Some of the artists offered small, local workshops after their demos for those artists that wanted to go deeper. It turned out that the demos were also a good marketing technique. But the point is to turn the artists into better painters so that we get bigger and better venues for shows of plein air work.”

Joe Palmerio demonstrating for the Florida group

Mason adds enthusiastically, “This year we are having our first paint-out, called Paint Sarasota.  We have over 70 artists signed up to paint, making this one of the largest paint-outs ever on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Morgan Samuel Price volunteered to jury the show and choose the top 10 entries. We are following with the 2nd Annual Light Chasers Show, where 60 members will show their work. The next night Palm Avenue Fine Art Gallery will host a show of the senior members, called From Plein Air to the Studio. Each artist shows two paintings. One is a plein air,  the other is a studio painting inspired by the plein air work. Each tells the story of what inspired the choices to paint a larger version of the painting.”

A painting by member Hodges Soileau

Mason concludes, “Our plan is to grow the mentorship program next year. Artists have asked for more in-depth help, and we can see the changes in the artists, the community, and the sheer number of painters and shows that result from the Light Chaser activities. We believe that when artists work together to build the market for representational painting, that has to include a plan that improves our artists.” For more information, visit the group’s community page on Facebook:


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