Brienne Brown, "Summertime Stroll,"​ watercolor, 14” x 18”

From an exhibition featuring Brienne Brown, Nancie King Mertz, and John Lasater to artist paint outs and pop ups, the Fort Wayne Artists Guild is celebrating plein air all through August.

Learn about the Kekionga Plein Air Events here, and keep reading to preview the featured exhibition “Moments: The Plein Air Movement.”

From the organizers: 

Artlink Contemporary Gallery in partnership with the Fort Wayne Artists Guild is debuting “Moments: The Plein Air Movement,” featuring nationally acclaimed plein air artists Brienne M. Brown, John P. Lasater IV, and Nancie King Mertz.

Plein Air painting, painting outside, is the largest movement in the history of art with over 200,000 artists globally painting en plein air. Their interpretation of the ‘moment’ is skillfully accomplished by each artist represented in this exhibition which is on view now through August 30th.

The artists will be available to discuss their works during talks held in the Artlink Gallery, August 29, 2020.

About the Artists in “Moments”

From a very young age, Brienne Brown (work shown at top) showed talent in art and music but chose to pursue a career in the sciences. She started her education at the University of Utah as a double major in Art and Chemistry, eventually receiving a BS in Chemistry and finishing with a Master’s degree in 2004.  After graduation, Brown worked in a Toxicology lab. As the years wore on, she realized she wanted more art in her life than a career in science would allow. After leaving her job as a toxicologist to raise her first child in 2008, Brown had the opportunity to paint more consistently. Soon she was not only exhibiting and entering shows regularly but also winning several top awards in plein air competitions.

Brown holds signature membership status for the National Watercolor Society, Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, and Utah Watercolor Society. Her work has been published in Splash 17 Best of Watercolor: Inspired Subjects, PleinAir Magazine, and Watercolor Artist Magazine.

“My passions lie in watercolor and plein air painting,” Brown says. “I find beauty in life​ —​ the so-called ‘mundane.’ Ordinary people going about their everyday lives inspires me. I especially enjoy painting en plein air, where each painting reminds me of where I was; of the experiences I had; and of the sounds, smells, and people I met. As I try and capture the essence of a scene, my paintings are always more about a specific moment in time rather than a particular location. I enjoy sharing with others how I see the world.”

John P. Lasater IV, “Night Coastline,” oil, 12” x 24”

John P Lasater IV has been a notable figure in the plein air movement for several years. Lasater​—​once known for his impressionistic style and bravado brushwork​—​has recently been drawn to a more simplistic, thought-out approach. This developed under the mentorship of  Jerusalem Master, Israel Hershberg, as well as from his travels to Italy and thorough independent studies. He has won many awards including Best of Show twice at Easels in Frederick, Best of Show twice at the Plein Air Southwest Salon, and tops at Door County Invitational three times.

“As a representational painter, my catalysts are nature, perception, and art history,” Lasater says. “I am drawn first to the formal aspects of what is observed—characteristics such as the shape of a shadow, the colors of a form, or the wonder of visibility itself. By this, I’m driven to deeper observation so that I, as George Inness urged, ‘see, and not think I see.’ It’s wonderful to spend a portion of my time giving back, and I hope to continue inspiring through writing, teaching, and, more importantly, through a life dedicated to artistry.”

Nancie King Mertz, “Oak & Rush,” pastel, 12” x 16”

Nancie King Mertz has spent her lifetime painting in oil & pastel. She was awarded the Master Circle by Int’l Assoc. of Pastel Societies, Eminent Pastelist in 2018, and is a Master Signature member of Pastel Society of America & Chicago Pastel Painters. She juries & teaches workshops across the US and internationally and is on the faculty for the Plein Air Convention, Plein Air South, and the IAPS Convention. IAPS awarded her the Prix de Pastel in their 2018 virtual show. She was the lead juror for the 2019 IAPS Masters’ Show.

Mertz was a three-year Instructor of Art at Eastern Illinois University where she received her MA in Painting two years after completing her BFA in Painting at the University of Illinois. Her pastels are included in exhibits and museums in the US, China, and France. She was the Guest of Honor of Art Du Pastel En France with a show of her work in Giverny in May 2020.

“As a plein air artist, I’m first drawn to the light, then the composition, and as I start to paint, I look for ‘the story’ in the scene,” Mertz says. “What is it about the image I have committed to paint that will make the viewer pause to really look and think? My goal is to draw them into the painting, to feel a similar connection to it that I did while capturing those moments.”

Visit https://www.fortwayneartistsguild.org/kekionga-pleinair-event to learn more about “Moments” and the many plein air activities taking place this month.


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