For the past seven years, the Plein Air Artists of Riverside (PAAR), one of RAM’s three artist-member groups, has held a nine-day ‘Paint Out’ marathon event. Artists travel along Riverside’s historic Mission Inn Avenue and surrounding areas to create several on-site works in oil paint, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor, executed in the traditional plein air style. This year’s Paint Out event was held from February 18 – 26 and held ‘Gems of Riverside’ as its theme. This exhibition represents the work created during the Paint Out as well as work from a companion ‘Quick Draw’ event, during which the artists created works at the Riverside Art Museum within a narrow time constraint of an hour and a half.
Plein Air, translating to ‘Open Air’ in French, refers to a genre of landscape painting that is done, exclusively or primarily, outdoors and on-site. In mid-19th century France this mode of artmaking became popularized with the advent of the Impressionist movement and Barbizon School, which produced such artists as: Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Jean Millet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-August Renoir. As time progressed, Impressionist movements gained momentum in Russia and the United States as well. The Impressionist movement sought to replicate the illusory effects of light, color, and atmosphere, and proceeded to inform the Fauvist movement and the advent of what is commonly referred to as ‘Modern Art.’ There remains a strong demographic of artists working in the mode of plein air today, particularly throughout California.