Ohio Plein Air Society artwork in juried exhibit at Capital University

On a beautiful summer day, I walked through Inniswood Metro Gardens and discovered dozens of outdoor painters capturing scenes of trees, flowers, waterfalls, and bridges. Every ten feet or so there seemed to be an artist with camp stools, easels, and palettes using his watercolors and oils for the outdoor pursuit. They seemed to be having a wonderful time.

I found out later that they were members of Central Ohio Plein Air. But many of them are also members of the Ohio Plein Air Society, a group of about 150 painters that was formed in 2002 and has members from every county in the state. A selection of works by artists from this state group is on view in A Brush with the Past: Painting Ohio’s History through December 9 at Capital University’s Schumacher Gallery.

As the exhibition title suggests, the works—66 works by 37 artists—capture locations, many historical, from across Ohio. Paul Hamilton, a well-known artist from Granville, judged the exhibition and selected the works to be included and the award winners.

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Marianne Miller took first place with her oil painting “Granville Spring”, a gentle and nostalgic street scene with a church and pink blossoming trees. Craig Stauffer took second place with “Unseasonably Warm,” capturing a farmhouse against fall colors on rolling hills in oils. And Justin Collamore, the Society’s President, came third with his portrait of “Old Mill Piqua.”

Many other appealing paintings can be found in this exhibition.

Jeff Stahler, a former Society board member who recently relocated to Colorado from Columbus, has several plays on the show including “Schiller Park” and “German Village Stroll,” scenes from the neighborhood where he used to live.

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Bob Maurer reproduced the “Boston (Ohio) Township Hall 1887” in watercolor, painting the light gray building in the fall.

A 200-Year-Old Barn by Katherine Gray Farthing presents a white barn in sublime oil paint with shadows playing on its surface.

In Robin Roberts’ oil painting Steps to Mansion, the pink of the building and the green of the surrounding trees and shrubs pop with bright colors.

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In contrast to paintings flooded with daylight, Candice Vanschoyck showed “Kingswood Mansion Mansfield” on a dark day, with a deep blue sky that seems menacing. Angela Gage’s Creekside, rendered in soft pastel tones, is a nocturnal vertical scene of a building, bridge and cascading water.

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All artists worked according to their society’s guidelines: that paintings should be completed 95% outdoors, on site, and from direct observation; No photography allowed. Paintings must resemble the location and multiple sittings are allowed.

All works created within these parameters show an appreciation for nature and man-made structures coexisting with nature. The paintings also seem to reflect the joy of those who, whatever the weather, carry their gear outside to pursue their art.

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At a glance

A Brush with the Past: Painting Ohio’s History continues through December 9 at Capital University’s Schumacher Gallery, Fourth Floor of Capital’s Library, 1 College and E. Main Street, Bexley. Opening times: 12pm to 4pm Monday to Friday and 1pm to 4.30pm on Saturdays. The gallery is closed from October 13th to 16th and from November 23rd to 27th. Call 614-236-6319 or visit www.schumachergallery.org.

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