En Plein Air Painting Festival

Vive La France! En Plein Air Painting Festival Falls on Bastille Day! Friday, July 14 at Pulaski Park. 4-8 pm
Susan Barocas: photo by Ellen Augarten

“En plein air” is a French term referring to the act of painting outdoors with natural subjects and light. During July's Arts Night Out, ten notable local artists will showcase their skills al fresco throughout the late afternoon and evening as part of what has become an annual festival for downtown Northampton--Arts Night Out En Plein Air. Please join Susan Barocas, Valerie Bassett, David Brewster, Jeffrey Gatrall, Paula Gottlieb, Elizabeth Lehman, Robert Markey, Robert Masla, Scott Prior, and Jan Ruby-Crystal in the open air “studio of Pulaski Park.

By happy coincidence, July's Arts Night Out falls on Bastille Day, a national day of celebration in France and a great opportunity to add a little French flare to the occasion. Everything is free and interactive as artists welcome onlookers to watch them work on original pieces and engage in conversation about the technique. Robert Masla will be doing two exciting hands-on demonstrations using special canvases and paints. (See below for detail.) The public is also invited to create their own en plein air paintings by borrowing one of 20 water color kits provided by Chartpak.

Adding to the excitement is a special appearance by the tinydance project. They begin with a community music and movement class for all ages and abilities on the park lawn at 4:30 pm. This is followed by two tiny tour preview performances on the tiny stage at 5:30 and 6:30 pm.

The festival also hosts Prone to Mischief, a group of street musicians known for their colorful costumes and high energy. The band will keep the atmosphere lively by channeling its inner French Quarter.

This community event is funded in part by the Festivals Program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Northampton Arts Council and Florence Bank.

Robert Masla Painting Demonstrations:

From 4 - 6pm Masla will demonstrate watercolor on Fredrix Watercolor canvas, (some samples of the canvas will be available to those that wish to “paint along”). The use and advantage of this unique substrata for the watercolor artist will be discussed and demonstrated along with a variety of painting techniques that will enhance the painting experience.

From 6 - 8pm Masla will switch mediums and demonstrate the use of Cobra Water Mixable Oil Paint on Fredrix All Media Paint Board. Masla will talk about the advantages of using this non-toxic, solvent free oil paint. Sharing with the audience and participants a variety of methods and techniques that take advantage of this revolutionary painting medium. The best of watercolor painting and the best of oil painting – combined!

Through the course of both demos Masla will talk briefly about some of the history of materials and techniques from the origins of painting in the west, both in oil and watercolor as well as the development of landscape painting and painting in plein air. Masla will reveal methods and techniques that give the painter unparalleled access to freedom, speed and spontaneity to rapidly nail down a paintings composition and values, arguably two of the most important factors in the success of a painting. Painters and non-painters can join artist Robert Masla for these free demos as he helps to enhance your understanding of the painting process and shares techniques that offer the painter powerful advantages.