Local artists’ works on display at Duneland Plein Air Painters Exhibition in Chesterton throughout November

Laura Krentz and Kris Cook of LaPorte stand near their paintings featured in the exhibition. Kris’s painting of Red Mill County Park is above Laura’s painting of Clear Lake at twilight.

LaPorte artist Janet Evans poses next to her painting of the moon rising over Clear Lake.

Kris Cook and Julia Holmaas pause in front of Julia’s painting of the moon rising over Clear Lake at the exhibition.

Information and photos submitted by Laura Krentz

The works of four LaPorte artists — Kris Cook, Susan Hughes, Julia Holmaas and Laura Krentz —  are among those on display at the Duneland Plein Air Painters Exhibition in Chesterton throughout the month of November.

From May through October, members of the Duneland Plein Air Painters receive an email on Tuesdays announcing the Paint Out site where this group of artists will meet on Thursdays. Directions are often given to somewhere in Porter or LaPorte counties, but sometimes scenic spots in southwestern Michigan are the destination for the week. Painting begins anywhere from 8:30 a.m. to later in the afternoon, but even a moonrise and a nocturnal bonfire were themes for evening Paint Outs this year.

Enjoy the Plein Air painters’ latest works at an exhibit on display through Nov. 29 at the Chesterton Art Center, 115 S. 4th St., Chesterton.

Plein Air painting refers to painting in the “open air” or outdoors. Artists experience their subjects in changing light, atmospheric and seasonal color change, and also by absorbing the sights and sounds around them. A few friends informally organized a group to do just this in 2009. Laurie Schirmer Carpenter, one of these founding members, shared: “In the early days there might be only one or two people showing up for weekly paint outs and our mailing list totaled only about 10 painters. Today our mailing list reaches over 60 artists with 10 to 15 people meeting weekly to paint from life.”

Pat Herman, another member since day one, said: “Making art is one of the great joys of my life and being able to do it in the field, surrounded by the beauty of nature, is inspiring, joyful and challenging. To be able to share the experience with my Plein Air pals makes it really special.”

“We are an unstructured group; no officers, no dues and are open to anyone who wishes to paint outdoors,” Laurie said. “Beginners to professionals come together to share in the joys and trials of painting in the heat, cold, rain or wind and always hoping for ideal weather.”

For some members, one of the best parts of painting together is at the end of each session, when they have an informal critique of the works created that day. This has become a welcome finale to a Paint Out session.

Artists bonding together, enjoying the vistas and the challenge of working in their media — whether it be oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil or ink — in the outdoors, then sharing with each other their creative resolve, offering encouragement and helpful advice. The creative camaraderie shared by this group is enthusiastically summed up by member Jean Bargeron — “Paint ON!”

For more information on the Indiana and Duneland Plein Air Painters, visit http://inpainters.org or contact one of the local members mentioned above.

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