YARDLEY-NEWTOWN >> Over the next few weeks, the public will have the chance to watch as artists work en plein air in Newtown and Yardley boroughs.
“Our Towns Through Artists’ Eyes” will take place from May 14 to June 13 in both communities as canvases of color and creativity emerge right before your eyes and are then presented in a public showing.m
In the tradition of Bucks County plein air, 55 local and regional artists will be setting up their easels on sidewalks, in park settings and other locations between May 14 and 27 to capture the beauty of the two Bucks County towns in watercolor, pastels and oils.
Organized by the Artists of Yardley and held in partnership with Experience Yardley, the Newtown Mercantile Association, the Friends of Washington Crossing and Countryside Gallery, the community-wide enplein air festival will then culminate in a public show from May 29 to June 13.
“Come on out and watch the artists at work,” said AOY spokesperson Bette Sovinee. “We have some really, really wonderful and talented artists taking part, including many of our own members. People are going to enjoy watching them work. It’s going to be wonderful and certainly a curiosity.”
Sovinee said AOY chose Yardley and Newtown for the event “because they are inspirational and historic towns and they have so many cute and adorable vistas. And both are in our own backyard.”
During the first two weeks of the festival, the community is encouraged to share photos of the artists at work by posting them with the hashtag #AOYPleinAir and #ExploreBucksCo. The photos will be used to create a community photo album for everyone to enjoy.
Commonplace Reader of Yardley will present a Meet and Greet with the plein air artists on Saturday, May 15 from 5-7 p.m. at Buttonwood Park in downtown Yardley. The free event is open to the public and will be an opportunity to mingle with the artists and learn more about plein air.
After painting for two weeks, the artists will be asked to submit their two favorite works for inclusion in a show and for a chance to win up to $500 in cash for first prize.
The works will be judged by nationally renowned en plein air artist, Joseph Gyurcsak, with awards announced at noon on Saturday, May 29 at the AOY Art Center, 949 Mirror Lake Road (the Patterson Farm) in Lower Makefield 19067.
A public exhibit showcasing the best of our towns will be open to the public following the awards presentation on Saturday, May 29 from 12-5 p.m. The show continues on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 29 to June 13.
Running in conjunction with the event and under the banner of “Everyone is an Artist,” the business groups will be sponsoring a Quick Draw/Paint contest for artists in grade 9-12 on May 16 in Yardley and Newtown. Artists will have three hours to do an en plein air piece for judging and prizes.
Parents of interested high school artists are asked to register their artist at www.aoy.com. AOY Art Center member artists will be serving as judges.
Want to learn how to paint “en plein air?” Gyurcsak is hosting a weekend long workshop at AOY Art Center on June 18 and 19. All levels are welcome. More information is available at aoyartcenter.org.
AOY member Melanie proposed an en plein air festival to the members, who enthusiastically embraced the idea. She had done something similar in Burlington, New Jersey where she had briefly owned and operated a local art gallery.
“I thought this would be a good idea for AOY especially with the pandemic. People love the outdoor events,” she said. “And people like to see the familiar scenes.
“The artists will come into town and look for something that inspires them. Sometimes it’s a tree, maybe it’s a field or a particular building,” said Melanie. “It’s whatever catches their eye.
“I hope people will come out and get engaged,” she said, adding that AOY will be attempting to post schedules on its website of when and where artists will be during the two weeks of painting.
“It’s going to be very exciting to see the brand new works that these artists come up with,” said Melanie. “They will all be unique, one-of-a-kind works created on the spot.”
The AOY Art Center, based in Lower Makefield, is a community not-for-profit art center celebrating 11 years of promoting the arts and arts education in the community.