Plein Air Paintings at Longyear

Margaretville — Opening this Thursday at the Longyear Gallery is “Plein Air Paintings,” an exhibit featuring the work of one of Longyear’s founding members, Margaret Leveson, accompanied by a group show of all Longyear Gallery artists. The artist’s reception will be held Saturday, Sept. 22 from 3 to 6 p.m.

“Plein air” painting (painting outdoors, rather than in a studio) became popular in the 1870s with the invention of tube paints and portable paint boxes with retractable legs, and was a method particularly espoused by the Impressionists, who advocated painting in natural light. Leveson’s interest in “plein air painting” started as a child when she went out with a family friend sketching with watercolors.

As a teenager, she spent summers camping and sketching in Algonquin Park in Ontario, a place made famous by Canadian artist Tom Thomson, whose wilderness oil sketches are unrivalled.
When Leveson moved to the Catskills in 1977, she continued to paint outdoors. “When I paint outdoors,” Leveson says, “I absorb the sights and sounds of the natural world. I work intensely. And when I capture a scene, the world around me becomes illuminated. I see everything with a heightened visual sense. It is the mystery of form revealed by light and shadow that draws me to a particular subject.”

All of Leveson’s paintings in this new Longyear exhibition are in oils, and each was one executed in Delaware County. The subject matter focuses on old barns, fields, water, and mountains in different seasons.

Coincidentally overlapping with her Longyear show, Margaret Leveson has been accepted to participate in a three-day plein air event, “Creating Landscapes in the Landscape: En Plein Air Paint Out,” from September 27- 29, at Olana, the castle on the Hudson that belonged to famed Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church.

Margaret Leveson graduated in fine arts from the University of Toronto, studied at the N.Y.U. Institute of Fine Arts and the New York Studio School, and obtained her MFA from Brooklyn College. She was a curator for two years at the Vancouver Art Galley in British Columbia. In addition to Margaretville’s Longyear Gallery, Leveson is a member of Blue Mountain Gallery in Manhattan. how “Plein Air Paintings” and the Longyear Gallery artists’ group show is open from Thursday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Oct. 14. Longyear Gallery is located Upstairs at The Commons, 785 Main Street, Margaretville. Gallery hours are Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., holiday Mondays, and by appointment. For information, please call 586-3270 during gallery hours and 607 326-4402 for appointments.