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Mansion will host painters working in great outdoors

‘En plein air’ event to be held at venue in Highlands Ranch

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On July 22, 10 invited artists will spread across the Highlands Ranch Mansion grounds, choosing one or more locations to paint “en plein air” — in the open air — capturing images of the mansion and gardens in a certain kind of light at a particular point in the day. They will work in pastels, oil paint, watercolor and acrylics — and some may choose to draw at times. Twenty percent of artwork sales will benefit the Highlands Ranch Park and Recreation Foundation.

The public is invited to visit the mansion grounds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to watch artists at work — and perhaps carry home a treasure for your home or for a special gift. Self-guided tours of the mansion are also available that day, free.

Artists have been painting outside for many years — we think of French Impressionists Monet and Renoir — but interest in the technique has grown exponentially in recent years as more and more painters realize the joy of capturing a special spot at a particular moment and sharing it with others. There are local, state and national societies, competitions and exhibits — but not many opportunities to look over the artists’ shoulder and watch it happen in a few minutes.

They have learned through experience to work quickly, because the light shifts continually and weather may change in the next minute or two! (Of course, capturing that approaching storm is a favorite subject.)

Perhaps, one will want to visit a given painter several times during the day to see visions change and develop — and learn a bit about where you might find other examples of a talented persons’ work.

Participating artists include: Lyudmila Agrich, Judith Babcock, Leslie Gifford, Terrie Lombardi, Terry Ludwig, Donna Lutsky, Skye Mason, Deborah Mueller Hruza, Cheryl St. John and Ron Zito.

Terry Ludwig of Littleton, a longtime teacher and internationally recognized artist, has developed his own line of richly hued square pastel sticks, which are popular with artists nationwide and available through many dealers. The company website says he has retired as “chief colorologist” and his son Geoff, trained as a jeweler, has stepped in as CEO of the company.

Terrie Lombardi, who grew up in Denver and has been painting for nearly 30 years, is an active member of the Pastel Societies of America and of Colorado, as well as the Art Students League of Colorado. She teaches workshops called “The Art of the Flower.”

Cheryl St. John, a fourth-generation Coloradan with parents who loved mountain activities, grew up with a great appreciation of nature, which translates into her enjoyment of painting “en plein air.” She works mainly in oil, but also in watercolor. “The changing light and weather conditions create a sense of urgency that translates to a spontaneous and loose interpretation of the scene, something that is very difficult to achieve in the studio,” she said.

If you go

“Plein Air at the Mansion” will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Highlands Ranch Mansion. Visitors may also take a free tour of the mansion during those hours. Beer and wine will be available. Twenty percent of artwork sales will go to the Highlands Ranch Park and Recreation Foundation. The Highlands Ranch Mansion is at 9950 E. Gateway Drive, Highlands Ranch. (See highlandsranchmansion.com, 303-791-0177.)

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