For two years, the Lee Plein Air Group has been capturing scenes around Lee County through painting. Armed with their brushes and their canvas, the outdoor painters they engage in a quiet activity that is meditative, solitary and singular, even though they are a group.
The challenges of their group activity always vary depending on the kind of environment they are in. Sometimes, they are gifted with the serene calm of the passing wind but there are also times when they have to contend with the loud traffic. It would be alright for those who are noise tolerant but it can be quite challenging for those who can’t work in a loud environment. But no matter what type of environment they are, they would have to accept the gifts and bear with the challenges of painting “en plein air” or in the open air in French.
Eileen Correll of Cape Coral, a member of the group, thinks it really is quite funny because they have been everywhere from fights to local disputes and they stay there no matter what to capture the moment. She says that when they start painting, they just melt into the environment.
She was painting in front of a restaurant using watercolor while the restaurant staff proceeded with their everyday work of tending the customers. Eileen said she hopes that there won’t be any distractions but she also said sometimes they cannot be avoided and they are even bizarre at times but still, you have to concentrate on what you’re doing.
But for Judy Usavage, another group member who was painting a few feet away from Eileen, the case is different since she cannot concentrate with loud noises. Another member, Sheila Wissner, described the activity as similar to reading a book where you block everything out.
The group would meet every Friday mornings and would begin painting at different locations across Lee County. They would paint in areas like the park or in nature reserves and sometimes they would go to more urbanized areas.
The group has no instructors and there are no membership fees. Locations are announced via Facebook and email. Every artist is welcome to join no matter what your skill level is at.