Local Artists Discuss History, Technique and Inspiration

Plein Air Plus takes place March 10! In 2013 the Lambertville Historical Society launched this community-oriented fundraising event to draw upon one of the key themes that has defined the Delaware Valley for more than a century, namely art. Initially, it focused on painting en plein air (outdoors) and was tied to the House Tour: artists were asked to paint scenes of Lambertville the day of the Tour. In 2017, the geographic scope of the event was expanded to include the valley on both sides of the Delaware from Lambertville to Frenchtown. Studio art is now accepted in addition to plein air paintings—artists are encouraged to paint scenes of Lambertville the day of the House Tour, but they are free to paint whatever and whenever they wish, provided they draw inspiration from our region. These changes have attracted more diverse artwork, as can be seen by this year’s contributions. We asked the artists about their work and sense of history.

Does history play a role in your paintings? If so, how?

As a former picture framer and art restorer, I have worked on many of the works of the Pennsylvania Impressionists of the turn of the 20th century. Being that intimate with an artist’s work will certainly influence how you work. I have been inspired by the works of John Folinsbee, Fern Coppedge and Theresa Bernstein, to name a few for their choice of subjects, depicting the working class and backstreets of town, as well as their use of bold brush strokes, texture and colors.

Susan Twardus Faith

Yes, history plays a definite role. I am looking and searching with my work. Searching for a place to call home. As an immigrant, I am both bilingual and bicultural. I have not forgotten where I came from and I am searching to find my place in this world.

Aida Birritteri 

Yes, history does play a role in my paintings. One reason is the architecture. I am in awe of the stone constructed homes and large barns that grace our area. The other reason is that I also enjoy and feel proud living and working near Washington’s Crossing, which is full of history and is quite inspirational.

Jean Childs Buzgo 

The big names of the Pennsylvania Impression school have inspired me from the beginning of my art work.  I still look back at their work frequently.  (The Michener Museum in Doylestown can be a great source of inspiration.)  But I’m equally inspired by present day painters.

Jeff Charlesworth 

The rich artistic history of the New Hope Impressionists plays a huge role in my paintings.  I have learned from viewing their paintings and photos of their paintings and have tried to understand why they painted a particular place the way they did.

Cindy Ruenes

Yes, of course, I was exposed to so much art growing up. My parents took us often to New York to museums, galleries and shows. They were also avid readers so there were loads of books, magazines and newspapers to study from. I’ve always looked to history for inspiration and information!

Megan Lawlor

I enjoy painting in the historic areas of Bucks County for its obvious beauty, and feel especially lucky to be creating and exhibiting in this area previously established as an artistic community by the New Hope School Of Impressionists whose work I greatly admire. And to the degree that some of my subject matter records historic venues I would guess history plays a role in my work, although I don’t engage specifically in historic narratives.

Pat Proniewski

Yes, it provides more of a reason to paint an image that everyone can relate to and understand.

Richard Hoffman 

I like to paint landscapes that feature the natural elements of our area that have been here through time. Our river and streams, hills and mountains, fields and farms. I normally don’t pick a dominant formal point like, a famous building or object, but let the overall natural image speak for itself.

Roy Reinard 

It is the moment when the light and the shadows are optimal that draws me to paint a scene that is historic in nature. Historic structures and the tall trees that might surround them offer a unique aesthetic experience.

David Sommers

More of these artists’ comments will follow in subsequent posts.

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