Celebrating the Arts With the BC Plein Air Festival

If you’re around town today and noticed a few more artists painting some of the familiar Doylestown sights, you’re not alone. We’re in the middle of Bucks County Plein Air Festival.

Today is Day 2 of a week’s worth of activities, culminating Saturday, June 11, at Bucks County Community College in Newtown. Artists today have been charged with capturing the sights around Central Bucks County en plein air, the French term for open-air painting. You may see some painters and their easels spread out along Mercer Mile.

We chatted a bit with John Schmidtberger, of Upper Black Eddy, who set up his materials on the sidewalk near State and Main streets at 7 this morning. Schmidtberger owns a fine arts gallery in Frenchtown, N.J., and was focusing on the Fountain House – a historic building at town’s center and one often painted by artists – as his subject.

“I enjoy painting outside,” he said as he put strokes of oil on his canvas. “It’s extraordinarily challenging because things change from minute to minute.” Aside from dealing with a constant flow of traffic passing through his line of vision, he also had to keep the weather in mind. The possibility of thunderstorms around lunchtime added some pressure to his timetable.

Tomorrow’s setting will be Lower Bucks County (the northern portion was captured Tuesday). The festival ends Saturday when all 50 juried artists will compete in a “quick draw” competition. Works will be for sale and can also be viewed on Instagram at #bcpleinair.

Don’t forget, too, to view the dozen or so reproductions on view throughout town as part of the Inside Out art project. The exhibit runs through July 15. Michener Art Museum still has a few tours they’re giving: this Saturday at 11 a.m., and at 5 p.m. June 16 and 22.