Plein air is focus of art league meeting |

Plein air is focus of art league meeting

Robert Schimmel and Adam Wexelblatt will give a presentation on plein air style painting with watercolors and with oils at the May 10 meeting of the Tahoe Art League. The meeting is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center, 3050 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Schimmel is a well-known Tahoe watercolorist, popular art educator, and tireless volunteer on behalf of the arts. He became a plein air painter as a direct result of his earliest teachers’ workshops. He readily admits that not everyone needs to work outside. However, for those who want to be landscape painters, this process is nearly a must.

“There are so many benefits to just being outside and looking at the world as artists,” he said. “It’s difficult to imagine the studio painter looking at a photo and including similar emotional content as the plein air painter viewing the same subject while smelling the cows, swatting the bugs and chasing the shadows.”

In fact, Schimmel assures, plein air painting is mandatory for an accurate impression of how nature’s forms and light work together, how recession influences color, and how one’s expression of these things is enhanced (not to mention quickened) by the outdoor encounter. Schimmel will talk about what he feels is the essence of plein air painting – sketching in any media.

“Without a doubt, this is the most important element of the process. By doing quick ‘thumbnail’ sketches (2-by-3-inch to 4-by-6-inch) one has a chance to converse, correct, and cajole one’s view into a vision that may or may not become a full-fledged final artwork.”

Most of Schimmel’s finished paintings have been started on location en plein air and completed in the studio. This is particularly true of work he’s done during extensive travels abroad.

Schimmel will conduct an “Inside Plein Air” workshop through the Artistic Viewpoints Gallery in Gardnerville on May 27 and June 3, where his work is also available. For details call (775) 783-0633. The Lake Tahoe Marathon has commissioned him for its official 2004-2006 images, Bank of the West carries a rotating exhibit of his prints, and more examples of his art, including commissions, series, and portraits are all on his Web site at

Wexelblatt grew up in Lake Tahoe and has been painting in oil since he was 16. He started painting professionally at 19. However, since Wexelblatt could hold a crayon he has been drawing and painting on anything he can get his hands on. He paints mostly in the realm of realism including figure, still life, and landscape as his subject matter. He doesn’t believe in talking too much about the meaning he hopes that viewers will get from his work, because he believes the work should stand on its own. An art critic has described Adam’s paintings as rich and lustrous, executed in the style of the old masters. He has received awards through the Lake Tahoe Community College for his paintings and drawings.

Wexelblatt opened Avant Garde’n art supplies and college store at South Lake Tahoe in March 2004, where he shares his knowledge of art with colleagues and customers. The business recently moved to 2717 Lake Tahoe Blvd., No. 1. Call (530) 544-3116. At the May TAL meeting he will share his “pearls of wisdom” about plein air painting with oils as well as demonstrate a variety of art supplies and equipment appropriate for painting outdoors.

Members, guests and the public are all invited to the TAL meetings the second Wednesday of each month. In addition to the May 10 meeting and presentation, there will be an art show featuring works created last summer by TAL members who painted on location with Dave Russo and Robert Schimmel.

The TAL 2006 Sunday morning outdoor painting program is from 9 a.m. to noon May 21 at Venice Drive.

Artists working in any medium are welcome to join TAL members for these enjoyable paint-outs in Tahoe and the Sierra throughout the summer. Contact Sue Stevenson at (530) 577-5394 or Eleanor Rasmussen at (530) 659-0908 for maps and schedules.

To learn more about TAL, see the league’s Web site at or or call (530) 577-2604 or (775) 588-3579.

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