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“The Distance” by Caleb Meyer, oil on canvas.

Kneeland Gallery’s 29th annual Plein Air Exhibition is underway beginning today, Aug. 5.

Each year, the gallery invites a group of artists to come together outdoors and explore one of the West’s most iconic artistic styles: plein air.

The term “en plein air” literally means “outdoors,” and first gained popularity in the 1830s before becoming a signature component of the works of many French impressionists, including Monet, Renoir and Bazille.

Painters take all their supplies outside, and instead of working from sketches or memory, seat themselves in nature to fully immerse their creative eye in the light, weather and atmosphere of the landscapes they seek to capture.

Later on, plein air became extremely popular among artists of the American West, and it is that tradition that Kneeland Gallery has been celebrating for nearly 30 years.

This year’s participating artists are Steven Lee Adams, Ovanes Berberian, Jack Braman, John Horejs, Shanna Kunz, Lori McNee, Caleb Meyer, Robert Moore, Silas Thompson and Bart Walker.

Today, Aug. 5, the group will work at Murdock Creek in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area north of Ketchum. The public is invited to come to the creek and watch the artists at work, provided everyone maintains a respectful 6 feet of physical distance.

The next day, the group will paint at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden just south of Ketchum. Again, the public is invited to attend with social distancing observed. The garden charges $5 admission for adults.

The series culminates on Friday, Aug. 7, with a still life demonstration by Berberian on the outdoor courtyard at the Kneeland Gallery, 271 N. First Ave. in Ketchum. The demonstration will begin at 2:30 p.m. and seating will be limited.

Following Berberian’s demonstration, Kneeland will host a reception at 5 p.m. exhibiting the artists’ plein air creations from the previous days.

Learn more at kneelandgallery.com.

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