News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 140, Rockville, MD 20850

For Immediate Release (02-09)
Date: March 11, 2002
Contact: Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970; Steve Simon, 240-567-7952


Montgomery College to Exhibit Works of the Great Outdoors
Washington Society of Landscape Painters Invitational Starts March 25


In French, it is called Plein Air; painting out of doors. It is the passion of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, which will exhibit about 40 pieces at Montgomery College’s Paul Peck Art Building Gallery, March 25-April 12.

Plein Air (translated open air) painting can be traced back to Italy in the 1600’s, but it became popular during the 19th century, with the advent of the paint tube and new pigments. Before that time, artists mixed their paint and binder in the studio, which made working outside laborious at best.

But then came the collapsible tube---transportable paint---and painting outside burst onto the art scene, becoming a precursor to the impressionist movement.

Artists say working outside allows them to paint the full experience, including changing light and shadow. Exhibit curator Edwin Ahlstrom, a Montgomery College art professor and WSLP member, says plein air painting is exhilarating for the artist: "You have to respond rapidly, juggling the elements of light, shadow, and nuance. You get lost in the experience and the world disappears."

According to art critics, the results are strikingly different from those of painting in the studio from memory, sketches, or photos. Gallery Director and MC art professor Kay McCrohan says, "a good artist can capture the haze, the warmth, even the feel of an outdoor scene."

The WSLP exhibit will allow art lovers to come, see, and feel for themselves.

The show will feature works from nationally noted artists, including Ed Cooper and Barbara Nuss, who made 2001’s top 100 in the prestigious Arts for the Parks competition. Ross Merrill, Chief of Conservation at the National Gallery of Art, also will enter a work in the Montgomery College exhibit.

The WSLP, once known as the Landscape Club of Washington, D.C., bills itself as one of the oldest active art organizations in the area. From its inception in 1913, members have ardently and regularly pursued painting out of doors.

Hours for the WSLP show, comprised of water colors and paintings, will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 6-8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Paul Peck Art Building Gallery is on the Montgomery College Rockville campus, 51 Mannakee Street.

Admission to the exhibit is free. For more information, please call 240-567-5377 or visit and click on Calendar. Related websites include and

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