Internationally acclaimed artists gather annually in March, along Florida's Forgotten Coast to participate in the prestigious Forgotten Coast en Plein Air event. Painters will set up their easels and pull out their brushes to document the landscape and culture of this last vestige of authentic "Old Florida" – the coastal stretch of scenic North Florida between Mexico Beach and Alligator Point.
"Plein Air", a French word, simply translated means "open air". The roots of plein air painting are found in 19th-century Europe. An Englishman, John Constable, believed that artists should forget "formulas" and trust their own vision in finding truth in nature. About the same time in France, in a small village called Barbizon, a group of artists focused their attention on a subject matter that had never been done before: everyday life and the natural world surrounding it. These realists laid the groundwork for the next development: Impressionism. Plein air forever changed how artists see the world.
A true plein air painting is done on location, capturing the atmosphere of the moment. The majority of the painting must be completed on site with little to no work to be done in the studio. Most artists agree this is the true test of skill as it requires complete confidence in placement of color and brushwork in a short amount of time.
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By organizing cultural activities, the Coalition enhances the vitality of local communities along Florida’s Forgotten Coast from Mexico Beach to Alligator Point. Past events have supported Arts in Education, Arts In Medicine and Arts as Economic Development programs through direct funding to local area non-profit organizations.