Downtown Newberry welcomed members of the South Carolina Watermedia Society on Saturday, May 19 for the group’s “Plein Air Paint-Out.”

The event was one in which members of the society worked throughout the day in downtown Newberry on plein air paintings.

“This year they chose Newberry’s downtown district as well as the neighboring countryside for their paintings,” said Marquerite Palmer, arts and special programs coordinator for the City of Newberry.

Plein air paintings, Palmer said are all about experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape, escaping the walls of a physical studio.

The practice of plein air paintings was made into an art form by the French Impressionists. Their desire was to paint light and its changing qualities.  The creation of transportable paint tubes and the box easel allowed artists to paint “en plein air,” which was the French expression for “in the open air.”

Palmer said 14 artists registered for the event and were provided with suggested sites within the downtown area as well as sites outside of downtown Newberry. That afternoon, paintings were turned into the Newberry Arts Center and the works were judged by artists and Juror Claire Farrell.

Saturday night, the arts center opened to the public, Palmer said for a reception and show of the days’ paintings. Several paintings were sold.

First place was awarded to Mark Conrardy for his watercolor painting of an old truck in front of the Martin House on Main Street in Newberry. Pete Holland was awarded second place for his acrylic painting of Community Hall. In third place, David Phillips received an award for his watercolor painting of Central Methodist Church.

Pictures and more information about this event are posted on the Newberry Arts Center’s Facebook page.