Plein Air all the rage at Kimberley Kaleidoscope

Learn the art and techniques of painting in the open air

  • Jun. 10, 2014 9:00 a.m.


For the Bulletin


The art of painting pictures outdoors directly from the subject matter, which is usually landscape, of course, was made popular by the French Impressionists and is popularly known by the French term en plein air, “in the open air”. Plein Air painting has once again become all the rage and will be featured in four separate events at the Kimberley Kaleidoscope arts festival this August.

Cranbrook artist Jim Robertson, well known locally for his particular style of colourful landscape studies, will start things off with a one-day “Getting Started with Plein Air” painting workshop for painters of all abilities on Tuesday, August 5. The morning session will be held indoors when participants will be introduced to materials and equipment, the afternoon spent outdoors painting at a pre-selected site. The workshop fee is $90 which includes a lunch box. You can register for the workshop online at or at the Centre 64 arts centre between 1 and 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The registration deadline is June 20.

For experienced artists a two-day plein air acrylic and oil painting workshop will follow on Wednesday and Thursday, August 6 & 7, conducted by Calgary painter Doug Swinton. Swinton is an established artist and teacher whose drawings and paintings are to be found in several BC and Alberta art galleries.  He co-owns Swinton’s Art Supply, Instruction & Framing in Calgary where, for 16 years, he has taught “more about art than [he] ever thought possible.”  Doug’s landscape paintings of prairies or mountains are notable for their “slathering of thick viscid paint” and the “sensual and visceral” feelings which they convey. Doug is a skilled art workshop presenter, always exploring new directions.  The fee for this workshop is $195 including a box lunch. Again, artists can register at or at Centre 64 by the registration deadline of June 20.

On Tuesday evening, August 5, prior to his workshop, Doug Swinton will give a public painting demonstration at a wine & cheese reception from 7 to 9 p.m. in the dance studio at Centre 64. Admission is just $7 at the door, which includes a glass of wine, cheese snacks, and admission to the Arts on the Edge exhibition in the Gallery at Centre 64. A wine bar will be open for further wine purchases during the evening.

Doug has not been to Kimberley before so he has promised, “I am going to come up a couple of days early, scout out some locations and do some painting.” Anyone with an interest in art is sure to enjoy his demonstration and chat about plein air painting and viewing examples of his work.

The fourth and final plein air event of the Kimberley Kaleidoscope festival will take place on Saturday, August 9, when painters of all levels of ability are invited to “Paint Out on the Platzl” from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and to donate the painting they create to a Silent Auction which will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Mountain Pose yoga studio in the Platzl. The fee for participating artists is $10 which includes a gift bag, snack, & water. You can register for Paint Out on the Platzl at Centre 64. This will be the third such annual Paint Out event. It provides a comfortable way for members of the public to view artists at work without feeling nosy and, if they like what they see, to put in a bid for the finished products. For more information about either the plein air workshops or events described, contact the organizers Elaine Rudser at or Grant Smith at