Yes, that is “plein air,” and not “plain air,” although the two terms have almost identical meanings. 

The French phrase “plein air” refers to painting in the outdoors. The method also contrasts with studio painting and academic rules that might create a predetermined look. The artist is free to better capture details of weather and light, and the difference can readily be seen by even the untrained observer.

Enter the Ohio Plein Air Society, established in 2002 to advance plein air painting in the Buckeye State. According to its website, the OPAS requires that 95% of a painting be created outside to qualify for OPAS sanctioned events.

One such event arrives in Mansfield later this month. This exhibition will celebrate the plein air tradition with a juried group of works painted outdoors in the true spirit of plein air painting.

The exhibition will take place in the Spotlight Gallery of the Mansfield Art Center through November 5. For details, call 419.756.1700.