Christopher Leeper's paintings chase the sun at BAYarts show

"Patriot Barn" by Christopher Leeper

In this Cleveland winter, a reminder of the sun is never something to ignore. And with a title of "Chasing the Sun: Explorations in Plein Air," you know you're in for a mood-boosting art exhibition.

Artist Christopher Leeper shows a range of landscapes for this show, all done while he worked through different weather conditions. And with a variety of outdoor scenes, what these oil paintings all share is a particular focus on sunlight. Leeper says, "The light on a subject can often be the inspiration. Sometimes it is a tree or a field that has the perfect combination of light and shadow that gets me excited."

The expression of "en plein air" is a French one, which simply can mean to paint outside. But that simple term can create a wealth of inspiration. Just consider why Leeper chooses to paint in plein air: "It is the total sensory experience that makes painting outside so special. Not only are you seeing the scene, but you smell, hear and feel (temperature) the environment. I’ve had some really wonderful moments of being alone and completely absorbed in the process and the environment. It can be a very singular, almost meditative experience."

Artists of any level can certainly feel inspired by stepping outside as they work with a paintbrush or pencil. Whatever your preferred medium, we recommend giving it a try.

The exhibition is on display at BAYarts through March 29, in The Sullivan Family Gallery. Leeper is also offering an instructive painting workshop on Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. See for class details.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 9:28 AM, 03.18.2014