BY THEODORE MARSOLEK AND BOB SAYRE
West Volusia Plein Air will be exhibiting their artworks at the Enterprise Museum during December.
“Plein air” is a French term meaning “out of doors,” and refers to the practice of painting entire finished pictures out of doors, especially landscapes. This enables the artist to better capture the changing details of weather and light.
The invention of portable canvases and easels allowed the practice to develop, particularly in France.
The exhibit at the Enterprise Museum features works depicting various sites in Volusia County, in oil, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink, by Susan Furrie, Jane Kerle, Pat Krueger and Ted Marsolek.
In conjunction with this exhibit, Wayne Furrie will be exhibiting his miniature models of historic machines crafted from wood and metal.
West Volusia Plein Air was created not as a traditional club, but to provide an opportunity for a diverse group of individuals to come together one day a week to paint and draw in the western portion of Volusia County, their common bond being to paint and draw what they love — nature!
Initially, Jane Kerle and Susan Furrie began meeting to paint weekly after taking workshops together several years before. A year later, they were joined by Pat Krueger and then Ted Marsolek. There were occasional new members who came and went, but the “Core Four” continued to meet weekly to paint, critique, and enjoy lively conversations.
“As a child, I was raised in a wooded area and enjoyed every season that nature provided,” Kerle said. “Painting with oils began in my early 30s. Because of family and career, painting was not a high priority, but as life went on plein air became a true passion.”
Much like Kerle, Furrie married and art was put on the back burner so she and her husband could raise a family. She went back to work full time.
Only after she and her husband sold their home did she brush off her pencils and paint and take up plein painting in oils. This was a great challenge for her, for she found the lush tropical Florida landscape elusive to capture on paper or canvas.
Her latest interest is painting in gouache, pronounced “gwash.” Gouache paint is thick and composed of natural or synthetic pigments, water and gum arabic, and it combines the exciting characteristics of watercolor and acrylic paints, creating a luminous look. This medium is beloved for its vibrant results, and it dries quickly with a matte finish that won’t reflect light.
Pat Krueger practiced her art while raising a family, and entered local art competitions alongside her husband, later entering her art into national and international arenas, where her work was published by The Artist’s Magazine and International Artist magazine.
To her family’s amazement, she also painted full-size bison statues in her kitchen and living room! In the past few years, Pat discovered plein-air drawing, which is represented in this collection of work.
A retired art teacher, Ted Marsolek was the last member to join this group. “Art has been a major portion of my life, and there has always been an art-related project in the works. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to wake up in the morning knowing that soon I will have the pleasure of being in nature and attempting to capture nature’s beauty in my art, although it can be extremely frustrating,” Marsolek said.
The group has continued to meet, even through the pandemic, getting together every Friday at locations in Deltona, DeBary, Enterprise and Orange City. They are currently painting at Gemini Springs.
The Enterprise Museum is at 360 Main St. in Enterprise. Hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Call Cindy Sullivan at 386-259-5900, or visit www.OldEnterprise.org or www.facebook.com/EnterpriseHeritageCenterAndMuseum.