About Event

Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is once again hosting A Brush with Nature, a juried plein air painting event, where over 30 of the region’s finest landscape artists will set up their easels to capture the essence of the Arboretum’s beautiful settings. From Thursday, April 16, 2015 through Saturday, April 18, 2015, the artists will paint their favorite scenes from locations throughout the 120-acre site. Visitors can stroll along the trails to watch and interact with artists as they work. There will also be artists’ demonstrations, guided nature walks, food, live music and art activities for children.

All works of art will be for sale at this free event and at the ticketed Artists’ Reception & Show, with proceeds benefiting both the artists and the Arboretum. The artwork is very affordable and offers a wide range of sizes and media, from watercolors, acrylics, oils, and pastels. Purchasing an original painting allows the buyer to take home a lasting memory of the Arboretum, one that can be enjoyed for many years to come.

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Experience the Arboretum

The approximately 120-acres that make up the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is unique in that within its boundaries lie 13 distinct and different eco-systems. From fresh water ravine to salt marsh, from oak hammock to upland sand hill, the park offers a bio-diversity matched by few other areas in Northeast Florida.

This diversity offers the artist a cornucopia of enchanting subjects to capture on canvas. The glint of sun on water, the early-morning mist-shrouded forest canopy, a fiddlehead fern and a babbling brook, an owl perched on his throne above and trees reaching towards the sky, all available for the artist’s interpretation.

Please join us and witness the magic transformation of oils and watercolors into the vision unique to each artist’s eye. Be there for the electrifying moment when the painting comes to life and you suddenly see the world in a different light.

Become a part of this exciting juried art event. The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is an independent non-profit organization and depends heavily on community volunteer support. If you would like to participate in A Brush With Nature or other Arboretum volunteer activities, please go to the Volunteer page above.

To keep abreast of all Arboretum programs and activities, sign-up for our email newsletter here: NEWSLETTER. The Arboretum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

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“En Plein Air” is a French term meaning “in the open air.” Since the mid-19th Century and the advent of portable painting supplies like the paint tube and “box” easels, artists have taken to the outdoors.

The plein air movement brought artists out of their studios and into the natural light. It birthed a new type of artist who recorded the everyday scenes of life in the colors and light that nature provided and offered artists a new way to approach their painting process. The 19th century English landscape painter, John Constable, noted that “artists should forget formulas and trust their own vision in finding truth in nature.” The stiff formality and romanticism of the studio gave way to this entirely new concept resulting in such movements as the Barbizon School and the Impressionists.

In Europe, painters you might recognize such as Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Degas, and Renoir, took to the outdoors using colors and brush strokes that captured sparkling natural light. Here in America, artists’ colonies began to spring up, particularly on the East and West coasts and in the Southwest, where artists like William Merritt Chase, Edmund Tarbell, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Edgar Payne, William Wendt and many others expanded on the plein air tradition.


Today, plein air is enjoying a huge resurgence, with groups forming all around the country. Open air artists study and paint the light as it appears under different weather conditions and at different times of day. The challenge of painting loosely and expressively takes the form of both finished paintings and studies that might later be finished in a studio setting.

Plein Air painting has a long and colorful history and is just as relevant today as 100 years ago, and perhaps even more so, as artists feel a particular need to capture landscapes that are rapidly disappearing from our daily lives due to both development and natural causes.

Source - www.wikipedia.org