En Plein Air – The journey and story of students and their teacher who paint the beautiful and historic Laroque des Alberes of France.
Biographies of the Artists
Marni loves to paint, teach and travel. Her loves all came together last summer as she led her first time International Workshop to Laroque, France. With the help of her loving husband, Ron, her student and friend, Francoise, and the many trusting and adventurous students who said YES to this trip, it was better than she could have imagined! You will see why in this exhibit.
Marni has been painting with watercolor for over 25 years. She has a studio at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton VA where she paints with watercolor and oils. She teaches Painting and Drawing classes at the Workhouse as well as in her home studio in Springfield and at the Loft Art Center, Green Spring Gardens and private lessons. Her most popular class, Art Feast, where she met most of the Laroquettes, inspires and encourages students of all levels to enjoy the creative process. There is rarely a painting that can’t be fixed. Someone once called her the “Painting Whisperer”, a title she loves!
Marni has won numerous awards for her watercolors and has designed the Fairfax County Tourist Guide for 2014, 2015 and 2016. She has paintings in many private collections as well as at wineries and restaurants. You can see more of her work at: www.marnimaree.com.
I am a native of southern France and have lived in the US since 1979, with my Scottish husband Allan, we moved to the Belmont bay neighborhood of Woodbridge, VA in 2009.
I returned to painting after a hiatus of many years spent raising two daughters and following my husband in multiple corporate moves across the US and France. As an expatriate while traveling I have particularly enjoyed the opportunity to visit many art museums around the globe. As a child and during my teen years, drawing was my favorite pastime. While in school I took some advanced drawing and painting classes as an extracurricular activity.
Many years later I went back to take art classes at the Lorton Workhouse. Joining Marni Maree’s art class “Finish those paintings”, and with her encouragement, I was able to complete a painting of Collioure, a little harbor town on the most Southern part of the Mediterranean coast of France. This painting of a very special place became also the catalyst of a new adventure for Marni and for me the beginning of a second career as watercolorist.In the summer of 2012 I continued my learning experience in the village of Laroque des Alberes, near Collioure, where we own a home, and joined a local art group “les Couleurs du Temps.”
The high point of these experiences was to organize a trip to Laroque in the summer of 2014 with a group of Marni’s artists to paint scenes from the village and the surrounding countryside. While visiting and painting we participated in joint activities with local artists. This trip was so successful and appreciated by the mayor of the village, that a second trip has now been organized this year in August 2015
I dabbled in painting and drawing in NYC when I was teaching. Then marriage, children, moves and general life put art on hold. When I retired seven years ago I began classes at the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton Virginia, studying watercolor with Marni Maree. I’ve had the privilege of attending workshops in Maine, South Carolina and France. Although I have tried acrylics and oils, it is watercolor that inspires me. I have done en plein air painting in Laroque des Alberes in France with Marni and also in local parks. It is always a challenge dealing with the weather and terrain, but worth it (and it’s fun).
After working almost 32 years, I retired early and began filling my days with classes and making new friends. France with Marni Maree and “The Laroquettes” was a big turn the page event in my life.
I love color! Lots of it! I have fun making my paintings more fiction than non. I want people to see what I see, and escape into it. Lines, Shapes, Color, Movement, it all looks different to me now that I paint. Expressions are easier shared thru color with me and I love to make people smile . So Cheers! and Enjoy!
Oil painting caught my fancy for several years in the 1990s when I studied weekly at the Us Too Studio in Fairfax, Virginia. A teaching career interrupted most artistic pursuits, until I recently retired and joined a like-minded group of ladies. With lots of encouragement and support, I have explored watercolor, yupo, acrylics, inks and plein air painting at home and abroad.
I am Northern Virginia water media artist with a passion for making art and sharing experiences with other artists. I work in watercolor and acrylic, but I also like to combine these with other media in painting, collage and monotype. I have studied with numerous nationally and regionally known artists in a variety of media, styles and approaches. Nature, travel, pets and animals inspire much of my work. My work can be seen at The Loft Gallery in Occoquan, VA, http://loftgallery.org/LynnMartin.shtml and on the Springfield Art Guild website at http://springfieldartguild.org/lynn-martin/ .
I have an MS in Environmental Planning (George Mason University, Fairfax, VA), and a BS in Biology (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA).
The 2014 France painting trip with Marni Maree provided incredible opportunities for both artistic and personal growth, the development of friendships that I will treasure forever, and really fun travel experiences!
John Singley is an outdoor photographer residing in Fairfax County, Virginia. John’s interests range from panoramic vistas to abstract close-ups. He uses digital equipment to capture, process, and print images. John is a member of the Northern Virginia Photographic Society, where he earned “Photographer of the Year” honors for his color prints in 2014. John is a sociologist, and a recently retired researcher with the federal government. John enjoys active vacations with his artist wife (Lynn Martin), taking advantage of their frequent travels to capture interesting places and people with his camera. His photographs in this exhibition were taken during their 2014 plein air painting trip to Laroque in the south of France. While his wife and other “Laroquettes” painted the beautiful scenes before them, John captured them and their subjects with his camera.
Sandy lives in Springfield, luckily not too far from most of the other Laroquettes. In what has not been an easy journey, the trip to France was the best thing to happen in a very long time…! After earning a BFA from JMU way back in the stone ages of the graphic art field, Sandy worked as a commercial artist for a number of years before getting sidetracked into the printing industry, early videoteleconferencing, computer graphics, software development, and help desk computer customer support before taking on roles such as chief cook and bottle washer and head chauffeur as an underemployed stay at home mom. Tours to Germany as part of a military family instilled a love of travel and photography which refuses to go away. Several years ago Sandy re-discovered her passion for all things watercolor by attending an “Art Feast” class. This has led to finally being a bit closer to knowing how to fill all that extra time which will be available once she can retire from working for a living!!! Sandy is very much looking forward to returning to France this summer for round two!!
Having recently retired from a career in environmental protection, I am irresistibly drawn to images of natural beauty – the sea, the sky, the wonders of geology, and the miracles of plant and animal physiology. The sleeping artist in me seeks to capture the fleeting moments of natural wonderment to hold them in my heart forever. Painting and fused glass art allow me to do this, and it fills me with joy.
Lynn Sords currently lives in San Antonio, TX. She is formerly of Fairfax, VA, where she worked as an accountant and spent 12 years as a potter. She is enjoying delving into a new creative venue and looking at art from a different perspective.