Denison Artist-In-Residence Leads Plein Air Painting at Otterbein Granville

Posted on: October 3, 2022

Kathie H. Resident Blogger

By Otterbein Granville resident Kathie H. 

The sun shone brightly — but not too hot. The Courtyard at Otterbein Granville, easily accessible from two sides on level ground, was showing off late summer blooms. Purple-pink Coneflower, bright red Impatience, blue-lavender spikes inconspicuously poking up from ribbons of green-yellow striped Liriope foliage turned heads as hopeful artists-to-be observed the lush ambiance.  

Otterbein Granville resident plein air painting in The Courtyard.

The Courtyard — A Peaceful Spot for Residents

Hosta grows abundantly here, where deer have no access. Birds fly in from the open sky and feast on the bird feeders or splash in the welcoming bath. Trees, shrubs, and moving windmill art objects complete the scene.  

An array of tray tables, each with a brand-new paint set, brushes, watercolor paper, and a cup of water, welcomed residents to experience plein air* painting.

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Tray table with a brand-new paint set, brush, watercolor paper, and a cup of water.

Artist-In-Residence Hosts Outdoor Painting Experience  

Lily Thomas, the summer artist-in-residence from Denison University, set up the amazing encounter with everything provided, including her own positive commentary and encouragement.  

Lily stressed that plein air painting is about the process, not the product. She explained that we are all artists, so no judgment was made, just the enjoyment of playtime. 

The invitation: “Paint what you see!” A way to interact with nature. Notice and appreciate the visual colors and textures. Allow the practice to awaken memories of times and places, of people and pleasures that can be revisited in the liminal space created by letting go of control and allowing the beauty of the surroundings to speak to the soul.  

Water is the perfect medium to allow flow and freedom of movement. Colors on the palette brought smiles, like meeting a rainbow unexpectedly. Dip in!

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Otterbein Granville residents plein air painting in The Courtyard.

The hour was filled with chirping birds, gentle breezes, quiet music, an occasional soft comment, neighbor to neighbor. We entered timeless kairos time where the clock lost relevance, and a Spirit of creativity touched each one present with its wand of permission to “just be.” 

Whatever paint ended up on the paper, whatever images appeared as abstract, realist, or impressionist, the heart was left with an enriching experience — not just of painting in plein air,* but also a delighted sense of being plein de joie et de bonheur.**    

* open air, out of doors (French) 

**full of joy and happiness

Otterbein Granville resident plein air painting in The Courtyard.

Otterbein Granville Encourages Lifelong Learning

Otterbein Granville partners with nearby Denison University for the artist-in-residence program along with lectures, concerts, plays, and athletic events. Residents also have the opportunity to take courses at Denison through the Community Scholar Program. Learn more about these lifelong learning experiences at Otterbein Granville.

Find Lifelong Learning at Otterbein Granville