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Koenig Center Hosts Plein Art

Plein Air fans will have a new batch of paintings to look at and possibly buy on August 10, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Koenig Center, 20 Summit Street. This year, the third for the competition, they have chosen a new location, Planting Fields Arboretum Historic Park, said Rob Zeller of the Teaching Studios of Art (TSA) of Oyster Bay.

The event is a partnership between the TSA and the Oyster Bay Historical Society. OBHS Executive Director Philip Blocklyn explained, “I’m always looking for something new for us and this new location is nice. They have chosen Planting Fields and it will be something different. It is a great location and a great state park,” he said.

It really is a competition since the champion from last year, Steve Dolan, will be back to defend his title and David Paulsen, the first year’s winner will be trying to snatch the award from his hands. The two previous years the Plein Air artists have gone to Sagamore National Historic Site to create their works. Plein Air artists are an outgrowth of the Impressionist movement when artists decided to come out of their studios and paint outdoors in the sunlight. Before that, they did sketches outdoors and returned to their studios to work on their finished paintings.

This year, being at SHNHS was not possible. It’s not just sequestration which cut spending by 2 percent that made a change of venue necessary, it was the after effects of Hurricane Sandy, that closed the waterfront areas the artists have loved to paint. Added to that, the mansion at Sagamore Hill is covered in steel scaffolding as renovation goes on. While Planting Fields lost many trees during Hurricane Sandy, Coe Hall Mansion was unfazed by the winds and rain.

Worthy Venue

But Planting Fields is a worthy choice. It has a number of great locations that will appeal to the Plein Air Artists. They include the Rose Walk, the Tudor Revival Mansion, the Dahlia Garden, the Rhodendron garden, the Hay Barn, now known as the Hoffman Visitor, the Tea House and a full arboretum of trees to paint.

Plantings Fields was one of W.R. Coe’s many homes they owned over the years. They loved to spend their springs at Coe Hall Mansion at Planting Fields, their 409-acre estate to see the Camelias in bloom. In the winter they went to Cherokee Plantation, in Yemassee, S.C. that they bought in 1930. The original house built in 1710 was 11,000 acres in 1860, and worked by 599 slaves. It is currently 7,000 acres, and is a hunting preserve and golf community, limited to 25 members. The estate was named for the Cherokee Rose. The Jeep Cherokee is named for this plantation when a later owner, Robert Beverly Evans, was the head of American Motors.

A friend of Buffalo Bill Cody, W.R. Coe was a fan of the American West; and in 1910, he purchased Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s 492-acre hunting camp, Irma Lake Lodge, in Cody, Wyoming. There is a Buffalo Bill breakfast room at Coe Hall.

The Coes were also New Yorkers with a residence at parties at 6 East 83rd Street residence. W.R. Coe died in his newly acquired Palm Beach estate in Florida.

Call For Artists

A call went out to artists across the country to submit three examples of their work to be chosen to enter the competition. Those chosen will be working from Friday, Aug. 9 and until 3 p.m. on Aug. 10, when the artists will deliver their work, some still wet, to be exhibited at the Koenig Center. On Friday, their blank canvases were stamped with the date to ensure they are newly created.

The selected artists will be competing for over $2,000 in prizes donated by
Jerry’s Artarama, as well as a $1,000 grand prize awarded by the Teaching Studios.