Genevieve Tuck enjoyed painting on location, known as en plein air painting. She posed and answered her own question many times, “Why would anyone want to be a plein air painter? For me, it is the exciting experience of taking a blank canvas, a portable easel, a small box of paints and brushes, and then producing a painting that has never been done before.”
Regarding the value of painting in this fashion, she said that “it is the fleeting, changeable nature of light that makes it necessary to paint rapidly; whether it is a brilliant sunrise, sunset or the approaching moonlight.” Artists who painted with her agree, and there were many who would trek with her to a painting location and enjoy the experience.
Tuck, who passed away at 100 years of age in August 2008, first picked up a paintbrush and pencil at the age of six. Named 1995 Snohomish County Artist of the Year, her work was exhibited at the Arts Council of Snohomish County Gallery, the Western Art Association’s annual national art show and auction, the Washington State Capitol, the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, and at the Edmonds Art Festival.
This month, the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation and the City of Edmonds Arts Commission have collaborated to present the work of regional artists who delighted in the opportunity to join Genevieve Tuck on location to paint. Featured artists include Catherine Gill, Faye Castle, Hita von Mende, Jan Wurn, Roberta Crawford, Joan Pinney and Anni Leedy.
Most of the works that will be exhibited were done during excursions with Tuck. The artists have been asked to provide comments about the experience of painting in this style and of painting as a group. Those comments will be included with the work for patrons to contemplate.
“Painting on location needs a determination, a speed, a “feel” for a place; finding some landscape that you just know will give up its colors and shapes and lines, if only you can get it,” Catherine Gill said. “The place is so much more than what you see. You stand, connected to all this, and need to summon up the courage to just start making the marks. If you are blessed that day, and determined, a painting will surface. Genevieve taught me that.”
“Right from the beginning she was an inspiration to us all,” said Roberta Crawford. “No matter where we painted, in the mountains, in a pasture by the barn or at the dock among the boats, she could create outstanding compositions and no matter what the weather was like, she’d press on.”