Now Showing: Plein Air Art Show at the Public Library for Union County

As the “last hurrah” for this year’s Celebration of the Arts, hosted by the Lewisburg Arts Council, artists and art-lovers gathered at the Public Library for Union County to view work created during the two-week event. 


On display through June 29 at the library’s “Gallery 255” inside the main entrance, the artwork was created by 16 different artists, working in nearly as many different media ranging from acrylic and artist crayons to oil and photographs to scratchboard and watercolor.  


Many of the 34 pieces in the show feature flowers, trees, and even fences found on the Dale-Engle-Walker property west of Lewisburg, where artists gathered on April 30th for Plein Air Day to learn from each other as they spend the day painting en plein air – or, in the open air. 

One of these is the demonstration piece painted by Kelly Charlesworth, this year’s Plein Air workshop presenter, as she shared techniques and tips with workshop participants.  One of the challenges faced by workshop attendees this year was the day’s heavy rain.  Charlesworth explains, “The [oil] paint was drying very slowly during the demonstration.  I realized later that rain had been dripping on to it, slowing the process.”  Despite this – or perhaps because of this challenge – the painting perfectly captures the misty atmosphere.      

Others found their inspiration on the streets of Lewisburg during the Urban Sketching workshop presented on May 7th by this year’s Featured Artist, Jane Albin.  Debra Moffitt – one for five first-time participants in the show – says of her colored pencil drawing titled The Cookie Dude, “My intent was to capture the charm and color of downtown historic Lewisburg with emphasis on the unique shops and architectural features.”  Moffitt’s drawing gives this favorite Market Street destination a Parisian street-scene vibe.  Several artists’ sketchbooks are displayed in the glass cases in the lobby.

One of the most unexpected pieces in the show is Pat Bontinen’s The Old Fence Post II (DEW). What’s unusual about this version is her choice of media – scratchboard, not a typical “plein air” technique.  With scratchboard, a sharp tool to scratch away the black coating on the surface to reveal white below.  This white-on-black design is striking because it is so different from the more traditional pen-and-ink drawings she has done.  Bontinen says, “Since I recently became interested in scratchboard, I gave that a try, repeating a previous drawing of The Old Fence Post.”  She decided to enter her “experiment” in the show to encourage others to try new techniques and expand their artistic toolboxes.

For those wishing to purchase artwork in the show, information is available in the lobby, along with Artists’ Statements and behind-the-scenes information about the pieces in a 3-ring binder.   

To learn even more about the artists and their inspirations, stop by the library on Tuesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., when representatives from the Artists’ Guild of Lewisburg and the Lewisburg Photography Club will be on hand to answer questions about the show and their work. 


The Lewisburg Arts Council is grateful to Bucknell University for its continued sponsorship of the Celebration of the Arts Workshops.  Thanks to co-hosts, the Merrill Linn Conservancy and the Union County Historical Society for their support of the Plein Air Day activities at the Dale-Engle-Walker property and Dale's Ridge Trail.

Special thanks to the Plein Air Planning Committee – Barbara Baker, Diane Donato, and Joyce Lokitus – and Workshop Chair Tiffany Demmon for their work to organize these engaging events.  

The Lewisburg Arts Council also wishes to thank Exhibit Committee volunteers Barbara Baker, Pat Bontinen, Sandy Davis, and Karen Jenkins for making this show possible, as well as Reception Committee volunteers Margaret Brody, Michael Brody, Julianna Cooper, Susan Ball Faeder, and Joyce Lokitus, whose efforts made the evening enjoyable both visually and gustatorially.   

If you would like to help with next year’s plein air events, Celebration workshops, or the show, please email  

We are indebted to the library and its staff for providing the community opportunities like this to connect with art and local artists.   

If you are a Lewisburg Arts Council artist (any medium) and have news to share about an upcoming exhibit or achievement, please contact our PR Committee today. Our “Now Showing” articles feature Lewisburg Arts Council members whose work is currently on display locally. We can help you spread the word through email and on social media!


Photo Credits: Dan Hyde