Tomás O'Maoldomhnaigh taking part in En Plein Air last year
FOR centuries, Adare has been celebrated in song and in poetry but now, thanks to En Plein Air each year this award-winning village is celebrated in art.
The idea behind En Plein Air is to bring artists together at various sites around Adare to paint what their talented eye sees, and all under the summer sky.
“This is the third year and my target this year is to have 55 artists taking part,” local art gallery owner Andrew Timoney explained as he made final preparations for this year’s even which will take place on Sunday, August 24.
He is, he added, on track to reach that target, and he is pleased that participants are coming from various parts of Ireland as well as from Limerick. “It is beginning to spread its wings a little bit,” Andrew said.
The idea behind the event came on a summer morning when Andrew was strolling along the the banks of the Maigue. “I had been watching Landscape Painter of the Year on Sky Arts and as I was looking along the river, I thought we could do a lot better than putting painters in the middle of a field,” he explained.
Calling on his art-world contacts, Andrew put together a panel of judges, got very generous sponsorship from the Regeneron medical devices company, named the day and En Plein Air was on its way.
It has, Andrew revealed, proved to be a success with painters and spectators alike. Throughout the day, members of the public are free to wander through the sites where the artists are working at their easels, chatting to them and giving their opinion.
The sites are chosen in advance and include the river bank, St Nicolas, the village park, a thatched cottage and this year, Holy Abbey Trinity Church. Artists are assigned to a site but, Andrew explains, they choose their own vista.
Many, he goes on, will choose to begin work at dawn or early in the day. But all the participating artists must be in place between mid-day and 2.30pm when the judges do their walk-through.
Back in the Draíocht gallery at 3.30pm, the winning artist will be announced and the prizes presented. Regeneron, the Limerick-based medical devices company, are again, and for the third year running, putting up the prizemoney with €1,000 for for first place and €300 and €200 for the runners up. The outright winner will also have their winning picture framed.
But the Adare Business Association also supports the event through donations of spot prizes for a grand raffle. Tickets, for the raffle will be on sale for €5 in Adare in the coming week. They can also be bought on the Saturday evening launch of En Plein Air in Draíocht when the Cappricio string ensemble will play and of course, they can be bought throughout Sunday, August 25. All proceeds from the raffle and En Plein Air go to charity.