The Art of Painting 'Plein Air'

Lucy Manly 'On Location'
“When you take up painting, you really learn to see. You see patterns, light, dark, colour, and harmony; you see the painting.”

To see what the artist sees, we must try and see the world through their eyes; what do they see, how did they get there? A natural place to start to see as the artist sees is to learn about them, who they are and where they came from.

Lucy’s Ukrainian mother and Polish father met at a work camp during the war and were married shortly after the war ended. Lucy and her brother were born in Germany, and the family emigrated to Canada in 1950. Her father started work as a labourer with Brampton Brick, where the family initially settled. Following that, they made a move to Toronto living near High Park. Lucy recalls her early interest of art and trips she made to the park sketching the landscapes there. Her skill came naturally, and her talent was recognized by her teachers, who frequently put her artwork on display.

Yellow Birches Triptych
It was her fathers wish to live in the country that brought about the next move to Bensfort Bridge near Peterborough. During her highshool days, she continued with her paintings and it was at this time that she met her future husband, Mark, while travelling on the bus to school. They were married and settled themselves in the area where they ran a successful welding company. Lucy began her art studies in Peterborough with John Norton at Kenner Collegiate. She became a “real student of art”, following up with studies at Sir Sanford Fleming and then on to Trent University. It was John Norton that encouraged her to join a painting club to be with others of like talent. This led to many workshops and her involvement with the East Central Ontario Art Association, which really enabled Lucy to “grow as an artist”. Her involvement with he ECOAA included many different positions starting as the newsletter editor and gradually working her way up to her current position as the President of the Association.

Lucy started painting full time in 1990; her work has been represented in many Ontario art galleries and she has won numerous awards.  Her favourite medium is oil painting. By the mid 1990’s, this student turned into the teacher of the arts, teaching art classes for Continuing Education at Loyalist College in Warkworth. Her teaching also included workshops at many of the well established art galleries in Ontario and she was selected as Artist-in-Residence at Bon Echo Provincial Park in Cloyne, Ontario during the summers of 1995-96 where she met the public while painting the landscapes of the Park. Lucy particularly enjoys the summer workshops teaching on location in the open air where she states, “I paint where I am”; this form of painting is known as ‘plein-air’.

Autumn on Cordova
Lucy’s desire to paint ‘plein-air’ has taken her to many destinations in search for her subject. She has travelled extensively throughout Canada, ventured south to the US and Mexico, and abroad to Italy, Russia and France. Lucy has been organizing trips to Limoux, Southern France since 2005 where the group stays at Le Monastere, and ventures out daily to paint ‘plein-air’ at many different and nostalgic locations.

To learn more about this artist and to view her beautiful work, you can visit online at or venture out to one of the many art galleries listed on the site to see her work first hand.

Janet Jarrell
Article published in The Link Autumn Equinox 2012


Post a Comment

Popular Posts