Artist captures scenes out of plein air
Terzian Galleries, 625 Main St., will welcome plein air artist Caleb Meyer for a two-day demonstration on March 30 and 31. Friday’s event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday’s event will run from 10 a.m. to noon. Meyer will also be at the Terzian Galleries on Friday evening from 6-9 p.m. for the Park City Gallery Association’s Gallery Stroll to discuss his work. For information, visit www.terziangalleries.com.
Oil painter Caleb Meyer enjoys talking with people, especially when he’s trying to capture an outdoor scene on his canvas.
“It’s fun to see people when I’m painting,” Meyer said. “I think there are some people who feel they don’t want to disturb artists when they are painting, but I think that’s part of the fun of plein air. I love the energy of Park City and love talking with people when I paint.”
Meyer will share that love of outdoor oil painting, known as plein air, when Terzian Galleries brings him to Park City for two days of plein air demonstrations on Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31.
Friday’s session will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday’s will run from 10 a.m. to noon.
“These events will be more like demonstrations and not registered classes,” Meyer explained. “I’m going to drive or walk around to find an interesting theme that captures my attention. Then I’ll set up my bulky, homemade wooden easel on a portable table, point it in the right direction and start painting.”
Meyer will also be at Terzian on Friday night from 6-9 p.m.
“I’ll bring up seven new studio pieces that I have completed in the past couple of months, and I’ll add three or four that I’ll do when I’m in Park City,” he said. “It’s always fun for me to meet people.”
Meyer’s attraction to plein air is the challenge of capturing what his eyes see.
“It’s definitely harder for me than painting from a photo or doing a rendering of a theme,” he said. “With plein air you try to compress a million times more information onto a canvas, instead of painting from a photo where the composition of a landscape or building is already laid out for me.”
Meyer likes to see the colors and shadows firsthand.
“Our eyes can see more in the relationships and the values of a scene than a camera does, although cameras have gotten really advanced,” he said. “The hard part is paring what I see down into a painting in a couple of hours.”
The possibilities of painting plein air are endless, but it’s easy to get bogged down searching for a scene, Meyer said.
“Sometimes when I start looking too much for the perfect setting it gets frustrating,” he said. “At the same time, I want to look for light and the basic elements of art that are inspiring to me – the shapes and colors of buildings or landscape. That has a lot to do with how the light hits objects.”
Meyer has developed a love for creating works using oil paints.
“The pros of the medium is that oil doesn’t dry quickly so you have more time to work on a work, especially when you’re outside,” he said. “The catch-22 is because oils dry slowly, you have to be careful when you pack things up after you finish the painting. There have been some disasters.”
Meyer almost exclusively uses palette knives when creating his art.
“I have found it’s easier for me to create interesting shapes and textures with a palette knife,” he said. “I’ll sometimes use a brush for the drawing or the laying in of the some dark shades, but when I use a brush I end up smearing things and making the painting muddy.”
Although Meyer didn’t take a professional art class until he was in college, he was exposed to art from an early age.
“My grandma was an artist and an art teacher,” he said. “There was something captivating to me about expression emotions, and it was very satisfying to create something that kind of came naturally to me. It was more fun for me to express myself with [visual] art than with singing.”
Meyer’s college professors encouraged him to pursue art, and he became an apprentice for renowned painter Robert Moore.
At the conclusion of the apprenticeship, Meyer taught high school art for three years in Twin Falls, Idaho.
“I would teach during the day and paint at night and on the weekends,” he said. “It was a neat balance for me. I liked the relationship with teaching and creating my own paintings.”
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