For the four plein air (open air) artists in the current show at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, it's all about light.
The works in the exhibit, Contemporary Impressionists: The Florida Landscape En Plein Air, were inspired by the 19th century Impressionists Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Manet and others who were fascinated by how light plays on surfaces.
"Living in Florida, I have seen much of its natural beauty destroyed by rampant development and construction," said Elizabeth Rose, a third generation pastel colorist. "I hope to capture and preserve some small piece of what remains undisturbed."
Like the other artists in the exhibit — Eva Allen, Jenna Star Friedman and Lynnette Vaughan — Rose prefers painting in the outdoors to an enclosed studio.
"Being outdoors allows me to see the nuances of light, color, mood and atmosphere of the natural world that no camera can capture," said Vaughn, a scientist by education and career, but an artist in her heart.
The results are oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors of woods, beaches, waterways and other outdoors scenes filled with shimmering light.
"For an Impressionist painter, it is all about the light," said Gen Haley, publicist for the cultural center. "Light is constantly moving, which can be expressed with quick flickering brushstrokes and little blending of colors." To create the look and feel of shadows, the artists juxtapose two colors that, from a distance, look like a third color.
All four artists have been painting since childhood and have won awards in a number of well-known competitions.
"I love being challenged by the light and conditions of a particular time and place," said Friedman.
A reception for the artists will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the cultural center. All four are members of the American Impressionist Society and West Coast Plein Air, a chapter of Plein Air Florida.