Outdoor artists to open library show

Cate Kauffman paints outdoors.

Daphne Benton pursues plein air painting.
Daphne Benton pursues plein air painting.

The Friends of the Northumberland Library will host an Arts Alive reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, January 7, at the Northumberland Public Library, 7204 Northumberland Highway, Heathsville.

The reception will focus on a January exhibit, “Women’s Work in Oil and Pastel,” showcasing the work of Cate Kauffman and Daphne Benton.

Although both artists do a variety of works at their Northern Neck studios, they came together through their interest in outdoor painting. Called plein air art, the painter reproduces the actual visual conditions on location.

“We are both pretty prolific artists and decided that a show at the Northumberland library might give us an opportunity to meet other women artists who might like to join us in our work,” said Kauffman. “We will certainly welcome any guys who want to go along as well to brave the weather, bugs and other challenges.”

Both work in oils, however, Benton is also doing some watercolors and Kauffman spends most of her studio time working in pastels. There will be examples of all of their work at the show.

The two women have similar backgrounds in art. They both were introduced to drawing as youngsters and showed significant promise in school.

However, both interrupted their art work to raise families and pursue other careers. Each came back to painting after some years.

When Benton’s first husband passed away in 1987, she turned back to her art to help cope with the loss. “For 10 years my art was my hobby and a stress management tool,” she explained. “Around 2003 I became more serious about my work and fell in love with oil painting.”

Three years ago, she discovered plein air painting and found it to be “immersively challenging,” said Benton.

Kauffman also developed an interest in plein air painting and now paints outdoors in oils about once a week. Both are members of the Northern Neck Plein Air Painting Group and the Rappahannock Art League.

Refreshments will be served.



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