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Artists find inspiration at the Great South Bay Quick Draw in Patchogue 

Mary Jean Cirrito from Bayport paints "en plein

Mary Jean Cirrito from Bayport paints "en plein air" in Patchogue. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Segundo Orellana had almost finished his latest outdoor oil painting when a cloudburst interrupted Patchogue’s plein-air art event on Saturday, sending some of his fellow artists running for cover.

But Orellana, a plein-air practitioner for 30 years who finds inspiration in precipitation, continued working on an easel sheltered by the umbrella he always paints under outdoors.

“When you paint outside, you always have to deal with the weather,” said Orellana, 49, of Patchogue. To “capture the moment,” Orellanna added streaks of light reflected in rain-covered South Ocean Avenue and dropped his original title, “The New Village.”

Retitled “After the Rain,” the Patchogue streetscape will be among dozens of new plein-air works for sale at the Great South Bay Exhibit and Wet Paint Sale, this Sunday at the Patchogue Arts Council art gallery.


More than two dozen Long Island artists have been working on deadline all week on new oil paintings, acrylics, watercolors and pastels, all created outdoors, in a genre known as “en plein-air.” Their efforts harking back to the style of French Impressionists and the Hudson River School will include still-drying scenes painted on location in towns and parks along the Great South Bay. In addition to Patchogue and East Patchogue, artists also set up easels in Bellport, Blue Point, Bayport, Sayville and West Sayville, Smith Point County Park and the Fire Island National Seashore.

“They can paint anything they see, as long as they are doing it outdoors, live, on-site,” says Beth Giacummo, the arts council’s executive director. All of the works, which range in price from about $150 to $600, are authenticated with an arts council stamp designed by plein-air artist Joan Tavolott of Holbrook, Giacummo said.

Gina Lento, 55, of Patchogue, an event organizer, said the Patchogue event is part of an Islandwide plein-air movement that has been growing in recent years. Many of this year’s participating artists are members of The Patchogue Sketch Club, which was founded in 2009 and now includes more than 300 Facebook members.

Plein-air events such as Patchogue’s “bring the mystery of how painting is done out into the street for people to see, so there’s more awareness of the arts,” Lento says. She is working on an acrylic painting of an arbor across from the gallery, a site she says many people pass by but never notice.

Tavolott, a retired New York City public elementary school teacher in her late 60s, had been sketching a pedestal in a public garden when the cloudburst hit. Tavolott returned to the garden the following Monday to complete an 8-by-10 watercolor and ink painting, tentatively titled, “Terry Street Garden.”

“I like being able to capture what’s in front of me,” said Tavolott, who often paints while seated inside her car, aka her “mobile studio.” “All of your senses are involved,” Tavolott says of the genre. “You feel the warmth of the sun or the breeze and hear the people around you, and whatever you are feeling travels through the brush.”

Paint the Great South Bay Quick Draw

Artists will be painting on easels set up inside the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts during the day and at 5:30 p.m., the public can vote for their favorite painting. Artwork will also be available for purchase.

WHEN | WHERE 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, 71 E. Main St., Patchogue, and on nearby streets

Exhibition, reception and wet paint sale

WHEN | WHERE 1-5 p.m.  Sunday, Patchogue Arts Council Art Gallery, 20 Terry St.

INFO Both events are free; 631-627-8686,

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