On May 27, the Ross tenth graders traveled to Cedar Point Park in East Hampton to combine their studies in art, science, and writing outdoors, or “en plein air.” Working en plein air replicates for the students a mode of artistic expression popular in the 19th century during the age of Romanticism.
The class divided up while at the park, with one group oil painting with Dean of Visual Arts Jennifer Cross. Although they had to fight the wind a bit, the students produced a number of impressive landscape paintings.
The rest of the class rotated through several other outdoor experiences. Dean of World Languages and Literature Jack Hill and teacher Dwight Curtis led students in writing either lyrical poems in the manner of the Romantic poets or essays on the “sublime”—the Romantic idea of seeking out profound, overwhelming experiences in nature.
Science teachers Kim Borsack and Jack Szczepanski guided the group as they made scientific observations of marine life species on the beach. Seining with nets and buckets, the students captured a variety of species, such as shrimp and fiddler crabs.
Visual Arts teacher Ned Smyth oversaw students as they created two pencil drawings: one close-up, detailed drawing of an object in nature, and then one landscape sketch. Visiting artist Chrissie Schlesinger instructed students in the art of painting landscapes using watercolors.
Finally, the whole class engaged in plein air wellness, playing frisbee, tag, and other games. With beautiful weather and a change in scenery, the outing was a truly enjoyable experience. A selection of the plein air student works will be on view outside the Café next week to coincide with the school’s celebration of World Environment Day.