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    Impressionist painters from the nineteenth century routinely hiked into the woods and across open fields to study nature first hand. How exactly does one paint standing in a field or perched on a mountain top? One Wednesday morning in June of 1998, three friends decided to find out. We piled our painting gear into the back of a mini van, flipped a coin, and took off heading east.

     Once beyond suburbia, we explored back roads known only to those who live on them,  searching for the perfect view from which to create a plein air masterpiece.  No place seemed perfect enough. The view was either too flat, had too many trees, or not enough trees. After two hours of aimless driving, our patience began to run thin. “It’s beautiful out here,” we chorused. “Why can’t we find anything to paint?” A clump of trees in the distance looked promising, so we agreed to stop there. As we drew closer the promising clump of trees dissolved into a patch of twiggy brambles. Where were the cute red barns and colorful sunflowers we had envisioned when we started out?

     Purposefully we set up our easels and looked around —really looked hard. To our surprise we discovered many things worthy of our attention; the broken down shed in the distance, delicate wildflowers growing along the road, a dirt path winding into the brush. It was all there waiting for us to find it!                

Our Story


    That little excursion led to another one, then another. Before the summer was out, we were hooked;  Wednesdays became our day to paint out, no matter what. (By the way, never once did it rain on a Wednesday that summer)

     Today,  twenty nine members of the Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters hail  from across the Buffalo Niagara Region.  Our back yard is binational, sharing a border with Canada. With Buffalo at its heart, our painting territory spreads north through fruit orchards of Niagara County to Lake Ontario, and south towards gentle hills surrounding East Aurora. From rolling hills to city streets; urban, rural, wild, historic— it’s all there waiting for us to find it!  

 The original NFPAP group.

       Niagara Falls, 2006