Large-scale paintings at Forest Plein air

During its annual art workshop that took place from July 29 until August 4, art association Art Cēsis invited several well-known artists to participate at its open air plen air. Ritums Ivanovs with his sons and other Latvian professional artists (Jānis Blanks, Jānis Dukāts, Ansis Rozentāls, Dāvis Ozols, Reinis Liepa, Laima Bikše, Signe Vanadziņa & Zīle Ziemele) created a huge Forest Gallery, allowing inspiration from Karlis Skalbe the Latvian writer, poet, and activist (1879 — 1945). The paintings are now located near Rūcamavots clear water spring near the Red Rock Walking Trail (Cesis, Latvia) and open for viewing. Their impressive size (2,5x2,5 metres each) and lively Caparol colors sure make them easy to spot!
"This is a very popular place for the Cēsis people," says Inese Ciekure the head of Art Cēsis. "The place seemed so well suited for such large-scale works, and if a person walks down the forest trail to this fabulous place, they cannot help but feel the presence of Skalbe, our Latvian Andersen, the fairy tale master, the feeling that you walk into the forest.” The artist plein air in the forest is dedicated to Karlis Skalbe whose 140th birthday shall be celebrated this year. 
The idea of such a plen air originated from Kaspars Reins, PhD student of University of Toronto's Comparative Literature, who has previously received two M.A. degrees from the University of Utrecht / Comparative Literature and the Arts and Society program. Present also at this workshop, Kaspars Reinis did some painting with words and read a lecture on fairy tales at Kārlis Skalbe's home, about their symbolism and read extracts from Skalbe's pieces. He will also be the author of the texts of the forthcoming exhibition catalog.

Artist Ritums Ivanovs admits that the workshop is, in a way, a very democratic way of showing his work to the viewer. “Here one can enjoy art both in the morning and in the evening and at any time of the year and also during winter, because there are no restrictions like with galleries and museums. There is time for people to think, time for walks and enjoying nature.” This time Ivanovs experimented with some nature themes, drawing inspiration from Skalbe's oeuvre.
The opening of the original painting gallery will take place early September. Latvian reknown actor Gundars Āboliņš has promised that he will read Skalbe's tales on the forest trails and visitors will be able to go on this tour with him. It is no surprise that the project has been renamed "Transformation", as the forest gallery will have some different light every day, and the seasonal changes will add colour to their makeover.

Text by Gunta Matisone
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