SUMMIT, NJ - Plein air -- a term derived from the French phrase en plein air, which literally means, “in the open air” --  refers to an artist venturing outdoors to sketch a work of art, capturing the effects of sunlight in the process. A familiar concept today, it was considered revolutionary when it was first undertaken by Impressionists in the late 1800s, who left their confines and used nature as their studios.

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, in conjunction with their current exhibition entitled "The Blue Planet," will host a Plein air workshop September 25, from 2 - 4 p.m. The program will be led by "The Blue Planet" featured artist, and guest instructor, Julio Valdez.

Beginners and experts alike will be able to create a small drawing by first sketching out the elements of the chosen subject matter – the essence of the scene. Valdez will work with each participant in formatting and placement, resulting in the creation a drawing that explores the rich colors of the Arboretum. Each workshop participant will take home their new work the same day.

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Immediately following the workshop, the participants and the general public, are invited to a reception, from 4 - 6 pm, where they will have a personal tour of the "The Blue Planet" at the Wisner House Gallery,

The exhibition features waterscapes by Julio Valdez, and installation sculptures by ten additional artists. This free event will give the public the opportunity to tour the grounds and experience the artworks in a unique, natural setting. Valdez and other artists will be on hand to talk about their works – the process and inspiration. Refreshments will be served.

Painter, printmaker, teacher and mixed installation artist, Valdez has taken the motif of water to create paintings and unique works on paper. Running through October 30, The exhibition also showcases water-themed sculptures from Sam Bogner, Cindy Booth, Carla Goldberg, Tom Holmes, Susan Manspeizer, Dave McNeil, Lori Merhige, Shelley Parriott, Herman Roggeman, and a special active water feature by Atlantis Water Gardens. All works are for sale, and the participating artists will donate 30% of each purchase to the Arboretum.

The Plein air workshop is limited to 15 participants, and reservations are required.  The fee for the workshop, which includes all materials, is $95 per person. To contact Doreen Schindler at 908-273-8787, ext. 1010, via, or visit

Reeves-Reed Arboretum is located at 165 Hobart Avenue.